Veggie Update & Questions


Old 08-06-02, 12:12 PM
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Veggie Update & Questions

Hello Everybody,

I've missed not posting on DIY, so I thought I would just go ahead and tell you how my first vegetable garden has fared so far and ask some questions, too. Gami, Fred, Bomber, Byron, Marturo, etc. - you guys have been a huge inspiration and a tremendous help to me!

17 corn plants produced over 22 nice full ears. Pole Beans are taking over the stalks now

9 cucumber plants have climbed over the entire 6-1/2 foot trellis and are producing at least 12 very large cukes each week.

All but 2 of the 10 cabbages planted were yummy and mostly free from worms. I became somewhat emotional when I harvested the last one....

'Early Girl' Tomatoes....bunches and bunches...of green ones. I already know that they are not ripening on the vines due to the extreme heat. Is the heat also dictating the size of the tomatoes? My 'Supersteaks' are huge and flowering, but still no fruit! I wonder if again heat is the culprit?

Banana Peppers are going absolutely wild, growing beside the tomatoes and basil! I've gotten at least 30 from the 3 plants.

3 Summer Squash plants have supplied us and several friends for weeks now. Zucchini is finally pretty happy! We got our first zucc. yesterday!

The canteloupe for some reason has not fared well, beginning with very slow germination followed by slow growth. I wonder if there is a chance that the one which is finally taking off will have enough time to produce any fruit?

'Black Beauty' Eggplants are flowering like mad. How will I recognize the development of fruit?

2 watermelon plants ('Charleston Grey') have taken over their 6' x 5' area and what was the cabbage patch. About 4 fruits now, and 1 is almost basketball-sized. Any tips on babying these watermelons would be appreciated!

I've taken scads of pictures and hope to upload at least a couple on Sierra by the weekend. I've got have some proof to back my claims here, don't I?

Any answers to the questions above will be so appreciated. I would love to just hear from you guys!


P.S. Eric, where are you?
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Old 08-06-02, 08:17 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Uxbridge, Massachusetts
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Hi cowgirl!

Im here but as you can tell from my offline message, I am on vacation this week. I have family up here from Kentucky, so I have been spending all my time with my cousins Derek and David, ages 13 and 8 respectively My aunt is a gardening freak, and has been helping with the harvest. I am also proud to say that the harvest has been a daily thing We've dug up all but 4 hills of potatoes, and been picking cherry tomatoes and beans every day

Glad to hear of your successes! I told you in November you would be an expert be the end of the season To answer your question about Black Beauty... you are right; the plants will flower like crazy, but you will be able to tell when they have been pollinated because they will turn brown and wither up like they are dry. One or two days later, you should see the fruit emerging from the blossom.

Stay on top of the watering, especially for the melons. Now that they have reached a certain size, this is the critical watering period so the melons and can fill up. If you've got squirrels, cover the melons. Mine here has been attacked by some four legged f(r)iend. But since I covered it, it's been fine.

Well, the cousins are spending the night here, so its time to get back to them. You know I'll be checking Sierra for your pics!

Old 08-07-02, 09:59 AM
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Hi Eric,

Thanks for the assist on both eggplant and watermelon. I'm learning that this part of the season brings on changes quite rapidly, sometimes within a couple of hours. Such is the case with:

First, the watermelons. Found one almost immediately after posting that had become distorted in shape. When I moved it a little, I noticed that it had rotted on the bottom! I quickly removed him from the vine and am wondering if too much water, too little water or what would have caused this. FYI, the entire patch is mulched heavily with straw. I checked the other fruits, and they appear to be fine.

Next, the Supersteak Tomatoes. One cage kept getting blown over by the wind yesterday and I kept propping it back up. Must have done this four times, and when I finally succeeded in making the cage more sturdy, Lo! and Behold! there are four very big 'maters on that plant. I got to thinking "maybe that plant was falling over on purpose, so I would eventually take notice that he was indeed a productive boy"!

As for you taking vacation, I don't recall you clearing it with anyone here first!!!!! That's great that you have family over, and I really hope you are getting the same wonderful weather we're getting. It feels weird to pile on the blankets at night, but what a relief from the hideous heat!

