Experiment: Disease Resistant Tomatoes

Gardeners want good results. So we enrich the soil to give plants the nutrients they need, we weed so there aren’t any competitors, and water regularly, monitor for insects and observe how the plants are doing.

There is something else you can do and that’s buying plants that are resistant to disease. This year I grew Defiant Hybrid Tomatoes and Jasper Hybrid F Tomatoes from seed because they are both resistant to some of the troublesome diseases we had in the community garden last season.

So there is no confusion. My tomato transplants are not bullet-proof. Resistant varieties are better able to ward off infection. They are – regrettably – not immune. It would be great to have a sure thing but that’s not how gardening goes.

The following descriptions are from the Totally Tomatoes catalog, which is where I purchased the seeds last winter. http://www.totallytomato.com

Defiant Hybrid – This variety cracks the genetic code to produce the first tomato bred for Late Blight resistance. This high yielding plant produces 6 to 8 ounce globe-shaped fruits that combine disease resistance with great old-fashioned tomato flavor.

Jasper Hybird F –
An outstanding disease resistance package results in extended harvests of this delightful little tomato, something you’ll appreciate after sampling the fruit. The small, round, 3/4 inch red fruits weigh less than ounce each. They have sweet, rich flavor and a pleasant creamy texture you’ll enjoy. The fruits are borne on small trusses, holding their quality for a long time on the plant and after picking, resisting cracking and rot. The indeterminate plants are extra vigorous and tall and will need the support of a trellis or cage. Youll find they require little or no fertilization and the plants overcome weather-related stresses with ease. Disease resistances include early blight, Septoria Leaf Spot, fusarium races 1 and the dreaded late blight. Enjoy these little candy fruits early, too, just 60 days from transplanting, 90 days from sowing seed.

These varieties are not be readily available at local garden centers which is why I grew them from seed. If we do get Early blight, these tomatoes should fare better than others.

Let’s see what happens. We can keep an eye on them and see how they fare compared to tomatoes in the rest of the garden.

See you in the garden, Natalie

Moreau Community Garden Report

PromiseMCG2014The garden was in good form this morning. Everywhere I looked I could see tiny plants emerging from the soil.

I love seeing the seedlings opening up and I am always amazed that these tiny plants will grow to be healthy and nutritious vegetables. Yum.

I didn’t notice any insects today. But I did put another empty jar in the basket under the bulletin board. If you find an insect you need identified, leave it there and I will post what it is and what to do about it in this blog.

Weeds are getting a hold in some beds. Lamb’s quarters is especially prevalent. Don’t forget that you are responsible for weeding not only your bed, but the pathways around it.

Be sure to water, too. We can’t rely on the hit or miss showers we have had. My beds were very dry.

Here are some other images from the garden for you to enjoy.

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Before the Rain…

My husband and I arrived early and had our hands in the earth by 8:15.

We could see the sky darkening. Undaunted, we planted carrots, cucumbers, kale, spinach, herbs, flowers and more.

We cleaned up between rows. When you weed your beds, throw the weeds in a bin. Don’t leave them or any debris from your beds in the pathways. Only wood chips should be in the pathways. This will become increasingly important as the season progresses.

By the time we were done the rain was starting so we packed up the tools and left.

Just in time, too. As we drove away we could hear the thunder, see the lightning and within minutes…a deluge of rain poured down.

But we felt good. It is satisfying to have the garden planted and mother nature watering her in.

Smiling….Natalie

Great Day!

MCG1Thanks to a hard working crew and gardeners much was accomplished in the garden yesterday.

Roto-tilling, weeding the beds and between beds, and, of course, catching up with each other after the long winter.

It felt so good to be back.

Many thanks to Harris Seeds for their donation!

Some tips for gardeners –

Dill deters squash bugs, so plant them together

Bed #34 is the communal bed for herbs.

No invasive plants may be planted in the garden beds or surrounding plots.

Thanks, Natalie

Natalie

What Gets Planted When?

