On Monday, March 9, 2015 at 5:15:42 PM UTC-7, songbird wrote:
I'm in the inland northwest. Far different than the coastal areas or weste
rn valleys. The Cascade Mountains stop most of the rain so we only average
about 12" per year, most of that occurring in the fall and winter when the
prevailing winds shift slightly to bring the weather in around the mountai
ns. We get four distinct seasons, with the summers betting very hot and d
ry, so irrigation is critical, and very little water is wasted. Winters ar
e normally just a few degrees below freezing, although we have dropped to d
ouble-digit negatives a few times.
I grow quite a variety of stuff. Plenty of paste tomatoes every year to pu
t up sauces (spaghetti, salsa, and whatever else inspires me), so plenty of
peppers and other stuff to go into the sauces too. Because of the heat, bl
ossom end rot can be troublesome at times. I grow my own herbs to use well
. In fact, everything I use in my preserving I grow myself or buy from som
I also grow a lot of winter squash and root crops that I keep through the w
inter. One of the happiest memories I have is making borscht for the first
time and finding that the family loved it! It's the only reason I'm allow
ed to grow beets now (although I do sneak in a batch of pickles every year)
. Speaking of pickles, I also grow cukes to make hot dill pickles and my gr
andmothers lime pickle that are so crunchy and sweet.
We have an assortment of fruit trees and vines and bushes that we freeze, d
ry, or otherwise preserve. I made Concorde grape pie filling 2 years ago f
or the first time and even though it's difficult, it will be made every yea
r from now on. So delicious!
I grow fingerling potatoes and leeks. I dont generally grow other potatoes
or onions because those are readily available around here at a price lower
than I could ever grow them for. Many times you can find a grower that wil
l let you go into the fields after they've harvested them and pick what's l
eft and that price is hard to beat. Sweet corn is available for a nickel a
n ear when its in season, so I don't grow that either, but I do grow popcor
n and the kids think that's a blast
In finishing up some of what's left in the cellar, I just made a couple mor
e batches of red onion jam. So good on roasts, hamburgers, or whatever. Thi
s is also one that gets made every year.
There's a lot more that goes on around here, but perhaps I'll share more as
time goes on.
I don't recall ever seeing either name before this thread.
:-)) And less snow for water for the populace is only one of the signs
you've written about...... I keep wondering if it will take famine
conditions in the first world before some people finally manage to join
i suspect there will be food riots and troubles in
poorer countries again long before you see problems
in the first world countries. the first world has
the resources to ship foods around. only when we
get some rather unlikely multiple year droughts in
several of the large grain growing regions in
combination with wars which disrupt shipping would
you see a large famine in the first world.
at the moment i think we're on the edge and could
be mostly ok, but it means making some changes.
improving ground and surface water regulations,
putting the land back into the hands of people
instead of corporations, having more diversity and
protection for wild spaces, funding restoration
and replanting projects, increasing wetlands to
help with flooding and droughts, improving irrigation
and monitoring of ground water pumping.
boycotting products from companies or people
who poison is one immediate thing that i can do
and that shifts at least some production towards
more sustainable methods. growing my own food
using sustainable methods is another. at least
then i know some wild creatures have a home that
isn't being poisoned.
Yup, and does do that now regardless.
only when we
Well Oz has certainly had the multiple year droughts in grain areas and
I have a vague memory that Russia had too. Can't quite see the shipping
disruption on the horizon.
:-)) In short, I think you have joined me in my 'when pigs fly' view of
the possibility of the dots being joined?
We have a wonderful garden for other creatures. Some I could do without
liek the blasted rabbits and the snakes but the others are all well
worth observing. For example; we spend a lot of time watching the
antics of birds and the last time I bothered to aks Himself (who is very
keen on birds) he had recorded seeing between 60 and 70 different birds
types in our garden. We make sure we do our pruning to avoid nesting
times and we keep many plants that are supposedly weeds because they
give food or shelter for wildlife. We do fight about Queen Anne's Lace
though. He always pulls it out when he notices it because he thinks it
will go wild in his paddocks. I have finally mananged to stop him
ripping out my verbasums now as I finally corrected his
misidentification of them.
right, at the moment the risk isn't that
high. multiple year droughts are not widespread
and we had a good harvest last year. if this
year is bad and next year is bad then you'll
certainly see it in the news.
i'm seeing some good signs here or there, but
it isn't enough yet, so yeah.
yes, living as a cooperative between more than one
person is a challenge. i lose garden spaces or plant
diversity here when Ma decides to smother a garden or
mows down some of my plants and it doesn't get replanted.
right now i'm going to lose another garden this year,
but pick up a few more next year or the year after.
depends upon what i can get done. :)
there's probably a few dozen rabbits around here and
i surely don't need any more, but our main veggie gardens
are fenced and don't get too many rabbits in them. the
fence is more to keep the deer out than the other creatures.
