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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 884569  
Subject: First Lettuce Date: 5/25/2013 5:30 PM
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Well, a year ago I grew some leaf lettuce, and that proved to be a good experience.

I let some of the plants go to seed and collected the seed and had plenty of lettuce starts this spring.

This past week I've been enjoying the first of my lettuce harvest, which I find rewarding. I'm enjoying a good sized lettuce and carrot salad once or perhaps more per day. I like topping that with sunflower seeds or cashew pieces.

I'm also growing corn,tomatoes, carrots and pumpkins this year.


I've never had any interest in gardening before this, but in my retirement years I'm finding it a low cost, fun and interesting retirement activity.


Seattle Pioneer
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Author: Foodie56 Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874456 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/25/2013 7:43 PM
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Seattle Pioneer,
Try growing some perennial herbs, like sage and thyme. If you plant mint, be sure to use a pot as it will take over the area it's planted in. Good luck with your garden!

Foodie 56

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Author: Windowseat Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874457 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/25/2013 9:20 PM
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And dill. If you've never tasted fresh dill there is a wonderful experience waiting for you.

I know people who plant lots of basil, then make their own pesto sauce.

Nancy

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Author: voelkels Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874460 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/26/2013 6:40 AM
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I cut the last of our butter crunch lettuce about 10 days ago and removed the 3 other plants that had bolted.
I picked our first ripe tomato about a week ago but the bacterial wilt will end our tomato crop in the next 4 or 3 weeks. We had a mild winter down here in S.E. Loosiana so we didn’t have a hard enough freeze to kill off the stink bugs that transmit most of the wilts.
;-(
The chili pepper plants are doing well but the first planting of the okra died off due to a cold snap earlier this month. I put in some bush cucumbers & zucchini but they too were stunted by our low May temperatures. The dill is blooming and about to set seeds and I don’t have any cucumbers to pickle, woe.
;-(

C.J.V. - gotta clean out the herb bed & start planting the summer herbs, me

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Author: MissEdithKeeler Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874462 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/26/2013 11:58 AM
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My lettuce got beaten to heck by some really, really heavy rain, and cutworms got my zucchini and cucumbers. The tomatoes, pepper, eggplant and beans are going strong, though.

I love gardening, even when stuff doesn't perform as planned.

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Author: Howie52 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874463 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/26/2013 2:19 PM
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There is a joy in seeing things grow from the sweat of your own
brow.

As well as a joy in seeing things planted die so you don't have to
weed the blasted things.

Howie52
Balance is the way of life.

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Author: NoSeeUm Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874465 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/26/2013 4:49 PM
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I've never had any interest in gardening before this, but in my retirement years I'm finding it a low cost, fun and interesting retirement activity.


Swiss chard will grow year 'round in Seattle. It tastes better than spinach and doesn't leave your teeth gritty.

The growing season is a little short for tomatoes, but there's just nothing like home-grown tomatoes.

Try everything. You'll be surprised at how good real vegetables taste.

My wife and I have been wintering in Sinaloa for the past few years. Sinaloa is the Central Valley of Mexico.The vegetables and produce marketed here are just out of this world....inexpensive and unbelievably tasty.

Carpinito's in Kent has a wonderful selection of starters, and the final product when in season.....cabbages as big as basketballs! The little Russian babushkas come from miles around and leave with shopping-carts full of them.

If you have the room, try building some 4x8 raised beds. They're very easy to work and take care of.

Enjoy your summer. The Little Woman and I will be back in a week to get to work.


Jimbo

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Author: malaoshi Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874466 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/26/2013 4:56 PM
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Glad you've found gardening SP. Congrats on your lettuce!

I love my vegetables...small patch tho. Lettuce, beans, tomatoes, strawberries, rosemary, mint, thyme and for the first time some really lush parsley...the tight curly kind.

My Mum who was a wise old thing said.."Gardening is really therapy. You are always thinking of the future..I'll put XX here next year. Maybe I'll plant XX here, and wow, XX will be ready to eat in a week.....So you have no time to look backwards and brood on troubles."