This question was asked of me yesterday when a neighbor wanted to know when to plant her tomatoes, peppers, and basil in the garden.

tomatoesTender plants – like tomatoes, peppers and basil – get planted after all danger of frost is over. Gardeners here generally use Memorial Day weekend as the date though frost has occasionally occurred later. Check the long-range forecast before planting. Tonight is forecast to drop to 34 degrees in Glens Falls. Not quite frost, but not much better.

If you haven’t hardened off transplants by leaving the transplants outside where they get indirect light, then do so this week. Bring them inside if the temperatures dip. After a week of being exposed to more and more light, your transplants will be ready to plant in full sun next weekend.

lettuceIf you can’t wait to get your hands in the soil, there are plants don’t mind a chill. For example, lettuce, beets, carrots, radishes, dill, cilantro, cabbage, broccoli, celery, kale, potatoes, peas and spinach can be planted mid-May.

However, if beans, corn, basil, rosemary, melons, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins or eggplants are on your list….wait until Memorial Day weekend as these are all susceptible to frost. Or follow in Thomas Jefferson’s gardening footsteps. He said that if you didn’t lose a few plants each season you were planting too late.

See you in the garden this week, Natalie

It Poured Last Night…

but now the sun is out and it looks to be a good day coming. We can’t roto-till at the Moreau Community Garden because the ground is too wet. That was rescheduled for Wednesday morning.

But there is still plenty to do in the garden:

At my home, I need to weed dozens of tiny maple seedlings that have germinated in the mulch. They are easy to pull as they have no foothold, but there are many this year.

Next, I will trim back any dead branches I missed from the hydrangea, smoke bush, Rose of Sharon, rhododendron and azalea shrubs. I waited and watched until now to give them time to bud. I have scraped a thumbnail along the questionable branches and looked for signs of life…meaning green as the scarped spot. And if I have doubts when I’m out there pruning, I will wait a little longer still.

I applied the crabgrass and lawn fertilizer.

And, I will plant arugula in one of seven Earthboxes that I affectionately refer to as “The Farm.”

Then, I will try making a new kind of iced tea that looks healthy and tasty. It is made with green tea. Here’s a link: Green Tea http://skinnyms.com/the-new-southern-style-sweet-tea/

I love the colors and think it will look festive at the upcoming garden party.

What are you up to today?

Roto-tilling Rescheduled for Wednesday

Dear Gardeners –

Due to the forecast of heavy rain today and tonight, we will not be able to roto-till tomorrow.

Soil needs to b e dry when tilled. Otherwise, the soil structure is damaged.
I hope you can make it next Wednesday, which – at this point – is forecast to be sunny.

If you can’t be there Wednesday, be sure to turn your beds before you plant to mix in the composted manure.

See you in the garden, Natalie

Planting Guide for Family Garden Plots at Moreau Community Garden

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I spent time this morning creating a plan for Family Gardening plots with consideration given to bees, butterflies, and plants that work well together.

As you look at it, note that details, such as the heights of plants were included in the plan. This will be relevant when I’m planting and make the job easier as I will reach for the tallest first to plant in the center down to the shortest along the edge without having to read each packet.

The group of bee and butterfly luring flowers were included for maximum delight and to attract pollinators for the vegetables.

Last season, everyone enjoyed the butterflies that came through. swallowtail1

I made certain to include companion plants to repel each crop’s troublesome insect, For example, borage deters tomato hornworms and these two plants will grow side by side. Nasturtiums discourage bean beetles and, as I mentioned yesterday, dill repels squash bugs.

Hope you enjoy seeing this plan. I may tweak it a bit as I haven’t found borage seeds yet. Does anyone know where I can get some?

This weekend I will be turning the soil for the plots that are part of the Family Gardening Program.

It is too soon to plant outdoors some of vegetables and flowers I intend to grow, but a few – like peas, kale and spinach – can be seeded now.

What will you be growing? If you need help knowing what to plant and where, I will be in the garden from 9 to noon this Saturday, May 17th.

