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RE: What happened to my onions? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: farmerdilla on 03.14.2010 at 04:26 pm in Vegetable Gardening Forum

Concur: Concur all onion sets are long day storage onions. Varieties include Stuttgartener, Yellow Rock, Australian Brown, White Ebenezwer and Red Weatherfield. They are programmed to bulb on long days ( summer soltice). If you have nice healthy plants and they do not bolt (seed) you should have onions in July - August. Heat is usually the problem in the south., so we primarily use them for scallions (green onions) and grow short day onions in the winter.


clipped on: 03.14.2010 at 04:59 pm    last updated on: 03.14.2010 at 05:00 pm

RE: pollinating heirlooms... (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: carolyn137 on 06.18.2009 at 07:30 am in Growing Tomatoes Forum

I agree completely with jw.

A tomato blossom is a tomato blossom and the blossoms of hybrids and OP's have the same male and female sexual structures.

And it's also true that bees are not necessary since blossoms self pollenize about 95% of the time when temps and humidity are favorable. Those of us who save seeds from OP varieties actually don't want to see sweat bees around b'c they can cause cross pollination of varieties unless the blossoms are bagged or isolation distances are used.

You might want to click on the FAQ link at the top of this page and scroll down to the article on How to Prevent Cross POllination which gives more information about the basic anatomy of a tomato blossom.

Having grown tomatoes for many decades and having grown over two thousand varieties, both hybrids and OP's, I've never felt it necessaarty to do anything to the plants to facilitate fruit set.

Why don't you wait a bit to see what happens with fruit set with your plants before doing anything.

many folks in many areas are experiencing lots of rain and cool temps right now and tomatoes aren't happy about that, but eventually the rains will stop, the sun will come out, it will get warmer and all will be well.



clipped on: 06.18.2009 at 09:53 am    last updated on: 06.18.2009 at 09:53 am

RE: Tomato wilt....WHY????? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: carolyn137 on 04.15.2009 at 06:03 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

There are no yellow leaves. No black spots. Just beautiful, full plants that wilt from one day to the next although they are well fed and watered.


And they then die?

The only disease I know of that can cause rapid wilting with green leaves o/n is Bacterial Wilt.

Why don't you do some Googling and look at some pictures and decide for yourself?

Fusarium and Verticillium don't have such a rapid onset at all and foliage infections don't show wilting. And if it were Root Knot Nematodes, common in certain parts of the US, they don't go down o'n as you've said.

You say zone 9 but don't say where and many diseases are regionalized so it would help if you could share with us roughly where you're growing these tomatoes.

What was planted in the area before where you're now planting?

What is the source of your compost and it's composted what?

I can't see that every plant you'd buy would be already infected with a systemic disease such as Bacterial Wilt so that's why I'm concentrating on another, more local environmental possible problem. Was it the same store you bought your plants from each time?

Bacterial Wilt has at least 200 other plant species it can infect. One thing you can do is to cut a piece of freshly wilted stem and submerge it in a glass of water and look for the streaming of a milky white exudate from the stem into the water.



clipped on: 04.15.2009 at 06:34 pm    last updated on: 04.15.2009 at 06:34 pm

RE: All Leaves No Fruit (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: hoosiercherokee on 01.07.2009 at 07:13 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

Fish emulsion generally is unbalanced fertilizer with an analysis like 5-1-1, meaning by weight it has a 5:1 ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus and 5:1 nitrogen to potassium. This will produce all leaves and few flowers.

The tomato plant needs phosphorus to produce flowers. Flowers produce fruit. Nitrogen for leaves and shoots. Phosphorus for fruits and roots.

And the tomato plant needs the phosphorus early in its development as well as later on as a side dressing application.

If you have to be organic, then find an organic source of phosphorus to balance out what you're doing by your over-application of nitrogen rich fish emulsion.

Espoma Bone Meal has an analysis of 4-12-0. That means if you were to apply equal dry weights of fish emulsion and Espoma Bone Meal, you would achieve a fertilizer that supplied say 9-12-1, which while way short on potassium, would give you a much better ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus as far as tomato vines are concerned. Bone meal also provides a good amount of calcium.

Then you would have to look for a good source of potassium to get your fertilizer up to something like 9-12-12 say.


clipped on: 01.07.2009 at 09:12 pm    last updated on: 01.07.2009 at 09:12 pm

RE: Canned Tomato Juice Separtaion (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: readinglady on 09.01.2007 at 02:29 am in Harvest Forum

Mom is right. Listen to your mom, LOL. It is normal.

Here's an answer posted previously by Linda Lou:

Why does home canned tomato juice usually separate?