As she said, she was "careless" and "lost two husbands", so she could have brooded on lots of troubles. But as a widowed mum, she was calm, cheerful and funny. Gardening, which she found late in her life, brought her a lot of joy.

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874467 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/26/2013 5:33 PM
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<<The growing season is a little short for tomatoes, but there's just nothing like home-grown tomatoes.

>>


I tsarted some tomato plants from seed so I've got some small plants at this point. I'll have to see what happens.

I'm trying to figure out how to stake out tomato plants. Any ideas are welcome.

I'm thinking my primary use of any tomatos would be to make and can sauce. Is that worthwhile? How is that likely to compare with commercially canned sauce?


Seattle Pioneer

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Author: PSUEngineer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874468 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/26/2013 6:06 PM
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I'm trying to figure out how to stake out tomato plants. Any ideas are welcome.

I use wire cages that I bought at Home Depot. Since you are handy, you could try building your own cage out of scrap wood.
http://idahotomatocages.blogspot.com/2011/03/need-tomato-cag...

I'm thinking my primary use of any tomatos would be to make and can sauce. Is that worthwhile? How is that likely to compare with commercially canned sauce?

You didn't say what variety you grew. Meatier tomatoes like Romas are better for sauce making. For small batches, you could use a hand food mill to separate out the seeds.
http://www.amazon.com/MIU-France-Stainless-Steel-Food/dp/B00...

My parent could can dozens of jars of sauce. For that production rate, a food strainer that separates out skins and seeds from the juice and pulp of raw tomatoes was really handy.

http://www.victorioproducts.com/food-strainers/food-strainer...

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Author: 2gifts Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874469 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/26/2013 8:27 PM
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I tsarted some tomato plants from seed so I've got some small plants at this point. I'll have to see what happens.

I'm trying to figure out how to stake out tomato plants. Any ideas are welcome.


I know next to nothing about gardening, but my brother just loves it, and plants all sorts of things. This year, he is experimenting with planting tomatoes in hay bales which is supposed to yield a better crop, and I don't know if the plants get staked or not, but that might be something worth trying. I can let you know how his experiment works later in the season if you're interested.

I'm thinking my primary use of any tomatos would be to make and can sauce. Is that worthwhile? How is that likely to compare with commercially canned sauce?

Although I don't garden, I do buy tomatoes by the bushel at the local farm stand and convert that to tomato sauce in the fall. I don't eat sauce you buy in the supermarket, so I don't know how it compares, but I have found that canning my tomato sauce works really well, so I would recommend doing it, especially as I know you already know how to do canning.

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Author: voelkels Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874471 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/27/2013 8:31 AM
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I'm trying to figure out how to stake out tomato plants. Any ideas are welcome.

My father made some tomato cages out of galvanized fence wire (the rectangular wire pattern not the chicken wire fencing) that someone gave him a roll of back in 1975 or 74 in New Jersey. My brother is still using them for his tomato plants. My father took 10-foot length of the fencing, bent it into a cylinder, and wired it in place. He then cut 4 or 3.5-inch holes in spots around the cylinder to reach in and pick the ripe tomatoes. In the spring, he would plant the tomato plant, set the “cage” over it and steak the cage down using some old galvanized water pipe & wire.

I'm thinking my primary use of any tomatos would be to make and can sauce. Is that worthwhile? How is that likely to compare with commercially canned sauce?

My mother used to can the tomatoes but, considering the time, price of canning lids and cost of energy now-a-daze, its probably not really cost effective. If you have the plum tomatoes, like the Roma or San Marzano, it may not be too bad but unless you have long hot days they will not get as sweet as the commercially produced tomatoes & final sauce. I usually pick my tomatoes before they are fully ripe (otherwise the birds peck them causing them to rot), bring them in and ripen them on the counter. I’ll scald them in boiling water, slice off the stem end, squeeze out most of the seeds, skin them and freeze them in zipper-top bags. Later, when I’m cookin & need 4 or 3 tomatoes, I’ll take them out of the bag, re-close it and put the rest back in the freezer.
;-)