Take care,

Old 08-07-02, 10:46 PM
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I'm impressed.

Hi Liz,

Sounds like things are poping out all over That's just great. Isn't it such a good feeling to be eating what you grew yourself?

I just had my first BrandyWine tomato sandwich yesterday, pure heaven yum. You can harvest your Eggplant young small, and seedless for the best taste, at least 1/4 size of those in the store.

A funny little story of when to pick your vegetables. We harvest our green beans, long thin and seedless. So I gave a fellow farmer down the road a bushel just because .

I went over to visit & he gave me a bushel of beans, just because. before I left I spoted my beans in his kinda of compost pile. After one look at the Fat stringy bean, filled beans he gave me, I knew they were headed for my compost pile.

So why not ask I thought? After all he had made atempts to use more organic methods for me. So I said Burt. Why did you throw my beans away? Also to be honest with you, I was going to through your beans away, there to big and need cooked to long to eat.

Well he said, after we cook them for 4 hours with a piece of ham & fat back your beans would be all mush. They are not ready yet to cook.

Oh I said, so you dont cook or steam them or eat them raw in salads, your young tender beans. Nope never tried them that way.

I would never cook them like he did, so I gave him back his beans, no hard feelings.

Last week I saw ol Burt & before I could say Hi, he started telling me how his wife and he had steamed and ate, some of there young tender green beans. I never knew grean beans could taste so good he told me. That's just great I thought, after all those years, he got to taste the beans without the pig.

That is the best part of growing for me, discovering new ways to enjoy all those fruits & vegetables. You will never get bored Liz, you will learn many new things every new season.

Now if some one could tell me, when to expect those Red eggplants my Brother in law sent me, will put on those little red fruits. All he will tell me is, your gonna love um. The plants are allready 4 foot high with white flowers, yep not purple but bright white.

I sure will be on the lookout for your Pictures at Sierra, don't forget it's time to start planting those same spring crops, for Fall & early winter harvest right now. We are in the same climate more or less, so don't forget the bonus season is Fall. No bugs to speak of & everything is sweeter after a light frost.

Old 08-08-02, 10:15 AM
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Hi Liz,

It sounds like your garden is going strong. Glad to hear it! Byron told me that Jetstar is a good early tomato. Going to try it next year.

We're battling some insects on the cukes, and I think, mice on the tomatoes. Where are those cats when you need them?

Marturo, we've been eating brandywines for a little while now. One slice is big enough to cover a BLT. Yum! I need to post a pic of two of them. One is 13 oz. and the other one must be 1.5 lbs. I gave away my scale that weighs things over a lb. when I quit canning a few years ago.

Beans cooked in ham are really good. I don't fix them that way either, but some of the restaurants serve them like that.

That's sad that a bushel of beans went on the compost pile.

Old 08-08-02, 12:06 PM
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Hi Marturo and Gami

What a great story about the beans, Marturo! It is sad that a whole bushel found its home in the compost pile instead of some one's stomach, but the compost will be better for it.

I will take note on Jetstar and the Brandywines. I got talked into planting the Early Girls (and K-Mart had them on sale), and although they look great and are producing, I much prefer the larger variety tomato.

Gami, I know exactly where my cat is when I need him He was crying (more like YOWLING) at the backdoor just a little while ago, and there he was proudly clutching a small bird in his mouth! I've not known him to attack a bird, let alone kill one! The event this morning explains a dead Titmouse yesterday by the birdbath and and a dead Eastern Bluebird about 2 weeks ago in the front yard.

On a lighter note, I would love to see a red eggplant! Can you post a picture when it fruits Marturo? And thanks for the hint on when to harvest Black Beauties - I would have just let them get as big as I am used to seeing them in the store.

Gami, I remember reading that straw mulch will attract critters, as it provides a nice shady, cool home for them. I know I have lots of toads, but sometimes I hear a rustling that is not quite like the sound of toads - wonder if it's mice. No damage that I can see - how do you tell that mice have taken residence?

