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MichaelC
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MichaelC's 2016 garden

Hi all -

It's spring again, and I'm excited to get my vegetable garden going. As always, it's a work in progress, trying to improve on last year's mistakes. I'm afraid I'm already repeating the mistake of trying to fit too many plants into the available space. I suspect I'll never learn on that one unless I get a bigger plot!

The inspectors say I've got all my plants ready to go:
plants.jpg
Tomatos:
- Green Zebra
- Matt's Wild Cherry (a repeat)
- Orange Strawberry
- Stupice
- Sweet Million
- Yellow Pear (a repeat)

Peppers:
- Antohi Romanian
- California Wonder
- Purple Jalapeño
- Jimmy Nardello
- Padron (repeat)
- Sweet Banana Goddess

Persian Cucumbers

Sugar Snap Peas

Blue Lake Pole Beans

I've built a much more robust trellis for my beans and peas:
trellis.jpg
And I've just installed this year's irrigation system:
water1.jpg
water2.jpg
Wish me luck!!

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Last year I had quite a bit of trouble with my tomatoes and peppers. The tomatoes rallied and produced well, but the peppers were pretty much a bust.

I've been advised by my local nursery (Love Apple Farms) that the tomatoes shouldn't go in the ground for at least a couple more weeks, and the peppers in May. I'm wondering whether I should get the others in the ground now. Peas for sure, but how about the beans and cucumbers? I've just taken the soil temperature 4" down, about 65 F at 8:30 PM. Average temperature is in the high 50's with lows in the mid 40's.

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Some progress. Peas and beans are now planted.
peas.jpg
beans.jpg
Tomato and pepper plants hardened off and awaiting warmer temps for planting.
tom.jpg
pep.jpg
And my daughter's carrot project is showing progress as well.
car.jpg

PinkPetalPolygon
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

:-()

I like your set up! Your plants look luscious & I wish you all the luck in the world. :)

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Thanks, PPP. I can't take too much credit for the luscious plants, my plant vendor is top notch!

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Tomatoes planted out today!

Beans are enjoying the weather, peas not so much. We'll see, they did well last year at the same time.

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

I managed to get the cucumbers planted on the weekend as well. The tom and cuke seedlings don't really look very picture-worthy yet in the ground. My pepper seedlings are doing great, a couple more weeks and in the ground they go.

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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Looking good, cant wait until my peas are that size! Right now they have no size! :D
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished - Lao Tzu

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

OK I've taken some photos to show progress.

peas
peas.jpg
beans (lousy photo)
beans.jpg
cukes
cukes.jpg
tomatoes (not yellow as it appears in picture, staking today hopefully)
maters.jpg
peppers (couple weeks from planting)
peppers.jpg

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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Looks good Michael.
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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Look what I found in a coner of my garden today - what appears to be a volunteer tomato from last years harvest!
volunteer.jpg

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rainbowgardener
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Yup! tomato seeds must be extremely hardy! Everywhere I plant with my homemade compost I get volunteer tomato plants. I already pulled a couple this spring. It's amazing they go through the compost process, and through all the freezes in winter, you can look at your compost and not see any seeds, but as soon as you plant it they pop up!
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Pretty pretty! Get you some pine straw to cover up all that dirt!
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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Lindsaylew82 wrote:Pretty pretty! Get you some pine straw to cover up all that dirt!
Does one need to be careful and selective of type? The development in which is live is ringed by a -slightly- landscaped walking trail. Along this trail in an area with many cubic feet of pine needles from the trees. I'm talking a foot-deep blanket! I'm quite sure it is not hit with any pesticides or herbicides.

I'm seriously about to mulch heavily due to my cats.

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Probably not. There's always a possibility, though. Tiny vales about $6 here at Lowe's. I'd ask the association before you take.
Lindsay
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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

OK, I've got some progress pictures. I guess it's pretty obvious what's what, so I'll forego labelling them.
beans.jpg
peas.jpg
carrots.jpg
peppers1.jpg
peppers2.jpg
tom1.jpg
tom2.jpg
tom3.jpg

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

I ran out of attachments. Cukes:
cukes.jpg
And a couple shots of my fruit trees:
apples1.jpg
apples2.jpg
nect.jpg
Last edited by MichaelC on Fri May 06, 2016 6:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

How are you managing your fruit trees?

