The goal for this year is the same as always, grow something interesting and learn something new. An additional goal this year is to compete in the GVGO Team Tomato Challenge, GO TEAM 8!
This first post will be a biggy to catch up on everything I've missed.
After panicking and thinking I should have started months ago, I get going. Thanks to some advice from fellow Team 8 members I relax and get my seeds going.
Tomato Challenge picks:
Tomato 5.03 Hunt 17
Tomato 5.36 Hunt 17
Tomato 5.36 Lyon 18
Bushel Gourd seeds ( My own from 2019 Approx 45lb, and from the 2019 GVGO seed package)
I started the tomato and mangel in paper towels, inside of small tupperware containers. The Bushel Gourds I start in paper towel but ran out of tupperware so used ziplock bags.
Several seeds have broken out and are looking good. I make some news paper cups and plant the tomatoes. I place them under an LED grow bulb.
The mangel I have read don't like to be transplanted. I probably should have sowed them directly in soil to start, however due to the Covid lock down I was unable to get any soil to start with. However I now have both soil and my new fabric pots, so in they go! I'm leaving these pots inside for the most part.
The bushel gourds don't appear to be showing any signs of activity. The ziplock bags usually feel cool. I've tried keeping them in sunny windows, and on heat vents, but to no avail they are always cold. I'm having doubts.
Tomatoes are poking out! Keeping them watered, and under the LED light from 8am-11pm every day. And I've put a little fan near by, sure they are to small but I better get into the habit, and I figure it will hopefully help them to be a little stronger.
Sustaining growth on my tomatoes! Keeping the same light schedule, and watering when necessary. I have read some people use a diluted fertilizer, but I'm to afraid to change anything since I feel like things are going well, so I stick to plain old water.
The mangel still are not showing. I've been bringing the pots outside on nice warm/sunny days.
I'm giving up hope on the bushel gourds. Maybe next year. After all they do spread and vine like crazy and did get a little out of control. Maybe next year I can get a good place for them to vine and try again.
Tomatoes have some real leaves and are looking good!
The mangel have also shown up to the party finally! I've got a few popping up so it looks like I'll have a couple to choose from. I have been bringing the pots outside on nice warm/sunny days, being careful of sudden May snow storms.
Tomatoes are getting a little big for their paper homes. Time to move to a slightly bigger plastic cup. This will also let me water from below. Another new item I learned which is apparently good for them. I let them rest in a doorway to get some shade and a hint of what it's like outside.
The Mangel continue doing okay.
A friend gives me some left over yellow fleshed potatoes, so I go ahead and plant a few of them. They are in the same family as a tomato, so it could prove interesting to see how they fair. Plus who doesn't love mashed potatoes?
Tomatoes are being brought out on nice days for a little fresh air. Starting with my hardening off process. I'm going for 2 hours at a time for a couple days, then jumping to 4 hours for a few days. etc. Theres a few days where its cloudy but warm, so I left them out all day.
Mangel look good, but a few over zealous waterings on my part are giving them a run for their money.
Potatoes might be from the same family but they don't look the same as a tomato!
The tomatoes are getting bushy and smell really nice.
Yup, my heavy hand with the waterings have proven my downfall. A few of the mangels have some stem issues, and can't stand up on their own. One whole pot is not looking good at all, so I pull them out and try to transplant (despite knowing its not great) in hopes to have more then just one mangel. I leave the strongest looking one on its own, and the two weaker ones I move to the other pot.
I get some more pots finally for the tomatoes along with more potting soil. Time to put these bad boys in their forever homes. I snip the two seedling leaves, and some lower leaves in order to get the plants as deep as possible in their pots, and let those roots grow from the stems as I have read. I think I probably needed more soil for all of these pots, and could have planted a few of them deeper.
Also featured here two pots of future Zucinni loafs.
Any feed back on what I have done would be appreciated.
Next step is to figure out how to cage Giant tomatoes. I've grown a tomato plant once and it was a disaster, branches were hanging all over, the cage couldn't contain it, and most of my tomatoes ended up on the ground.
As well, I am going to start looking into proper feeding schedules and nutrients.
