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Mark's first SFG

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Post  countrynaturals on 3/13/2020, 1:35 pm

@markqz wrote:Fourth and (probably) final large cauliflower/broccoli head

Mark's first SFG - Page 5 R3JTCp8

Have to decide if it's worth keeping existing, smaller cauli's that haven't flowered.
Beautiful, Mark. I completely lost control of my outdoor winter garden. Embarassed Not getting enough of anything to do anything with. Sad I'll do better next year, starting with a real plan. geek
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Post  mollyhespra on 3/13/2020, 8:40 pm

That's a mighty fine cauliflower, Mark.  Well done!  Mark's first SFG - Page 5 3170584802
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Post  markqz on 3/23/2020, 11:57 pm

Mel's book, and the SFG foundation site, give some values for number of plants per square. But I'm thinking that various varieties of plants require different values. For instance, the Book suggests 9 kohlrabi plants per square. But the purple kohlrabi has incredible foliage that wants to shade the kohlrabi in the center and all the plants on each side.

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Probably it should have been only 4 plants per square.

I've noticed that the purple cauliflower has really enormous leaves as well. Perhaps in the process of breeding for purple, breeders are also increasing leaf size.
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Post  OhioGardener on 3/24/2020, 9:02 am

@markqz wrote: But the purple kohlrabi has incredible foliage that wants to shade the kohlrabi in the center and all the plants on each side.

I have found this to be a benefit in the heat of summer - the plants shade the soil and reduce evaporation of water. Plus, weeds tend not to sprout in the shade.   The same is true of bush beans - planting 9 per square is very dense, and no soil will be visible through them, but the plants get more than enough sun to generously produce beans.

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Post  markqz on 3/26/2020, 11:09 pm

So the eggplant collapsed under it's own weight today. I had to use twisties to tie it back up. I wasn't sure if the eggplant would keep growing the winter, but apparently it can. But it wants to produce multiple small fruits rather than one nice size one. There's actually 4 fruits in this picture. One of them is from the other eggplant, which I crowded into the same square.

I guess I need to think about fertilizing it, since it's gone a long time one it's initial charge of compost.

Mark's first SFG - Page 5 UrEboJP
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Post  sanderson on 3/27/2020, 3:41 am

Can you just top dress with more compost and work it in the MM in the perimeter? Use organic like Espoma Garden-tone if you use any fertilizer.

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Post  OhioGardener on 3/27/2020, 8:40 am

@markqz wrote:So the eggplant collapsed under it's own weight today. I had to use twisties to tie it back up.

The cheap tomato cages the big box stores sell work good for peppers and eggplants. They don't work for tomatoes, but they work good for the peppers and eggplants. 

I thin eggplant fruit so that there is only one fruit per stem of the plant. Any more than that, and the plant can't feed all of them and they stay small.

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Post  markqz on 3/28/2020, 12:24 am

@OhioGardener wrote:
@markqz wrote:So the eggplant collapsed under it's own weight today. I had to use twisties to tie it back up.

The cheap tomato cages the big box stores sell work good for peppers and eggplants. They don't work for tomatoes, but they work good for the peppers and eggplants. 


My dad had a master gardener friend in Grand Rapids who used rebar for his tomato cages. He thought that the galvanic response of the metal helped encourage tomatoes. Whatever it was, I guess he had some amazing plants.

You're right, those cheap cages always get overrun by tomatoes (or tomatillos). And yet, I keep buying them Wink I was able to pull one  out from where it was buried. I was just barely able to get it over the eggplant without damaging it:

Mark's first SFG - Page 5 3sH1xOE

@OhioGardener wrote:
I thin eggplant fruit so that there is only one fruit per stem of the plant. Any more than that, and the plant can't feed all of them and they stay small.

I'm not sure what you mean by "stem". Is that per branch, or per main plant? In any event, I decided to harvest at least one:

Mark's first SFG - Page 5 ZdmkOgB

There are two eggplant plants sharing the same square. Both produce a lot of flowers, but only one has produced any fruit -- 5 fruits altogether. I'm wondering if I should just take out the non-productive plant. I guess I'll give it a month, since the days are getting longer.

Thanks!
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Post  OhioGardener on 3/28/2020, 8:42 am

@markqz wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean by "stem". Is that per branch, or per main plant? I


There are two eggplant plants sharing the same square. Both produce a lot of flowers, but only one has produced any fruit -- 5 fruits altogether. I'm wondering if I should just take out the non-productive plant. I guess I'll give it a month, since the days are getting longer.

Yes, I meant one per branch.

The most common reasons for eggplants blooming but not setting fruit is either not getting pollinated, or not getting enough water.  But, neither of those seem to make sense since you have one plant setting fruit, and another plant next to it not setting fruit. So, that is a little difficult to understand. Is there something that would cause the one plant to not get 2" of deep water a week?  Or, is it tightly packed next other plants so that is will not get pollinated?

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Post  markqz on 3/29/2020, 5:41 pm

@OhioGardener wrote:
@markqz wrote:
The most common reasons for eggplants blooming but not setting fruit is either not getting pollinated, or not getting enough water.  But, neither of those seem to make sense since you have one plant setting fruit, and another plant next to it not setting fruit. So, that is a little difficult to understand. Is there something that would cause the one plant to not get 2" of deep water a week?  Or, is it tightly packed next other plants so that is will not get pollinated?