More later --

Old 08-08-02, 02:26 PM
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Hi Liz,

Our cats get birds once in awhile too. Doesn't it make you sick? I'm amazed that so many birds make nests in our yard. I don't scold them tho, for fear they won't go after the mice. One of ours in a hunter. She even goes in the field across the road. I wish she'd scout out the tomatoes.

Mice eat holes--generally on the tops of tomatoes when they're ripe. You can also see droppings on the tomato--unless something else has that big of dropping. Since that happened, we've been picking them a little under ripe. The insects are leaving them alone for now.

I think Byron posted once too that straw hides insects, and he doesn't use it. I'm trying to squish the bugs, and they crawl under the straw, so I know they're hiding there. The pepper/soap spray seems to be helping a little. Marturo told me to use Rotenone. I'll get some next time I'm out. We have both the spotted and striped cucumber beetle and squash bugs. Argh! With these dry conditions, I'm glad we put straw down, but I can see where it can cause problems.

Old 08-08-02, 08:02 PM
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Hi Gami and crew!

I've grown those Jet Star before. Excellent tomato, and very early and prolific yields.

For the first time in a while, we fell victim to pests this year..... I know we have the tomato hornworm because my grandfather and I have caught 3 of them so far. And I think we also fell victim to the dreaded SVB. A couple of the zucchini and yellow squash plants have wilted. But other than that, everything else is looking good as the new pictures on Sierra will show; transferring now.

I second that emotion about the beans, Marturo. However, think of it like this.... Bean plants are great fertilizer if you let them break down for the following season; lots of nitrogen. So I guess in a way, you did benefit from the planting

Well, the pictures are almost finished, so its time to get over to Sierra!

Old 08-08-02, 08:50 PM
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Smile Garden Pictures would be nice here.

Hi All

Gami said:
Beans cooked in ham are really good. And they are (With Organic Ham), so the moral of the story is as long as you eat fruit & vegetables you will benefit. Or everyone eats their vegetables differently, so the more we learn the more choices we have.

I have never looked at anything that goes into the Compost piles as lost profit. Yes we sell Fruit & Vegetables to make money, but that compost is worth it's weight in gold also.

How do we post pictures here on our forum? I know I am the Moderator & will be happy to post how to, if someone tells me how

Liz I saw our first two red Eggplant today, they are green & about the size of eggs. I realy love eggplant. I just can't wait to see these red ones, i'll get pics.

I don't know of any rules that we can't, as long as we are not selling, tell each other about our web sites, so heres our families site. Made by Farmers,

We will be changing Web Host soon and go from 50mbs to 225mbs. With that much room we will be able to dedicate more space, to teaching Earth Friendly growing methods.

Every winter we sow late in the Fall, even as we are still producing vegetables, a small pea called the Austrian winter peas. What a nitrogen boost in the spring, for all the lettuce, Broccoli etc.

Of all the cover crops we have ever used this pea, is the most user friendly. Unlike the grain cover crops, this pea dies out when hot weather arrives. You should be able to find it at most farm supplies & buy it by the pound. We get 50LBs for $72.00.

Remember please, let me know how we go about puting up pictures here at DYI, so we can have a colorful forum.

Old 08-09-02, 01:47 AM
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Location: Acton, Ontario, Canada - Zone 6b
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Hi all

Getting hungry reading about all your efforts!

We've only got a small veggie patch (2 tomato plants of unknown parentage) and are looking forward to the fruits from them, but nothing like your's...

If I could get the hostas and hemerocallis off Marie's priority lists, maybe we'd be dining from garden to plate, too

Couldn't sleep, so I went back in the posts - Here's the thread Eric started back in April about posting pics here - I haven't tried to figure out the techie stuff (somewhat technically challenged at times - I'll stick to the easy method over at Sierra), but I think everyone else on this thread has...

Marturo, nice website! I noticed that you've mentioned Linda, but not yourself (by name)...

Great pics!!!


Old 08-09-02, 07:47 AM
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Smile Is a picture worth a thousand words?

Good Morning Howie,

I thought I would look in before picking Raspberries. Wow! I see what you mean about the pics.