I'm having pretty frustrating problems with curculio this year.
Lindsay
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USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Lindsaylew82 wrote:How are you managing your fruit trees?

I'm having pretty frustrating problems with curculio this year.
I do very little overall. A heavy pruning in the winter, feeding seasonally, and thinning the fruit. I have two cherry trees that appear very healthy but have some sort of disease keeping them from fruiting properly. They blossom like mad, start setting fruit, and then all the fruit shrivel and die. I overheard some neighbors talking about their cherry trees dying, so I'm counting my blessings.

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Mulch today. Cat turds be gone, I fervently hope.
mulch1.jpg
mulch2.jpg

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

CATS LOVE MULCH!!! I love that mulch, too! Looks very niiiiiiiiiiice!

I love cats! But I have a serious dislike of people who let their animals roam. My neighbors are really irresponsible and disrespectful when it comes to their animals, who ALL use my yard as their personal litterbox. Dogs, though. We are currently out of cats.
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KitchenGardener
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

So cool to see your hard work paying off! I bet your pea plants are huge now and your beans are going crazy. Have you gotten your pepper plants in the ground yet?

Oh, and I'm totally jealous of your irrigation system...I'm still too intimidated to even try assembling one. Maybe next year.

ETA: sorry, now I see that you did plant your peppers and there were more pics than I first saw. Your mulch looks great, as do all of your veggies. :)

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

MichaelC wrote:I have two cherry trees that appear very healthy but have some sort of disease keeping them from fruiting properly. They blossom like mad, start setting fruit, and then all the fruit shrivel and die. I overheard some neighbors talking about their cherry trees dying, so I'm counting my blessings.
Well, as it happens both the very large and rather small cherry trees managed to bring a tiny handful of fruits to, well, fruition, and they were delicious. The nectarines will be done in a few weeks I reckon, the apples not till at least August.

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

KitchenGardener wrote:So cool to see your hard work paying off! I bet your pea plants are huge now and your beans are going crazy. Have you gotten your pepper plants in the ground yet?

Oh, and I'm totally jealous of your irrigation system...I'm still too intimidated to even try assembling one. Maybe next year.

ETA: sorry, now I see that you did plant your peppers and there were more pics than I first saw. Your mulch looks great, as do all of your veggies. :)
Thanks so much, KitchenGardener. The peas have taken off though only some of the starts made it. They will fill their trellis for a bounteous but short harvest, from my experience. The beans are slow starters but produce heavily till I call it quits in autumn. They'll fill that whole trellis.

The irrigation system was actually pretty easy, an investment of perhaps $100 maximum including a decent timer. Spending a good amount of time staring at parts and pictures in a catalog and imagining it in my space combined for a decent start last year and a pretty good showing this year. I'm still wasting a few 1G/hour outlets and didn't get the outlets and plants to match up like I envisioned.

I'm anticipating another frustrating season for me for peppers - we'll see.

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

What I've got set up for this year's irrigation is four zones with dedicated valves attached to a single timer- trellis, cukes, tomatoes, peppers. The only unlike vegetables on the same line are the beans and peas. Later in the summer I can truncate that line to only water the beans.

Every day more or less, demanding on the weather, I set whatever plants need to be watered the next day via the timer and the valves.

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

MichaelC wrote:I have two cherry trees that appear very healthy but have some sort of disease keeping them from fruiting properly. They blossom like mad, start setting fruit, and then all the fruit shrivel and die. I overheard some neighbors talking about their cherry trees dying, so I'm counting my blessings.
Well whaddayou know? We've actually gotten a couple dozen cherries to fruition this year! They are so good that I will endeavor to find out what's going wrong with them for next year.

I'm also excited that the plum tree my father in law tried his best to kill last year (never invite someone to help you prune unless you plan to closely supervise them!) has come back, and although I never noticed it blooming it has set quite a few fruit. Unfortunately, all the new growth is WAAAY up there, so I'm not sure how I'm going to harvest them. The first year we lived here, it fruited early and we harvested buckets full just as windfalls. So maybe that will work again this year.

