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Old March 13, 2009   #1
vermiit
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Default I'm planting out this weekend in teepees!!

I have the teepee's set out, my first time using them. I'm putting my plants in the ground this weekend! Not absolutely all, some of my seedlings didn't get the first transplant yet: they took their sweet time coming up, so they don't have a head start. I'm also double planting a number of them.

Anybody use teepees? I'm expecting I'll need to take them off in a month, which may not be worth the cost at all - other than satisfying my impatience .

I'm really excited about this year's toms. Last year was such a disappointment, and I wasn't as good of a tomato mom as I should have been.

How is everyone else doing??
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Old March 14, 2009   #2
habitat_gardener
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I finally planted my seeds today! I have room for 12, usually fit in 18-20, but planted 42 tomato varieties and 6 pepper varieties. I did need to test my saved seeds for germination, and I figure I can give away plants. I built a bubblewrap greenhouse around them, and surrounded it with gallons of water. Nighttime temperatures have been in the 30s this week, and are expected to be in the 40s next week, so I'll have to get to the garden each morning to open up the bubblewrap, then close it up at night.

I also planted a Caspian Pink seedling this week. Usually I plant a few too early and use walls-o-water to protect them, graduating to bubblewrapped cages when they get over a foot high. Last year, my CP was almost 4 ft. high when I removed the bubble wrap on April 17, because I needed it for smaller plants and thought the CP was big enough to fend for itself. It wasn't. When I went back to my garden a couple days later, most of it had frozen. I don't think the temperatures got below freezing, but we have windy afternoons and the wind chill did it in. All the tomatoes that had plastic-wrapped cages, even if they were open to the sky, were fine. It eventually recovered enough to produce 2 tomatoes, so I saved seeds, but when I saw one at the garden center I couldn't resist.

Last year was an odd year for tomatoes. Even though I planted early with WOWs, I had hardly anything before August, and none of the cherry tomato plants produced much. But I've used WOWs other years, and in 2007 I had tomatoes from 9 out of 16 varieties in June. That year, I was out in the wind and rain all of March and April, securing the stakes and redoing the plastic and bubble wrap, and it turned out to be worth it.

One more thing: The only possible problem with WOWs is that when the weather warms up in the daytime, the tubes of water become mosquito germination chambers. So when you see the little larvae swimming around, just fold back the top. By then, it should be warm enough for the seedling. I've also tried putting netting or screen material over them, but it's easier to fold over the edges. THe other thing is that weeds also like the added heat.

I know someone who leaves the WOWs all season, since we have relatively cool summers. I tried that one year with Black Krim, and it worked ok, but it was harder to use a cage, and once the tomato plant leafed out, harder to go after weeds.

I've also tried WOWs with other vegetables, especially cucurbits. I learned it's not worth starting cucumbers and summer squash early here, because a later start avoids the first generation of squash bugs and cucumber beetles. I've seen no squash bugs and hardly any cucumber beetles since I started putting out cucurbits later! Also, cucurbits seem to be more susceptible to molds when there's limited air circulation.

Last edited by habitat_gardener; March 14, 2009 at 03:35 AM.
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Old March 14, 2009   #3
vermiit
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Oh, awesome to hear habitat g! I'm in Central Valley, and yes, the temps in the night go down into the 30's (frost this last week!) and up into the 40's this next week. Wow, 4' by April 17! Here, the last official frost date is around tax day.

I had the same results as you last year...it was odd.

I would LOVE to have toms by June!

This year my plant list is:

C-Tex
Goose Creek
KBX
Black Trifele
Marianna's Peace
Indian Stripe
Super Italian Paste
Speckled Roman
Black Cherry
Tigerella
Carbon
Berkeley Tie Dye
Beauty King
OR117
Black Krim
Black Zebra
Sungold
Lemon Boy
Coustralee
Mikado
Purple Cherokee
'Red' Cherokee

and two that were mis-named or ?. One was supposed to be Purple Cherokee from the nursery, but is red, and I've grown it and saved seed for a couple of years now. Another I had seed called it Burrakers from a trade, but it's not, but both are good producers and tasty!

