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gixxerific
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I'm never growing tomatoes again?!?!?!?!?!?!?

ARGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :x :evil: :(

I can't take it anymore. Every time I go out I throw half or more away. I just picked around 30 or so tomatoes I have 7 in my basket to bring inside. Only 2 of those are perfect the rest are cracked and well not perfect. :x

I found one with some kind of small worm with several eggs sitting next to it and droppings from I believe another worm I couldn't find. Triple trouble on one tomato. The others that were cracked bad mostly had small holes in them from the cumber beetles all over them. :x They are using the cracks as an easy way to get some grub, but hold up jerks, that's my grub not yours!!!!

Than there were others with another type of beetle well several small beetles that were eating the whole insides till there is nothing left. That is probably the reason I have the rotten shells of nothing left behind here and there. Did I mention all of the plants are half dead towards the bottom due to septoria and whatever else is infecting them. :evil:

The only toms that are doing okay are Brandywine which has given the most amount of good fruit (though that is not very much) and my black cherry and my isis candy cherry. Go figure it had to be cherry's that did well. Oh about the Isis Candy I have 3 of them, only one is doing good, that was my Jan indoor planted one and that is half dead at the bottom as well. The others don't get red and split and one is worse than the other, it gets orange, huge than splits.

I can't buy a good tomato, literally the ones at the store suck, but I can't buy a good one in my garden either. Some here and there have been good a lot of them have to have most of it cut away, but what good is that. I normally have bushels of tomatoes I have to give away because I have so many.


ARRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :evil:

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Don't give up gix! I know it's frustrating when all your hard work is enjoyed by garden critters! But just remember the satisfaction you get when you bite into one of your own tomatoes! My tomatoes are at the end of there growing and believe me I am tired of taking care of them-the time and the money.........But depending on where I am at next year I probably will grow tomatoes again. :D
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Awe Sugar..it is getting late in the season... You had some great ones at the start and in the middle :()
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Gixx - Gardening can be a challenge sometimes - especially this late in the season. I can tell you from past experience that it's best to keep notes on what time in the season certain bugs arrive in the garden, so you can be prepared the next year to locate/do battle with them before they have a chance to ruin your efforts.
The fruit cracking is due to drought conditons followed by excessive rainfall, which can only be avoided by converting your soil to have fast-draining characteristics. The main thing is to be prepared for next year, as the same problems will show up.

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gixxerific
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By the way I will never quit growing tomatoes just so you know.

I do have good draining soil. And the cracking has been there all year no matter what I did. I did try several different watering options as well. It is suppose to cool down here I'm still hoping that things turn around.

I have never ever ever ever ever ever seen it this bad or even remotely close.

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By the way I will never quit growing tomatoes just so you know.
Ha! I was going to say I'd like to see you TRY not to grow tomatoes next year. We'd've had to tie your hands behind your back and your ankles together, and you'd still be hopping down those basement stairs come seed starting time. :lol:

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And here I am, with my Deliciouses just starting to turn. In a week, I will eat my first tomato of the season. Gix, I would so take all of your cracked and wormy ones, just to eat a real tomato.

I wanted a tomato so bad that I bought some Roma's at the store two weeks ago. I couldn't finish them. They were gross: rubbery and flavorless.

I do see that the two of the four tomatoes that are turning color are damaged. One started to separate from the vine, and the other has a small hole in it. I've never seen a worm inside a tomato before, but I am prepared to arm wrestle it for whatever's left :twisted:
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Well, sometimes you're the dog and sometimes you're the firehydrant! :lol: It's really the pits when a problem pops up and the solution is so difficult to find. I feel for ya!

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Gix, I know exactly how you feel! It's the same way for me! The toms don't have bugs so much as andtrhacnose (rotten spots on top) and oh, yeah, the septoria go half.....or more of many of my plants, too.

I don't think it's a stroke of luck that your cherries are the only ones doing well, either, my chocolate cherry is the only variety that has been doing great this year, as well.