Home canned tomato juice usually separates because it is made by the "cold break" method. The tomatoes are crushed before they are heated through. As soon as they are crushed, enzymes start to break down the pectin that "cements" tomato cells together. Commercially, tomatoes are heated nearly to boiling in a matter of seconds, using equipment not available to consumers. Because the pectin holding tomato cells together remains intact, a thick bodied, homogeneous juice is produced. The best that can be done at home is to heat quartered tomatoes quickly to boiling temperatures while crushing. Make sure the mixture boils constantly and vigorously while you add the remaining tomatoes. Simmer 5 minutes after all tomatoes are added, before juicing. If you are not concerned about juice separating, simply slice or quarter tomatoes into a large saucepan. Crush, heat and simmer for 5 minutes before juicing.

Barbara Willenberg, Nutritional Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia.


clipped on: 01.05.2009 at 11:24 pm    last updated on: 01.05.2009 at 11:25 pm

RE: Annie's Salsa question... (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: readinglady on 11.09.2008 at 02:52 pm in Harvest Forum

If we had an FAQ or a way to pin a thread to the top of the page we could post some of these most popular recipes in their approved versions and keep them available for reference.

Unfortunately at the present that isn't possible. Questions about Annie's salsa come up time and time again as do threads discussing various modifactions posters have made. With the proliferation of threads it's become even more challenging as a search now brings up so many options it can be extremely difficult to find the most up-to-date information.

Some Extension agencies (and agents) are more flexible than others and once her salsa was approved, Annie's agency did say it was OK to can quarts and can in the PC with reduced vinegar.

But that salsa recipe has been around for a while. Now it's SOP for Extension agencies to make only recommendations which have been verified through lab testing. Think of the liabilities if they went on the record approving anything other than that and a problem developed.

Also, as Dave has mentioned in the past, salsa is opened and eaten without re-heating, so it really falls into a different category than say, a marinara sauce.

Forum members may choose to process following earlier "approved" standards, but none of us can recommend it.



clipped on: 11.09.2008 at 04:11 pm    last updated on: 11.09.2008 at 04:11 pm

RE: Blotchy ripening / tomato staying yellow (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: carolyn137 on 07.17.2008 at 04:32 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

Blotchy Rpening is also called Gray Wall and yes, I've had fruit do that.

In my Seminis Tomato Pathology book it says that conditions for disease development can be:

"Environmental factors which appear to be associated with this disorder are high nitrogen, low potassium, high soil moisture, high humidity, temperature fluctuations, low light intensity and soil compaction. In addition, certain bacteria and/or TMV are thought to be involved in Gray Wall."

So take your pick or design your own combo of variables. LOL

What it says to me is that there's no one variable that can cause it so that something can be done about it b'c there are just too many variables that can't be controlled all at one time.



clipped on: 07.18.2008 at 01:02 pm    last updated on: 07.18.2008 at 01:02 pm

RE: What causes cracks on top? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: carolyn137 on 05.23.2008 at 09:01 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

Both of those blacks have what's called horizontal splitting which is due to too much influx of water after the skin is at it's maximum size so that the skin splits.

There are really three kinds of splitting that are seen.

1)Horizontal splitting which can occur with any tomato variety hybrid or OP and is independent of association with any variety.

2)Concentric splitting; Seen as circles around the stem, usually scar over but can reopen if there's too much water and initiate a rotting sequence. A genetic association with certain varieties, mainly OP's

3)Radial splitting, pretty much the ame as above although the splits radiate out from the stem in a star like pattern/

Horizontal splitting refers to splitting any where's else on the fruits other thean radial and concentric and is due to water influx when the skin can no longer expand.



clipped on: 05.23.2008 at 09:18 pm    last updated on: 05.23.2008 at 09:18 pm

RE: Potatoes (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: violet_z6 on 07.24.2007 at 12:58 am in Vegetable Gardening Forum


This is the reason you need to "hill" Hilling doesn't have so much to do with the stem as much as the tubers themselves. Hilling won't necessarily encourage potatoes to form all along the stem the higher you go. The goal of hilling is to provide a protected enough environment in order for the actual potatoes/tubers to form without turning green and developing solanine, a bitter and toxic (in significant quantities). Hilling improves drainage, minimizes tuber greening, minimizes frost damage, aids in weed control and facilitates harvesting. If you did not hill, the potatoes forming near the surface would turn green and the stolons near the surface which form the tubers may turn into foilage instead of tubers.

First you plant the potatoes in a trench below soil level, then as they grow, you keep adding more soil until you are hilling them.

While I understand you feel the need to find a definitive answer, the potato vine is still a vine. If you cover suppress parts of the vine from light, those parts will stop producing chlorophyll and root along the vine likely despite having photosynthesized in the first place. If you want to hill, hill often so that only two inches of stem are seen at the top.

