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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2280 Posts
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81
May 29, 2015 - 8:37 pm

Today I made 'tee pees' around all the tomato pots.  This year I put a large tomato cage in the pot BUT I also made 'tee pees' from box elder saplings that I cut in March and pushed them into the bog OUTSIDE of the pots.  Then I wrapped twine around each 'tee pee' to give the tomato plants something to lean its branches on.  I sure hope the 'tee pees' are strong enough to hold the tomatoes upright this year.  Last year the metal tomato cages tipped over in the strong wind storms.

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2280 Posts
(Offline)
82
June 30, 2015 - 8:51 pm

I picked my first tomato yesterday, Big Beef.  Today we had our first bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich for the summer season.  YUMMY!  This harvest is about 2 weeks earlier than last year.  Last year I only had 2 plants that I started early.  This year I started all 17 tomatoes early. Which means I have a lot of big tomatoes on the plants now and more flowers blooming every day. The harvesting should increase within 10 days.  Sure hope I can keep the blight away from my plants until early Autumn.

I have been keeping the soil mulched. First with grass clippings, then Comfrey leaves and again yesterday with grass clippings.  I drenched the soil with WORM TEA and have sprayed the foliage with worm tea twice. I made sure I removed the bottom leaves that were near the soil.  I sure hope I can keep the blight away until Fall. 

I have four tomato plants in my RAISED BED GARDEN and eight in containers in my BOG GARDEN.  I am anxious to see how each produces and grows. All plants look very healthy, except the Amish Paste.  It is now starting to look greener and put out new growth.

I am not taking off suckers yet. I really am after a large harvest.  I will start removing some leaves & suckers if there is not enough air circulation.

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2280 Posts
(Offline)
83
July 16, 2015 - 8:15 am

I am now harvesting enough tomatoes for eating daily.  The starting tomato seed early and growing in my CLEAR TOTE MINI GREEN HOUSES has worked great.  Since I had to prune my tomatoes twice while doing this method tells me I need to start them 2 weeks later.  With starting them 2 weeks later should eliminate pruning to keep the size manageable.  Anyways this system works for my Wisconsin, zone 5 garden and early harvest.

I have been tying up all the suckers of my CONTAINER grown tomatoes.  August 1, I will start pruning back the plants to keep them manageable and stop them from producing more flowers.  Since the flowers would not have time to develop into full size tomatoes before my first predicted frost/freeze.  I don't even like mentioning the word FROST/FREEZE, I am enjoying this Summer weather so much.Laugh

Isn't gardening a wonderful uplifting hobby?  Love it.

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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KeyWee54
Western Kentucky Zone 7a
616 Posts
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84
July 17, 2015 - 5:53 am

Oh you are SO lucky.  And this is really early for you to start picking ~ great job on your fast and early start up!  We are just starting to pick, but the pests and diseases we have to deal with due to our growing conditions make me nostalgic for WI.  I recall just digging a hole, placing plant, water once a week, and BOOM tomatoes.  NOT here.  It's constant picking of pests, cutting off of blighted stems and leaves, spraying for fungus ~ it's a drag.  I told Mark that next year, we are doing tomatoes in pots ONLY.  No more messing with drip irrigation, weeds, pests, blights.  For the two of us, a few plants are plenty.  I have tomatoes in the freezer from LAST year.

All that being said, has your local farmstand produce gone to the SKY this year??  I mean FIFTY CENTS for an ear of corn???  Seriously?  I remember fifty cents a dozen, but then you can all guess my age:)

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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2280 Posts
(Offline)
85
July 17, 2015 - 6:30 am

Woke up this morning TRYING to look out my windows.  There is so much condensation on the outside of the windows that we can't see outside.  At 5:00 a.m. it is 70 degrees.  We had a wonderful rain.  Everything is watered thoroughly. SmileYes, KeyWee, the powdery mildew and other fungal diseases will be running rapid here in Wisconsin also.  I hope to hold off the disease long enough to get a good harvest.  I will be spraying with soapy water & baking soda EARLY this morning.

I didn't realize that corn is at that price. I will have to check the price at the organic store. You have really been getting some NASTY weather.  Hope all is good in your neck of the woods.  Laugh

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2280 Posts
(Offline)
86
August 17, 2015 - 6:24 am

The tomatoes are growing very nicely this year.  I have now 'topped' all the tomatoes and try cutting off all the NEW suckers. This is suppose to give energy to growing bigger developing tomatoes.  The plants are starting to show signs of blight on the lower leaves.  I trim them off daily, until I get sick of doing it and/or the blight speeds up.