They're under the tulle, so they never get pollinated by larger insects. They might get pollinated by small insects. They're supposedly "perfect" plants, meaning they have both male and female parts and it only takes a little wind motion to pollinate them. I've tried to remember to tap them from time to time. It's possible they were under-watered, but then why did the other one set so many fruits (they're in the same square.) The plant that's not setting is right next to large leaves from cauliflower and kohlrabi, so that might reduce its motion.

Thanks!
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Post  sanderson on 3/30/2020, 2:55 am

Eggplants are 1 per square. Can you carefully remove it and plant in an empty square?

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Post  markqz on 3/31/2020, 10:26 am

@sanderson wrote:Eggplants are 1 per square.  Can you carefully remove it and plant in an empty square?
I think cutting it out would probably kill the first eggplant as well. I'm going to make sure I'm giving them plenty of water. After harvesting two eggplants, the remaining two have actually grown -- in only a week.

The main problem is that I have all these squares that I can't use because there's taller plants in front, but it's unclear how long before they can be harvested. I guess this is a "warm climate" problem. I've got the benefit of getting eggplant and kohlrabi in March, but the disadvantage that there's no once-a-year reset.
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/31/2020, 6:42 pm

@markqz wrote:So the eggplant collapsed under it's own weight today. I had to use twisties to tie it back up. I wasn't sure if the eggplant would keep growing the winter, but apparently it can. But it wants to produce multiple small fruits rather than one nice size one. There's actually 4 fruits in this picture. One of them is from the other eggplant, which I crowded into the same square.

I guess I need to think about fertilizing it, since it's gone a long time one it's initial charge of compost.

Mark's first SFG - Page 5 UrEboJP
Mark, much like fruit trees, growers thin the flowers to get bigger fruits.  You might want to try that to lessen the volume burden and increase the size of harvest.
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/31/2020, 6:44 pm

Honestly if you want to keep the producer, cut the other plant off at ground level.
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Post  OhioGardener on 3/31/2020, 6:52 pm

Mark, I read back over this thread, and didn't see a description of if you prune your eggplants to 3 stems, and keep the suckers cut out. Do you do that, or just let them grow as they desire?

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Post  markqz on 3/31/2020, 11:40 pm

@OhioGardener wrote:Mark, I read back over this thread, and didn't see a description of if you prune your eggplants to 3 stems, and keep the suckers cut out. Do you do that, or just let them grow as they desire?
I've been letting them grow as they want. I should narrow them down to 3 stems?
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Post  OhioGardener on 4/1/2020, 8:20 am

@markqz wrote:
@OhioGardener wrote:Mark, I read back over this thread, and didn't see a description of if you prune your eggplants to 3 stems, and keep the suckers cut out. Do you do that, or just let them grow as they desire?
I've been letting them grow as they want. I should narrow them down to 3 stems?

I always recommend it. It builds stronger plants, and develops larger fruit.  I prune most of the members of the nightshade family, including peppers and tomatoes, so that they build stronger plants and produce more fruit.

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Post  sanderson on 4/4/2020, 2:41 am

I haven't tried pruning eggplants or peppers. I rarely pinch off the tops of peppers, even. I may try pruning the Black Beauty eggplants this year since they produce larger fruits than the Japanese Millionaire plants.

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Post  markqz on 4/4/2020, 4:48 pm

Kohlrabi nearly the size of softball. Just I get so many leaves for one single harvest. I need to have a baking day to cook them all.

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Post  OhioGardener on 4/4/2020, 5:49 pm

That looks great, Mark!  That would make some great Kohlrabi Slaw!  Yum, yum....

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Post  markqz on 4/15/2020, 11:32 pm

This kohlrabi was in the center, so grew long rather than becoming a baseball:

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This is about the right size to use on the spiralizer, so there's that.

I'm thinking that at least winter grow time, there should be only four plants per square.
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Post  OhioGardener on 4/16/2020, 8:28 am

Kohlrabi don't like shade, Mark, and won't form bulbs if too much shade. Of course, too much, or too little water can also cause that.  To me, the bulbs are best when harvested at about 2" to 2.5" diameter.

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Post  markqz on 4/16/2020, 10:11 am

@OhioGardener wrote:Kohlrabi don't like shade, Mark, and won't form bulbs if too much shade. Of course, too much, or too little water can also cause that.  To me, the bulbs are best when harvested at about 2" to 2.5" diameter.
All the shade they had was self-generated. They had lot's of foliage, and were planted nine to a square per the Book. Perhaps that works with the green varieties, or perhaps the number needs to be notched down for winter.  It appears that growing over winter takes twice as many harvest days, and possibly half as many plants-per-square.

Thanks!


Last edited by markqz on 4/16/2020, 10:25 am; edited 25 times in total (Reason for editing : Removing accidental duplicates)
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Post  ralitaco on 4/17/2020, 8:55 pm

Those are great looking plants Mark!!!

Those are great insights on suckering the eggplant plants.
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Post  markqz on 4/21/2020, 1:00 pm

The planter box started back in January:

Mark's first SFG - Page 5 UTmxRon

What's not shown in the photo is that I added an "adjunct" (or maybe "add-junk") to backside. Used lawn edging so that I could increase the size 6 inchs using dirt and compost. It's experimental -- planting sorghum which I hope becomes a trellis for plants in the SFG.
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