Are you growing heirlooms? That is the big difference between this and last-year's garden: I'm growing all heirlooms this time, which I've heard are more temperamental.

Don't give up, Gix; maybe things will start to get better with the weather.
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I have to wonder if G5 is on to something there. I know the people that love heirlooms minimize the differences re resistance. But I am only growing standard hybrids (Early Girl, Ultimate Opener, Big Beef) and they are all coming out perfect. Even with all this drought and some weeks when I was out of town and then came back and watered like crazy to make up for it, only a few showed even the slightest cracking. I have not had to throw away a single tomato. All through all that heat they kept setting fruit and ripening.

Maybe next year you should try growing a few standards along with the heirlooms and see if it makes a difference in your conditions. I'm not growing any heirlooms, so I'm not doing any comparisons...
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Heh. Sorry, but I have to disagree. I'm growing mostly heirlooms. DV gave me a second generation Campari which I believe is a hybrid, and I have a 3rd generation of what I believe to be Sugar Plum which I think is OP, but everything else, I'm pretty sure is heirloom. Only one showing any sign of disease so far (knock on wood) is Moskowich -- a bit of Septoria that it is mostly keeping ahead of... and considering the perfect medium red round fruit it bears -- MOST "standard tomato" looking one out of the entire selection in my garden, it's possible this is a Russian commercial tomato.

My problems have been Blossom End Rot and Concentric Cracking. Minor Cracking after heavy watering or (rare) rainfall. All attributable to our season-long drought and only on the 3 or 4 susceptible varieties.

Ah ha!! On the other hand, I may not be having as much fungal problems BECAUSE of the drought. A possible silver lining. 8)

It's also possible that last year's diligent Milk Solution spraying and changing tomato beds this year have also helped to minimize carry over contamination.

Currently, those dratted Brown Marmorated Stinkbugs are everywhere. They swarm tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers and suck them dry, leaving ugly spots and introducing spoilage. My cuke vines are slowing succumbing. I've discovered that the best solution is to hold an appropriately sized container of water under the fruit and scare the bugs into jumping in. :twisted: I don't even need soap.

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This is my first year with heirlooms and they are all heirlooms. I know that has something to do with my problems but not all of it. I have already decided to grow mostly heirlooms next year but there will be some faithful hybrids in there as well. I went heirloom this year just so that I could try some new variates instead of the same ol same ol.

I always change my beds op a bit but probably not as stringently as I should. Problem is I have tomatoes all over the place so rotations will be a task next year. The only other great spots I don't have tomatoes I have potatoes in this year so............

One more thing I am going to change is the overhead watering I do. I have a few soaker hoses still brand new I bought years ago and for some blind reason have not gotten out yet.

I have been spraying with Neem and milk though again not as diligently as I should. Another thing I have regretted doing is spraying compost tea more. I did a few times early than have slacked on that as well.

I know I can't blame on e thing it is an accumulation of many things that have steered me wrong this year. the new beds didn't help, some of you may remember my hard start maybe that was the straw that broke the camels back. The were never healthy enough in the beginning to fight through the mess we have had this year.

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IMHO, I think it's important to get the heirloom and open pollinated seeds (not just tomatoes) from a seed nursery (not just a supplier with unknown seed origin) that's local to your area or from seed nursery with similar climatic conditions. Aside from stabilized characteristics, presumably these plants have been growing for generations (plant generations, BTW) in the same climate and are adapted to local conditions.

So, for example, no matter how good they are, it doesn't make sense for me to get seeds from a nursery in Washington State or New Mexico, for example. Midwest is probably not ideal either. After experimenting and selecting favorite varieties, I plan to continue to collect seeds and, hopefully, by repeating the ones that grow best, have my own set of vegetables that -- taste great and -- will grow vigorously for me in my garden.

I suspect that varieties that were developed by your local state university ag research extension would have similar local adaptation.

