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RE: Fruit trees and Veggie in High Desert (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: jll0306 on 01.12.2009 at 11:38 pm in California Gardening Forum

Hot caps can be anything you put over plants as a season extender. Some people use row covers or just throw a lightweight sheet over their plants. I do that with my tomato plants, because they are together in one spot and it's easy.

Most of my hot caps for individual plants are milk jugs with the bottoms cut out and the top off. I slide them down over a tall stake to them from blowing away.

My husband also cut an old plastic trash can into three circles for me. I drilled holes in the bottom one and planted it with Catskills semi-dwarf broccoli, which doesn't need protection. I taped clear plastic sheeting over the tops of the other two and have them sitting over the bigger plants.

I also made a miniature hothouse out of a styrofoam ice chest, an almost clear Steerlite storage tub, a half gallon plastic juice bottle, and a square of the plastic sheeting.

I punched drain holes in the cooler, added soiless mix and planted it with dwarf Fairy Tale eggplants. The bottle filled with water sits in the center of the plants and absorbs heat during the day. When the sun goes down, I drape the sheet over the bottle and the outside edges of the cooler and cover the whole contraption with the upside down storage tub. On cloudy and windy days, I don't even take the tub off. Eggplants like it hot, so they don't mind this treatment at all.

Raven's Voice, the reality of gardening is that most gardeners fail at something every year, due to weather beyond our control, insects or critters, or our own ignorance. Whether you or an old timer or a newbie, gardening is ALWAYS a learning experience, and The best advice I can give you is to just keep planting!

I went through some painful times before I realized I could never have an inground garden until I figured out a way to deal with the voles and rabbits. BUT that forced me to learn the ins and outs of container gardening, and even though we am slowly adding fenced raised beds sitting on bases of thick wire mesh, I will continue to plant in containers because I like being able to move them around to take advantage of shade in the summer and sunny spots in the winter.

If you are lucky in your location, you can skip that lesson entirely. But if not, well, visit the Frugal Gardening forum for tips on where to find large and inexpensive containers!



clipped on: 02.12.2014 at 07:57 pm    last updated on: 02.12.2014 at 07:57 pm

RE: Next Season Tomato Planting Plans (Follow-Up #32)

posted by: fcivish on 09.13.2013 at 03:12 am in Growing Tomatoes Forum

I really do feel a need to put in a good word and defend Green Zebra here.

One of the biggest problems with the green tomatoes is that most people aren't confident in them, and they let them ripen way too much. I agree that Green Zebra, Green Grape, Evergreen, and almost all of the green tomatoes have this same problem. When they are over ripe they are absolutely and simply horrid. Unfortunately, that is how most people eat them.

Yet done properly, they are delightful. Green Grape (when it isn't too ripe) has a nice sweet-tangy flavor. Green Zebra, when it isn't too ripe, is something special. Aunt Rubys German Green is one of my top 10 favorite tomatoes. Period.

Here is the trick with Green Zebra (and Green Grape and most green tomatoes): First, get used to TOUCHING your tomatoes. Not just these, but others, so you can learn some comparison. An unripe (green) tomato, no matter WHAT its eventual color should be, will always FEEL unripe and hard. But when a tomato is significantly on the way to ripeness, it will begin to soften. THAT is when you pick and eat Green Zebra, and the others. In addition, Green Zebra and Green Grape (but not all green tomatoes), will start to blush just a bit yellow. A tint to part of the outer skin (but the flesh remains green, and most of the skin is till clearly very green). That is when you should pick them and eat them. And they should still have just a bit of firmness, LIKE YOU WOULD EXPECT WITH ALMOST ANY TOMATO. No matter the color or variety, any tomato that is too soft is almost surely over ripe, and past its flavor peak. (Paste tomatoes possibly being one exception.) Some tomatoes tolerate this softness and over-ripeness, somewhat, but green tomatoes are almost universally undesirable when they are too soft and over ripe. In addition, Green Zebra and Green Grape and some other greens will eventually start to get ORANGE tints to their skin. That is usually going too far. Just a slight hint of orange might be okay, but if there is very much orange at all in the skin, it is too ripe. Other green tomatoes don't get this orange, but they frequently get very dark green (not the medium green you would expect). Again, too ripe.

Green varieties of tomatoes are delicious. If you haven't tried them, you really should. You owe it to yourself to experience them, when ripened to the right degree. Far from just a novelty, they are very WORTHY of inclusion by any tomato connoisseur. But they are a BIT more difficult than a standard tomato, because you need to be able to judge their ripeness, without the OBVIOUS color change that comes to red tomatoes. If you learn to gauge ripeness by feel and the subtle color changes, it will also help you with orange, black and purple tomatoes, all of which are also sometimes difficult to gauge properly.