What results in a higher yield is not so much potatoes along the length of the stem as much as proper growing medium with plenty of water retention as well as with plenty of drainage. Many gardeners hill, but their yield isn't optimum because their growing medium isn't optimum to begin with. If your growing medium is optimum you'll get a higher yield from plants that aren't hilled much vs plants that are hilled to 8 feet in poor growing medium.


clipped on: 03.19.2008 at 05:50 pm    last updated on: 03.19.2008 at 05:50 pm

So ... what is Det. and Ind.? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: hoosiercherokee on 02.22.2008 at 02:52 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

Jamie, here is a post I cut and pasted from another Web site where our friend Keith condensed it thus:

Indeterminate: The primary shoot of a young tomato plant produces 5 to 10 leaves, then produces a flower cluster. Each flower cluster is referred to as a 'hand'. In indeterminate cultivars, the shoot continues to grow upward and flower clusters appear to develop to the side of a main shoot or main stem. In greenhouses, main stems are sometimes allowed to grow indefinitely and can reach 10 to 20 feet in length. In order to make harvest easier, older leaves are picked off and the bare stems lowered to the ground. Only the youngest 6 to 7 feet of plant growth, which includes the developing fruit clusters, are trained upright. In this training system, that vegetative side shoots or suckers which form in leaf axils are removed.

Although indeterminate plants appear to have a single main stem, this is actually not the case. The growth of the primary shoot ends with the formation of the first flower. Upward growth continues because the last leaf initiated before the flower cluster (which actually grows to occupy a position above the cluster) produces a side shoot. This side shoot produces three more leaves before it terminates in a flower cluster. The process of initiating new growth from a side shoot of the last leaf initiated before the flower cluster continues indefinitely, giving the appearance of a mainstem with a flower cluster between every three leaves.

In determinate cultivars, the process differs in that the side shoot above the first flower cluster produces 0 to 2 leaves and a flower cluster but no further vegetative shoots. This ends the upward growth of the plant, making the apparent main stem much shorter. Many side shoots arise from the primary shoot, giving the plant a bushy appearance, but each eventually terminates in a flower cluster. The simultaneous growth of many flower clusters promotes earliness and concentrates fruit maturity compared to indeterminates. Shoots of semi-determinate plants produce several flower clusters to the side of an apparent main stem, like indeterminates, but eventually the shoot terminates in a flower cluster, as in determinate plants.

So the jest is
indeterminate = 3 or more nodes between flower
determinate = 0 to 2 nodes between flowers

[Nodes are the leaf joints where the leaf stems form out from the main growing stem. Then new side shoots appear in the crotch (node) of the leaf/main stem to form new meristems.]

I hope that helps. If you have any additional questions of if anything is confusing, please continue to ask questions. Keith is rather busy right now, but eventually he will see these messages and can answer you in detail.



clipped on: 02.22.2008 at 06:23 pm    last updated on: 02.23.2008 at 11:19 am

RE: Previous history with tomatoes (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: carolyn137 on 02.23.2008 at 08:19 am in Growing Tomatoes Forum

Hi texas grrl. The problem you described is a common one called Blossom End Rot. It is caused by inconsistency in moisture and the lack of calcium, both which can readily be handled. Even little tricks such as adding crushed egg shells to the planting hole can greatly help prevent this problem.


I'd like to add to what you said, please.

Inconsistent moisture is one inducer of BER and mulching can help, too much fertilizer is another one b'c it causes stress to the plant, and high winds can also induce it as a stress, but lack of calcium is no longer felt to be an inducer for the majority of folks unless their soil has no Ca++ or their soil is acdic, which binds up Ca++ in the soil and that situation can be fixed by raising the pH.

In the last 20 years or so there's been lots of new data to show that Ca++ is not the major problem. And it's the impact to commercial veggie and fruit growing that has led so many Universities, etc., to do that research b/c of the monetary impact on the industry.

Stop Rot has not been founbd to be useful. Directions say to spray it on the fruits, but the tomato epidermis does not allow any molecules to enter. If it did the mature fruits would blow up after every significant rain.Spraying it on the foliage is also highly controversial as many University studies have shown.

Ca++ needs to get to the distil portion ( blossom end) of the fruits and when there is stress the movement of Ca++ in the plant is altered/

If preventing BER with Ca++ alone added in almost any form, and that includes eggshells as well, worked, the tomato industry would save millions of dollars each year b'c BER not only can affect tomatoes, but also squash, peppers, Cabbage, and several other crops.

There's a FAQ at the top of this first page that's pretty good and a search here at the bottom of the page will bring up lots of threads and posts about BER b'c it certainly is one of the more common problems one sees.

When growing in containers it is suggtested to add some Ca++ b/c the frequent watering washes out a lot of any Ca++ that might be in the various componenets used to fill the containers.

And adding Ca++ if the soil has none, which is very rare, also is in order.

