Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

Great garden club meeting! Plus peppers and tomatoes, tomatoes and MORE tomatoes!

Posted Sunday, June 8, 2014, at 12:49 PM
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  • Speaking of tomatoes, chefgrape sent me this link by email and I thought it was neat . http://www2.fiskars.com/Gardening-and-Yard-Care/Projects/Garden-to-Table/Recipes...

    Has anyone done any grafting themselves or used grafted tomatoes and would like to comment about their success/failures?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Jun 8, 2014, at 12:49 PM
  • Just spent an hour or two researching the whole grafting university.

    I am interested in a trial ( particularly since a couple of my most vigorous tomatoes are showing signs of disease ) but am really not looking forward to the expense both in cost, labor, and facility. Geeze...... I am already spending 18/24 on tomatoes...........

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Sun, Jun 8, 2014, at 3:00 PM
  • Yes, I definitely agree the knowledge was aboundingly superior for my brain anyhow, but its already got me searching for the organic fertilizer ingredients... the top soil I bought at Wally World was rich looking (almost black) but although it looks good, for $1.40 something a bag I'm sure its void of nutrients...

    Hey Palindrome I picked you up a half dozen of those trays (hole-less) yesterday while passing thru Columbia for BBQ in Summertown...got all but 2 of those tomatoes planted...their closer together then I would like and I'll have to trellis them as they grow, but I'm expecting the best result with them after such great beginnings...I feel like I've adopted the finest...holler at me and Ill get these trays to you at your convenience...my numbers on the list.

    -- Posted by chefgrape on Sun, Jun 8, 2014, at 6:56 PM
  • Excellent Chefgrape ! Next meeting is fine. I won't be using the trays until next tomato season. I have been using the tops as trays and they are really not strong enough to support the seedlings. Having enough actual tray bottoms will be a luxury .......

    I hope everyone realizes the tomatoes REALLY need food. I keep them in limbo until I plant them.....That is when I hit them with everything.....Enough, anyway, to last until 6 or 8 weeks into the growing season. As usual I am using the amendments recommended by " Grow Better Veggies " for containerized tomatoes. Everything but the fish head......... I did some substituting for those.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Sun, Jun 8, 2014, at 7:17 PM
  • I read a lot about grafting and I would imagine the base stock is available as seed even though the article does not mention it. I'll have to dig a little but we will find a less expensive solution.

    Maybe a meeting on grafting would be good?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Jun 8, 2014, at 8:57 PM
  • I notice that some of the rootstock actually include a wild tomato from the Andes. Speaking of wild makes me think of some nightshade plants in the same family Solanaceae.

    I wonder if that darn prickly Horsenettle could actually be of value? Would grafting a tomato to that create a poisonous fruit. Would it even graft?

    I pulled a bunch of them today but I may see if I can dig one up, pot it and then graft a tomato to it. First challenge will be getting it to pot-up, then graft.

    But it that works, I will then try to re-plant it in the garden. May not eat the result until it is tested, but "imagine the possibilities".

    That horsenettle grows well in my garden and it would be neat to put it to good use. I have occasionally let it grow next to eggplants as a trap crop because it seems to attract flea beetles even better than eggplant.


    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Jun 8, 2014, at 9:12 PM
  • I'm still needing some color at the front of my bed...with tomatoes growing do yawl know of any perennials I should definitely not plant or may be harmful to these heirloom tomatoes....I bought a few cheap hosta to stick in there...wally world even had some praying hand hosta that were cool looking...but no color in them...pansies and twinkie kind (small every day over used around every mailbox in town red ones--sorry!) of flowers don't seem to be my style..It's a little late to get peonies started which I adore...especialy the oriental ones.

    -- Posted by chefgrape on Sun, Jun 8, 2014, at 9:45 PM
  • I was planning on going, but I had a pet emergency come up unexpectedly. Sounds like a great meeting and I wish I could have made it!

    -- Posted by espoontoon on Mon, Jun 9, 2014, at 6:40 AM
  • Hope the pet emergency worked out for the best. We know well how those can be emotionally nerve racking. Our best wishes and prayers espoontoon.

    chefgrape, colorful perennials are not my strong suit but if you think the tomatoes will do well, maybe consider any number of hot peppers that make a colorful display up until frost.