So please experiment. Try them. And pick some of them as soon as they start to show a sign of softness. What do you have to lose? Are you afraid it might be TOO GREEN? So what? Deal with it. Then give them just 3 or 4 days and try again. Once you learn it, you will be happy you did.


clipped on: 02.10.2014 at 03:04 pm    last updated on: 02.10.2014 at 03:05 pm

RE: How do you kill Aphids? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: digdirt on 03.19.2008 at 11:26 am in Growing Tomatoes Forum

Like llaz said, they can easily be blasted off with just water - a hose on established plants or just a spritz bottle on seedlings.

Garlic spray is 2 cloves crushed in a quart of water. Soap spray is 1 teasp. mild dish detergent in 1 gallon of water. Never spray in the heat of the day or in direct sun.



clipped on: 02.10.2014 at 01:46 pm    last updated on: 02.10.2014 at 01:46 pm

RE: How do I keep bok choy from bolting? (Follow-Up #19)

posted by: reefisher on 10.07.2007 at 08:26 pm in Asian Vegetables Forum

I realize that my experience may not be useful to gardeners in Tx and Ks., since I'm in San Diego but... I try to keep some type of bok choy, yu choy, or ching-chaing cabbage growing year round. The most difficult has been during the summer since it can get to 90-100 for several days. For years I would not even try planting after June. But then I remembered living the the Hong Kong New Territories as a young man, and they grew a type of bok choy during the very hot, but humid summers. Today one can buy the seeds of a whole lot more types of chinese brassicas in the US than I ever could 30 years back. And some of these south China types are available. This summer just passed has been the absolute best as far as the bok choy is concerned (just don't ask me about my eggplants). I planted two types in June that are still growing and have not yet bolted(I'm waiting cause I want to harvest the seed). One is the baby or green Shanghai type, probably everybody's fav.-Mei Qing and the other is a new one to me and maybe one of those Hong Kong types .. Evergreen seeds Canton short #268. Both have been very resistant to bolting during this last summer. If I had planted them in say Feb (which I usually do) and then had a few cold snaps followed by a warm April they probably would have bolted, but I would have still had enough to eat. So maybe, if one has a steady climate without problems of cold bolting, day length and hot temps are less of a factor. Just a thought

Jim/San Diego


clipped on: 02.03.2014 at 10:55 am    last updated on: 02.03.2014 at 10:55 am

RE: Warning: Miracle Gro Moisture Control (Follow-Up #21)

posted by: chuck on 06.16.2012 at 06:42 am in Container Gardening Forum

Wonderful series. Kind of reminds me of creation/evolution debates.

Large container users may benifit from having some 1/2 inch perforated pvc pipes sunk down into their containers (caps on the bottoms). Cut them off an inch or two above the soil level and put some unglued pipe caps on the top of them so that they can be uncapped and used to deep water specific areas from time to time without having to flood the surface too much. If the container should ever become totaly flooded from a storm, a smaller diameter hose can be lowered down into the pipes to siphon or pump out some of the excess water. Having the ability to bottom water specific areas may promote less congested root systems when the large planter contains a lot of plants. It may eliminate dry pockets or excessivly wet areas. I would probably drill the 1/2 inch pipe about every two inches with 1/8 inch hole on two sides.

This is what I plan to try doing with some 55 gallon plastic barrels I am going to plant potatoes in. I am currently using a mix very simular to miricle grow in 1/2 of a barrel, and will be adding more mix as the plants grow and using the perforated pipes to control the ammount of water delivered to the different levels rather than flooding the top to get water to the lower levels.


I plan to use whole barrels instead of half barrels next, and found this particular thread very helpful.


clipped on: 01.29.2014 at 11:02 am    last updated on: 01.29.2014 at 11:03 am

RE: 5-1-1 mix recipe --- a couple questions (Follow-Up #22)

posted by: tsheets on 06.07.2012 at 10:29 pm in Hot Pepper Forum

woo - Have you seen this post? If not, it's worth reading through.

I like this one too - It summarizes a bunch of tidbits pulled from all those threads.


clipped on: 01.23.2014 at 09:01 pm    last updated on: 01.23.2014 at 09:01 pm

Favorite Legume Recipes??

posted by: tanders on 06.29.2006 at 09:10 pm in Beans, Peas & Other Legumes Forum

Hi! I just came across this new forum and was excited to see that it includes one of my favorite foods on the planet--beans--any and all kinds!

I was hoping others would like to share some of their favorite recipes using legumes?

I hope it's an appropriate topic and I'm not going to get scolded for not posting this in the cooking section....

Thanks! I'll come back when I have more time to post a few of my favorites if it's OK.


clipped on: 01.15.2014 at 02:59 pm    last updated on: 01.15.2014 at 03:00 pm