Hope that helps.



clipped on: 02.23.2008 at 11:18 am    last updated on: 02.23.2008 at 11:19 am

RE: quick question for a beginner (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: zabby17 on 01.18.2008 at 01:05 pm in Harvest Forum


Botulism poisoning is rare. I do like to remind people of this because it's easy to get the impression from the talk of "unsafe" recipes that if you overdo the basil by a pinch one day by mistake there is a 90% chance your family will die, which is WAY far from the truth. The risk of serious illness from any canned tomato sauce is small. Everyone decides their own level of comfort with risk.

BUT, botulism DOES happen, and it is SO dangerous when it does, and the idea of possibly making someone you love sick with what was meant to be a wonderful, loving food gift is SO awful, that most of us figure the level of risk we're comfortable with regarding botulism is pretty much 0%, which is what you get if you follow approved recipes and processing instructions.

The good news is that it's not hard to find a tested recipe that is great. You'll find you won't miss the saute-ing in butter --- the canning recipes with added onion, garlic, herbs, etc. taste great, especially with fresh tomatoes.

Do you have the Ball Blue Book? That's the place to start for basic recipes that are known to be safe. I also like the university of Michigan website.

Personally, based on the amount of added other ingredients I've seen in tested recipes, I will happily throw in a sprig of fresh basil and a chopped garlic clove into each pint of plain tomato sauce.

If I want to go further than that, I follow a recipe with minor substitutions of very similar ingredients, such as using more garlic and less onion, or substituting one fresh herb for another.

It helps to think of canning and cooking as separte things, not "can I can these recipes I love to cook?" but "what great things can I can that I'll love to then eat or cook with?" With that in mind, if you look through some resources (the BBB, the website below, the recipes shared here), you'll soon have a canned sauce you love and that you know is perfectly safe!

I highly recommend the "Chunky Basil pasta sauce" from the Small-Batch Preserving book, for starters (you shd be able to find it if you do a search on this forum --- also, look for a thread called "Your Greatest Hits Recipes for Leesa" --- but if you can't, just ask and I'll be happy to repost it for you.


Here is a link that might be useful: Preserving Foods Safely


clipped on: 01.18.2008 at 07:34 pm    last updated on: 01.18.2008 at 07:34 pm

RE: Apple Cider Syrup Recipe (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: linda_lou on 10.27.2007 at 06:42 pm in Harvest Forum

I use this recipe all the time with great results. It should work fine for your syrup, too. Season with spices as you want, too.
Syrups made from blackberries, huckleberries, raspberries, boysenberries, loganberries, sour cherries, and Island Belle grapes as well as mixtures of berries are of good flavor, color, and consistency (thin like maple syrup, medium thick like corn syrup, or slightly jelled). Syrups can be made with or without pectin and lemon juice. Lemon juice may improve color. Use of pectin will vary consistency.

To Prepare Fruit Puree:
Sort, stem, and wash ripe fruit or thaw frozen unsweetened fruit; crush fruit thoroughly; measure crushed fruit. Add 1 cup boiling water to each 4 cups crushed fruit and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer to soften--about 5 for soft fruits...about 10 minutes for firm fruits like cherries and grapes. Press through sieve.

4 cups puree
4 cups sugar
1/2 package or less powdered pectin (if desired)
3 or 4 Tbsp lemon juice (if desired)

1. Mix puree, sugar, pectin and lemon juice.
2. Bring to boil and stir for 2 minutes (boil till jelly thermometer reaches 218F).
3. Remove from heat, skim off foam, and pour into 1/2 pint or 1 pint jars to within 1/2 inch of top.
4. Adjust lids and process in boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
5. Remove from canner and cool.
6. Check lids, label, and store in cool, dry place.

To Prepare Fruit Juice:
Sort, stem and wash ripe fruit or thaw frozen, unsweetened fruit; crush fruit thoroughly. Place crushed fruit in dampened jelly bag and drain. For clearest juice, do not press bag to extract juice. For firm fruits, heat is needed to start flow of juice. Add about 1/2 cup water to each 3 cups crushed fruit. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Place hot fruit in dampened jelly bag; drain.

4 cups juice
4 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice (if desired)
1/2 package or less powdered pectin (if desired)

1. Mix juice, sugar, lemon juice and pectin.
2. Bring to boil and boil 2 minutes.
3. Remove from heat, skim off foam, and pour into 1/2 pint or 1 pint canning jars to within 1/2 inch of top.
4. Adjust lids and process in boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
5. Remove from canner and let cool.
6. Check lids, labels, and store in cool, dry place.


clipped on: 10.27.2007 at 11:51 pm    last updated on: 10.27.2007 at 11:51 pm

RE: question about blight (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: carolyn137 on 08.20.2007 at 11:34 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

I just wanted to know what I have to do to my garden to have a repeat of blight. Should I toss my tomato plants now. Do I saturate my soil with Daconil or will that not help? Please don't tell me I have to replace a few inches of my soil completely. Maybe I should just set my garden on fire (kinda kidding).


Blight is a general word that indicates a plant is kinda sick.

