Saturday, August 18, 2012

THE HAPPY GARDEN

A happy garden is a well planned garden, and well cared for too!
Key factors in having a successful garden.

1.Location: Where you place your home garden is the biggest determining factor if you will have garden success. Southern exposure is best. Lots of homeowners want to tuck their home garden somewhere where it just won't thrive. You can't compromise on location, it will make or break your garden.
2. Watering: It's hard to impart to the new gardener just how much watering your garden needs. Lots of first time gardeners think if things aren't looking lush yet watering is the answer. Watering is important but most home gardens only need to be watered two to three times a week. The best watering method for box gardens or container gardens is by hand watering with a nice old fashioned watering can. Believe it or not your garden hose can be a gardens nemesis. Overhead and in-ground sprinkler systems can also wreak havoc on your garden. Although it may be convenient to set a timer and walk away and let your sprinkler system do the work, overhead sprinklers are huge wasters of water, most of it evaporates before ever reaching your plants roots system where it's needed most. So use a watering can, water the soil not the leaves of your plants, and water early in the morning to avoid rapid evaporation during the high heat of the afternoon. Watering at night encourages mildew and other diseases.
There are many other contributing factors for garden success, some are within the control of the gardener and some are not. When possible choose your location wisely, don't over crowd your plants, be patient and enjoy your harvests.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tomato picking

(These tomatoes were picked just as they started to show some color, we leave them in the bowl on the counter top to ripen not in the refrigerator.)

With heavy winds and rain some of my tomato plants have flopped. They are inside the tallest cages I could buy, and some are additionally supported with stakes too, but the fruit is so heavy that gravity took over. So here's my suggestions for possible remedies to this situation :
1. If your tomatoes have flopped over and are laying on the ground, it may be best to leave the plant there. Your plants are fragile and too much moving and manipulating may cause them to snap. So your best bet may be to leave them. You can put dry grass clippings or straw under the fruit so it doesn't rot, and you may want to pick your fruit as soon as you see the slightest color on the shoulders of the fruits, because now that they are on the ground they are an easy grab for critters.
2. If your cages are still standing but are leaning and look like they could use some support you can add a stake as additional support, be sure to not put the stake too close to the plants root system.
3. Early picking is okay too. We started picking our tomatoes as soon as the shoulders started to show some color. This took some weight off the plants and which in turn also allows for the other fruits to receive the plants energy to ripen.
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