Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tying up more branches from the tomato plants

Tying up more branches from the tomato plants. Becky took this just before we headed over to Lake Nokomis to get in our regular exercise.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hydroponic Tomatoes in AutoPots are Growing Strong

I planted six tomato plants, all of differing type, into three Hydroponic AutoPots about 9 weeks ago. Initially, I was concerned that the water reservoir could not deliver enough water pressure to feed 6 plants. I was wrong. Well, sort of. I've raised the reservoir about 18 inches by placing bricks under it.

My tomatoes are growing strong. I've been getting ripe tomatoes for a couple of weeks now. My neighbor planted tomatoes about the same time I did. He still has not picked ripe tomatoes. Of course, I'm using high-quality nutrients in my hydroponic system, and he's gardening organically.

My plants are growing really tall, and, as I mentioned a few days ago, I've had to place a tall stake in the ground and run string to the branches that want to lay on the ground. I've got them all tied up.

This week, the aphids attacked one of my plants. I've been spraying them with soapy water. I also had a new beetle eating my asparagus, which you can see in the above photo. Soapy water spray seems to have worked on them as well.

I've found I'm using about 12 gallons of nutrient water per week for six plants. I need to clean the filter each time the reservoir empties. I also need to rinse out the reservoir between refills. I let it go bone dry before refilling it, but I keep a close watch, and it's never dry long.

I think this is how pod people got started

You've probably seen that movie "Pod People." I think this is how it got started. My buttercup squash really starting to plump up.

Friday, July 18, 2008

My mutant tomato

I ate this tomato yesterday. I think it was two tomatoes that fused at birth. It was huge, but oh so tasty.


Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm pole vaulting over my tomatoes

Click to enlarge the photo.

We had a bad storm here a few nights ago, and my tomatoes took a beating in the wind. Luckily, non of the branches broke off, but a couple of plants did turn over.

My mom was right. These cages Randy loaned me are not beg enough to contain the ever growing branches. So, I planted a couple of 6' poles and rigged a pulley system for the branches that want to lay on the ground. Now, as they grow, I can pull the string up a little to keep them all tidy.

The Squash and Cucumber update

On the non-hydroponic side of the garden...

My squash continues to get completely carried away with this whole growing thing. I mean, come on. How long does this thing need to be to pop out a couple of buttercup squash? You can see that the squash is not content to occupy one trellis, and is heading for the other.

My cucumbers are being much more reasonable. I now have cucumbers that look like strangely like pickles- hmmmmm....

My first hydroponic tomato

Here it is: My first tomato from my six hydroponically grown tomato plants. It's a little small, but it sure was tasty. I actually ate two tomatoes from this plant (Burpe Big Boy) over the weekend.


Jane's Orchid

This is an orchid that Jane gave to Becky, who wants Jane to see how lovely it's bloomed.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Trellis for squash update

Click on photos to enlarge.

Both my mom and my next door neighbor, Randy, whose house you can see in the background of the trellis photos, recommended that I not have the trellis facing each other. I buried a 2 x 4 behind the middle of each trellis, screwed the trellises to the board and buried the trellis' legs as deep as they would go. Hopefully, this will be enough to keep them from blowing over in a storm. I guess I'll need to plan on removing these in the late Fall.

I expanded the growing area out a few feet. The hoe gave me a dime-sized blister (yikes, that could be taken wrong).

Now, Chaz can rest next to the squash without fear of being grabbed by its inappropriately-touching tentacles. lol.

Behind Chaz (in the photo below), you can see that my asparagus is growing with vigor. Too bad I chose such a bad spot to plant it. Can it survive relocation?

My tomatoes are doing well. I've been pulling off the suckers, but I could have done a better job pruning early on. Here's an excellent article on tomato plant pruning that I wish I would have read a couple of months ago.

Below, you can see that some of my hydroponic tomatoes are already starting to turn yellowish-red. Will I have a tomato to eat next weekend?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Stand back, I'm not sure how big this thing gets.

Click to enlarge photo.

"Stand back, I'm not sure how big this thing gets." That's the punchline to a joke about Adam and Eve. You'll figure it out.

I need to figure out what to do with my squash and cucumbers. Remember, I'm a novice gardener sharing the lessons I'm learning. I decided to grow buttercup squash after watching a cooking show where they were baked in butter. Mmmmm sooo good.

I wanted squash. I had no idea this thing grows to the size of a giant squid that could eat Mobby Dick. It's coming into the yard, which I've not watered because I don't want the grass to grow around it. How big does this thing get? It's been in the ground for over a month and I think it's heading for my neighbor's yard across the street. It's reaching out and strangling everything within reach, and it's growing so fast! I told Chaz, my dog in the photo, to be careful. It would grab him. He bravely ignored the danger and plopped down beside it.

I went to Home Depot and purchased these two trellises. I'm not sure what to do with them yet. I'm going to show this photo to my mom and see what she says. What I think I want to do is to place one on each end of the growing monstrosities (facing each other). Then, put some twine between the two and allow them to wide up the trellis' in a couple of stacks. I've already got some squash growing (larger than a golf ball). I'm wondering if their weight will need to be supported.

Also, I think I'll dig out the grass around the garden so I can mow around the garden easier.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Clogged filter

Click on photo to enlarge.

Wow, I learned a hard lesson today. When I came home, I found all 6 tomato plants shriveled up and wilted over starving like Ben Stein's career.

I opened the float covers, and they were dry, even though my reservoir was half full. I pulled the tube off of the first T-fitting, and it barely dribbled out. There was obviously a clog some place.

I opened the filter that's on the end of the tube inside the reservoir. The foam piece inside the filter box was covered with a pasty slime. I cleaned the filter and replaced the water for good measure. This fixed the problem.

So, note to all Autopot users, clean your filter at least once per month. Just take it out and give it a good rinse.