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

The beans are growing like crazy and flowering but not climbing. I'm wondering if they were mislabelled bush beans.

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applestar
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Oooh, plums SHOULD be pruned rather hard and cut back all the tall shoots. They fruit on new wood.

Everything looks great! There are new challenges every year, but you keep learning how to deal with them, right?

My own cats are inside cats with only rare supervised outings, but my neighbor feeds cats that come to her yard -- apparently some are "homeless" -- no claimed human -- cats that roam from place to place. And THEY stop by my front yard to make deposits -- on the grass. :evil: They only rarely come into the back yard now because I literally run out and chase them off and send my children out too. But the front yard....

Some tricks that do work for a while -- pick up then spray spot and surrounding area with hot pepper and garlic water (soak and leave in a gallon jug -- kind of like making insect pepper/garlic spray -- or hot pepper powder (I dry and grind up all spoiled, damaged fruits and inner membranes and seeds I don't use or save) AND put down bits of thorny clippings along their paths (cats usually follow a set path) where I won't be poking around bare handed.

Good luck.
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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Hi applestar - he pretty much cut the entire tree (a large one) down to the trunk. As a result, last year it didn't even produce leaves!! I thought for sure it was dead. I'm no expert but I pretty much know what I'm doing with fruit tree pruning.

Now all of the new growth is about 15-20 feet above ground level. If I knew what the rootstock was, I might just give up on it and let one of the many scions it's trying to produce start over again.

I'll try to get you a couple photos.

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

OK, here's a couple pictures to show the scale of this plum tree and how high the foliage and fruit are.
plum1.jpg
plum2.jpg
plum3.jpg

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

KitchenGardener wrote:So cool to see your hard work paying off! I bet your pea plants are huge now and your beans are going crazy. Have you gotten your pepper plants in the ground yet?
Sorry I missed responding to this. Yes, my peppers went in a week or two ago.
Oh, and I'm totally jealous of your irrigation system...I'm still too intimidated to even try assembling one. Maybe next year.
It was really easy! And even easier this second year after learning last year. Feel free to message me anytime for specific advice.

It wasn't expensive, and Peaceful Valley makes it pretty simple to figure out what you need and their prices are much lower than most places. I think I spent $100 tops including the electric timer (refurbished from amazon). This year I spent less than $10 for a few additional bits and bobs. 1/2" fittings of various types cost less than half than those from my local ACE. I also found very cheap fittings from Drip Depot via amazon.

I really like the emitter tubing, I was able to reuse it this year with no clogging. The only downside is the limitation of the 12" spacing, compared with regular drip fittings that you can put exactly where you want them. I was able to plan it this year so that each plant type has its own valve. I'm very happy with it, and in this drought couldn't justify a vegetable garden otherwise.
ETA: sorry, now I see that you did plant your peppers and there were more pics than I first saw. Your mulch looks great, as do all of your veggies. :)
Thanks so much for your kind comments! I need to put up some new pictures. I seem to be terrible at taking photos of tomato plants.

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Time for some new photos.

First up, my beans. I'm starting to wonder if the starts I bought this year were mislabelled bush beans! But I can't remember exactly what they were doing this time last year. They are growing like crazy and just started flowering heavily. But they are showing no signs of going UP.
beans1.jpg
beans2.jpg
The cucumbers seem to be off to a pretty normal start.
cuke.jpg
The peas are clearly suffering from the heat, and I don't think they'll do as well as they did last year. I remember that last May was very cold. That's OK, the beans will take over that side later (that is, IF they are pole beans!) This little bunch seem to be soldiering through enough to provide a few pods:
peas.jpg
The peppers are going slowly. Here's a couple:
pep1.jpg
This one is pretty sickly. It just started making a bunch of flowers, I'm keeping an eye on it.
sickpep.jpg
Last edited by MichaelC on Tue May 17, 2016 4:37 am, edited 2 times in total.

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Here are some shots of a few of my tomatoes, which are doing super. I'm just terrible at taking pictures of them.
tom1.jpg
tom2.jpg
tom3.jpg
I forgot to take a shot of the Sweet Million that I had to replace after 6 weeks of growth thanks to the antics of one of my feline friends. I also should take one of the volunteer (likely from Matt's Wild Cherry), which seems to be doing pretty well since I started fertilizing it. It is outside the area of soil that I cultivate.

