Monthly Archives: June 2014

Build a Three Tiered Hanging Rope Planter

 

I needed a planter to grow herbs in. But the problem with some herbs like mint, they like to sprawl and take over the garden. They can become invasive if you let them. So the answer for me was to either grow them in pots or elevate them off the ground.

Since I have two grape arbors, I decided to hang them. This planter holds three plants and can be built with very little amount of wood. I used 1 piece of cedar fencing available at just about any lumber supply. The only other thing you will need is some 1/2” rope.

Drop a few pots into the square holes and you have a nice looking hanging herb planter.

 

Free Gardening e-Books

I love to read. I specifically love to read gardening books. But my appetite for knowledge can get quite expensive.
Well, I’ve found a way around that. Ebooks.

No longer do I have to shell out $20 every time I’m hungry for a good book.
The past is full of great authors free for the asking. Just surf through the list I’ve compiled here. All free. Some dating back over 100 years. The best thing about them? They can be downloaded to your ipad, iphone, android phone etc. Take them with you everywhere you go.

The List

 

Identifying Rootstock Suckers On Mandarin Orange Trees

After bringing my Satsuma Mandarin Orange tree inside to escape a bitter cold snap, I somewhat neglected it. It got hidden behind some other large plants in my grow room. I only watered it from the front and could not see what was going on in the back of the tree.

After pulling it out to put back outside in the greenhouse, I noticed a couple of very large root suckers growing from the bitter orange rootstock below the graft. They had different shaped leaves and were loaded with thorns. This is what happens when you neglect pruning.

How To Grow A Square Tomato

I know what you’re thinking. “Where can I get the seeds for a square tomato”?
Believe it or not, you can grow your own square tomato from any seed you have lying around.
You’re not actually growing a genetically enhanced variety, you’re really just manipulating the tomato during its growing process.

The process is simple. You have to create a square plastic box for it to grow in. Make sure the box is smaller than final size of the tomato. The reason is that once the tomato feels resistance against the sides of the box, it is forced to take the path of least resistance. This results in the tomato growing into the corners of the box, hopefully filling it completely.

Making the box

Find any clear plastic that is thick enough to withstand the pressure of the growing tomato, yet flexible enough to bend at 90 degrees.

Simply draw 4 squares the exact same size horizontally
Now draw 2 boxes the same size on each side vertically.
Next, cut a slit in one of the end boxes big enough to allow the stem of the plant to easily slip through.
Now fold the box at the lines and tape it leaving the end with the slit open.

Slip the box onto a young tomato allowing the stem to slide through the slit in the open end.
Close the lid and tape it shut.
You now have a tomato enclosed in a plastic box.

Now the wait

This is the hardest part of all. If you’re like me, every morning you will run out to see if the tomato is growing. We all know that a watched pot never boils. It isn’t until you decide to stop watching, that it will balloon to the size of the box.

My mistake was in using this on a hybrid tomato that I was re-growing so the tomatoes never produced uniform sizes.
I recommend that you use a plant that produces consistent fruit sizes. It will be a lot easier. I had to try this 3 time before one actually behaved.

If by chance, you give this a try, post a comment and a link. I’d like to see them.
Happy square tomato growing.

Rooting Tomato Cuttings For Cloning

Rooting tomato cuttings is easy. Take a new growth or a sucker cutting a few inches long. Put the cutting in an inch or two of water.
Within a week or two, you should see roots start to grow along the stem.

When you see plenty of roots growing, remove the cutting from the water and put in a soft seedling mix, burying it about half way.

Best Tomatoes To Grow Indoors

One question I get asked all the time is, “How can I grow tomatoes all year round?”
First off, there is no secret to growing them, no magic potion or special elixir. If there was, I could never do it.

Of course many factors come into play when growing tomatoes indoors, like the amount of light, the right growing medium, pests and of course temperature.
But the number one rule is, pick the right variety.
You would be hard pressed to grow 8′ beefsteak tomatoes indoors unless you want to spend $100/month on lighting alone.
The benefit would certainly not outweigh the cost.

When picking a variety, you want ones that are fairly compact, abundant producers and disease resistant. It’s always best to scour the internet and research forums to get others opinion regarding growing habits, and more importantly, taste.
Also don’t be afraid to try out a few hybrids. Many of them have been bred for the sole purpose of indoor growing.
This is a “mystery” f1 hybrid I’m currently stabilizing

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Below is a list of tomato varieties I’ve personally grown indoors. I’ve excluded any varieties that were sub standard like disease intolerant, lack luster performance and horrible taste.
This list consists of mediocre to incredible. I’ve noted my favorites.
I’ve also included the hybrids I’ve grown.

Glacier
Micro Tom (world’s smallest tomato. not a heavy producer but on the list for its uniqueness.. F1 Hybrid)
New Yorker
Patio (F1 Hybrid)
Red Robin
Siberia (not to be confused with Siberian)
Sprite (grape) *a favorite
Sweet N Neat Cherry (F1 Hybrid)
Tiny Tim *a favorite
Totem
Windowbox Roma (F1 Hybrid) * a favorite