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Problems of first year garden

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Problems of first year garden

Post  ernieordoris on 3/2/2012, 6:35 pm

Planted 360 square feet last year in Abq area. Best garden ever for me: over 40 tomato plants produced 2-3000 tomatoes which resulted in 130 quarts of salsa, etc. However, there were a few problems:

1. Tomato worms. Suggestions ??

2. Couple tomato plants had wilt. Suggestions ??

3. 4-5 plants had blossom rot. Spraying with calcium product seemed to help. Does this prove a calcium shortage? If so, what is best to treat soil with before planting this year? Local nursery guy thinks I watered too much and caused by root rot. I did not think this possible with Sq Ft Garden?

4. Ph???? Tried to measure Ph with an electronic gadget and kit from Home Depot. Measurements varied from 7 to 7.6. No confidence in the accuracy. If we add a calcium product due to blossom rot above...will this raise the Ph too high?

5. Want to plant seeds directly into garden soil asap. Plan to lay clear or black (?) plastic on top of soil for week or so to warm up soil before planting. Plan to leave plastic laying on top of soil for 5 days (after planting) and remove prior to germination in favor of a plastic "tent" over each garden area. Can adjust height of tent as plants grow and leave on as long as weather requires. Comments please.

6. Chile did well.

7. Corn was pretty much a failure. Grew tall plants, but little corn and what we had was stunted. Help?

Very excited....thanks for your help in advance.
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Re: Problems of first year garden

Post  curio on 3/2/2012, 6:44 pm

I don't have all the answers, but can tell you a few things.

Calcium will raise the pH. Your pH is already a bit high for many of the veggies to really love it, but it must have been ok if they did ok.

I would lift the plastic within a day or so of sowing those seeds, to get air circulation under there. If you have a lot of sun, be very careful to vent the tent so you don't cook the seedlings.

Corn does better if planted in blocks rather than long narrow bands (think 2 squares x 2 squares rather than four in a row). Sometimes it helps to shake the plants when the tassels form to loosen the pollen. Do this on a day that's not breezy. You can also break off one of the pollen stems and rub it all over the young tassels to help with pollination. If they were stunted, I'd be thinking about soil condition or something toxic getting either in the soil or on the plants. If it was just that all the kernels weren't enlarged, that is a pollination issue.

There are so many things that can cause blights. One of the most common is getting the leaves wet, or allowing water to splash up on the leaves from the ground when watering.

There are some companion plants that will help with hornworms... but handpicking might be the best option. You might try putting netting over all the plants and anchoring it to the ground to keep the moths that lay the eggs that produce the hornworms from getting to them.

I'm sure others will have more (possibly better) information.
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Re: Problems of first year garden

Post  sfg4uKim on 3/2/2012, 6:46 pm

Hi and welcome to the Forum.

I'm sure someone will come along soon & answer your questions. I'm heading out of the house right now, but wanted to say HI!

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Re: Problems of first year garden

Post  Luci Dawson on 3/2/2012, 6:52 pm

welcome welcome welcome ernieordoris!!!!

I, too, live in ABQ and will be starting my very first garden this year so I can't help answer your questions. But you'll find other Forum members will soon be chiming in to share their knowledge.

We have so many micro-climates in the ABQ area that sometimes it's like being in a different zone all together! What part of the city do you live in?
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Re: Problems of first year garden

Post  quiltbea on 3/2/2012, 8:51 pm

Last year some of my toms started to show Blossom End Rot so I sprinkled a handful of powdered milk around each plant and scratched it into the surface and watered it in. The next growth of tomatoes did NOT have BER. Coincidence? Maybe not. I believe it was the direct dose of calcium in the powdered milk. I'll do it again this year if it starts showing up.
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powered milk

Post  curio on 3/2/2012, 10:30 pm

Good tip... I'll have to remember it just in case. Smile
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Re: Problems of first year garden

Post  Lindacol on 3/2/2012, 11:40 pm

I used Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) spray. I sprayed only about 3 times, when I found a hornworm, then would find several dead/dying in the next few days.
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Re: Problems of first year garden

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 3/3/2012, 7:29 am

An other home remedy you can try for blossom end rot is put a crushed egg shell in the planting hole or sprinkle bone meal in the bed. I tend to notice blossom end rot on the first flush of tomatoes and after that they are fine. Nature will take care of tomato horn worms if you have an organic garden. There is a fly that puts its eggs in the caterpillar, looks really gross while nature is running its course (let it.) Hand picking works well, as does a penny a bug for the neighbor kids. If you have trouble finding the worms look for their frass (that is polite for caterpillar poo.) Good luck for an other stellar year.

Patty from Yorktown
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thanks

Post  ernieordoris on 3/3/2012, 7:33 am

Hi Patty:

Thanks for your advice so early this am. ernie
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Re: Problems of first year garden

Post  Mamachibi on 3/3/2012, 8:31 am

Two years ago a friend of mine lost all but a handful of her tomatoes to BER. Last year, instead of starting her seeds in peat pots, she started them in eggshells and had no BER. She swears that was the "cure" and plans to do that from now on.
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Re: Problems of first year garden

Post  walshevak on 3/3/2012, 8:40 am

Did she transplant eggshell and all. If so that goes with Patty from Yorktown's practice of putting crushed eggshells in the planting hole. :scratch: very interesting. I've been putting eggshells in the blender before putting into the worm bin. Sounds like something to do when transplanting tomatos.

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Re: Problems of first year garden

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/3/2012, 12:20 pm

Did she transplant eggshell and all.

I remember that my Mother used to start tomato seedlings in the house in eggshells, but I can't remember whether she transplanted the seedlings still in the eggshell or not. If you plant the seedling with the shell, do you need to break up or crack the eggshells before planting? Do you think the roots can break through the eggshells if not broken somehow?

I really want to hear more.
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Re: Problems of first year garden

Post  walshevak on 3/3/2012, 1:03 pm

The shells have got to be broken. No way the plant could go through it. But how easy that would be. Just crumble the shell as you transplant.

Kay

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Re: Problems of first year garden

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/3/2012, 1:08 pm

Thanks, Walshevak

That makes sense to me. I wish I remembered more of my Mother's gardening wisdom.
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First yr garden in Alb.--Tomatos & Canning

Post  Laurie Lou on 3/9/2012, 6:09 am

What a bonanza of tomatoes! This is my first year at SFG. How many different tomato species did you plant? How did you cope with canning that huge yield? I'm new to canning, too. This is my first year canning anything other than jam. I can use any organizational tips that you can share. I will have 3 teens to help me--and maybe my 20yo and/or my 21yo, too, so I'll have lots of competent hands to share the work.
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Re: Problems of first year garden

Post  Mamachibi on 3/9/2012, 7:46 am

@walshevak wrote:Did she transplant eggshell and all.

Yes, she did. She said she cracked the shells in her hand as they went in the ground but didn't crush them because she was afraid of damaging the roots.
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