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Please ponder on this...

Posted by skeip 5 WI (My Page) on
Tue, Dec 11, 12 at 17:03

OK, counting on your expertise here. My friend moved to a new house two years ago and wanted to start a garden. She tilled up an area in the backyard, sun all day long, no history of chemicals / cultural practices for the previous lawn, but based on the previous owners, probably not much at all. She had a lot of rotted manure tilled in initially.

Planted her first season garden, Beans, Zucchini, Eggplant, Garlic, Cucumbers and Tomatoes. Weather / rainfall was pretty average for this area. Everything grew very well and she had good production all summer long. The Tomatoes set beautiful big fruit but she didn't get a ripe tomato until October!! Here's the curious thing, these were transplants that I gave her, the same as the ones growing in my garden, and mine had been ripening all summer long.

So this year, she plants the same plot of ground, but didn't add any more manure. She planted the same basic plants as last year, but bought Tomato transplants at our local farmer's market. Incredibly dry this year but watering brought good growth and production on everything. Even the Tomato plants were heavy with fruit set, but not a ripe tomato until October!! Again, I had been picking ripe Tomatoes since August.

Our gardens are about 10 miles apart so no significant climactic differences. Both years, these were big lush plants, seemingly not lacking for nutrients. There may have been too much nitrogen just because of the initial manure application, but how would that affect ripening?

So, there are the facts surrounding the mystery. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Steve


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Please ponder on this...

Prevailing temperature on the low side during the growing season.

Around here,, we occasionally have a Green Tomato Summer that seriously bums out everyone who lack full day sunlight.


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RE: Please ponder on this...

Different varieties with very different DTM, different and/or delayed planting dates, micro-climate differences (as Jean said), etc.

10 miles can easily contain multiple different micro-climates.

Dave


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RE: Please ponder on this...

Too much nitrogen and not enough Phosphorus. The manure was cranking out foliage, but not supporting the fruiting side as well.

JMHO

Ted


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RE: Please ponder on this...

More information...

Jean001a - We had record setting heat for a record setting number of days this summer. I was concerned about getting any fruit set at all.

Dave - first season we grew the same varieties which I had stared from seed. Mine ripened, hers didn't. I thought about the microclimate thing, but we are both suburban flat land gardeners.

Containerted - I thought about the Phosphorus as we are in a county that bans any use due to potential for agricultural run-off into the lakes. While I try to stay organic, I have been known to throw on a handful of 10-10-10 early in the spring. My plot has been a veg. garden for about 20 years, mostly managed organically with lots of leaves and grass clippings applied in season, 8" shredded leaves in the Fall, grass clipping mulch all season, no till method, and I do fertilize my lawn, but with a zero P fertilizer as required by law. Are phosphorus levels really that significant? Fruit set was good, they just didn't ripen.

TYIA!!

Steve


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RE: Please ponder on this...

  • Posted by bets z6A ID (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 15, 12 at 13:46

My plot has been a veg. garden for about 20 years, mostly managed organically with lots of leaves and grass clippings applied in season, 8" shredded leaves in the Fall, grass clipping mulch all season, no till method....

You may have hit the nail on the head with that statement combined with this one from your original post: My friend moved to a new house two years ago and wanted to start a garden. She tilled up an area in the backyard, sun all day long, no history of chemicals / cultural practices for the previous lawn, but based on the previous owners, probably not much at all. She had a lot of rotted manure tilled in initially.

Your practices have given you healthy soil over the years and her soil is just getting started. Did your friend also mulch her garden? I think between the two practices that could account for the differences. If she did not mulch, then her tomato plants were probably at a major disadvantage during the heat of the summer. There would have been more soil moisture fluctuations (and you didn't say anything about her watering practices) so that her plants were under some stress while yours were not.

Or, I could be wrong! LOL!

Betsy


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RE: Please ponder on this...

Agree with CTed. A soil test is in order to include PH. If your friend is going to use tomato transplants again next year
tell her to dust the roots with endomycorrhiza prior to planting. The Myco's will unlock the unavailable phosphorus that already exists in the soil and make it available to the plant and will also help the plant during drought conditions. Ami


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RE: Please ponder on this...

I think the soil is the problem. A soil test would be good but I think it may be the texture of your soil that makes you more successful. I haul in rotted cow manure and hay every year and it doesn't make the nitrogen too high. What kind of manure was it? Cow manure would be OK if it didn't have herbicide in it. Horse manure often comes with with wood chips which I don't think are good. Chicken manure would be high in nitrogen.


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