If you're talking about trying to prevent diseases I think it would be a good idea to find out first what you're dealing with.

There are four common foliage diseases and several more what are called systemic diseases. Some are caused by bacteria and some are caused by fungi and some by viruses.

What is your location? I see zone 7 and Trudi puts you on LI, but I don't know that for sure. ( smile)

Would it be possible for you to do one of two things:

First, go to the Pest and Disease Forum, look for Problem Solver #2 posted by Earl and then scroll down until you find the post that has the link to TAMU, or you can find it by Googling as well. Look at the pictures, and start with the most common foliage diseases, so look for:

Early Blight ( A. solani)
Septoria Leaf Spot
Bacterial Speck
Bacterial Spot

....and see if any of them match what you see with your plants.


YOu can try to tell folks here everything you know about what happens to your tomato plants with the hope that they can make a diagnosis.

Once the enemy is known, then some strategies can be suggested.

The Serenade that Trudi suggested has helped some folks in some cases, and there are other possible products one can use as well as some cultural practices one can use.



clipped on: 08.20.2007 at 11:53 pm    last updated on: 08.20.2007 at 11:53 pm

RE: Can we pick our tomatoes while still green, (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: digdirt on 08.18.2007 at 10:32 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

Found this one article (linked below) from U. of Nebraska with some interesting reading on what constitutes quality in a tomato. Item 5 on the list discusses color and the continued ripening that takes place after harvest.

It also discusses some factors - besides taste buds - affect taste.

Also found Hot Weather Threatens Tomato Plants article from K-State with some interesting reading on how high air temps could cause a deterioration in taste if fruit is left on the vine to be affected by the excess heat and sun.

"Tomatoes develop their optimum nutrition, color and flavor when theyre in the full red-ripe stage. But getting to that point doesnt have to occur on the plant," explained Chuck Marr, horticulturist with Kansas State University Research and Extension.

Tomatoes go through specific steps, Marr said, in developing "vine ripeness":

* A gas called ethylene regulates the ripening process. Tomatoes start producing this gas internally when they reach full size and become pale green.

**** When tomatoes turn about one-half green and one-half pink (called the breaker stage), a layer of cells forms across their stem, sealing them off from the main vine. At this stage, tomatoes can ripen on or off the vine with no loss of quality or flavor.

A breaker-stage harvest also allows you to protect tomatoes from the heat extremes of summer. Tomatoes cant form their red pigments when temperatures are above 95 degrees. Theyll still ripen, but theyll end up a yellowish-orange."

Are these guys authorities and is it based on research and if so, what kind? I assume so but don't really know. Just info offered for consideration.


Here is a link that might be useful: What is Quality in a Tomato


clipped on: 08.19.2007 at 08:30 am    last updated on: 08.19.2007 at 08:30 am

RE: white spots in flesh of tomato (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: carolyn137 on 07.26.2007 at 06:30 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

Can anyone tell me why some of my tomatoes have grainy white spots or blotches in the flesh under the skin??.


Probably stinkbug bite areas. There should be an area of yellow on the exterior around the bite areas but under the center of the bite area white tissue develops b/c the stinkbugs inject a substance that kills the tissue.

You can go to Google, select IMAGES and enter either stinkbug bite or probably it's better to enter the name of the condition which is Cloudy Spot.

Can also do a regular Googling to find some pictures as well.



clipped on: 07.26.2007 at 08:49 pm    last updated on: 07.26.2007 at 08:49 pm

RE: Leaf Roll (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: carolyn137 on 07.08.2007 at 05:57 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

What's the cause and cure for tomato leaf roll? The affected plants otherwise look very healthy and bearing lots of large (presently green) fruit. I live in southeast Michigan. Regards, Peter.


Leaf Roll is a physiological problem that can afflict plants early in the season when root and vegetative mass are out of balance. It's self correcting and as the plants mature it goes away.

Leaf Curl, on the other hand, is different. Leaves will curl when stressed as in too hot, too cold, too dry or too wet, and the leaves of most modern hybrids have leaves that curl normally. A heavy fruit burden is also a stress and that will cause leaves to curl as well.

If the leaves curl over into a tube like structure than check for aphids.

I ignore leaf curl unless other symptoms appear.



clipped on: 07.08.2007 at 08:53 pm    last updated on: 07.08.2007 at 08:53 pm

RE: Do you mulch corn? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: jellyman on 07.02.2007 at 12:09 am in Vegetable Gardening Forum


I am sorry to have to tell you that there won't be much corn from those plants. They look more like heavy grass than corn. To produce real ears, corn plants need to have big, wide, dark green leaves. The pumpkins may produce something, but they don't look so hot either.

Corn demands a very high level of nitrogen. The more available nitrogen, the closer the plants can be spaced, but your plants are clustered together and are starving for nitrogen.