I got seed here for Yellow Submarine and Tom's Yellow Wonder, but the seed never came up. Darn. Next year!
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Old March 26, 2009   #4
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Howdy folks,

I wanted to let you know that I gave Vermiit's mystery "NOT Burracker's" tomato a new name -- "Diana's Garnet Gem". Felt like it needed a more descriptive name, and it really is a gem!

Hope your seasons are starting off okay! Anyone heard from Green Thumb Gal recently?
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Old March 27, 2009   #5
vermiit
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Wow, how can I not like a name like that?? You'll have to let me know how it does for you this year!

In the cages that have only 1 tomato seems so lonely all my itself, as opposed to the ones I'm doubling, I'm tempted to try new things at the nursery to keep them company!

I'm thinking this weekend, I'll get the rest planted out that I've started from seed, but were slower to germinate.

I love this time of year!
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Old March 27, 2009   #6
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I checked my cold frame today and I have little tomato sprouts in about 18 of the 42 pots, but no peppers yet. It's been overcast a lot, so I've been opening up the bubblewrap only to mist them. I also sprinkled them with cinnamon today (as an antifungal).

The two tomato seedlings I planted in WOWs have already grown to the tops, so I've added a foot of bubble wrap to each. I also got a half-inch-high tomato seedling from someone at the community garden this weekend, so it's in another wow and already an inch high. They seem to double in size each week!

Some of the native wildflowers and perennials I planted on the same day as my tomato and pepper seeds have come up: 3 gilia species, desert bluebells, and a native buckwheat.
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Old March 27, 2009   #7
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Well, already two of my teepees have collapsed, and smooshed my tomato plants! I don't know if the plastic was faulty, or could be the strong winds, but I just found the 2nd one. The first recovered the next day, and I'm keeping the emptied plastic around it, mostly to deter my chickens when they're loose.

Sometimes we'll get these little whirlwinds when the winds start blowing. One time it knocked over a neighbors ceramic sculpture that must have weighed a couple hundred pounds!
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Old March 28, 2009   #8
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Wow, Diana! The wind sounds fearsome.

I hope your little plants make it through okay. I'm several weeks "behind" you - wanting to plant out by sometime in May. Plants always look lonely to me, too, when planting only one in a big cage. Then again, some of Brad's babies can be so vigorous that they claim cage space belonging to some other variety nearby.

I think you had wanted seeds for Pork Chop, but I managed to not get your address. If there are others you want, feel free to see if I might have them. Mail goes to me at BetsyLT AT gmail.com or through Facebook.

I'm really glad to be back in touch with you! Hurray!

P.S. If you haven't ever met the tomatoman (Tony Lord) in Orangevale, you may want to check out his operation. We swapped some seeds & plants last year. Great guy!
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Old March 28, 2009   #9
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Hi Betsy! Yes, we should see if we have seeds we can swap for next year's garden. I don't know Tony Lord, does he post here? This year, I swear, I'm going to make it to Brad's, if he has the tomato tasting at his place again.

And another teepee bit the dust, and started smooshing my Black Trifeles. The bottoms start bulging out, having lost the pressed plastic seams, sigh. Hopefully this warm weather stays, and we're done with frost!
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Old March 28, 2009   #10
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vermiit, have you ever tried these? They're easy to make, don't collapse, and they're cheap to make too. Make them as tall or small as you want.

Woody’s Folding Tomato Cages

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Old March 29, 2009   #11
vermiit
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Thanks, Robin, yes I've seen those! But it's the teepees that are collapsing, not my cages. Those are really nice though! It would certainly look better than my rusting metal cages...
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Old May 9, 2009   #12
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Any progress photos to share? I just can't get enough of tomatoes!
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