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Allyn
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Location: Mississippi Gulf Coast - zone 8b

Re: veggie gardening in the South!

I've said before my tomatoes are done for the summer. The 'regular' varieties stop setting blossoms when the temps consistently get over 85 degrees F and the 'heat resistant' varieties stop setting blossoms when the temps are over 95 degrees F. So all tomatoes here have stopped setting blossoms.

If the plant is healthy, I could nurse it through the heat until fall when the temperatures start coming down in late September; then the plants will start up again, BUT. . . the humidity here has me fighting mildew- and fungus-related problems so I find it best to just not try.

It is much too hot outside for me to be active outdoors in July and August. I'm a born-and-raised Yankee from the Northeast. I can take the summer heat here for all of about 15 minutes before I start falling out. That's about enough time to water the peppers and whatever else is still surviving without extra care, but then it's right back into the air-conditioning for me.

gumbo2176
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Re: veggie gardening in the South!

I hear you loud and clear Allyn. I got out in the garden earlier today and pulled the last of the tomato plants and their stakes out of the ground, cut the plants up and put them in large trash bags since they had mold and fungal issues. Then I spread 5 more large bags of grass clippings and leaves I got from the grass cutters in the local cemeteries. I now have about a 1 inch thick layer of clippings and leaves over my entire garden and am letting them dry out before tilling them under to get things ready for the fall garden.

Needless to say, I was soaked by the time I got back inside and it took about 30 minutes being inside before I finally stopped sweating and could take a shower. But the cold beer sure felt good going down.

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Gary350
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Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Re: veggie gardening in the South!

gumbo2176 wrote:I hear you loud and clear Allyn. I got out in the garden earlier today and pulled the last of the tomato plants and their stakes out of the ground, cut the plants up and put them in large trash bags since they had mold and fungal issues. Then I spread 5 more large bags of grass clippings and leaves I got from the grass cutters in the local cemeteries. I now have about a 1 inch thick layer of clippings and leaves over my entire garden and am letting them dry out before tilling them under to get things ready for the fall garden.

Needless to say, I was soaked by the time I got back inside and it took about 30 minutes being inside before I finally stopped sweating and could take a shower. But the cold beer sure felt good going down.
When my tomatoes stop producing because of heat I plant new tomatoes from seed where, squash, beans, potatoes, onions, etc use to be. The new plants do much better than the old plants heat does not seem to bother them much. By they time they are large enough to make tomatoes weather has cooled off and they make good tomatoes.

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Allyn
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Location: Mississippi Gulf Coast - zone 8b

Re: veggie gardening in the South!

Gary350 wrote: When my tomatoes stop producing because of heat I plant new tomatoes from seed where, squash, beans, potatoes, onions, etc use to be. The new plants do much better than the old plants heat does not seem to bother them much. By they time they are large enough to make tomatoes weather has cooled off and they make good tomatoes.
If I were just a little farther north, that would probably be a viable plan. I'm not just battling the heat, though. The humidity here is oppressive. It's not just hot; it's steamy hot. I would probably have the same fungus/mildew problems with the new plants.

If I start seeds now, though, to set out in September, the fall weather here can be glorious and a fall garden can produce even better than the spring garden. We don't get snow, so I can harvest right into December if I keep an eye on frost predictions.

Susan W
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Re: veggie gardening in the South!

I don't want to start a tomato or mud sling battle, but a couple of glaring things. Sigh.
RG -You moved a bit south, then experienced one of the warmer winters on record, followed by unseasonable hot summer (starting earlier than normal). Last summer normal, after an unseasonable cold and lasting longer winter. We have stuff that wintered or is coming back that shouldn't have, and year before lost stuff that we normally don't.

You might want to check your geography, Gary. If you go 120 mi south, are in AL, perhaps Birmingham towards Montgomery. RG is near Chattanooga, east and a bit south by latitude from you.
Have fun!
Susan

gumbo2176
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Re: veggie gardening in the South!

I'm in the same boat as Allyn. I won't even think of putting tomato plants in the ground until sometime in September because of the fungal issues that stem from our humidity. July and August are known as our "Dog Days" and it is absolutely miserable to be outside for most folks down here.

I like the fact that most falls I can have fresh tomatoes for Thanksgiving simply by walking out my door and picking them off the vines. I too have to keep an eye on frost, or more specifically a fairly hard freeze that will take out tomato plants overnight. If that happens and I lose some, I simply make salsa verde and fried green tomatoes. Can't lose that way. LOL

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lakngulf
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Re: veggie gardening in the South!

