who's getting excited about tomatoes?

natives_and_veggies(10b)August 16, 2014

Yep, getting excited. I started seeds today in peat pods, and spent sweaty time prepping the bed.
I do lasagna gardening, so a giant pile of weeds is becoming a mulched bed, as it does every year. It takes about six weeks for weeds to become dirt.
My DH was skeptical this year - the weeds were really high. But he saw what I did today and decided it will work.
It's worked every year before, and my soil has gone from three inches of black dirt and sand under that to 18 inches of black dirt before we hit sand.
As for the tomatoes I started today, I immediately lost track of which peat pod was which. But I know I started Arkansas Traveler, Sungold, Green Zebra and some other things.
I'll give some extras to my neighbor. But I'll probably plant way more tomatoes than we can actually eat.
I'm excited. I'm also prepping for arugula, broccoli, okra and mush melon. Maybe some squash. Certainly some radishes and basil squished between the tomato plants.
Check in if you're excited about tomato season!

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I started tomato seeds a week or so ago too. I thought I was too early but said I'd give it a try. I saved the seeds from my grape tomatoes and they sprouted nicely. I still have some Everglades that seeded them selves.

We mow our own lawn with a grass catcher on the mower and I put the grass clipping down in the veggie garden for much. Our soil there is black and I have tons of worms. We've been doing this for 18 years.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 6:25AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

My tomatoes are started and getting some sun today.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 2:17PM
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Hi Silvia,

What is on top of the storage containers, cheese cloth? Is it for insect control? I have my seedlings outside in the full sun. It looks like you have a "truck load" :) of tomato plants there! I presume that some are for sharing.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 6:42PM
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I like that grass catcher idea Katkin. We always just let the clippings fall back into the grass, but now that you have me thinking about it, I don't care about the grass. I should be harvesting that natural goodness for my veggie bed. I also compost, though not religiously. And one of my composters was corrupted by Zoysia grass. Blasted stuff never breaks down. Ever. And since I only have it in the front yard, I can't risk using that compost in the back and spreading the scourge. So that's messed up my composting cycle - I have two and managed for awhile to pretty regularly get compost by filling one, then moving to the other while the first one did its composting finishing school. These are envirocycles, so I turn both. But no amount of turning will break down that damn zoysia. It's been a year. I'm going to have to just give up and roll that baby into the trash, with all its coffee grounds and egg shells.
Sylvia, I'm salivating at your future yield! We're a good bit south of you, so I won't be putting anything in the ground until mid/late October. I actually started 16 plants. Assuming a couple don't make it for whatever reason, and I give away three or four, I'm going to have to find space for 10 tomato plants! That would take my whole veggie bed. I may try planting the mush mellons in another part of the yard.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 6:54PM
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Silvia, Papa Jim here! Last year you gave me the low down on container growing romaine. I saved the post but my old computer died and I lost it. May I ask again?

Apologies to natives and veggies for hijacking the post.

Party this fall?

Papa Jim

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 8:55PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Christine

I have on top of the containers insect barrier cloth, lets the sun coming in but the bugs out. Just before planting, I will take the cloth out, by then they should also be stronger. I bought a big roll long time ago and I cut it to fit, it can also be reused each season.

Hi Susannah

I always like to start different tomato varieties, can never have just one kind.:) Hoping that we all have great tomato and veggie season!

Hi Papa Jim!

When is cooler, lettuce is one of the easiest veggies to grow, 99% of the lettuces do well for me, depends on what you like. You can use a small container since the roots are small, if you like the easy ones to sow are the pelleted seeds from Johnny's, I like a lot of the red varieties. On the greens ones Nevada is good. When using the 5-1-1 mix in the beds, I just sprinkle the lettuce seeds on top and put a light soil lightly on top like a Miracle Grow and tap all down gently. When sown closely like this, you can cut it with scissors and will grow again.

Lettuce in a container

Lettuce in the raised bed

Papa Jim, of course we will have a fall party, hope that you can come and all the other gardening friends too!


    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 8:04AM
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Silvia - I like that insect barrier idea! Where did you get the material? Home Depot?

I have had a hard time with tomatoes this year. None of my plants have made it. I keep contracting bacterial wilt and the white fly diseases - ie: variegated leaves on the tomato plants. All five of my plants got it.

Does that over-winter in the soil? Do I need to toss my soil and start over? I do container gardening due to having a tiny yard.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 10:59AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Kimberly

The insect barrier is a very good idea, protects the crops and I don't have to spray, it is also economical since you can reuse it. I cut mine to size and I still have more that are not even used yet.

About the soil, I never reuse the same soil for the same crops, instead I recycle it. For the tomatoes always use fresh soil in the containers, less chances of introducing disease. My old tomato soil goes to the ornamentals or the fruit trees, nothing is wasted.


Here is a link that might be useful: insect barrier

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 1:37PM
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Hey Everyone! I'm in Central FL zone 9B and I'm growing tomatoes this fall.. some in self watering containers and some in the ground. Don't mean to hijack the thread but wondering if you are able to grow the tomatoes all through the winter (typically) or if the frost will kill them? I'm not too far from Orlando over on the east coast.


    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 4:02PM
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brnthumbinfl(zone 9 FL)

I started sprouting my fall veggies 8-1. My toms are Bush Big Boy (a determinate that did well last year) and a Christmas grape, both from Burpee. Also sprouted cukes & squash. Most have graduated into paper pots. Hoping it will cool soon. I had hoped for 9-1 to put in the ground but, its so hot!

My peppers and eggplant didn't sprout. Have to try those again.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 11:08AM
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No one needs to worry about hijacking the thread. I'm happy to have hosted one where everyone can get Silvia's wonderful advice.
I'll offer a tiny piece of advice of my own, for anyone doing lasagna gardening - when you throw branches that you've pruned on the bed, you should probably remove them after the leaves have fallen off, and before the weeds grow up in them. I had to wrestle with some parts of the bed today where the branches were providing scaffolding for the weeds - nothing was going to compress down very soon. Also a good idea to remove your hose and your tomato cages before you start tossing yard trimmings on there. Took forever to wrestle that stuff out of there. Lessons learned.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 4:15PM
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cavamarie(z8b/9a FL)

I can't wait for REAL tomatoes. I had planted some this spring, but it got too hot too quick, and I didnt get a single one. I got several different varieties from Tomato Growers, including my all time favorite Bella Rosa, and can't wait to get some in the next few months. I havent bought a decent tomato for the year. Cant wait.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 6:52PM
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czfljo(Daytona Beach-9A/B)

Hi Ginny, depending on how close to the coast you are your tomatoes may very well make it through the winter. We are a block from the ocean and haven't had a frost in a couple of years.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 8:49AM
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now I feel like I'm late! Just started my seeds today! Anyone know if okra survives cooler weather? I'm anticipating them dying to make room for tomatoes.....

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 8:30PM
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