As you noticed i'm not a techie, I forgot to put my own name on my website LOL. Thanks for the kind words about our site

I still feel a lot more at home behind a Troy Bilt than working with a website. I keep trying & maybe i'll take a course this winter.

Well folks I guess for now at least we should post our pics over at Sierra, until we get a techie grower to show us the way.

That's ok we have a great bunch of gardeners here, & I know I have learned a lot.

I feel lately that I have had all my spare time taken up trying to gain access to our Domain Name. Our present web host will not call back or reply to my e-mails. So I am waiting for the people who regestered our Domain Name to send the user name & password.

Then I can open it and move over to the new Web Host who might fix it when it does not work. What a mess this whole thing has turned out to be.

The only advice I can give is when you get a domain name allways get the user name and password so you can manage it. I may be the only person left, who didn't know that, but I won't make that mistake again.

Gotta go Pick see you all later
Old 08-14-02, 11:43 AM
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Hi all!

Gosh what a great thread this has turned out to be!

I have finally come to grips with the harsh reality of this drought we're experiencing here in Virginia (and I know we are not the only ones): I can water thoroughly one day, and the plants are sad and bone dry the next. The ground is sucking all the moisture downward past the roots and all. After having one well run completely dry this summer, I feel very sensitive to our usage of water. I cannot imagine how a commercial farm manages during times like these.

Marturo - what a great site you've created! Now that I have been drawn to the wonderful world of vegetable gardening, I wish I could do something like what you and your family do! The fall/winter cover crop of Austrian winter peas sounds very interesting since I am trying to consider a cover crop now. The virtues of planting a winter crop are numerous. My garden is very small (18' x25') and I may do a couple of limited plantings of spinach, garlic, collards, onions, and some lettuce and cover crop the rest.

On the eggplant - Eric I see my first one coming! I noticed it about 3 days ago., and it's almost the size of a golfball. Now, the question to you guys is: how long before the great harvest?

Eric - were there any signs of the vine borer prior to their hostile takeover? Just curious since my squash is looking a little sad, some ouside leaves have over night drooped and browned.

Gami - I don't think I do have mice from your description of their evidence! Casper, my cat won't have any thing to do with mice so he would be of not help there! I did scold him over that bird in his mouth. I guess I am a bad "mommy" for that, but I just can't stand the fact that we've earned the priviledge (sp.?) of the birds' presence here and then my well-fed cat goes after them. I keep him inside 100% of the time now! Lots of treats and lots of love! Grrrrr......

Does anyone know how to successfully dry sunflowers? Gami? Anyone? I've taken 7 of my 25 out of the garden, kept them in water for a few days and then hung them, upside-down. They don't look so hot! The leaves are turning yellow and the flowers look like they're fixin' to lose their petals! Hep!

Hope to hear from you guys....

Old 08-14-02, 05:43 PM
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Cover crops

Hi Liz,

Sounds as if your havin a lot of fun in that garden

Glad to hear you are getting eggplants, I like them about 1/4 the size that the store sells.

I'm glad to hear you are thinking of a cover crop this winter. The Austrian winter peas will produce up to 250 lbs of Nitrogen per acre. This is a small round pink ball attached to the Pea rootlets, like little time release pellets of Nitrogen.

The next spring your plants will take off like rockets, & when that source is gone, you will have the Nitrogen from your compost etc.

It's not a trick, but if you want to produce more than normal in a small area. Never leave the soil bare, make a plan in the winter. Then when you start the season, allways have a plant or seeds to go in as soon as your plant passes it's peak.

Peak is when the squash start getting leggy and productions slows. Green beans will produce 4 pickings, then till them under and replant something else.

I know this will sound wasteful to some but every plant has a peak. Red Raspberries 5 to 7 years you could grow them for 10 but the berries would produce less & less each year & become small and bitter.

So if we are to produce as much as possible, we must keep our plants going in high gear all the time. Including working the soil even in the winter with a cover crop.

Liz are you using soaker tape or hoses to do your watering?
We use soaker hoses and tape under the mulch & even in a drought your soil will stay moist.

