Mistakes I have made in Vegetable Gardening

It is time to fess up and talk about some mistakes I made gardening.

1. Using garden soil to grow seeds.  Big mistake. The soil I took from the garden turned hard as a rock when I put it in seedling containers (I use 1 quart yogurt containers with small holes punched in the bottom for drainage). Fortunately, I tried this only on two plants. They are still hard as a rock even after transplant.

2. Thinking varmints will not disturb my plants.

After many plants were nipped, it turned out that rabbits were the culprits. I put a 2 foot poultry fencing up and had no problems after that.

3. Planting tomatoes too early.

My Dad always says to plant them May 15th. I circumvented this advice and planted May 1st until the year a hard frost occurred on May 3rd and 4th.

4. Not watering deep enough.

Last year (2012) was a drought year, bordering on severe. I sowed carrot and corn seeds and hand watered them. Turns out not thoroughly. None of the carrots grew and the corn was very sparse. After a typical watering, I dug down with a trowel to see how deep the water went. Just below the surface was barely wet. My thinking was the water would seep down but it did not. By the way, the soil was prime Illinois soil with excellent drainage.

5. Not putting weeds in a bucket.

I use a claw type tool to remove most weeds. It works well, especially after a good rain, though many times it leaves part of the taproot. I would yank the weed out and put it on the ground, instead of putting it in a bucket. Why? Leaving it on the ground, especially dandelions, has a good chance of seeding. Lately, I would tear off the dandelion head.

Awesome Cherry Tomatoes – Oct 7

The cherry tomatoes are still coming! I planted “Husky Cherry Red” tomato plant which has grown 6 feet x 7 feet and about 1 to 2 fee high. It was fertilized once using 13-13-13. With a freeze expected within a week, I managed to nab 30 or so cherries which mostly end up on our salads. Penne pasta with cherry tomatoes is an excellent way to enjoy the garden’s bounty. Large clusters of green tomatoes still linger on the vine. We did not stake the plant; just let it grow.

Lime, which helps prevent blossom end rot, was not added to the soil.

We were lucky: no discernable pest damage. There was a period of no rain followed by a torrential downpour which caused several tomatoes to split. Because of a tall tree in our back yard, the plant did not get full morning sun.

The Lycopersicon lycopersicum or Husky Cherry Red tomatoes are part determinate demanding full sun. Maturity (from the time of transplant to your garden until fruit is ready to pick) is in about 65 days. One plant is plenty for a regular family. Here in central Illinois, the plant has produced from mid August to mid October. Cherry tomatoes are one inch in diameter.

Doug the Gardener