I agree that keeping tomato plants viable in this heat is a tough task, normally hit or miss each year. This year I have several plants ok so far ( I am able to shoot the water to them from the lake). At my Mom's we have a second crop of tomatoes on the way (so far so good)

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Also, I have some small plants in the greenhouse. My plan is to plant them in the next couple of weeks down the middle of these two rows of corn. The corn has been picked and is in the freezer, but I am hoping the stalks can provide some shade for the young plants. Once the tomatoes get going, I will take out one row of the corn, probably on the east so the west row can continue to shade the plants.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: veggie gardening in the South!

I do feel like I am having to work a bit harder, mainly on the bug front. Some of that is probably being more Southern and some of it is probably just a new garden not well in balance yet.

I had little trouble with Japanese beetles before, because I had lots of wild grape for them. Without that, my basil is being a pretty good trap crop, but I mind sacrificing the basil more. But I never saw the green June beetles before and at different times, have had swarms of them. Plus whatever is eating the kale. And leaf-footed bugs (which I had never seen before) and various other unidentified beetle-ish types. Plus a worse attack of leaf miners than I am used to (don't have any velvet leaf planted yet for trap crop). Don't have as many birds yet, though we do have feeders and hummingbird feeders, and bird bath and bird houses. Fewer flowers, so probably fewer beneficial insects....

And lots of fungal disease. My tomatoes always did get septoria, but not this early and not this hard. And it is on top of physiological leaf roll which I hadn't really seen before, so the plants look especially ragged. Beans have fungus. One of my squash plants is getting fungus.

I am actually trying a lot of the remedies I usually just told other people about, like ordering Neem, doing the milk treatment, using a lot more compost tea than I ever had.

Until it got to be high summer (past the summer solstice), I was kind of going wow! gardening in the South is amazing, so easy! Gardener's paradise! Then summer really hit. I still love it (six weeks of 95 degrees notwithstanding!), but it isn't as easy....
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applestar
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Re: veggie gardening in the South!

This is going to be really interesting and challenging for you to find out the little and big ways your gardening style will have to change. There are micro-climates within my little patch of garden, so I can imagine that any kind of change in location, especially a substantial one like yours, will result in distinctly noticeable differences. Plus, of course, you are starting to and trying to convert this property to your own environmentally sound methods and dealing with after-effects of what was going on before.

It will be interesting to see how your impressions and views alter or are re-affirmed over the course of next several years.

... I recently converted my Numbers garden "agenda" -- this is separate from my journal or diary, I use this for verbally planning ideas and recording significant mile-stones and events as I think of them in quickly jotted notes. I used to have all the garden beds and areas along the Vertical axis in rows on a single sheet with dates along the horizontal axis in columns stretching out. But this year, I decided I wanted to be able to compare more easily from year to year.

I used to have a paper 5-year Garden Journal book -- have you seen them? -- you can see what you did on the same day each year. I wanted it to be like that but dividing each month into B, M, E for more flexible dating system 1-9, 10-19, 21-30/31. I've changed the format of the worksheet that so each bed/area is a tab and the "calendar" lines up so I can compare from year to year. FYI in case you might want to do something similar :wink:
image.jpeg
I'm not always diligent about synchronizing all of my various little recording and note taking methods so there are some glaring missing info and stuff -- rather embrassing really -- but you get the idea. :> What I post here at Helpful Gardener forum has been an invaluable record as well and I often go back to check my facts or methods, etc. :()
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: veggie gardening in the South!

I was just looking at the micro-climate issue today, while I was out watering.

One of my (8x4') beds that is oriented east to west has some purple basil plants at both (short) ends. So they are only 8' apart but the one on the west end gets the afternoon shade a little earlier than the two on the east end. They were all planted the same time from the same seed. The one with the extra shade is clearly doing better, darker purple, not tending to fade out, and just healthier and crisper looking and a little bit bigger.

Similarly tomato plants in the bed that is farther west and a little shadier are doing better than ones about 12' east of them. Not struggling as much with septoria, not showing the physiological leaf roll.

Obviously that is now, with the heat wave going on. In the spring the tomatoes with a few more hours of sun did better.

But it is amazing how much difference 8 or 12 feet can make!

You are so much better than I am about record keeping! I have a couple of those paper garden journals and have never been very consistent about keeping them. My main record keeping is here :) , which makes me more diligent about updating here than I might be. The only other things I have are a seed starting spread sheet, what seeds I started (under the lights) on what dates each year, germination conditions (light, heat, etc), date planted, days to germination. That's been very helpful to my seed starting operation. Then I have hand drawn on paper maps of my garden, what was planted where and what followed it in success. Never computerized that. That's it!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration



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