July 17, 2014 at 4:34 pm #19029
Freedom – before I go and start to bale hay here’s what I can tell you about growing tomatoes in South Florida.
First of all, seasons are almost reversed from where I am in South Florida with many vegetables because they can not take the extended heat and humidity. It stresses the plants, they become unhealthy, the bugs attack and then – poof! That’s it. Some vegetables also need cooler nights in order to set fruit. Particularly important to get the right variety of veggies when growing down there.
Now, I don’t like tomatoes. But I grew a lot of them when in South Florida for family and friends. I planted them, however, in September through end of March. By end of May it was becoming too hot and humid to bother with them.If you are trying to grow them during the summer Freedom, that itself is a problem. If you aren’t growing a very heat resistant variety like Solarset or Sunmaster – that’s another. The Sunmaster sets at 87-96F and can take nights of 73-82. Lots of varieties can not. If you are trying to grow a heat resistant variety like one of those during the summer anyway, and want the challenge, then…..consider growing them in a pot within a pot which will help keep the soil temperature much cooler. If you just plant in a container in that heat the soil will get too hot and the plants will not thrive…and then they will attract the bugs. Put the pot with tomatoes inside a bigger pot (no soil). You might also paint the outside of the larger pot white as I did. Then, either put them in either a semi-shady spot where they will get about 6 hours of slightly dappled sunlight a day (not late afternoon full sun) – or get some shade cloth at 80-90 percent if you don’t have any shade. Fertilize them with appropriate fertilizer (make sure they get calcium and magnesium with that or you will have end rot) every 10 days or so and water as needed , which should be every other sometimes every day. That’s the only way I ever got any tomatoes in summer down there and even then I didn’t get the abundance of them I did when planting in fall and winter/early, early spring.
If you really love tomatoes, just bite the bullet and build a wood frame that gives them plenty of room (assume determinate (not vining) variety) and staple very fine gauge mesh all over the sides and top. Once the flowers have been pollinated and you don’t see the flowers anymore(of course you could do that yourself), then put the mesh cage over them – keeps most bugs from laying eggs on them or others eating them). If you do want to try growing in hot summer you can use the frame to support shade cloth if needed.
Hope that helps. I presume you have the most problems in summer Freedom. If you have problems at other times of year let me know and I will talk about that more specifically. Hope that helps.July 22, 2014 at 12:30 pm #19604
I was super busy the last two weeks. Got back from Asia to Europe and had to catch up with lots of people. Its great to be back, but feels like time is running too fast and before I know it I will be on a plane heading east again. (Not flying over the Ukraine but usually over ISIS controlled areas in Iraq).
I love the food here, the cooler weather and that I get back to doing more sports now. I run every day or hike up a mountain for a bit. Rainy today but finally a day to get some things done again. Going to edit the new article from Selco now.
Alea iacta est ("The die has been cast")July 26, 2014 at 1:26 pm #20279
Off I go to the monthly meeting of our ‘community trail’ group. We’ve now come to a wide stream and intend to use a tractor to move some boulders about as impediments and mark the trees we might need to fell in the future to limit access.
The its back into the fields to preposition wrapped round bales for the coming winter (I leave them wrapped until needed but they are already in place. Saves tractor work in bad weather); harvest more from garden, wash, sort and lay out to dry then business paperwork. Unh.
Enjoy your day all!July 27, 2014 at 11:58 pm #20372
Just got back from three days in the mountains.
The family went out for the weekend, refining the camping gear, adapting some and figuring out what needs to be built over the winter.August 3, 2014 at 3:56 pm #20952
My dog stepped on and broke some aloe leaves. I decided to cut them properly from the plants. Took the leaves and made some Aloe vera gel. Took less than 5 minutes to cut the sides, cut in half through the length and scoop the gel into blue glass jars. This time I’ve added Vit.C (powered) to one and drop of Grape seed oil to the other. Going to see, if I can, if it makes is difference over time to preserve it.August 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm #20955
Catching up on field and garden record keeping I’ve let go. Harvesting more potatoes later. Canned this morning. Then to friends for dinner and back to do some garden work and planting for fall.September 13, 2014 at 8:49 pm #24778
Spring time – it has been 30 degrees celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) everyday for more than a week. I’ve got five patches of seeds that is about 1 cm high. Herb garden also doing well. More seeds in the ground, keeping them wet. Some veg. seeds I started in the house about a month ago, now about 30 cm high, doing well outside.