To grow really productive corn, stretch out your planting string between steel posts, then dig a 4-inch deep trench with your hoe just to the side of the string, and line it with a continuous application of a balanced fertilizer, like 10-10-10 or 12-12-12. Fill in the trench, then take the hoe and make a shallower 1-inch trench directly under your string. Plant about 3 or 4 seeds every 12-14 inches, then thin to 2 plants per hill when the seeds germinate. Keep the rows between corn fairly wide -- 30 inches is ok, but 36 is better. It is good practice to "hill" the corn; go down the center of the row with your spade and shovel dirt around the base of the plants. This will permit more rooting, and support the plants in windy, rainy conditions. After the corn seed germinates closer to the surface, the roots will go down and find the nitrogen fertilizer and the plants will grow vigorously. Planted this way, corn can develop one very large, and one 3/4 large ear per plant.

I would not be interplanting pumpkins or anything else in the corn until your have mastered the needs of growing the corn first. After you have hilled, you can fill the trench created in the rows with mulch, but you can't do that if you are trying to grow an additional something between the rows. I have often dumped a 4-6 inch layer of stable manure from the local riding stables in the trench after hilling. It holds moisture, and helps build the soil for next year. If you can't get stable manure, grass clippings or ground leaves would be fine.

Coffee grounds are not a particularly appropriate fertilizer for corn, since they are acidic and corn prefers a soil on the alkaline side. There is little to no nitrogen in coffee grounds, and they might keep your corn awake. If you want to try to give your corn a shot this year, application of a balanced nitrogen fertilizer hoed in close to the plants might be enough to give you a small ear on each plant. But thin them.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA


clipped on: 07.02.2007 at 09:27 am    last updated on: 07.02.2007 at 09:27 am

RE: Tomatoes splitting/cracking (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: carolyn137 on 07.02.2007 at 01:40 am in Growing Tomatoes Forum

There are three kinds of splitting and not all are due to too much water.

Radial splitting is a star like pattern that radiates out from the stem and is quite normal for many varieties. the splits normally scar over, but with too much water they can reopen and initiate a rotting process.

Concentric splitting is shown as a series of concentric circles around the stem and this too is normal for many varieties and the normal scarred shut splits can also reopen due to too much water.

Horizontal splitting, which means splitting anywhere's else on the fruit, is the one which occurs when there is too much water and when the fruits are at their maximum size. The fruit epidermis can no longer expand so the fruits split.



clipped on: 07.02.2007 at 09:08 am    last updated on: 07.02.2007 at 09:08 am

RE: Hot chile as cat and dog repellent (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: violet_z6 on 04.11.2006 at 06:47 pm in Carnivorous Plants Forum

Cat Deterrents for your Garden:

Keep in mind that each cat is different (like people), a deterrent that works for one may not necessarily work for another. On the plus side, most cats will keep pesty squirrels, moles and other critters out of your garden. They're great for keeping out moles, rabbits, squirrels, and other critters which can do more damage in your garden than a cat ever will. If the cats have owners, talk to them without being confrontational. The cat owner who allows his cat to damage other peoples' property is as guilty as the cat hater who kills the cat for trespassing. Remember, cats will be cats, and it is unfair of us to blame them for being what they are and how nature intended them to participate in this world.� After-all, we praise them when they catch mice or rats or other creatures we deem to be 'pests'.

* amonia soaked (corncobs, etc)
* aluminum foil
* bamboo skewers
* black pepper
* blood meal fertilizer
* bramble cuttings
* Carefresh - "recycled" wood pulp
* catnip - donated into your neighbor's yards (so they'll stay in their own yards)
* cedar compost
* chicken wire (metal or plastic)
* cinnamon
* citrus peels
* citrus spray
* cocoa bean shells
* coffee grounds -fresh & unbrewed, not just a light sprinkling (highly recommended by MANY Gardenwebbers!)
* dogs
* electric fence for animals
* essence of orange. essence of lemon, lime (citrus essential oils)
* fresh manure(ditto)
* garlic cloves
* gumballs from the Sweet Gum Tree
* gutter covers
* hardware cloth
* heavy bark mulch
* holly leaves
* keep the area damp, they like dry soil
* lavender
* liquid manure (good for your garden too)
* motion sensor sprinkler
* pennyroyal
* pinecones
* pipe tobacco
* plastic forks
* predator urine
* red wine vinegar
* river rocks over the exposed soil
* rocks, crushed
* rose bush clippings
* rue, an herb (Ruta graveolens) (highly recommended in plant form only)
* short twigs throughout the planted area about 6" apart
* six-inch bamboo skewers (pointy side up)
* Spray on your leaves (not the cat): fill a spray bottle with 1/2 t chili powder, 1/2 t cayenne pepper, 1 t dish soap and water
* squirt gun with water
* talk to your neighbors
* tansy
* thorny berry, lilac, hawthorn, rose clippings
* toothpicks
* upside down vinyl carpet
* vinegar sprayed on areas where they roam
* water bottle on "stream"

*** chili powder, red crushed pepper, cayenne pepper (NOT recommended), it gets on the cat's paws then they wash themselves and they get it in their eyes, beware cats have literally scratched their eyes out because of this. Even if it's one cat out of 500 infected in this way, that's one too many for me.
*** Don't ever use mothballs or flakes. Those little toxic waste pellets destroy cats' kidney function, could seriously harm people who handle them, and yes, contaminate your own garden soil. Their packaging even warns against using them this way.