i have more damage from woodchucks that climb through the
fence. i hope i've discouraged those enough this past
year that we don't have them back this year. we'll see.
the birds we have are not too damaging to veggie or
my strawberry production, they get at some of the bushes
that have berries, but we don't eat those berries so
they are welcome to them. no major fruit trees growing
either as of yet, so all birds are welcome here. if
they eat a few of the strawberries i don't mind, there
are enough, they make up for it in bugs they eat.
i'm actually surprised by how well the gardens outside
the fenced areas do, some do get raided at times, but
i rarely lose an entire garden's production. planting
multiple crops, some intermixed, etc. seems to keep them
from finding everything. these sort of experiments
continue as i get time for them.
today i got a first look at the south drainage situation
with the melting snow coming off quickly. the ground is
still frozen and the water is coming across the surface.
not too likely we'll have any flooding this spring as we
don't have a lot of snow cover and the forecast isn't
pointing at heavy rains yet. the nights are still mostly
near or below freezing so that is actually a good thing
as that will keep the trees from budding out too soon.
i was worrying the other day that it was getting too
warm too quickly again, but so far so good.
queen-annes-lace is one of those weeds that will colonize
our clay soil, but the cover is so poor that i don't really
like them, instead i'm adding fennel which is much more
edible and provides more shade. there's no danger of there
being too little of the lace as it abounds along every
roadside like the dandelion or chickory. i'm also adding
short round carrots to the mix of plantings this season.
they might work in our heavy soils. we'll see what
happens... every season is a new adventure... :)
Wow. Lucky yu haaving so few. one night we left 8 dead one son the
grass that had been shot. All were gone next morning and we still have
more bunnies than we know how to get rid of. (Lord - look at that.
Ending a sentence with a preposition! I'm disgusted with myself).
around here and
We have our strawbs eaten by the lizards and they never seem to suffer
any damage from birds. Our fruit trees are a different matter. Leave
one unnetted and the cockatoos can strip it in hours.
One of our garden writers recommends that sort of planting. You might
find her site interesting:
The pics you've shown of the flooding in your garden in the past
certainly explain why you'd be worried.
we do not have nearly as much land as you
do at 0.74 hectare.
why wouldn't you bury them in the gardens?
i am trying to encourage predators to come get them
so i don't hunt them as long as they stay out of the
do the lizards climb fences? we have no big lizards
around here, but we do have plenty of snakes. only one
type is poisonous and it is rare in open land like ours,
we can find them in swampy places about a half mile from
here. as of yet, no sign of them. the rest of the snakes
feast on the mice, worms, and ground squirrels. a lot of
people who come visit us and walk through the gardens are
afraid of snakes so i have to warn them that they are
about. don't want people to freak out. the fenced
strawberry patch is surrounded by field stones and the
snakes like the warmth they provide and the fact that it
is a raised garden so it captures more of the morning
light. many times when i'm picking i'll have one or more
snakes moving around in that garden. they like our many
rock piles we have around too. with the many mice and
ground squirrels i'm always glad to see snakes. i know
the ground squirrel dens are used by the snakes too.
Ma is pretty good about snakes and doesn't freak out, but
she really doesn't like the mice or the ground squirrels.
it's taken me quite a few years to get her from wanting to
poison or trap them all the time. now i only am setting
traps inside the garage and garden shed. before when the
house wasn't sealed up so well i had to set traps around
the outside of the house to keep them from getting back in
the walls. now i'm hoping i can avoid that as it is a
waste of time, there will always be mice around, i don't
mind letting them do their thing out in the gardens, they
don't do any damage i've ever noticed.
i need a lot more patience than i have at the moment
to read it.
before when it was a fallow field i didn't care as
much, but now that it is being farmed and sprayed i
don't want that water going across the gardens.
the run off may be mostly done already, the snow has
been melting quickly. will check it out today and mark
some fine adjustment levels if i can.
i'm ready! :) with how much snow has melted off i can
do a little walking around and seeing if any of the early
flowers are starting to poke up. they are always a cheerful
sight after the winter. and some of those earliest bloomers
were pollenated last year and i've put the seeds in some
spots i can watch for sprouts. i always enjoy seeing what
happens from that sort of thing.
I still think your tomato problems have to do with
your soil. As with cooking, you can't make bad
ingredients taste better, you can only make good
ingredients taste worse. It all starts with the soil.
I am wondering if you should not start over with know good
organic soil. Maybe even use certified compost from a
reputable dealer. Who knows what in the world is in
Do you have worms in your soil? They are a great indication
of your soils health.
Are your tomato beds well drained? Tomatoes love to be
drenched (they are from the Amazon), but do not like
their roots in standing/stagnant water.