    The one that mg_mark passed out is in the picture above but there are Bolivian peppers that espoontoon shared and I have some black pearl seeds from plants someone shared last year. They go through several color changes.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jun 9, 2014, at 9:25 AM
  • Grafting........The vigor of the scion and rootstock must be fairly evenly matched. So far I am finding rootstock seeds at about 40 cents a seed. 20% failure rate at best........Adds up quite fast. Do not understand the extreme expense of the rootstock seeds....But of course they do not get to go to seed do they.....Perhaps the first year I should just grow rootstock for seeds.......

    Steve.....Like your idea to use other family members. I am sure the written research is out there.

    Meanwhile I am happy with the posting about tomatoes from the Henry Horton Gang. Cut off all leaves on plants up to 8" from the ground. Separate tomatoes so they do not touch other. Of course I can not do that..... No space here... But I will do the best I can....The advantage of having the tomatoes in pots.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Mon, Jun 9, 2014, at 9:35 AM
  • What do you think is starting to affect your plants?

    I don't know if you mulch them, but straw will help keep soil-borne pathogens from bouncing up on the leaves during rain. (like we are finally getting again)

    Since you use new soil every year, I am surprised that something is getting to them. Could it be the soil was not pasteurized or did something bounce up from your yard?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jun 9, 2014, at 9:47 AM
  • Oh....Two of my most historically vigorous tomatoes are showing viruses from the soil........I do not use new soil every year. I add soil but using new soil would make tomato growing economically silly. As it is I probably already put about 8$ a plant not counting all the food, water and TLC time. The joke about 50$ tomatoes is not far off in my garden............... Oh, and then there is the fun of dragging all of those heavy bags of soil around..... Maybe I need a new hobby.

    Yes, straw....... I am looking for some to use as mulch. The tomato grower on the Plantswap group does not use new soil nor does he feed his.... Of course growing in the ground is very different than growing in containers.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Mon, Jun 9, 2014, at 12:02 PM
  • Chefgrape.........If you are planting tomatoes and Hostas in the same bed one of them is not going to do well.... Their requirements are opposite. The darker the Hosta the more shade they need. The tomatoes of course require full sun.... But only if you want tomatoes. If the bed is in the shade the color you want could come from impatience.......

    Tomatoes are not compatible with the Brassica family, kohlrabi, fennel, potatoes, or any association with tobacco plants or smoking of the products. They like chives, parsley, carrots, onions, marigolds and garlic.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Mon, Jun 9, 2014, at 12:22 PM
  • Speaking of garlic, I ran an experiment with "winter sowing" last year in between my rows of garlic. I pushed an old, over-ripe tomato in the soil to see if it would "naturalize" and sprout.

    A bunch of sprouts did come up at that spot, so I thinned them before they got their second leaves. The only problem is, they are not tomatoes. They are peppers. Yeesh, the mind is going.

    BUT I did get volunteer tomatoes so now I get to see how vigorous they are AND what they are. I did not take any efforts to isolate them, so more than likely, I have some hybrids. Hope I like them. :-)

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jun 9, 2014, at 3:46 PM
  • The promise of more rain tonight made me plant most of the other starts I have. Now I see that it might be powerful storms. Hold on.

    Maybe it will revive my prize eggplant that SOMEONE dug out of one of my bathtub gardens. It was too big for a cat and really, too small for PITA so I am guessing a smaller dog we have, unless PITA stood on her hind feet to dig in the tub. Argh!

    It was my prize because it was the largest and least bothered by flea beetles. I had high hopes for it flowering soon. WRONG! Maybe it will just survive.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jun 9, 2014, at 8:22 PM
  • Thanks for the info...I get about 6 full hours of hot morning sun there so hopefully the tomatoes will be ok...the hosta I put in pots and just set them there for now to see how they do...most likely they will end up under the carport or oak tree...marigolds are a great idea...they will help with bugs as well i understand

    -- Posted by chefgrape on Mon, Jun 9, 2014, at 9:19 PM
  • Steve......I am really surprised that you have peppers that overwintered. Very curious what kind they are.