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Apple. I did receive some seeds from my local ext they were peppers and are not doing very well like my other peppers. Though some of my peppers are doing good. Almost all of my tomato seeds came from Baker Creek which is local as far as who is growing some of these seeds is another story. I also bought some black cherry seedlings from a local grower that did poorly and were NOT black cherry's.

So there are several local and possibly not so local plants all not doing well. Though you do have a point and I'm not arguing it just saying what my situation is.

Actually one thing I forgot to mention in my post above is that I will be planting more heirlooms next year. But this time i will save seed from them My late attempts this year went bust. My thinking, like you said, is that even if they are not local after some time my favorites will acclimate to my garden hopefully making super producers.

And yes it is very important to support OP. We have lost 1000's of varietys of many different vegetables from as not so long ago as the mid to late 1900's.

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In all fairness, I should mention that my tomato plants are fighting something that I'm pretty sure is septoria and have been for more than a month. I just every couple weeks, pull all the affected leaves off and then spray with one of the organic anti-fungals.

So they are looking a bit odd, very bare on the bottom and very thick and green canopy on on top. But it hasn't affected the fruit at all and the plants keep putting out lots of new healthy growth at the top. At this point, it's sort of a race between the septoria and the season... eventually the septoria would likely get ahead of what I've been doing. But I've only got about 7 weeks left in the season, so I think we will make it to then.

I also thought that maybe the drought was keeping the spread of disease down. But then heat/ drought stressed plants are likely more vulnerable to diseases and pests, so that one may be a wash.

gixx - that was a lot of good thoughts about what to be working on... I definitely think the overhead watering would be a good one to give up. Probably spreading diseases and in drought conditions it's kind of wasteful of water, since you lose a lot to evaporation. We all are going to need to learn more water conservation. I'm really want to explore how expensive it would be to put in a gray water system to divert laundry water to the garden... rain barrels have been kind of a bust a lot of this season... they only work if you get some rain! :?
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It doesn't matter where you get the seeds from, varieties do not adapt to local conditions over time because there is no genetic diversity for selective factors to work on (if there were, these lines would be considered unstable and never get sent out to the public). Brandywine grown for 50 generations in Alaska is the same as that grown in Texas.


Environmental factors affecting plant health and disease transmission can be addressed.

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OK, I'm not a biologist so maybe I'm just not getting it... or using the wrong terminology. But if you keep the seeds presumably from healthy plants that did not succumb to diseases, is it not likely that particular seed will grow plants less likely to succumb to diseases? If you grow them from generation to generation this way, aren't you only keeping seeds from plants that grow well in your region -- whether you tend to get a lot of rain, hardly any rain, too hot, too cold, overun by aphids, grasshoppers, stinkbugs?? Do the seeds really not retain those experiences "somewhere" in their genetic makeup? It seems to make sense to me.... :|

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You are confusing a genetically diverse population (or species) with a stabilized variety, which is just about the same thing as a clone of an individual. With a stabilized variety you will see neither adaptation nor inbreeding depression (decline due to inbreeding), all of that potential variability is weeded out during the selection process.

Breeds of animals are different from horticultural varieties of vegetables because it is nearly impossible to "stabilize" an animal breed because of the high number of complex gene interactions, low number of offspring for each generation and because they do not "self pollinate". Most animal breeds are full of hidden deleterious recessive genes, which constantly have to be weeded out through continued selective breeding. Plant varieties can get bred past that point rather quickly (5-10 generations). Some lab mice and fruit flies used in research are "purified" to the level of vegetable varieties and are pretty much clones of each other, but your basic German Shepard or Quarterhorse is comparatively very different from its brother or sister.


Here is a quick single gene example. I'll use a gene for leaf shape and call it 'El' (L or l) for leaf, but it could be one of dozens of flavor components, disease resistance etc.

Each gene has two replicates, one from the mother (Lm), one from the father (Lp) p for paternal or pollen.

