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Old June 19, 2018   #1
b54red
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Default Best early season ever

Finally after over forty years of gardening I have had a spectacular first half of the season. Although I cut down on the number of tomato, cucumber and squash plants I set out this year all of them have produced far more than any year I can remember. Even my beans did spectacularly well. Pests have been minor as well as foliage diseases. Usually by this time of the year I am in full fight mode against both and I am sure that is coming up soon; but for now it is wonderful. We had a long spell with cool nights and my tomatoes set very heavily so much so that I had to cull a lot of small fruit from clusters that were way overloaded. Despite that I still made as many or more large fruits as I ever have. I think I have gotten all the large ones off the vines now that I picked that 2 lb Virginia Sweet yesterday and now can settle in to a more leisurely pace of harvesting. The cucumbers should slow down soon now that we are getting some days in the upper 90s and I don't know how much longer the squash can make it without the dreaded squash vine borer.

We did have one spell of 12 days in a row of rain at least once but more often several times a day and I feared the season would be a mess but I had very few splitting fruits during that time and have had to do almost no watering except for a two week dry spell. I couldn't have asked for better rainfall amounts as the tomatoes have been wonderfully tasty with nary a watery mushy one so far.

I know that writing this down is just asking ror a complete reversal of the good fortune I have had this year; but I just couldn't resist after all the seasons of constant recurring problems in the garden. I have had a good many very successful seasons but not without a fight. It is really a rare thing down here to have this kind of wonderful four months of gardening success without the constant distractions of fighting numerous pests and relentless diseases. I know that it is too much to hope to see this again in my lifetime and I am just thankful to have had the experience.

Now that I have gotten that off my chest it is time to get ready for the flood of pests and foliage diseases that are just around the bend.

Bill
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Old June 19, 2018   #2
Koala Doug
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Congratulations!


Here's to hoping that the back-half of your season will also be great.


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Old June 19, 2018   #3
SueCT
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How wondeful! Good to know it can happen, even if it is rare. We live for those years, lol. I wonder if the decreased planting with more space between plants contributed to it? I have a small garden and am always trying to get myself to cut back so I have less problems with disease, but always find myself trying to squeeze in just a couple more anyway, lol.
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Old June 19, 2018   #4
GrowingCoastal
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Congratulations on your good fortune! A year to remember for sure and I hope that future years will be as good for you.
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Old June 19, 2018   #5
imp
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good, it's always a happy time to have a garden produce exceptionally well. I hope your second half of the season is also great.
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Old June 19, 2018   #6
b54red
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Originally Posted by SueCT View Post
How wondeful! Good to know it can happen, even if it is rare. We live for those years, lol. I wonder if the decreased planting with more space between plants contributed to it? I have a small garden and am always trying to get myself to cut back so I have less problems with disease, but always find myself trying to squeeze in just a couple more anyway, lol.
I actually didn't space anything out but used smaller beds for my tomatoes this year. As a matter of fact I was out this morning trying to prune back some of my plants as they are so close together that air flow is a real problem. I was in the process of trying to rebuild my favorite tomato bed which is 44 feet long and just finished it a week ago. I now have it filled in and ready to be planted but this is a miserable time of the year to set anything but okra out. I will use it for some late bell peppers and tomatoes for fall if they can survive the plant out.

I really had no idea how much I would enjoy having a short break from the constant disease and pest pressure. One of my sons lives in Mobile and has a constant battle with caterpillars this year and my nephew living just a mile away has been battling rats in his tomatoes. It certainly isn't as painful listening to woes as experiencing them.

Bill
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Old June 19, 2018   #7
PaulF
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Good news for you!
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there's two things money can't buy; true love and home grown tomatoes.
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Old June 19, 2018   #8
wildcat62
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Good news Bill
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Old June 19, 2018   #9
hl2601
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Bill that's terrific. It makes the hard years worth it!
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Old June 20, 2018   #10
MuddyToes
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doing the happy dance of joy for you. Congratulations! I’m having a good season so far, too. Haven’t even seen a groundhog around here lately.
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Old June 23, 2018   #11
b54red
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Wow have things changed in the tomato picking in the past week. We have been having near 100 degree days each day for a week and the bulk of my tomatoes are now just putting out a few ripe ones because most of them were picked the last week of May and first two weeks of June. I have gone from picking 3 to 4 gallons of tomatoes a day to 3 or 4 tomatoes a day. I still have a fair number of tomatoes on my older plants and they are setting some new ones but not like they did earlier. I have a new bed of tomatoes that I set out in mid to late May and they are setting fairly good so in a few weeks they should provide me with some more tomatoes.

My beans are about finished and I have already pulled half my squash plants due to SVB. My cucumbers are still producing fairly well but even they have dropped off drastically. Pretty soon all I will be dealing with will be tomatoes, peppers and okra. It won't be as exciting but in the heat of summer down here who needs too much excitement.

Bill
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Old June 23, 2018   #12
Spartanburg123
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Fantastic news on your garden! Mine is so far "meh", but they are coming on. My Crowder Peas are just going nuts!
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Old June 25, 2018   #13
Nan_PA_6b
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Having a good early season here too: normally, tomatoes start coming in the end of July/beginning of August. This year I've got F2's of a cross I made and they're super early, so tomatoes are starting to roll in now. There is a manageable amount of septoria, only 1 plant really succumbing. Sugar snap peas are a great treat; most don't make it to the house. I remembered to harvest the goumi berries and currants this year, and the rhubarb is going great.

Nan
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Old June 26, 2018   #14
b54red
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nan_PA_6b View Post
Having a good early season here too: normally, tomatoes start coming in the end of July/beginning of August. This year I've got F2's of a cross I made and they're super early, so tomatoes are starting to roll in now. There is a manageable amount of septoria, only 1 plant really succumbing. Sugar snap peas are a great treat; most don't make it to the house. I remembered to harvest the goumi berries and currants this year, and the rhubarb is going great.

Nan
Congratulations Nan. Aren't those first couple of weeks great when the tomatoes start ripening left and right? We have not entered the summer doldrums period after over a week of days hitting 98 or above for eight days in a row with no rain yet high humidity. By 8 am it is almost too hot to breath in the garden and it stays that way until daylight each day. We got a bit of rain last night and I am hoping it will cool it off a bit for a day or two.

Bill

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Old July 25, 2018   #15
b54red
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Well I have been totally surprised after a couple of weeks of slow ripening about two weeks ago I started picking fairly high numbers of ripe fruits again and it has continued through today. I don't see how this can go much longer as most of my older vines have been hit pretty hard by spider mites and there aren't that many green ones left on them; but the small bed planted out in late May is now putting out a decent amount. Since we have already put up all the tomatoes we will be able to use we have been giving most of this unexpected bounty to friends, neighbors and relatives. I do hope I can keep getting enough fresh tomatoes for fresh eating right up until the plants freeze.
I set out a few plants just a week ago in an attempt to have fall tomatoes after the TYLCV disaster that hit my tomatoes in mid summer last year and just wiped out any chances of good fruit at summers end and into the fall.

Bill
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