Saturday, June 23, 2012

Florida weave update

As promised, I wanted to give you an update on the Florida weave that I'm using for my tomato plants. I used it in the bed with four roma tomato plants and one grape tomato plant. Of all the tomato plants I have this year -- and there are many -- it turns out that the grape is the only one that is perfectly unsuited for a Florida weave. The tag doesn't say that it's indeterminate, but it is definitely a vine and not a bush. It's already getting sprawly and out of hand and it's not even very big yet. I'm hoping to investigate this weekend and see if it would be possible to either stuff it into a traditional cage or add two stakes on a perpendicular axis and wrap twine around the four to make a sort of string cage. Something must be done, for sure.

The weave seems to be working well for the roma plants, though at this point they'd be fine without any support at all since they're so far shaped like low, closely-growing bushes. I'll keep an eye on those and see if the weave ends up being useful later when they're bigger. The weave would be good for my Brandywine, cherry varieties, or any of the unknown volunteers I have, which are shaped in what I think of as the traditional tomato way, bushy but tall and in need of support. Next year I think I'll plant slicers and cherries in the long bed with a weave and put the romas and any grapes we plant in the side beds with cages as needed.
The rest of the garden is growing like crazy with daily watering.
The half-assed string trellis here is already sagging, so I'm hoping to replace it with a traditional wooden ladder trellis. I'll re-use the stakes and twine to help shore up the sprawly grape tomato plant.

The cucumber is climbing the gates quite nicely!

bell, sweet banana, and serrano peppers

zucchini takeover!

seriously freakish zucchini…I gave two away at work


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Just when I thought we were done

I figured we were finished with major garden additions for the year and then I went to work one day last week and found two tomato plants on my desk. One of my coworkers had brought them as a gift for Nico, so of course I had to find a spot for them. This past Sunday I got another carload of bricks from the free brick lady, dug out the last of the giant tansy plants, and added the supposedly-last raised bed section. Nico and I went to get dirt on Monday and planted the tomatoes yesterday evening. I have learned my lesson…I'm not going to say we're done for the year this time. Just in case.

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giant tansy plants (seriously, don't plant these unless you're okay with them taking over completely)

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The left is a chocolate cherry tomato plant and the right is a Ferris Wheel.

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whole garden, taken before we put in the dirt and plants

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gourds and blackberries…big change in only ten days!

cucumbers climbing
cucumbers starting to climb

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He kept calling this giant zucchini leaf his "green flower." I guess we need to work on plant anatomy.

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Saturday, June 2, 2012

crowd control

I was google chatting about gardens with evil ducky the other day and mentioned that I needed to get some big tomato cages for my tomatoes. She told me that she's trying the Florida weave method with hers and sent me this helpful tutorial:

I thought it looked like a great option for my long raised bed with the single row of tomatoes down the center, so I set it up today. I used 5-foot T stakes and 1/4" sisal twine from Rural King.

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I bought two 50' balls of twine and used one entire ball. I'll probably only have room for two more lines of twine, so one more 50' ball should do it. I have my brandywine and black cherry plants in the back bed set up with the triangular cages I bought back in 2009. I liked them then, but am finding they haven't held up very well. They're hard to set up and keep hooked together, and I'm not convinced they'll bear weight well when the plants get huge. Time will tell, I guess, just like with the Florida weave. If any of my four volunteer tomato plants survive, I'll have test plots for three kinds of containment options, as my dad gave me seven big traditional round cages he had stored in the garage from my parents' gardening days, many years ago.

While I was working on plant containment, I also assembled a string trellis for my blackberry plant. I'm not sure it's going to hold up well over time, but if not I can replace it with a traditional ladder trellis next year.

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I also set up the cucumber gates, though it was probably a little early to do so:

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Some photos to show off how much the plants have grown - I probably should thin out that overcrowded zucchini bed, but I can't bring myself to dig out a healthy plant.

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I'll keep you posted on how the Florida weave works out. Oh! And we have our first green tomatoes, on the grape tomato plant. Hooray!

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