Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fall Garden Prep 1

So, as you can see in yesterday's post, the garden's a bit of a mess......but we've been working to get it ready for the Fall growing season. Here's some pics so you can see how's its coming along:

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The first thing I do when getting ready for the fall garden is to plant my tomatoes. Even though Florida has a warm Autumn, it can get chilly in October. Last year on October 29th it got as low as 32 degrees in Ocala. So you must start your tomatoes as early as possible. I start them indoors in August for the opposite reason Northerners start there's indoors in March.....because it's still too hot.

You'll notice that I like to use Park Seeds styrofoam seed starter (with the bio-sponges which are about 7 cents a piece). I love the accuracy, speed, organization and the strength of the plants when I use it. I label each styrofoam tray (I have about 8) with a letter. If you look on the notebook, this one is labeled "X". I wrote the letter "X" on the actual tray as well, so I know which way to read it & match it with my notebook. Now I can keep track of which varieties & how many are planted & where. If some don't pop up....I just re-plant in the same sponge.

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Here's an okra newbie with some great looking root growth all through the bio-sponge. The sponges are made of some kind of sterile medium. Because you only pour water into the tray and not on the plant, it causes the roots to grow down & strong.

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I then transplant them into some peat pots with a mixture of peat moss & potting mix.

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And then it's under the lights until the end of the month. I'm looking to transplant them into the garden the 1st week of September.

You're looking at 54 tomatoes in peat pots on the bottom, 6 okra in peat pots on top left, about 24 assorted peppers still in the sponges top right, and about 12 tomatoes still in the sponges top right. With more on the way.

44 comments:

  1. Wow, Dennis, you are thorough! I've never heard of those sponges, that's pretty neat. do they just disintegrate? You have quite the thorough operation going on. Are ya'll canning all those tomatoes? I have six plants, would love to have ten but not enough room and six keeps me busy! LOL Well not really but I have plenty to eat daily and give some away! Love these blogs, missed you during your missions tour! VN8

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  2. Should I post pics from my mission trips? I didn't see a lot of interests in them when I've posted them before. IDK?

    To answer your questions....yes they do disintergrate.....we haven't canned tomatoes yet, but we just bought some canning supplies and we're planning to this fall. Of course, I've said before that my wife is a vegetarian, so she eats LOTS of tomatoes.

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  3. I'd love to see your pictures from the mission trips and hear all about them! :) VN8

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  4. I like your method of labelling and tracking.
    I grew 50 tomato plants from seed this year and I didn't get my labelling system right so there are some surprises. Which is great in some ways. I had forgotten I had sown Roma but not so good when you don't know which are bush and which are cordon which makes staking them guess work.
    It will be lovely to see your tomatoes growing when the rest of us will be dreaming of next spring !

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  5. So lucky to be able to grow two warn season crops per year. Your starts are looking very healthy as usual. Your vegetarian wife is lucky to have such a good farmer! Once I get off the computer I am going to pack up some seed and send them off tomorrow. If your fall garden starts in 2-3 weeks they need to get there soon.

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  6. Sally- A tomato lover AND qoutes C.S. Lewis! Very nice. Yeah, I visited your site.....loved it. Although the comment thing was weird. Lewis' "Mere Christianity" is the deepest simple book ever. Def one of my favs.

    Dan- The two warm season's is one the few things I like about FL! I am in full Fall planting prep mode right now. I've got some pics coming.

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  7. I'll have to look in to getting some of those Styrofoam seed starters. Seems more efficient than what I use now (tiny terracotta pots set in a tray).

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  8. Fern- Parkseed.com.....get the smallest ones you can. I think the 60 cell is the smallest they're selling right now.

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  9. I used to use the Park sponges when I was raising a lot of seedlings, they really are great.

    This Summer I planted just a few tomatoes and late blight killed all but one. :(

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    7. You probably noticed we like the black tomatoes.yes, they're our favorites Funny2 years ago we didn't even know black tomatoes existed.

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    8. Glade to hear that the seeds arrived finally.Really should have confirmed the address before sending them the first time.

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