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

So pretty!!! It's looking really good, Michael!
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applestar
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

Looking great! But you should just sow your own beans. Beans are easy. My DD's grew some beans that spilled out from hand-made actual bean-stuffed beanbags when they were little. :()

I have Christmas Lima bean that I bought just a small amount from the organic bulk section a couple of years ago, first year was a touch and go but collected seeds have shown more vigor. Usually they do better if you pre-germinate in a sprouter and plant just the vigorous ones. Larger beans like Lima's might be heat dried, which would reduce viability.

Stuff from the sprouting section has better viability since they are mostly expected to sprout.

...and of course you could get actuall packets of seeds :lol:
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

rainbowgardener wrote:Yup! tomato seeds must be extremely hardy! Everywhere I plant with my homemade compost I get volunteer tomato plants. I already pulled a couple this spring. It's amazing they go through the compost process, and through all the freezes in winter, you can look at your compost and not see any seeds, but as soon as you plant it they pop up!
So I've got a TON of what I believe with some degree of certainty are orange oxheart heirloom tomatoes volunteering all over my garden from last years compost. I plan to leave a few to sprawl because I have found in years past regardless of hybrids coming back (not true varieties, just smaller) or heirlooms, compost volunteers make the BEST tomatoes. I've got volunteer squash coming up too, probably going to let a few of them go as well. Plants are cool little things! :mrgreen:

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

applestar - I'm going to do beans from seed next year, I think. I've already got seeds. The reason I use starts is that I don't till my cover crop into the soil until a few weeks before I plant. My garden is not ready for planting until sometime in April. So direct sowing will mean a later start.

For plants like tomatoes, I find it much simpler to buy high quality starts instead going to the effort, space consumption, learning curve, and expense of investing in seed propagation gear. That last is not so important, I know one can make good use of improvised materials. Pennywise and pound foolish? Maybe, but that's my comfort level.

cousinjordo - I understand that's pretty common with composting depending on what one composts! This little guy has to have come from a Matt's Wild Cherry fruit that escaped my hands as I was harvesting. It's tricky holding on to every single one of those tiny things when I'm working six feet above the ground! If it comes to fruition, it'll be interesting to see what kind of fruits it has. It could have been pollinated by any number of its neighbors.

I'll post photos of the volunteer and Sweet Million soon. The Sweet Million has incredibly dark green foliage. I'm very disappointed by the untimely death of its predecessor, it would have been pretty darned big by now.

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

But you can just start most of those seeds right in the garden and they'll be up within a week or 2! Most of them anyway! Squash, peas, beans, okra, corn, Cukes... They all go right on in the garden dirt! Just till a little earlier, or even better, just don't till! Add a layer of compost, and then just remulch!
Lindsay
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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

I may try tilling earlier next year. The cover crop and tilling it in are a major part of my soil strategy. This soil was awful two summers ago when I began gardening. After growing a massive cover crop and tilling it in with a couple other small amendments, it was fantastic last year. An additional factor is when the spring rains occur. This year I had a very brief window in which to till in the cover crop.

Here are a few more photos. First, I took a few shots to show the whole garden area. I think I've firmly decided that that little pear tree (planted, like all of our fruit trees, by the previous owner) is going next year. It's in the way, it shades the vegetables in an area that already gets a less than optimal amount of sun, and none of us even likes pears.
over1.jpg
over2.jpg
over3.jpg
over4.jpg

Here's the Sweet Million:
SM.jpg
And the volunteer - in this photo I think you can get a sense of how lousy the soil here is without being worked.
volunteer.jpg
Last edited by MichaelC on Wed May 18, 2016 8:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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MichaelC
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Re: MichaelC's 2016 garden

I've taken a couple more shots of my tomatoes as I'm growing some of the same varieties as Lindsay.

Stupice:
stupice.jpg
Green Zebra:
zebra.jpg
Check out the crazy leaf curl they're starting to exhibit. It seems to be a standard tomato characteristic in my garden. It worried me to no end last summer, but the plants thrived and produced prodigiously, so I've stopped questioning it!

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