When it gets this bad as far as dry, we need to pinpoint our water as our lawns turn brown. We haven't mowed the grass in a month & a half & no rain in sight.

Glad to see you are having a good time gardening, it's a feeling that if were bottled and sold, would sell like hotcakes lol.

Old 08-15-02, 06:53 AM
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Impressive! :)

Hey Marturo,
I FINALLY had the opportunity to check out your website. Very nice work (on the layout of the site and the produce). I envy you because that is exactly what I would like to be doing for a living. Need a hired hand???

Old 08-15-02, 02:35 PM
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Hi Liz,

Sorry, I've never dried sunflowers to keep as flowers before. Just the seed heads for the birds. I've often wondered how they did it too, because I always felt if I tried it, they'd look like what you described.

Good luck with your fall planting. We're going to give it a go for the first time too. I've heard the insects aren't as bad at that time.

It sounds like you DO have squash vine borer problems. They got both of ours too. One day they're healthy, and the next day practically, they're goners. I thought I was on track with the borer patrol, but I must have missed a day!

Old 08-15-02, 05:34 PM
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Smile Need a hired hand???

Hi Eric

Thanks for your kind words on our Web Site. We hope that some day we can open an Organic Growers School.

Some times it gets real to the point that I wish we could hire others We were just talking the other night about a farmer we know & his retirement.

Turns out in life that at some time the Farmer has to turnover the reigns to the Mule. However as this old Farmer we know just let his two Sons and a Daughter start running the Farm. Folk around Horse Shoe thought he would retire like them.

Nope Nope Nope he will say real slow, once a Farmer always a Farmer. Who's going keep them younguns on their toes he says. Nope when I die those new Farmers will be teaching there younguns to be Farmers.

Any type of Farming is hard, wet, cold, & you got to be there no matter how you feel. I would not trade a second of this way of life for any other way of life I have lived.

You most likely won't get rich, although you will never go hungry I do hope that there are enough people left to grow our food in the future. It's not like we Americans will go hungery, not with all the Countries like Mexico & China filling up the markets.

A life known as the Family Farm is doable with a lot of work & good business ideas, Organic, Heirloom, anything different than the run of the mill Produce.

Old 09-03-02, 11:32 AM
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Thanks you guys for all the input here - I haven't been able to get on the net in ages because our family's have decided that this little house is a great vacation spot!!!! One batch of guests would leave and another would arrive. I am not complaining, but man am I pooped!

I am interested to hear input on Gami's thread regarding the Austrian Winter Peas as a green cover crop. Because of the drought, I am nixxing all plans to have a fall garden. It's a shame, but I don't see any way around it. So now it's time to weigh the pros and cons on different cover crops. That's something I do plan on planting.

Marturo - how has the red eggplant come along? Curious minds....My little Black Beauties are coming along well, and it should only be a matter of days before they find their way into my tummy....

More updates:

The Squash Vine Borer took all the squash

The Tomato Horn Worms have tried their darned tootenest to devour the tomatoes, but they are getting handpicked off as they appear (nearly a daily chore). I have come to the conclusion that are the single most disgusting thing I have ever seen in my life, especially when THEY are being devoured by aphids (Eric explained what that nasty white rice looking stuff was). At least when they have aphids they are not active and you can find them easier. My stomach is turning right now at the very thought....

I'm still getting zucchinis - thank goodness that mean old SVB didn't get to them yet.

And my pole beans are eagerly climbing my corn stalks.

Scads of tomatoes, bigger and better than before.

I have posted some pictures on Sierra - they are from late July. I don't have the heart to take any pictures of the garden now since stuff is dying off or drying out or both. As I have mentioned before, my heavy watering isn't panning out. I never did make soaker hoses, Marturo, I just directly watered the base of each plant, and sometimes giving them a "shower" overhead to cool them off a bit (the cukes in particular). I spent over an hour watering each time, and yet within a day it would be as if I had done nothing.

Seeing the end of the garden season is the hardest part of gardening - not the weeding, not the bugs. *chokes up* I wish I could do a fall garden because then I would still have a garden to nurture.