Give them their own areas:

(To keep them out of where you don't want them)
(If you don't mind them protecting your garden from other critters)

+ pick the cat up and bring it to eye level with the plant to see and smell it up close. She noted that once her cat has seen and sniffed at the plant, she usually doesn't bother with it later.

+ give them their own plants - i.e., pots of grass for her to chew on and a place in a large planted container on her balcony with some miscanthus grass in it (the cat likes to curl up in that for some reason)

+ if the cats are strictly indoors and attracted to your houseplants, grow catgrass for them. If someone forced you to remain inside one enclosed structure all your life, you might be attracted to the plants too.

+ Barley Grass
+ Any type of "catgrass" from the pet store
+ Carex elata 'Bolwes Golden' but put it in some shade
+ Catmint Nepeta mussinicultivars (Simply put, Catmints are Catnips without any culinary or feline use. In any case, they are, however, phenomenal, long flowering, hardy perennials that belong in every fairie or flower garden.)
+ Catnip Nepeta cataria (in your own yard) The oils of which also work as a mosquito repellent that works 10 times better than Deet! Catmint is the common name for all varieties of Nepeta. Catnip is the common name for the specific variety of Nepeta called nepeta cataria, which is the variety that cats are most attracted to.
+ Cat Thyme (Teucrium marum)
+ Flax
+ Oat Grass
+ Jacob's Ladder
+ Lemon Grass
+ Loose soil and mulch like small bark mulch
+ Mints
+ Purple Fountain Grass so the cat lays in the long leaves all day. Maybe put something in that the cats really like and - you know cats won't winky were they like to hang out.
+ Sandy area
+ Silver vine (Actinidia polygama)
+ Striped Ribbon Grass (can be invasive)
+ Sweet grass
+ Trificum aestivum (type of cat grass)
+ Various Varieties of Cat Mints (Catnips)
+ Wheat Grass
+ Wheat Berries
+ Valerian

This list compiled by Violet_Z6, email at for comments and suggestions regarding this list.


clipped on: 06.23.2007 at 06:52 pm    last updated on: 06.23.2007 at 06:52 pm

RE: BER! Where can I get calcium (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: carolyn137 on 06.15.2007 at 01:37 am in Growing Tomatoes Forum

Unless your soil is devoid of Ca++, which would be rare, then as Korney said, addition of Ca++ will do nothing b'c the problem is not one of uptake, it's one of maldistribution within the plants.

And stress to a plant that is suceptible to BER can induce it. And the two major indicers are uneven water distribution, where mulching can help, or too much N which causes rapid plant growth and is a stress to the plant.

But too hot, too cool, too wet, too dry are also inducers.

As plants mature they are better able to withstand stresses so BER usually disappears.



clipped on: 06.15.2007 at 11:28 am    last updated on: 06.15.2007 at 11:28 am

RE: BER Acidity vs watering Help (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: carolyn137 on 06.13.2007 at 12:23 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

First time gardener here and I am having issues with most of the first fruit on my heirlooms contracting BER. I know the two main causes, over watering and soil acidity.


I'd like to add that it isn't so much overwatering as it is uneven delivery of water, so mulching can help a lot.

And soil acidity is one of the more rare causes of BER.

High up on the list of stresses that can induce BER are uneven delivery of water and overfertilizing ( primarily N), the latter of which causes rapid growth which is a major stress.

BER can be induced by a wide variety of stresses. But as the plants mature they can better handle most of those stresses and so BER disappears, as someone above mentioned.

The problem is not so much uptake of Ca++ from the soil as it is maldistribution of Ca++ within the plant. Few soils are devoid of Ca++ which would necessitate adding it, and yes, if the soil is too acid, again, not all that common, there's competition between various ions, including Ca++, for uptake and bringing up the pH in such soils can solve that problem.



clipped on: 06.14.2007 at 10:23 am    last updated on: 06.14.2007 at 10:23 am

Literature Search (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: jimster on 04.25.2005 at 04:58 pm in Garden Experiments Forum

Claims for, or against, the effectiveness of foliar feeding of plants range from "Foliar applied nutrients are one hundred to five hundred times more effective than root nutrition" (3) to "Nearly all plants are capable of absorbing nutrients through the leaves. This works well for nutrients that are needed in small quantities, but is very expensive and not very effective for nutrients that are needed in large quantities." (11) For large quantities of nutrients to be absorbed, foliar feeding must be applied far more frequently than root feeding. (6)