I am upset with my purchase of the 'Juliet' seed I bought off of ebay. The tomato is not a true 'Juliet'.  I think this person must have saved the seed herself and the plant she took it from cross pollinated or reverted back to the mother plant. It is the size of a small roma and very dry.  I am using them in salsa along with juicier tomatoes.  I am also going to use them for 'oven' dried tomatoes.  LIVE & LEARN I will buy my seed from Johnny's or another large company. Lucky I have another cherry tomato, Chadwick, that is a very tasty and juicy.

I will start canning this week.  I am also making FERMENTED SALSA.  I will be posting that on my homepage blog.

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2280 Posts
(Offline)
87
August 26, 2015 - 5:04 am

This is a Brandywine tomato. It is my favorite for slicing and taste.  Juicy, yet meaty.  So far the largest tomato I have harvested are two 1.2 pound tomatoes and were picked from the bushes in the RAISED BED garden.  One slice covers the entire slice of bread. LaughI canned 6 quarts, using the Big Beef, Celebrity and a few of the Brandywine.  I have two buckets of freshly picked tomatoes that will be canned tomorrow.  Probably 7 quarts worth.

The tomatoes in the CONTAINER BOG GARDEN have now bent over from the weight & wind. They haven't broken the sapling supports but they are severely leaning. That is o.k. because now I can easily harvest them without using a ladder.LaughBlight is now coming on at a faster rate.  I need to take time to cut off the infected branches BUT it is not at the top of my priority list.

The tomatoes in the RAISED BED garden have far less blight. The tomatoes are ripening slower in this area.

Harvesting and preserving the veggies and herbs are now in 'full steam ahead mode'.

 

DSC01870.JPGImage Enlarger

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2280 Posts
(Offline)
88
September 6, 2015 - 6:26 am

The tomato plants in the raised bed garden are now pulled out and on the 'burn pile'.  The blight traveled fast in this area.  In my last blog post above I said controlling the 'blight' wasn't a top priority. I was wrong. I had to toss a lot of tomatoes.  BUT next year I will make sure I take the time to trim the blight leaves off.  I thought the tomatoes that were mature on the bushes would ripened without a problem. I was WRONG!FrownThe blight also hit the tomatoes themselves. Even at the green strange.  Lessons learned.  Luckily the CONTAINER BOG GARDEN tomatoes are still hanging on.  There is blight, but I am trying to keep the leaves trimmed until I harvest the large developing tomatoes. I learn the hard way.Confused

In Spring I had a few left over tomato plants and decided to plant them directly into the wild area. It is continually moist.  I have not watered or sprayed them. So far they look really good. A lot of green tomatoes are on the bushes. I am hoping that they give me tomatoes after the garden plants have been pulled out.

I am still canning some tomatoes and have enough to eat fresh.

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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KeyWee54
Western Kentucky Zone 7a
616 Posts
(Offline)
89
September 7, 2015 - 6:21 am

Lark, tomatoes didn't do well anywhere this year.  I pulled my plants up more than a month ago.  We had unprecedented summer rains and that didn't help much either.  You're right ~ pulling off the affected leaves and branches helped some, and also spraying early on with copper fungicide.  Even the tomatoes in our extension demo garden didn't do very well and those were vigilantly cared for all season.  

Arghhh ~ there WILL be years like this.  

On the flower side, my yard still looks pretty good, but now it has been very hot and dry, so I have been watering so I can weed.  We will have hummers for about 4 more weeks and then it's over.

Oh, and I am NOT going to grow malabar spinach again ~ I give UP.  This year, it got maybe a foot tall (that's not a vine to me:) and then went to seed.  It just won't take off here no matter what I do.  

Have a Happy Labor Day ~ historically it ALWAYS rains in WI on this day ~ wonder why that is??

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Lark
Wisconsin zone 4/5
2280 Posts
(Offline)
90
February 22, 2016 - 6:31 am

I started my 2016 using the PAPER TOWEL METHOD of GERMINATION on February 13.  One week later I planted the seeds that germinated into cell packs.  Two germinated seeds per individual cell.  The seeds that did not germinate yet I put back into the baggie.  I will check them every few days.

I put the planted seed cell packs into the CLEAR TOTE MINI GREENHOUSE that has a heat mat in it.  I put the tote in my south windows.  When the sun is shining and temps are around 40F I place the totes outside, cover on, out in the SUNSHINE.  Making sure that they don't get too hot, I will crack the lid a little according to the heat in the tote. 

NOTE: Surprised My weather forecast for the next several days is CLOUDY.  Since I have grow lights set up in my basement, I decided to put the tote under my grow lights.  Setting the lights 1" above the seedlings.  When the sun decides to shine, it is EASY to pick up the tote and put it on my deck in the SUNSHINE.  Smile

Dousman, Wisconsin, zone 5

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