Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rainy Day Update

I braved the mist to check on the garden today to find the pink slime mold stuff mentioned earlier. Other than that, the peas, Roma II beans, yellow squash, butternut and peppers are all looking good. Speaking of peppers, a couple days ago I got a couple more bells so now I've got 3 bell peppers and one jalapeno. Oh speaking of the other day, I also planted some okra, zucchini and replanted my pickling cukes. For some reason the pickling cukes are not coming up, whereas my spacemaster slicing cukes are starting to go crazy... 3 inches tall crazy that is.

What else is new... Oh yes, yesterday I thawed out some cleaned catfish that were given to my in-laws for a fish fry that they'll never use. Anyways, I dug a hole beside the tomato plants down below the roots about arm size and shoved a fish down the hole. One per plant. I remember hearing that a fish carcass per tomato plant was beneficial to the plants when I was a kid so I'm going with it. We'll see what happens. Of course, I filled back in the hole.

Staying on the tomato topic, my tomatoes look like crap. They've been in the ground for just over a month now and they are turning brown. The lowest leaves started turning first and originally I thought it was because they were really close to the soil. Well, I snipped them off thinking that would fix the problem. It didn't. I did some research and there are a couple things I think could be wrong.

First, I thought maybe the soil was too acidic because I used a lot of peat for the soil mix in my raised beds. I was told to add some gypsum and maybe some limestone and I'll keep that in consideration.

Second, and the reason I added the fish, I think there may not be enough nutrients in the soil for the tomato plants. It sure is odd that the peppers, peas and beans are looking good when the tomatoes aren't. So I fertilized and gave em some fish to 'digest'.

Third, my raised beds are in an area of the yard that has standing water when it rains, thus the reason I decided to do the raised beds. Anyway, when I dug down to the bottom of the raised bed to insert the catfish carcass, it was wetter than wet. Granted, this about 8 inches down and it had been raining for at least a day. Could roots be too wet?

Last, the garden is on the North side of the house. The tomatoes may not be getting enough light. I have noticed however that the garden gets direct sunlight from about 9am to almost 3 pm and will only get better as the sun gets higher in the sky throughout the season.

It's probably a combination of all these factors... We'll see

On a totally unrelated note, my hops are starting to go nuts. The Chinook was the first to show and in less than a couple of weeks one vine is about 14" tall. The Cascade on the other hand are just starting to show. Both these hops are on the south side of the house in pots. I'm curious to see if they'll produce or if they'll get burned up by the Texas summer heat. Soon I have to run the twine so they can really get after it.

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