A stabilized regular leaf variety will be homozygous dominant (L,L)
If it self pollinates (including pollination from any other individual of its vareity) the only option for that gene is regular leaf (Lm or Lp)= (L,L). Thus there can be no change (except for mutations, which are literally, one in a million seeds per gene).

Any potato leaf variety will be homozygous recessive (l,l), and similarly cannot change.

Practically all of the genes are this way (homozygous) for a stabilized variety (A,A, B,B, c,c, D,D, e,e, f,f, G,G....). Both parents can only contribute ABcDeFG to the next generation so the next generation cannot change.




What if you did want to chang the variety some how?

A hybrid of a potatoleaf and regular leaf will be (L,l) and since L is dominant the plant will look regular leaf. This is genetically unstable because if/when it self pollinates the possiblities are (L,L), (L,l) and (l,l)...This is genetic diversity. If bugs or fungal disease prefered regular leaf (L,L, or L,l) and killed most of them off then the population would shift to potatoleaf (l,l), and adapt to the local selective pressure, but in doing so a random mix of other gene combinations would end up in the survivors so flavor and production would be off. That is why it is so hard to get a good tasting supermarket tomato. They are bred for a handfull of disease resistance and storage characteristics and it is very difficult to get good flavor gene combinations to follow along.

It is quite funny to see the survivalist seed people pushing heirlooms, because it is the hybrids which are full of disease resistance gene components and are also heterozygous (mixed) for other genes, which could hold the genetic diversity needed for local adaptation. The heirloms will either sink or swim with local conditions year to year while the offspring of the hybrids will show a range of success from which survivors/high producers can be chosen at each location/year. They may taste worse than the parents but poor flavor is better than starvation

One reason that some people say to collect heirloom seed from multiple fruit and multiple plants is so that when there is crossed seed there will also be a large amount of true-to-type plants growing from those seeds for comparison. If you only save seed from only one plant and that one happened to be from a crossed seed then you have lost that variety. Likewise, each fruit has its own level of cross pollination based on what pollen was covering the bees that hit it.

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Ooooh..... OH! I think I had a flash of understanding.... I'm going to come back to this and read it again. Thanks TZ! :D

I AM gathering that what you're saying is actually Heirlooms... especially single or limited number of them is NOT what you want to choose as the "keeper"

Also, what you said kind of supports this wild idea I had... that I don't actually "care" if the tomatoes growing in my garden are the same as the named varieties as long as they grow well and taste reasonably good. While trying to save pure seeds are interesting as exercise, I don't mind in the least if they crossed and next generation turned out different.

When collecting a number of favored varieties and growing them, maybe what I should be doing is to plant them together according to size, for example, so large fruited varieties will not inadvertently cross with cherries and end up shrinking in the next generations. Or perhaps size and color.... 8)

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TZ first off for thanks crushing our dreams of the super tomato! :P :lol:

About the survivalist pushing heirlooms I'm sure it is because they usually don't have a real job at least the hard core ones. So it's more cost effective to save seeds from a plant that you know will be roughly that same year after year rather than having to buy seeds possibly form some meglo-seed/plant producer. Ethics can get you in a tangle fast. Just an hypothesis now.

As far as the supermarket tom's being bred for survival instead of taste. Maybe they are actually breeding out the good taste gene. Because what self respecting bug wants to eat a crappy tomato? :lol:

Thanks for the explanation. I'm still trying to compute it all. Where would we be without you. :wink:
Last edited by gixxerific on Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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What about mutations? Even the heirlooms shouldn't be immune to genetic mutation, especially given the current state of our environment. Right?

So, suppose you had a beneficial genetic mutation. Unbeknownst to you, the reason that one tomato plant fared better through the heat was because its thermo-regulator is more powerful than that of its counterparts.