Songbird is a really great source of this kind of
information, probably knows 100 times what I do.
Tomatoes were originally cultivated by the Incas which
inhabited the Andes. But they came from the Amazon rain
forest. Peru, which contains both the Andes and Incas,
also contains part of the Amazon rain forest. I think
you are mixing the origin of the plant (the rain forest)
with the origin of who originally cultivated it (the
Incas and Aztecs), but I could be wrong.
"At least 80% of the developed world's diet originated
in the tropical rainforest. Its bountiful gifts to the
world include fruits like avocados, coconuts, figs,
oranges, lemons, grapefruit, bananas, guavas, pineapples,
mangos and *tomatoes*; vegetables including corn, potatoes,
rice, winter squash and yams; spices like black pepper,
cayenne, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, sugar cane,
turmeric, coffee and vanilla and nuts including Brazil
nuts and cashews. At least 3000 fruits are found in
the rainforests; of these only 200 are now in use in
the Western World. The Indians of the rainforest use
Wow. A lot of stuff came from the Amazon!
A quick look at a typical fragile tomato plant tells
you it did not originate in the freezing cold, high
altitude deserts of the Andes.
Now back to my point. These plants come from the Amazon
rain forest. They are accustomed and evolved to expect
a daily drenching from thunderstorms. So, I was trying to
find out if Higgs was recreating these ideal conditions:
Humid, drenched and drained. (Not high altitude, freezing
nights, and very low moisture.)
This is actually information I am relaying from a local
CSA greenhouse. Their incredible organic tomatoes
were in wet, humid, drained green houses. And EVERY
tomato was incredible: both heirlooms and hybrids
Do you have tips for her? I hate it that she can't get a
decent tomato. As far as my experience goes, it is all
about the soil.
The Andes start at not much more than sea level and go up from there. Saying
something is cultivated 'on the Andes' doesn't mean the peaks.
The ancestors of edible tomatoes may well have "origiated" in the Amazon
basin but the ones that I grow would succumb to blight or mould very quickly
if subjected to the wet and humidity of a rain forest. They've been
selectively bred to grow places other than where they may have originated.
The tomatoes bought to Europe and then to the US weren't from the Amazon
basin - they were cultivars obtained from the natives of South America who
had bred them for generations to grow elsewhere.
You want to grow rainforest 'tomatoes'? I think you'll find they're not much
different to any other Nightshade species other than perhaps having larger,
How do they control or prevent blight / fungus / rot?
Going by the above you know almost everything there is to know about them.
You can't help?
"Humans will have advanced a long, long, way when religious belief has a
I am relaying what I saw and was told at a successful
Here is good link for you:
Growing Hydroponic Gardening Tomatoes
"For tomatoes, an ideal humidity level in the greenhouse
needs to be between 65 and 70 percent. Temperatures must
not vary too much, although tomatoes flourish when the
night time temperature is ten degrees below that of the
daytime Ideally, temperatures really should be seventy-three
degrees during the day and sixty-three during the night.
This is what I observed at the successful greenhouse.
Maybe somewhere in the link there will be something for you
about the "blight / fungus / rot" problem you were complaining about.
I am hope at some point Songbird will chime in. He has about
100 times my knowledge. Maybe he knows something about
your "blight / fungus / rot" problem too.
nope, i'm not a guru when it comes to tomatoes
and unfortunately i get overruled now when i want
to try different varieties. others here have a lot
i've done the usual routine types of attempts to
limit damage or remove plants that look to be badly
infected before they can spread to other plants.
spacing plants, trimming lower leaves to prevent
diseases by increasing air flow and sunlight, mulching
to prevent splashing of soil onto the plants, etc.
sometimes these things help and other times they
don't. last year it didn't matter what i did the
disease came in with the plants when they were
planted (my best guess, because of how it affected
all the plants no matter where they were planted in
different types of soils, some were mulched others
this year i plan to plant two cherry tomato plants
and that's about it for tomatoes. we have enough to
get by in the pantry and that will let me rotate
plant other veggies. i can always use more space for
But you are the soil expert!
I make up with lack of yield with quantity of plants.
Wife and I both LOVE cherry tomatoes and eat them like candy!
Two years ago, some invisible mite got a lot of folks,
but they missed me. :-P (Usually it is the other way
I still have to get a decent yield off a regular
tomato plant. Got 5 box car willies last season.
Got a nice yield of cherries though for once.
(Boy picking cherry tomatoes sure gives you an
appreciation of those that do it for a living!
The trick is to eat one out of every ten you pick.
Keeps you encouraged.)
This season, I think I am going to double my compost.
And stock up on chicken poop fertilizer.
The year the greenhouse used chicken poop, their tomatoes
made your eyes roll in your head. The year they switched
to fish poop from ponds, they were on the bitter side.
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