C.J.V. - used the last of my frozen tomatoes in April for chicken-tortilla soup, me

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Author: hamsmyname Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874472 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/27/2013 9:09 AM
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I use concrete reinforcement wire to make cages. I've found the little wire tomato cages sold at the hardware store are a joke when the plants really get going. With a couple of stakes at the bottom anchoring them, these babies don't move an inch, despite the strong storms we increasingly have to deal with during the summer.

http://kgi.org/building-tomato-cages

As for sauce, I roast my tomatoes - skin, seeds and all - and freeze in ziplock bags for later use. Quarter a tomato, an onion, some...lots...of garlic, spread on a cookie sheet, brush w/olive oil, s&p, maybe a dab of balsamic, roast at 400 for an hour or so - and there you have it. You can run that through a food mill for a more refined sauce, or just toss in a food processor for a chunkier, rustic style. Basil and oregano are added later, when you have your sauce simmering on the stovetop.

A paste tomato, thicker walled with less seeds, will give you a nice, thick sauce. I grow Amish Paste, San Marzano, plus two italian heirlooms that don't really have names - they're just the seeds from plants that families in the area have passed down from generation to generation. Ahhh...tomatoes

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Author: oncqueen Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874474 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/27/2013 9:56 AM
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There is a Gardening and Landscaping board that is very active and helpful for gardeners of all experience levels which you may want to check out.

You may be surprised how few tomatoes you will really have to can. If you grow cherry tomatoes, many of them won't even make it into the house, and any kind are great in all sorts of ways, from salads to pizza to egg dishes. You might consider having a few cherry tomato plants---the fruits make great hostess gifts, they dry well, and they ripen fast; sometimes the big tomatoes would finally start to ripen and then a frost would hit, when I lived in WA. I did not find it worth the effort to can or make tomato juice, but perhaps that would change if I were retired. The sauce you make with look different that store-bought, more orange and less red, but it will taste wonderful.

There are lots of ways to stake tomatoes. A cheap option is to just drive a 4-5' tall stake of metal or wood (dead curtain rods? Old electrical conduit? The stricken leftovers from a greenhouse crushed by weather? Dried saplings that were cleared from your place? They all work) right next to the plant (gently) and tie the plant to it with old rags, strips from dead panty hose, whatever you have that won't cut the vines. Another is to get some welded wire rolls, with spacing that you can reach through, then cut and bend into a roll about 18" in diameter. Use the spiky cut ends to bend back to hold it together, then place around each plant. Neither of these options look glamorous, but work fine and may be good to start, especially if you are not sure you will keep it up.

You can buy "tomato ladders", and those work really well. They stack at the end of the season so storage is not an issue, as it can be with rolls of wire, or a jumble of oddly sized poles. They are expensive, though.

My favorite is what is called a "tomato spiral." It's a long metal pole with a straight end that you stick into the ground. As the plant grows straight up, you just make sure it grows through the center of the pole; the branches then stick out and hold it in place. These are clean-looking and easy to store. They are not for gardeners who only check every week or two, though, as the plants can angle sideways sometimes and "miss" the spiral. I have two kinds, one powder-coated and one that is stainless, and at the end of the season, I stick them in one of the large urns in the central raised beds---it makes a very cool winter sculpture, with the blue raised bed and urn, white snow, and these funky spirals coming out of it.

Another thing that might be worth trying is to get some hardy bamboo. You might try Craigslist or contact some garden clubs in the area to see if someone would give you a start. It will invade the yard if you are not careful BUT over time you would have a nice windscreen and a reliable source for garden stakes, fishing poles, projects for your scouts, and maybe your own tiki hut!

Good luck with your garden!

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Author: PaintItBlue Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874477 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/27/2013 1:01 PM
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Gotta watch out with the bamboo. If it's hardy enough to live somewhere, it will TAKE OVER.

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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874493 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/28/2013 3:21 PM
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Thanks for the ideas.


I live right on a street end that's been blocked off.

I have LOTS of lettuce starts I ploanted last fall in some containers.