Just playing devil's advocate here. The posting was impressive, TZ, and I got a clearer understand of what you were trying to say in an earlier thread!
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Why should you want to preserve the integrity of a variety (especially ones you like)? Each named variety (call it heirloom or OP variety) is the result of several years of selection where dozens or hundreds of its sister plants were tossed aside. Think of a bell curve where each one of them is at the top 10% for quality. Now if you cross two of them the chances are pretty good that 90% of their offspring will be of lower quality than the parents. The first generation (F1 hybrid) has a decent chance of being good if both parents are similar and good but after that things fall apart. Heirlooms/OP tend to differ from each other moreso than hybrids (round red things with generic tomato flavor), so mixing/crossing them will give you a broader range of outcomes (flavor quality) like mixing different bright colors together and ending up with brown.

You can hope that when similar varieties cross the offspring will be similar to the parents, but each bee in the garden will hit every plant, and not in order because bees temporarily scent mark each flower they visit and have to go looking for flowers where the smell from other bees has worn off (that give the flower time to release more pollen). Cherry tomatoes tend to have a zillion times more flowers open than anything else so many more bees have much more pollen on them from the cherry varieties when they visit other plants.

I'm growing out some Brandywine crosses that were supposed to be with Black Krim, because that is the pollen I put on the open flower, but from the leaves and color of the fruit I am seeing most of them could only be fathered by something in a plot 60-70 feet away with about 30 plants in between. There is a bit of variability in flavor, all are pretty good, but not as good as the mother Brandywine. In another post I put down my observations regarding Lime Green Salad x Green Giant (I spit out taste test bites from about 80% of the offspring because they were so nasty), three of 28 plants taste good, but not as good as the Green Giant parent.

All of this is why the old timers (1800s) used to think that varieties lost quality with time, and the idea was (mistakenly) linked to the modern concept of inbreeding depression. It is actually the opposite of inbreeding depression, quality is being diluted by input of new gene forms (alleles) and the plants are turning into Heinz 57 mutts.

Growing mutts isn't much of a problem if you have alot of varieties to keep you occupied, use them mostly for cooking, or really like the flavor of Early Girl, Better Boy and Roma (my mom used to save/grow seeds from hybrids and was happy as a clam at high tide), but if you only grow a few plants and have your heart set on the perfect Brandywine, Goose Creek (my new favorite), etc for 9 long months and the seed turns out to be crossed and puts out just an ordinary good tomato, its a big let down. :cry:

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All this excites me TZ. But the fact that I don't have the land or time to have the big "let down" keeps me on the straight and narrow. Although I love all your educational talks I won't be one to be experimenting too much in the near future.

Keep it coming my friend. I love it all. :D

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6 days later, with no further intervention from me, the septoria is now starting to take over. All this time, it's been just a leaf here and there. Now if I were going to remove all the affected leaves, it would be about 1/3 of the plant. So I'm giving up. I'll keep watering them as long as they keep producing tomatoes, which they are so far. But I give up on fighting the septoria. There's about 6 weeks left til frost.... If it gets closer and they get looking really bad, I'll just pick all the green tomatoes and pull them. They've done real well this year, despite vicious heat and drought, so if they give out a few weeks early, I won't feel too bad.
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If you have 6 weeks left, you could make a decision, cut them down, and opt for wintering over veggies like Romaine lettuce (covered might last until Thanksgiving), Spinach (Double covered with garden fleece and plastic or straw and plastic), Asian turnips (45~48 days), ... etc. There is also a Winter mustard called Winter Star, available from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.... Stuff like that... You could also sow Daikon seeds around for deep digging the ground. For your raised beds with the concrete patio bottom, there are short stubby daikon varieties too.

...or even winter cover crop that you said you usually don't have time for. Schedule I have set for myself is -- Oats should go in about now, triticale 9/1~10/1, rye 9/21~10/7, Wheat 9/28~10/7, Spelt 10/1~10/17.