Gami, I remember you and I talking about keeping a journal. You know I did, and I am so glad for so many reasons. I recorded a lot of the daily observations and I included some of the "emotions" that I've felt from time to time (like when the corn started coming or the very first baby squash began developing). It's fun reading back to some of the March entries when I was sure I'd never have any success in the garden. And, believe it or not, I reference some of you all in there with advice you've offered. It helps that I like to write, I realize that, but as I think you said, it's something all gardeners should do. It will be a tremendous help and encouragement for me next year!

I'll try to do better about responding back - I'll start by locking the front door!

Old 09-03-02, 11:58 PM
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Smile A growing season.

Hi Liz,

As I have watched your posts has evolved, I can see that a seed has sproted in you with very deep roots. The roots that all Gardeners share, a coming to realize that we are all a part of nature. Also a need to produce our own food as our Grand Parents & their Parents had to do just to survive.

No matter how many seasons come and go, we grow as do the plants. Every Gardener is a part of the season just as our plants are born, produce their seed and go back to the soil. The Gardener feels a connection with all living things & sees how they all work together. Or should I say how we fit into this world of living things.

Every Spring season, is preceded by the excitement in late winter when we feel a waking, a need to set the stage for yet another season of growing. We look foward to the little things we will learn each season like, let's take the Garden Spiders we all see who help us to catch insects.

This year I realy watched the golden Orbs with intrest like never before. We pick the Raspberries every other day from late July until frost. This year I read more about this Orbs than in years past and gained some priceless information online.

When we come upon the big female spiders with their wonderious Webs we carefully pick around her so not to hurt that web of life she has so carefully made. Not once has a single spider droped to the ground, and felt the need to hide in fear from us. Just last week we started to see empty webs, the little 1" paper round sack she has laid her eggs in, tells us she has died her job is done.

Now we will take the little sacks she has worked so hard to make this season. Her future, will be placed around the farm to avoid the cutting of the briers to the ground and burning to prevent illness to next years crop. Her eggs will hatch in early Winter & over Winter in that little sack of silk until Spring.

Just one of the many adventures that wait for those who feel that need to connect to a world that many people will never know. If history repetes it's self a lot more people will become gardeners to beat the high cost of produce.

Going into the Fall growing season is a lot like starting all over again. The little plants are growing stronger every day & we are far to busy to think about winter because we just started the seeds for growing in the Green house for our Winter season.

After a while you will get to a time when you don't think of a begining & an end, just another Growing season starting.

You will think about the Summer season this winter as you read back through your journal, and you will get those tools that will let you water with a drip watering system for those dry seasons. Gardening is a lifetime of learning, you will never find a time, that you won't learn something new, or find new tools as you have the need.

The Red Eggplants have turned red & we are going to scrape the seeds out of the skins, stuff them & give them a try. We will give most to our customers, as we do with everything new to get their take on them before we grow them the next season.

Have you been able to find the Austrian Winter Peas yet? It is almost time to start planting them even amoung your fall & late summer plants. Get them started now north of Georgia & they will get a start but stay low so the Fall & early Winter plants will do fine. Then till them into the soil in early Spring & plant. What a shot in the arm those early plants will get from all that Nitrogen the Peas made over Winter.

I hope we can talk aboud the different seed co this winter so we can all get good seed for next seasons seed. Many seed co are not who they were just 5 years ago so we all need to do our homework on this seed buying.

Off to bed, 5am comes early, Good Night


Last edited by marturo; 09-04-02 at 04:07 PM.
Old 09-09-02, 11:00 AM
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Hi Liz,

I'm glad to hear your garden was such a success. Just think how much you've learned, and it will be even better next year.

You're doing better about keeping a journal than probably most of us. I do try and jot down when things bloom, etc. It really helps, as well as taking pictures often as things evolve.

Sorry to hear about your drought. We got some rain when needed finally. At least the grass turned green again, but now it's on the down side again.