Yesterday I went out and turned over the weeds growing in the street end and planted lettuce on both sides of the street barrier.

In a week or so I'm planning to put out signs saying "Please Pick The Lettuce!"

I also have pumkins planted in that street end. Those seeds have sprouted and are coming along OK.

Does anyone else do gardening on public land in which neighbors are welcome to use what grows? I'd be interested in any comments on how to do that effectively.



Seattle Pioneer

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Author: hamsmyname Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874498 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/28/2013 5:04 PM
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if you google "vegetable garden hell strip", you'll see that a lot of people are exploring that idea. One big consideration - dogs. Ick.

http://thegerminatrix.com/2010/05/10/im-in-hell/

http://www.sustainable-gardening.com/how-to/design/curbside-...

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Author: hamsmyname Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874499 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/28/2013 5:11 PM
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also, there's a TED talk with Ron Finley about his gardening in South Central LA that's worth watching:

http://www.ted.com/talks/ron_finley_a_guerilla_gardener_in_s...

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Author: PSUEngineer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874501 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/28/2013 6:41 PM
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One big consideration - dogs. Ick.

Free fertilization.

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Author: NoSeeUm Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874522 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/29/2013 6:08 PM
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Ah, tomatoes. When there's a nice summer in Seattle, they grow like weeds and they tend to topple puny cages. I use extremely sturdy cages that I buy at Carpintino's (Carpinitos?) in Kent They're expensive, but they're extra large and heavy duty and coated with enamel.

They work.

We haven't had much success planting tomatoes before late May in Seattle. They're pretty tender. Without a cold-frame it will be hard to get a seed to a tomato in the short Seattle season.

The old heirloom tomatoes are fun to mess around with. A lot of places are starting to carry the starts.

If you get serious about sauce, buy a 'Moulie' to separate out the skin and seeds....it's by far the easiest way.

My wife merely quarters the toms and freezes them in ZipLocks. Sauce freezes well too. If you have a lot of spare hands, canning is fun and rewarding; but it is a lot of work and takes time.

Oh, the Love Apple!

While you're at it, get some rosemary and thyme and sage in the ground. They'll usually last through the winter as does parsley.....and the chard I mentioned.

Good luck. Let us know how your garden grows.


Jimbo

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Author: NoSeeUm Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874523 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/29/2013 6:13 PM
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Oh, when you transplant the tomato starts into the ground, nip off a few of the lowest leaves and make sure to plant a couple of inches of stalk. It is supposed to make for a healthier root system.

Jimbo

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Author: PSUEngineer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874531 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/29/2013 10:16 PM
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Oh, when you transplant the tomato starts into the ground, nip off a few of the lowest leaves and make sure to plant a couple of inches of stalk. It is supposed to make for a healthier root system.

This year I planted 12" high tomato plant 8" deep. In three weeks, they've grown from 4" high to 34" high. I have a bunch of flowers and one green tomato.

PSU

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Author: hamsmyname Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874533 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/29/2013 11:20 PM
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instead of digging 8" deep, you can also lay the stems in a shallow trench with just the top of the plant exposed. The plant will form roots all along the stem where it touches soil.

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Author: voelkels Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 874537 of 884569
Subject: Re: First Lettuce Date: 5/30/2013 7:11 AM
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This year I planted 12" high tomato plant 8" deep. In three weeks, they've grown from 4" high to 34" high. I have a bunch of flowers and one green tomato.

I usually order my tomato & chili pepper seeds between Christmas and New Years. I’ll axe-u-lee start planting them in early/mid February, transplant into pots twice and finally start planting into the garden around mid April. I got my first ripe tomato about two weeks ago and, because of the wilt, the tomato plants will be finished in a udder 4 or 3 weeks.
;-(

FWIW, I usually plant lots of paste-type tomatoes. I’ll dip them in boiling water for 20 or 15 seconds and then dump into cold water. When cool, I’ll cut off the stem end, squeeze out most of the seeds, slip off the skin and freeze in a single layer in gallon-sized zipper-top bags.
;-)

C.J.V. - getting ready to pick my first green chilis & TAM JAPs, me

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