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I know... but they are still producing tomatoes (not as many, but still). I can't bear to cut down a tomato vine that's still producing! :)
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rainbowgardener wrote:I know... but they are still producing tomatoes (not as many, but still). I can't bear to cut down a tomato vine that's still producing! :)
Amen to that girlfriend.

I am in the same boat, I have taken out several plants but still quite a few hang on. The septoria is ever encroaching on the top and I'm not sure how long mine will last. But they are flowering and there are plenty of little buds on a few of them. I have actually been getting some nice tomatoes lately and i just can't cut my plants loose that easy. :wink:

I just telling myself that next year will be better.

As a matter of fact some of my still growing toms are way outgrowing there CRW cages, I'm a little worried they will get heavy with fruit and break. This year has been an odd one that is for sure.

Still waiting on my lettuce seeds to sprout a few have but not all. I need to get out and plant more seed.

Yes I have a problem. :lol:

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No disease so far -- knock on wood -- but the some of the tom leaves have been "shriveling" and I finally caught on to what's wrong -- leaf miners. ALL OVER. I've never seen anything like it. I'm also finding a lot more hornworms/hormworm damage than in the years past. Is it the drought?

Fortunately, so far, all but one hornworm I've come across are infested with braconid wasps. 8)

I've started trimming off the leaf miner infested leaves. It's a lot of work. Lots of leaves are involved and sometimes it's easier just to cut off the entire leaf. I also have to go back to my notes and garden maps to see which of the tomatoes are determinate. The Principe Borghese's definitely are, and a few of them have already bit the dust. It'll be easier to pull the plug on those.

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rainbowgardener wrote:I know... but they are still producing tomatoes (not as many, but still). I can't bear to cut down a tomato vine that's still producing! :)
....which is the no.1 reason I don't plant a cover-crop each year. By the time I take everything out......it's too late! There's already been a frost or two by that time :lol:.
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Well I thought about it some more and watched what is happening and ended up taking Applestar's advice. Fall slams down sudden and hard around here. Two days ago it was 93 degrees. Today it is 70 and tonight it will get down to 49 !! Not really great tomato weather any more, combined with shorter days...

So I picked all the tomatoes (picked 70 tomatoes off my 5 plants, in a whole range from almost ripe to small and green), cut the tomato vines off. We had had a discussion about whether to compost tomato vines with septoria, but I couldn't stand to throw it all away. So I cut off all the new fresh healthy growth at the top and composted it and threw away the rest. That way I was only composting the tender stuff, so I didn't even have to grind up any vines.

Left the tomato cages in place and planted peas all around them. If the peas sprout, they can climb the cages. I don't know if I have time left to actually get any peas, but they are nitrogen fixers and the vines can be my cover crop.

Along the edges (where the spinach and lettuce I planted at the end of July never sprouted in the heat and drought :( ) I planted onions and garlic.

Starting to shut the garden down for fall. Earlier than usual, but everything is looking really ragged with the drought...
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rainbowgardener
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PS I was just out picking up the CSA produce and heard the weather forecast. Radio was saying "near-record low of 45 tonight"! Just as well I picked the tomatoes. All the house plants that are still outside may suffer a bit.
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garden5
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RG, you said you put in onions. Isn't it way too late for onions? What kind are you planting?
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rainbowgardener
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Onions, like garlic, over winter. They will be ready sometime in the spring or summer. I planted some green onions and some bulb onions. The best onions I had this year were the ones planted last year. The ones I planted this spring never got very big.
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gixxerific
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I have never tried onions in the fall but I may give it a go RBG. What do I have to loose right? I still have a bunch of sets here so why not.

I did pull a few more tomatoes yesterday as well Brussels sprouts and some other things are going in today.

garden5
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I've heard that you can plant bulb onions to overwinter and come up in the spring, but have always though that it was just for warm climates with mild winters. You say that you've had success with this method in the past?

Hmmm, maybe I should re-think this idea. Do you just plant the seeds and do you use any mulch to protect them from the frost?
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