It's over! Good bye 2020 growing season.
I finally got my beets cleaned up and weighed. I couldn't be happier with the results for a first attempt.
4lbs 6.9oz (and reminds me of a lobster almost)
Is it bigger? I can't really tell. Definitely slowing down. I think it might be getting time to pull it out and weight it! I won't be competing any place, and this is my first time growing one of these massive beets but it's been really interesting.
I've got a little bit of growth up on my mangel, but the width isn't changing. I guess that makes sense though.
I wasn't getting anything in the tomato department, and I figured it would be to late to grow another giant by now anyway. So I finally pulled them up and put them onto the compost heap. They were so big that I couldn't fit them all into my compost bin and in fact had to start a little pile in my garden for them. Until next year Tomatoes!
The mangel seems to have slowed right done, however I think thats my fault, I've gotten a little lax with the watering schedule. I'll have to pick things back up this week to see if I can keep it growing! I had some friends stop by for a back yard distanced visit and they were amazed with the size of them. It's going to be great once I pull them out to see how they look.
The Mangel have put in a tiny bit of growth from last week. So things are still looking okay.
Nothing exciting to report on the garden side. My tomato plants have seen better days, thats for sure. I have a few blooms on them now but I doubt there will be enough time to grow another giant. Some of the plants appear to have stunted growth and at least one I topped by mistake. All new growth are from suckers part way up the plants stock. I'll keep an eye out and see how any do just for the fun of it though.
My Mangel are doing fine, slow and steady! It looks like they haven't grown at all but looking back at past pictures and measurements they are doing just fine.
Most of my tomatoes have been rippening so I've been taking them off. All of them between 1-2 lbs. I only see one starting to form on any of the vines so I don't know if I will have much potential for any others, but we will wait and see.
My second biggest as of yet.
The plants all appear okay, but maybe getting close to End of Life, I'll keep up the feeding and we will see how these remaining Tomatoes do, and if they can start producing more fruits.
The tall Mangel has put on maybe 0.5 inches in width over the last week. I'm really interested in seeing whats below the surface, and what its going to look like on the very bottom of the grow bag.
And my Carolina reaper is starting to get some ripe peppers! Who likes the spice?
I keep looking at it, and I didn't want to leave this beast one the vine much longer for fear it would ripen to much and loose some weight.
3lb 3.1oz (5.03 Hunt/17)
I've taken one of my smaller tomatoes off, it is getting red and I'm hoping it will increase the size of the remaining fruit.
1lb8oz (5.36 Hunt/17)
I have tested my water (for my fishies), and it seems the pH is around 6.8-7.
I haven't tested the soil levels, I feel like I've added plenty of calcium though. I'll give acidifying the water a little try and see if that gives any results. I may even try finding a soil pH test.
After a quick vacation for a week and leaving my babies to be tended by someone else I'm happy to report everything is still okay!
My tomatoes appear to be changing colour now. Largest seems to be around 50 cm, I haven't been measuring to often but I'll keep an eye on it to see if its stopped growing or not.
Some of the plants have started showing some signs of aging and are turning yellow, most of them appear to have stopped growing as well. The tallest plant has no fruit on it, and when it does get some they all have a terrible case of blossom end rot.
This one is looking rather promising. Still green and gaining. There is another fruit on this plant you can see below it that is starting to gain some colour. I'm assuming if I prune it away, this one will get a bit of a bump in growth.
This one is about 50 cm.
Mangel seem fine. I should start to measure them as they don't seem to be changing to much to my eye.
Everything is still growing. Slow and steady, nothing new really.
Just trying to pair down some fruits on my tomato plants. The biggest one has lost its main fruit due to end rot, so now its just a few tiny ones growing, I'll see how big they can get. The other plants already have several biggies growing, just have to decide which ones to keep and which ones to cut. The biggest plant has also started producing new leaf vines lower down on the plant from existing lead vines. So I'm not sure what is going on with it, but I'll keep an eye on it. More leaves means more potential for energy right?
My Mangel are still doing fine nothings changed. They seems pretty hardy which is nice, I don't have to baby them or tend them very much.