I'm not sure if this will help, but tomato hornworms also like nicotiana. It might help to plant some near the tomatoes as a trap. They're easier to see on the flowers. I agree, they're pretty darn disgusting.

We're battling walking sticks. I'll bet we've pulled off and stepped on 200 in the last few days--mostly on the shrubs tho. They just about defoliated a potentilla while we were gone Labor Day weekend. It's always something. A pepper/soap spray does a number on them too.

Old 09-09-02, 03:51 PM
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Hi everybody,

Marturo, your response was so beautiful - you really plucked my heart strings because what you said is true and I have indeed learned so much in my very first season, and at least one thing that cannot be learned anywhere on the net or in books. It's that very profound experience in watching a tiny seed grow to such a complex plant! I am certain that even when I don't know what I am doing, Mother Nature knows exactly what she's doing!

Gami, I remember reading about the Nicotiana but I guess I read about it too late. To be sure, I will do something next year to keep those awful worms away! Just a few days ago, in the herb bed I noticed Parsleyworms gnawing away.....At least they're not disgusting to look at. Like you said, if it's not one thing is another....

I will let you know what I am able to find locally for the green cover crop.

Marturo, please do start a thread regarding seed companies. We all need to be armed to the teeth to know what in the world we're buying these days. I for one would appreciate some guidance.

Everybody enjoy the nice cool weather!

Take care,

Old 09-11-02, 02:48 PM
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Smile Seed sources.

Hi Liz

I know now that you are a gardener & your life will never be the same That's good.

I will start a post a little later that we can make a forum wide project. Wher can we fid seeds that will grow strong & most important they (The seeds ) must be what we ordered.

For two seasons Linda has people lined up waiting to but this special striped Zinnia. The first season the were the small mixed color kind so we called & Stokes said they would include them with our next years order.

So when our order came this year no seeds. we called back & they sent them, so Linda started them again. Guess what? The same small colored ones not the special striped ones.

Both gardeners & Growers have the right to get what they order. This is the only thing bad I can say about Stokes as the other seeds are as ordered.

However just as I have horror stories to tell about Shepards I know we all have stories to tell. If there is one thing I know about Gardeners it's they want to help other Gardeners.

So that's what we will do help each other with finding the best seed companies. It's a tad early so maybe next Month we will all start to tell our stories.

Good luck with your Fall season & everyone remember to use some form of Mosquito protection. We use the Avon, from the bug formula, it's on Sale for 40 percent off right now.

As gardeners we are in a high risk group. My county just found an infected bird last week, the West Nile Fever is right here in my own back yard.

So stay healthy & be Happy

Old 09-13-02, 11:15 AM
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Hi Marturo

Yes, I know that gardening has changed me for the better!

I read in today's paper that our county is enforcing the same water restrictions on private well owners as they have been doing in the city. Am I going to have any luck starting a green cover crop if I can't water? Any suggestions? I definitely want to plant something, but what crop would be more likely to make it through drought conditions? We've been talking about the AWP's, but would they withstand these conditions? HELP!

That's a shame about the seeds- it seems like a totally avoidable error! I look forward to hearing from you and others about those companies who do consisistently provide quality products and service. I am the "babe in the woods" here - I need all the help I can get!

West Nile has hit our area, as well. We found a dead Cedar Waxwing in our front yard and you can imagine our panic as we tried to find evidence on its little body to tell us how it died. As sad as it was to see such a beautiful bird dead, we were actually relieved to find evidence of an attack by some unknown critter (We believe it was another bird). Thankfully, my cat had nothing to do with this casualty, as he has been under "house arrest" for some time!

Bye for now,

Old 09-13-02, 05:38 PM
fewalt's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: sw VA
Posts: 3,100
Hi Liz,

County restrictions? How about our illustrious Governor Warner.
His proclomation on water restrictions is so confusing it would take 100 lawyers to figure it out.
My well, my water - the Water Police will have to come down the road and arrest me.
Go ahead and pant your cover crop, eventually it will rain this fall and winter. If it doesn't get tall and lush, anything is better than nothing. It's also a good time to spread some ag lime to sweeten the soil. I'm picking up a load or two of horse manure this weekend.
see ya,
Old 09-15-02, 06:16 PM
marturo's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,448
Smile Why winter Peas

We just got in the last 24 hours the sum total of rain fall we have had since last march.
Western North Carolina has been in a drought for 6 years. At last figures we were 39 inches low on our water table.