Moreau Community Garden Work Day May 17th

Hello all –

After the long winter, I am so happy to be back at the Moreau Community Garden helping others gardeners and coordinating the Family Gardening Program.

Our start-up date is this Saturday and we will be roto-tilling the beds to work in the cow manure we spread last fall. This will enrich the soil. While you are tilling your beds, keep an eye open for wireworms. These larvae of the Click Beetle were in the garden this year and I did spot one this season as I weeded.

They are a reddish-brown worm about and inch or so long. This is a picture of the damage they do: wireworm damage

Wireworms were one of three problems we had at the garden last year.

The other two were Squash Bugs and Early Blight.There are things we can do now to keep these troublesome three from becoming issues this year.

Wireworms

As you work in the soil, look for them and if you find wireworms remove them by hand. If the numbers are few in your plot, this will work. To be certain, you can slice a potato in half and bury each half beneath the soil in your plot. If there are wireworms, they will find the potato. Check back the next day and dig up the potato. If you see wireworm damage, you might decide to: 1-not grow root crops, their preferred food. 2 – grow radishes early to lure the wireworms and then plant what you actually want. Radishes act as a bait. 3 – Keep turning the bed for the next week to expose the worms to birds.

You’ll note that we are really trying the attract birds this season through birdhouses and a soon to be bird bath. Birds can help keep the insect population down.

Which brings us to. . .

Squash Bugs

SquashbugsLast season they feasted in the garden. There are strategies to try to keep them at bay which I will outline below. For in-depth knowledge, you can check out http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05609.html

Squash bugs suck the sap from squash and pumpkin plants causing wilting and death. We had a lot of them in the garden last season. The adults overwinter in debris, which is why we cleaned the beds last fall of all plant matter. Surviving squash bugs have emerged now and will begin to look for mates and lay eggs on the underside of leaves in the next month. One strategy is to cover the squash seedlings with row cover, a lightweight material available through garden catalogs. This keeps these pests off plants. Period. Come the end of June – when most of the eggs have been laid – we remove the row covers and let the pollinating of flowers begin.

If you find bugs on your plants, hand-picking can help. Another organic help is the spread a little Diatomaceous earth around the base of the plants as this is where the bugs are likely to shelter. In mid-June, begin to look for eggs – which are copper colored. If you find them, remove and crush them.

Another thing we can try is companion planting. From internet research I found that dill repels squash bugs as do petunias.

Everyone in the garden needs to be aware of these insects as they are voracious and will do a lot of damage if not controlled.

Early Blight

Last season, Early Blight was the heart breaker and spread through our garden just as our tomatoes were getting ready to ripen. Early blight is carried in the wind and very difficult to control. However, we can: grow varieties of tomatoes that are resistant to this disease, keep the beds very clean, and avoid wetting the leaves of our plants when we water.

I will be trying a few varieties that are resistant to this disease and we will see how they do this year. Resistance helps, but it is not a sure thing.

This Saturday, I will plant peas and a few other vegetables that can handle a frost should one come, which technically can happen but I hope not!

I will also be available to answer questions and help in anyway possible. I am looking forward to seeing you then, Natalie Walsh, Master Gardener

Tucking in the Community Garden for Winter

mcg10The sky was clear. The temperature perfect for working and many gardeners turned out today for the cleaning of the beds at the Moreau Community Garden and a harvest lunch to celebrate our successes.

It’s true the many hands make light work and there were many helpful people on deck to clear out what remained from this season’s garden and amended the soil with cow manure to prepare the beds for next year.

Thank you to everyone who participated and to Town Board Member Todd Kusnierz, who raises cows and saw to it that we had plenty of manure to spread on the beds. This will really enrich the soil and make our garden healthier.

And to Town Board member Gina LeClair who went above and beyond to support this garden all season long. We couldn’t have done this without her.

Again…Thank you to all the gardeners and everyone else who made this season a success.

Here are some photos from today to enjoy.MCG44

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If you are interested in gardening at the community garden next year, sign up by filling out an application available at Town Hall.