As well as a lack of concensus as to its effectiveness, the mechanism by which nutrients enter the leaves is in question. "The moisture is absorbed straight into the leaf via the leaf cuticle, through the stomata" (4) according to one source. Stomata are located on the underside of the leaf. Stomata are open during the day and close at night. Another source (6) claims that, in the case of turf grass, "stomates play no role in foliar feeding" but that fertilizer is "absorbed through tiny cracks or pores in the surface of the leaf surface in the wax layer. These pores are very, very small tubes, and are lined with water. They are called transcuticular pores." (6)

Whatever the mechanism, there is agreement that nutrients, or at least some nutrients, can be absorbed by leaves. Some sources indicate that plants benefit sigificantly only from absorbtion of elements such as Zn, Mn, Fe, etc. and that foliar feeding of N, P and K is not an efficient method. (11) Even Zn, Mn and Fe may need to be chelated to pass through the tiny pores of a leaf. (6)

The most widely agreed upon benefit of foliar feeding is that nutrients can more quickly reach all parts of the plant than by root feeding. This was established in a well known experiment performed in the 1950s by the noted horticulturist, H.B. Tukey at Michigan State Universtiy, using radioisotopes to trace the movement of nutrients through plants. (9) So foliar feeding may be useful for quick correction of some nutritional deficiencies in crops. (3) (4) (7) (8)



clipped on: 06.12.2007 at 07:15 pm    last updated on: 06.12.2007 at 07:16 pm

RE: Deer or Hornworms on Tomatoes? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: drtomato on 06.12.2007 at 10:29 am in Growing Tomatoes Forum

Deer- I have the same problem. What I do is spray the tops (new growth) with a home-made spray. Mix up 2 eggs, 1 table spoon garlic powder, 1 table spoon hot pepper powder, 2 cups water, blend in a elec blender. Add everything to a big jug with a gallon of water and shake up good. Then put some into a hand mister and spray just the fresh little shoots on the top of the plant. Best to let it fermint a few days to let the eggs get stinky. Deer hate this stuff. I have deer around the house constsntly. Spay away! Don't cost you anything so spray as much as you want.
Of course, you could go out and buy this stuff for $25 or $30 bucks.

Best of gardening to you! Dan


clipped on: 06.12.2007 at 10:31 am    last updated on: 06.12.2007 at 10:32 am

RE: Onion sets (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: justaguy2 on 06.09.2007 at 11:05 am in Vegetable Gardening Forum

Not sure when onions begin to bulb in your area, but it is length of night (darkness) that triggers onions to make bulbs (most varieties) so it is normal for the plant to grow greenery for awhile and the bulb to not grow. Then a conversion happens and the bulb begins packing on weight.

As long as the sets are in the ground early enough (March sounds fine for your area) and they produce enough greenery before they are triggered to bulb they should make nice bulbs.

A couple caveats, onions are moderate to heavy feeders so extra nitrogen early on is helpful and once they get near bulb forming time backing off the nitrogen is best. This doesn't mean they can't have any, but you should switch to something more 'gentle' like fish emulsion versus some high N synthetic that may result in smaller bulbs.

The other caveat it that one really needs to research the onions they purchase whether seed, set or plant to find out if it is short, long or day neutral. If you purchase the wrong type for your area they will never produce large bulbs.

In the north (I believe you qualify) we want long day onions meaning the bulb in our summer when the days are longest. Southern locations want short day varieties and in the middle intermediate day or day neutral varieties.

Dixondale Farms has a website with some of the best onion growing info around. Google them and you will come away an onion growing expert.

If you notice sets sending up flower stalks you may as well pull those out. This happens sometimes and appears to happen most often when growing from sets. Onions are biennials and flower in their second year. At this point the bulb is as large as it will ever get and the plant uses the bulb as food for flowering/reproducing. Sometimes stresses result in flowering the first year and sets are inherently stressful on onion as they are grown to a small size, removed from the ground and sold to be replanted elsewhere. They usually work out fine, but as I noted, they seem to flower their first year more frequently than onion from plants or seed.


clipped on: 06.09.2007 at 12:25 pm    last updated on: 06.09.2007 at 12:26 pm

RE: Need Fall Crop Help, Please .... (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: jdwhitaker on 06.01.2007 at 09:00 pm in Growing Tomatoes Forum

The potassium bicarbonate or baking soda needs to be mixed with oil (horticultural oil or vegetable oil). Use 1 TBSP of bicarb and 1 TBSP oil in 1 gallon of water. This works great on powdery mildew, but I'm not sure how effective it might be on early blight and other fungal diseases.


clipped on: 06.02.2007 at 11:10 am    last updated on: 06.02.2007 at 11:10 am