Tomatoes and Blossom End Rot

June 27th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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Are you growing Tomatoes this year? Do some or all of your tomatoes look great until they ripen and then look like the above picture?

I have a few tomato plants that are producing tomatoes like the picture. They look great except for the top where the blossom used to be attached. There might  be a dark circular indentation around the top of the tomato or you might find a very dark rotten spot, with the rest of the tomato looking as healthy as can be.

If you are finding this in your tomato garden, chances are that it’s Blossom End Rot, which is most likely caused by a calcium deficiency.

I just learned that to fix this problem all you need is a bag of Epsom salts (Magnesium Sulfate) and a water hose.

Apply 1 teaspoon of Epsom Salts per foot of plant. Apply the Epsom Salts in a circular fashion around the drip line of the plant and water well. Be sure your tomatoes are getting at least 1 inch of water per week, but don’t soak them. Tomatoes don’t like wet “feet” but rather prefer to take in their drink of water and then be dry.

I just applied the Epsom Salts to my plants and will be checking frequently to see if this eradicates the problem. I will post an update on my results in a couple of weeks.

Onion Harvest

June 7th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

onions in bed

 

Well, May was a busy month around here harvesting things that have been in the ground for several months. This is the great payoff for all the hard work in the cold days of December and January.

In the past I never had much success with onions. I would put them in the ground and leave them alone and they would wither and die before they ever became anything bigger than a pencil eraser. I thought I was no good at growing onions. I thought maybe our soil wasn’t good enough or our climate just wasn’t right for them. But after taking the Fort Bend County Master Gardening Program, I learned to grow onions among many other things, successfully.

We planted 70 10/15 Onions on December 5th, 2012 in about 50 square feet of space. Three weeks later I began the process of fertilizing these beautiful pearls in my yard. I learned that onions are very big Nitrogen feeders and what they want is FOOD in the form of Ammonium Sulphate.

Ammonium Sulphate is all Nitrogen (21-0-0). I would go out there every three weeks on the dot, even if it was cold, even if it was sprinkling with rain, and give those onions their Teaspoon of Nitrogen each. 70 onions got 1 teaspoon of Nitrogen every three weeks! Now that’s someone that wants to have some success with her onions!

onions getting bigger

But the payoff was SO very worth it. Each week I would watch each onion grow just a little bit more. The 70 onions that I planted probably weighed about a pound altogether. We harvested on May 7. (Drumroll Please…..)

 

onion in ground

 

We harvested over 25 pounds of onions. 25 pounds! I, along with my family, were so excited! Of course, we made onion rings right away.

onions harvested

 

But what are you going to do with 25 pounds of onions, you might ask? There’s only so many onion rings you can eat!

 

Onion Rings 2 Beer Battered Onion Rings

Well, you dry them out before you store them. If you do this, they will store for many months in a closet, under the bed in boxes or in your pantry.

First you must pull all of the onions out of your garden of course. I’ve heard that a lot of people pull them up and leave them in the dirt to dry out. But we have two dogs who would most likely think they were fetching balls, so we didn’t choose this option.

What we did do though is to lay them out in a single layer on our outdoor table. You need to let them dry in the sun for at least a couple of days. We then moved them to the garage to dry out further, away from the direct sun. It’s important that the onions be laid out in single layers so that they won’t begin to mildew.

When the green stalks have dried completely and the outside of the onion has developed a papery skin, they are safe to store. We found several Coke boxes that cases of Coke come in, and laid them in single layers in the boxes and stored them in a cool, dark pantry. I’ve heard that some people put them in boxes and place them under their beds. The most important thing is that they be stored where it is dark, cool and dry.

We are so excited about our onions! Do any of you have some tips on how to grow onions? I would love to hear your tips or suggestions on growing onions. Or, if you have any questions about growing onions, feel free to ask away in the comments section!

A Bee and a Sunflower

April 27th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Bee & Sunflower from Stacy Conaway on Vimeo.

We’re having thunderstorms today where I live so I didn’t get to work in my gardens. Instead I looked back at some of the video and pictures of garden days gone by.

I found this video that Stacy (my husband) took almost two years ago. I love the pollinators that live in our yard. And the video also got me excited about how huge our sunflowers will be getting very soon, especially with the aid of all this rain today.

I hope you enjoy the Sunflower, the Bee, the music by Evgeny Grinko and my husband’s ability to capture the nuances of nature.

Another April Harvest

April 21st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

April 21 harvest

 

The only thing that ever bothers me about living in the South is July and August. It gets incredibly hot here and since we live near the Gulf coast, it is of course, humid as all get out.

But despite the hot summer what I LOVE about living here is that I can harvest veggies and fruit just about every day of the year.

Today (and it’s only April) I brought in quiet a bundle: Broccoli, Peas, Swiss Chard, Spinach, one potato, Lettuce and Cilantro.

One Potato? you ask. Well let me tell you why I have only one potato today. Now before I planted the potatoes back in February, I was following a technique using Bokashi Composting. Basically, Bokashi composting is an ancient way of using table scraps to vamp up your soil.  While I was harvesting from my garden today, I noticed that there were three very different kind of plants with yellow flowers growing out of the side of the potato patch. I went over to investigate, thinking that a couple of very big weeds had taken root. I was ready to pluck them out of there until I realized what they were.

So, what were the funny looking plants growing out of the side of my potato patch? Well, they were tomato plants. Apparently, there were some tomato seeds that took root there from my composting materials. They even had several tomatoes on the plants.

Needless to say, I didn’t just pluck them up and throw them out.

I dug them up by the roots. As I was digging them up I was coming across lots and lots of potatoes that were growing right alongside the tomato roots. One of the potatoes was torn from its mother plant so I brought it in with the rest of the harvest. That’s how I got just one potato. The rest aren’t ready yet. Not till round about May, I guess. But I’ve got one, and I was really kind of excited to get one this early.

As for the tomato plants? Well, I transplanted them to my space reserved for tomatoes. They seem to be okay, only time will tell. But since I now have three extra tomato plants that means I am now growing 12 tomato plants instead of 9. Looks like I’ll be canning up lots of tomatoes this year.

You just never know what your going to find going on in the garden. I swear I was out inspecting the potatoes just last week and didn’t suspect a thing. Now I have three gorgeous tomato plants that are much further along than my other tomatoes.

Do you have any funny garden stories? If so, leave me a note and tell me about it.

 

 

 

 

First Spring Harvest

April 16th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

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I harvested our first peas today. It’s the first spring vegetable to produce this year. Our plants are big and beautiful and climbing our cattle panel fencing.

 

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These are our first pickings. I was going to wait until tomorrow to get the peas out but I was too excited to put it off. So my husband and I sat down to gently pinch the peas open and let the little green pearls make their way into a bowl.

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And here they are! I’ll probably wait to cook them until tomorrow. But what a delight to plastic wrap this bowl and have fresh peas in the fridge.

 

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