    Chefgrape.......Good choice. Marigolds will be excellent. Nasturtiums are also companions with tomatoes and of course are edible Either way the colors will be great with tomatoes...Particularly those dark ones.

    Have been trying to find someone to help with the garden chores and the lovely Elizabeth ( my new 9 year old neighbor ) stopped by the other day to offer help with weeding.....HAHAHAHA It is obvious looking at my yard what my needs are !!! Well, yesterday we knocked out clearing my raised beds so I will be planting them soon. Thank goodness....The Basil was beginning to take over the laundry room now that the tomatoes are out the door.

    On my way to Georgia to pick up a beautiful bookcase. I will check out the Hotel for our next meeting when I get back......Happy Gardening All !

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Tue, Jun 10, 2014, at 6:44 AM
  • The (typical) high humidity we've had here lately can certainly contribute to the presence of foliar diseases on the tomatoes. Overall, my tomato plants are looking very healthy so far (knock on wood). However, I have been pruning out some diseased leaves and shoots.

    If straw is not handy, grass clippings make a nice mulch to prevent soil from being splashed up on the plants. I use grass clippings a lot for mulch in the garden. You just want to make sure the grass is NOT from a lawn that is chemically treated. And don't pile grass really deep around the base of the plant; fresh grass can start to compost and heat up if it's piled too deep.

    -- Posted by mg.mark on Tue, Jun 10, 2014, at 9:34 AM
  • Whoa! A nine year old gardening protege? Hope you can set the "gardening bug" for good!

    The peppers I mentioned reseeded, not over wintered, however I do have two that overwintered in my greenhouse. One is the Bolivian pepper (doing good) the other is a Black Pearl that seeded itself in a pot where I had laid some peppers to dry.

    That one is not doing too good but I am probably to blame. I put it in an area that did not have the best soil, only wood chips.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Jun 10, 2014, at 9:48 AM
  • Steve,

    Well...When I said over-wintered I did mean the seeds. I should have said survived.... I am still surprised. I have never had a pepper seed survive outdoors in Tennessee....Particularly with the severity of the winter we just had.

    Yes, MGMark.... I really must mulch....One way or another.

    Just got back from Georgia.... Storm and all. It was a LONG day. Now I have something else to drag into the house !

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Tue, Jun 10, 2014, at 5:54 PM
  • I will be sure to remember to say what it turns out to be.

    Of course I could be wrong on what it is but it is NOT the tomato I thought I had stuffed there and it sure resembles pepper.

    Maybe since it was a product of my garden it hybridized or naturalized? We'll see.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Jun 10, 2014, at 9:36 PM
  • I hope that same " someone " doesn't dig it out as well............

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Wed, Jun 11, 2014, at 5:34 AM
  • It urns out it WAS PITA. We caught her actually in the tub!

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jun 11, 2014, at 6:00 AM
  • Had a great meal with new potatoes (red) straight from the garden, beet tops picked two days ago.

    Eggplants continue to to be picked apart by flea beetles. I mixed up a half teaspoon of detergent, with a teaspoon of light grade horticultural oil in a quart of oil.

    It seems to be getting the flea beetles and it works charms as a spot spray on the kittens for regular fleas. Since we wipe the kittens off after it has been on a few minutes, I don't think the tiny bit of horticultural oil will harm them.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jun 12, 2014, at 8:23 PM
  • We have an OK on the Hotel for Friday night. All we have to do is get an approximate number to them so they can be ready for us.

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Sat, Jun 14, 2014, at 9:31 PM
  • Do you think most could get some thing for under $10? We never got to talk much about it.

    I would would guesstimate 6-8.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Jun 15, 2014, at 2:31 PM
  • Spooky's Pizza Wartrace is on Facebook. Sandwiches are 8$ and pizza 11-16$ but of course they can be shared. If not now then later. The offerings and hours are increasing.........

    -- Posted by Palindrome on Tue, Jun 17, 2014, at 9:09 AM
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