Yet with our snowless Winters & in normal years that would be the time for our rain to fill up our water table. Summer waterfalls here are the norm.

The Land O Waterfalls is dry & many forrest fires each Spring & Fall, not at all normal.

Of all cover crops we have grown that do more that cover the soil, it has been the Austrian Winter Peas, that will come up and do well in a dry winter. They will if planted thickly provide a great growing mulch holding in any water they do get.

I hope that helps you Liz.

Old 09-23-02, 10:08 AM
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Posts: n/a
Hi Marturo,

Forgive me for not replying with a hearty "thanks" sooner - I had actually read your latest post last week, but didn't have the time to write back.

Our local newspaper put a front page headline stating basically that if rain continues to elude us, the city water supply will be gone by the end of the year!!!!! I had to shake my head in wonder how we have been facing this drought straight in the eye for more than 3 years and only now is it a crisis! Amazing!

I had no idea that your area has been suffering dry weather for 6 years! I hope you received some rain over the weekend. We only got about 3/10" last evening.

Hey Fred, around here, folks are actually encouraged to turn in to the authorities neighbors who do not adhere to water restriction laws! Isn't that just dandy?

BTW, I am planning to get going on the green cover crop this week. I'll let you know how it goes.

Old 09-23-02, 06:06 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Hi Been a little busy,

My cat almost killed a dragonfly and I have been doing lot of reading.

Holding a couple in your hand is something else.

A little green Darner only about 1.5 inches long Migrates from Canada to Florida.

Try to remember some of the above post.

"Rice" on hornworm, these are eggs of parasitic wasp.
The eggs suck juices out of a hornworm. If you leave these alone the hornworm will die and you will have more wasp for next year.

The wasp are in the family of Ichneumon, tachnid and trichogramma if you want to dig in a little.

Water table, I did a little research on this topic, here is something scary, Most of China, the water table is 200ft below 1980 levels. Rivers that used to support ocean going freighters, no longer empty into the ocean,

Stokes seeds, hard for me to believe, I have been buying from them for over 35 years. Never had a problem, This is the first reported problem I have ever seen.

Shepherds Seeds, was bought out by White Flower Farm, Rene's Seeds is Rene Shepherd the original founder.

Totally Tomatoes has the worst record for bad/wrong seeds of any co in US.

Jetstar and Morton hybrids are one of the very few recommended
hybrids by Dr Carolyn Male author of "100 Heirloom Tomatoes"

Early Girls, Dr Male threatened to throw at me.. Gotta get you into heirlooms.

Dead Birds and WNV, Be sure of this one, The 2 major counties just outside NYC had over 10,000 dead birds. Less than 100 were WNV, The rest were from Diazinon.

Old 09-24-02, 09:58 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Byron, Byron, Byron! It's so good to hear from you!

What you said about the rice looking things on the hornworms is something I'd read somewhere, but couldn't lay my hands back on the info. when they invaded. I thought, "somewhere in this stack of stuff is an article that explicitly states those things are 'good guys' and to leave them alone". I watched the hornworms just sit there, doing absolutley nothing while their 'hitchhikers' feasted away, but still not sure if my memory was serving me right. Thank you for piping up with that! Because I can't kill bugs - even the ugly hornworm - all I did was pick them them off and toss them over the fence.

The info. on China's water table is hugely scarey.

I am so interested in learning what heirloom varieties of different veggies will grown in this climate - I plan to research the subject. All the hybridization stuff has me a bit worried - as fascinating as it is, there seems to be a little more "messing around" with nature than we should be doing. Maybe I'm wrong, but I am putting effort in finding out to my own satisfaction.

It's great to hear from you, Byron - we have missed you!


P.S. What kind of dragon fly was it - would we be in its migratory path in Virginia? I love watching them, too. Darned old cats

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