I worked on my outside wall today. Closing every single gap where people can look in. Replaced some locks inside the house. Decided what is worth while still doing on the property before putting it up for sale. Lots of to do lists.September 14, 2014 at 11:22 am #24790
I got up, had some yummy vegetarian food with my wife, went to the gym and now time to work. I have finally a routine since a long time and its so nice to get back on track be productive. We still have rainy season here and almost every day we have thunderstorms coming through, good thing though is that they just last a few minutes or up to an hour and two hours later everything is pretty much dry again.
Alea iacta est ("The die has been cast")September 14, 2014 at 12:37 pm #24793
Today I’m going to pick more apples from my trees today and set them aside in the potting shed for making cider in a couple weeks. I’ve got a small cider press. http://www.happyvalleyranch.com/Homesteader-PressbrbrComplete-with-Grinder_p_9.html A week ago I set some aside and will process them as my first batch in another week. As much as I like cider, my real goal is to start making vinegar that I can use for canning. Come a long term SHTF scenario when we’re on our own, the ability to preserve food will be critical, and though I keep a lot of vinegar set aside, it’ll run out quickly enough if I am canning hundreds of jars. After I’m done harvesting apples this autumn, I plan to trim the trees while the leaves are still on them so that I can see them better. I never trim enough when I do it late winter/early spring because visually I’m just not seeing where it’s too thick. I know how to do it in theory but I always get hesitant when I’m standing there with loppers and a saw in my hand.September 14, 2014 at 12:50 pm #24795
Its almost to hard to prep and work at the same time. Its 36F this morning in the wonderful NE. I’ve got to go clean my chimney. Only one time a year and its a climbing exercise.September 15, 2014 at 9:23 am #24811
Brulen I used to do the climbing thing (and heights and I don’t get along well together). Then I bought a tool to be able to do it from the inside of the house – much better. Of course I did have to get up there and repair some of the mortar joints this summer. Hope all went well- thankless but necessary job.September 15, 2014 at 11:05 am #24818
I cheat & just hire someone to come clean the chimney (I have the brush to do it myself if I have to, and did so many years ago when I have more energy than money). This year there’s also some repairs to do on the bricks. The service call is in. Just waiting to get into their schedule.September 15, 2014 at 11:08 am #24819
tweva, a question for you that you may have missed when I posted it a few days ago. What % screen are the shade cloths you use on your greenhouse? I need to get one but am confused by the sheer variety of what is available.September 15, 2014 at 11:13 am #24820
Just guessing here but in Vt you’re probably not going to need as heavy a screen as Tweva does in the DC climate.September 15, 2014 at 12:59 pm #24827
Mountainbiker – here is the most concise link I could find to explain about shade cloth in all of it’s forms.
Here’s a great article on growing tomatoes under shade cloth in the NE (tomatoes were a problem for you if I recall, correct?)
If the problem is leaf scald/splitting I would use shade cloth – and in your case I would use black (some heat will still be retained) as long as the house is well ventilated with air movement and start with 30%. With a short growing season at your latitude you would need heat and light but the shade cloth will help mitigate leaf scald I would think. The white shade cloth (I use that in high heat summers – but this summer it was much cooler so I used black) reflects sunlight and reduces heat inside the house. I would think that you will only need to use the cloth in the hottest part of the growing season – and perhaps only on certain days. Greenhouse growing is truly an art!
My shade cloth is attached to the roof line of the small greenhouse in a channel I rigged up/attached to it that allows me to pull the shade cloth much like a shower curtain and then secure it. Some days I don’t slide it over until shortly after noon-time.
it would be worth a call to a local grower or your ag agent and see what is working best in your climate. I used 30% this summer as it was much cooler – last few years it was much, much hotter (many upper 90 and 100 degree days) and I used 50 and 70%.
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