[Homestead] Growing tomatoes and vegetables from seed for the fall
bobford79 at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 22 10:22:38 EDT 2008
Are you planning to have eternal tomato plants? That would truly be an indeterminate. <insert smiley face>. You have to eventually let the plants die and everyone I know lets most of them die off in the heat of the summer (whether they like it or not). Your plan is good except you will use a lot more water than you think to help a few survive the summer heat.
Whitfills is owned by Brian Whitfill; He is mainly known for inexpensive trees , as is his brother, who owns Moon Valley Nursery. They compete against each other with full page ads. I buy my garden stock from Harper's. They are more careful of plant selection. I did buy my tangelo tree from Brian. I don't buy any plants from Home Depot ( personal choice, only). Incidentally, Baker Brothers has a reputation as having the best fertilizers for valley soils/conditions, they blend their own.
Most nurseries only have tomatoes and peppers, you can sometimes get cukes right at the beginning of the season, otherwise must grow from seed.
Everyone has caliche in the city (as far as I know). You have to dig it out for each plant--be healthy and have a solid shovel handle and a pick-axe. Drainage is still a problem. You are correct that most people plant in low spots, as do I. I have been experimenting with small raised beds, not with very good luck so far.
Note* re: nursery stock. Be very careful of bringing home small green catepillars attached to the store bought plants <G>
They will soon be fat and your existing plants will be leafless.
Actually because of the caliche and because most houses in the city do not have gutters, you will see a lot of gardeners grow their plants under the eaves. If you want plants to survive summer, you would not have them growing in front of the west facing wall. The western sun is the killer out here.
I have had my best years concentrating on just a few highly productive plants. The problem is that you don't know which plants will survive long enough to be the productive ones. Many people only plant in the spring. The spring is great. For some reason, the whiteflies are not much of a problem like they are in the fall.
Anyway, you will probably do better than me with your garden. But I can guarantee you one thing--You will not successfully grow azaleas out here. Not unless they have come up with some genetically altered monster.
--- On Tue, 7/22/08, Gene GeRue <genegerue at ruralize.com> wrote:
> From: Gene GeRue <genegerue at ruralize.com>
> Subject: Re: [Homestead] Growing tomatoes and vegetables from seed for the fall
> To: bobford79 at yahoo.com
> Date: Tuesday, July 22, 2008, 4:38 AM
> On Jul 21, 2008, at 9:22 PM, bob ford wrote:
> > You can't even buy nursery stock in the summer,
> Gene, All it takes
> > is 2-3 back-to-back 115 + degree days to kill every
> plant. I've had
> > a few plants to survive the summer, some years.
> Uusually they
> > don't. And, to answer your question, I have been
> doing this for too
> > many years. Using shade cloth and anything else I can
> think of to
> > defeat the sun.
> Okay, you probably already know all this, but this was my
> program: buy
> plants from Home Depot as soon as available in the spring
> or from that
> nursery on the north side of Glendale between 7th and 12th
> named Whitfill, I think. The people at that nursery are
> knowledgeable; ask for their solutions. Planting location
> must not be
> raised, must be as low as possible, a low depression would
> be good.
> Tomato roots grow deep and wide if the soil is loose and
> they find
> moisture; the greater the root system the greater the plant
> If you have only caliche, concede defeat. Best spot is a
> few feet out
> from a west wall, what in Phoenix is called a fence. Better
> than shade
> cloth is under trees but shade cloth must also be
> available. Soil must
> be prepared with serious humus to retain moisture but must
> perfectly. Do not trust yourself to water enough; build a
> system on a
> timer that waters several times per day and never lets the
> soil become
> less than fully moisturized. You want conditions almost as
> for azaleas.
> The biggest challenge, essentially impossible to surmount,
> is that
> tomatoes do not set fruit when nights are too hot. But the
> plants can
> survive and will resume blooming and setting fruit when
> nights cool
> down. And fruits that set early will go on to ripen. So
> plant as early
> as plants are available.
> Starting your own plants has the advantage that you can
> research and
> buy seeds for varieties chosen for their heat tolerance.
> But once
> planted, the vines need super conditions. There is one big
> once it is known that you have mastered Phoenix tomato
> production your
> property will become as a magnet for fruit thieves.
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