Sad Time in the Veggie Garden

ritaweedaJuly 12, 2014

We've had so much rain that the tomatoes are splitting open. I guess I shouldn't complain because this is the first time that we have eggplants, keeping my fingers crossed because they are still small. We have LOTS of hot peppers, (jalapenos and poblanos) but that's it. The other stuff went kapoot a couple of months ago. I managed to scuffle hoe one row of weeds but not the last one and it is growing by leaps and bounds. It's just so hot I can't stand more than a few minutes at a time. Plus the ground is mushy from all the rain, (we have clay soil) so all in all, not much going on. I know, it's that time of year. I do have some okra seedlings going but they are slow to form the real leaves to transplant. Don't have high hopes for those, isn't it a bit late for that now? I had awesome sunflowers at the front of the garden, but the heads got so huge and flopped over, then the squirrels ravaged them. I salvaged some seeds for next planting. I have a few baby tomato plants that I saved the seed from some store-bought Tasti-Li's, surprisingly they came up, has anyone tried that?

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pnbrown

Clay soil in FL? You are in the panhandle, maybe?

Anyway, that's a big advantage for the primary growing season when rainfall is low. Our garden in Lake county is over-run with thriving cowpea right now. Cowpea and pigeon pea are good edible crop choices for summer.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 8:38AM
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ritaweeda

No, I live in Hernando County, sand hills to the East, sand hills to the West. Here you dig down anywhere from 3 to six inches and hit hardpan. Don't know which is worse. I had sand in Tampa and cursed it, now I would love to have it back. But, where my son lives (East of here) it's so sandy he can't keep planted trees alive. Of course the Turkey Oaks and Pines that are there already thrive in it.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:05AM
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castorp

Do you have raised beds, Rita? I'm an in-ground gardener myself but I bet raised beds would be a big help with hardpan.

This year I tried lots of the unusual vegetables that actually like our summer climate, and I must say I'm enjoying them: Moringa, chaya, an old heirloom okra, Roselle, gotu kola, yard long beans, hot peppers and also mild aji peppers, papalo, basils. Bill

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 11:22AM
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thonotorose

You should be fine with planting okra now for a fall crop.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 3:35PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I've been harvesting my tomatoes early, when I first start to see some color. I had some split and alot rotted if I left them on too long. I finally put some lime on them yesterday. Probably too late. Every year is different! Don't give up! I still have to get my okra, green beans and flower seeds planted. Always something in the way this year. The tiller broke or it was raining when I was able to plant.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 5:37PM
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ritaweeda

We grow the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant in containers. Hubby asked for some of those big food barrels that were empty at a food importer in Tampa, he cut them in halve. He also turned a water trough into a growing container. Beans, peas, and greens we plant in the ground. We also had squash in the ground, they did fine but got the pickle worms in them, someone on this site said we should have started them earlier. Or maybe it was the local farmer here that grows it. Anyway, I've had bad luck with squash ever since I started a garden here. Might try them in containers next time.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 7:29PM
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SusieQsie_Fla

Hi Rita
I'm having the same trouble with my container 'maters splitting from too much rain. The plants are still going and I need a step ladder to get up to check for hornworms on the new growth. I was shocked to see the new baby tomatoes setting way up there!

Hi, Maggie! I have to harvest early, too, and ripen on the window sill. I am wondering about what the lime is for - and how do you apply it . . .sprinkled on the top of the soil? Does that prevent splitting?

Here's a shot of my big yellow Kellogg's from earlier in the month during the drought. So far the rains haven't caused splitting in these, but they take SO long to ripen. I think I will grow them again next year since they are so delicious!

Susie

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:13PM
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pnbrown

I see. We had a similar situation on a property in Bushnell, sand on top of a clay layer. It's the worst of both worlds - the sand dries out easily, yet in heavy rains the clay layer allows drowning.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 6:51AM
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L_in_FL(8B/9A Border, NW FL)

I have read on other forums where people talk about growing out seeds from store-bought Tasti-Lee tomatoes. There will be some variation because they are hybrid tomatoes, but you have a fair chance of getting something similar to the store-bought tomatoes.

If you really like Tasti-Lee and want to grow them specifically, you can buy seeds for them at several seed vendors; I know that Tomato Growers' Supply, Territorial Seed, Burpee, and Totally Tomatoes sell them. That way you will get the exact same tomatoes as those you buy in the store.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 1:31PM
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