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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.


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1st- $50.00 Gift Cert to the SFG Store

2nd- $40.00 Gift Cert to the SFG Store

3rd- $30.00 Gift Cert to the SFG Store

An in-depth essay/article on a given veggie picked by the contest writer. The essay/article to include basic research with references and to include varieties and their pros and cons, disease and insect control specific to that veggie. The veggies could be picked from the following list or one selected by the writer. Asparagus, Bean, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Beets, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Carrot, Celery, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Salad Greens, Out of the Ordinary for a SFG, Melons, Okra, Onion, Peas, Peppers, Radish, Squash, Chard, Tomatoes and/or anything else that tickles the fancy of the writer. If more than one writer picks the same veggie that should not be a problem and could enhance the contest.

Entries will be voted on by the forum members.

Voting will begin February 25th and continue until Feb 28th. The winners will be announced on March 1st.

All entries are subject to be used in the SFG newsletter, recognition will be given to the author but no monetary payment will be made for use. If you enter an essay/article it is subject to be used by the foundation.

OKAY EVERYONE!!!!! Good luck to everyone!!!


Last edited by middlemamma on Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:21 am; edited 4 times in total

Female Posts : 2264
Join date : 2010-04-25
Age : 46
Location : Idaho Panhandle

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Post Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:09 am  Blackrose

Oh boy! I didn't do so well with essays in school. LOL!

Is there a word limit?

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Post Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:36 pm  middlemamma

nope:) no limit.

I bet you will find when writing about a topic you love the words will flow much easier! Smile

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Post Tue Jan 04, 2011 1:15 am  middlemamma

bump.... Smile

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Post Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:17 pm  middlemamma


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Post Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:29 pm  GardenZen

I have not wrote a paper in many, many moons.

Reckon I will wait about 3 more weeks and pull an all-nighter like in the good ol days Razz

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Post Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:44 am  quill33

I have a question re: this essay. Is it based on assumption that it is grown in Mel's Mix? Because that can/will affect the way the information is relayed in writing - because fertilizers, soil amendments, etc. are not going to be as necessary if the base assumption is a proper blend of Mel's Mix that was created with a minimum of 5 composts and the peat moss/coconut coir, along with coarse vermiculite.

Would love a bit of clarification on this because I'm very interested in entering, but want to make sure I understand.

Also, is there a particular format for this essay one would like followed? Or just however the writer deems most appropriate to relay the information is acceptable for this contest?

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Post Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:32 pm  middlemamma

We are not assuming that the vegetable will be grown in Mel's mix...you might explore that scenario as well as if it were not grown in Mel's Mix what you would do to get a proper harvest.

You are given complete freedom with this essay, not 1 format is required.


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Post Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:14 pm  quill33

Thank you for the additional clarification.

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Post Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:40 pm  quiltbea

Where do we send the essays?
Or will there be a thread for them?

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Post Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:57 pm  middlemamma

You can post them right here in this thread Smile

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Post Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:24 am  ander217

I think I'm being intimidated by the word "essay". I may have to replace it with "article" in my mind.

When I was in college I had a teacher who gave essay tests. I was mortified when the first test was handed back because the teacher had stamped a huge, red bull on some of my answers. blush

So, it's time to get started on an article for the contest - yeah, that sounds much better. study

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Post Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:26 am  ander217

ander217 wrote:I think I'm being intimidated by the word "essay". I may have to replace it with "article" in my mind.

When I was in college I had a teacher who gave essay tests. I was mortified when the first test was handed back because the teacher had stamped a huge, red bull on some of my answers. blush

So, it's time to get started on an article for the contest - yeah, that sounds much better to my ears. study

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Post Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:40 pm  middlemamma



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Post Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:01 pm  quiltbea

Are pictures included in the essay acceptable?

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Post Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:28 pm  middlemamma

Of course!

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Post Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:36 pm  quiltbea

I've chosen my subject and photos and I may want to rewrite possibly so am waiting a few days.
Maybe no one wants to be the first one.

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Post Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:01 pm  miinva

I don't know if this is what you were looking for, but I got inspired today while I was waiting for someone, so I took out a notepad and wrote it down.


I started gardening late in life. My only exposure to gardening prior to 2007 was a terrible summer of laboring in a long, wide swath of dirt in the suburban backyard of my childhood home, where my father had roto-tilled an area 20 feet long by 5 feet wide, then meticulously spaced what seemed like dozens of commercially raised hybrid tomatoes. I have no idea what drove him to such madness, he'd shown no previous interest in gardening, but I don't remember getting a single tomato in return for the arduous hours spent weeding and watering; my only real memory is of the constant goading and fighting because my brother and I, then 13 and 14 years old, were expected to be the caretakers of the project. The end of that summer was met with a collective sigh of relief and a newly acquired dislike of tomatoes.

Who would have thought that 24 years later a spring would come when I was eager to garden, even excited about it? My husband was raised in a home where row gardening was a way of life. His mother was a teacher so summers were spent growing food and falls were spent preserving the harvest. He hadn't gardened since heading off to college but we had purchased a little house on 16 acres and he dropped hints about gardening which I cautiously entertained. Could we grow our own food? Wasn't it a waste to have so much land with none of it sustaining us? The turning point came one day when my elementary school aged son and I were walking along the farmer's market stalls trying to decide which beautiful, locally grown produce to buy, and he announced that we should be farmers. I couldn't really argue with him, although I'm sure that he had a different scale in mind that I did. I turned to the internet, seeking advice on where to begin, what to do, and what was even possible.

On that fateful day I came across a blog with beautiful pictures of small, delicate white flowers on tall, elegant stems and I was spell-bound. How could food be so beautiful? I'd never seen pea plants before but I've always loved flowers and imagined that one day I would have beautiful naturalized flower beds, and reading the accompanying blog post about how easy peas were to grow led me to finally take the plunge.

We had a fenced yard for our dogs and a spare panel or two of cattle fence, rigid welded wire that made a perfect trellis once I had painstakingly tied lengths of string between the wide gaps in the wire. I read everything that I could find on GardenWeb, discovering that peas like a bit of sand in the trench they're planted in and that they only need to be planted shallowly, as deeply as the pea is in diameter. That first year I spaced them so carefully, going a bit overboard and planting five different kinds in my little trench beneath that cattle panel. I so clearly remember the day I went out to my tiny garden and it looked like some of the seeds has popped out of the soil, but when I touched the first one, thinking that it just needed to be pushed back into the soil, I realized that they had surfaced because they had sprouted and I caught my breath. I'd done it! They were growing!

I had also planted Southern Peas, thinking that they were peas, only to discover when I asked on GardenWeb that Southern Peas are actually beans, so they're a summer crop. Boy did I feel silly!

Over the next weeks I watched in wonder as those little dried up seeds sprouted and grew, each variety slightly different, each and every seed germinating, which I attribute to the quality of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange seeds. At first I gently helped each one wrap it's tiny little hair-like feelers around the string and wire, until each of my babies had a firm grip and suddenly they all took off!

Little Marvel and Wando shot up to a foot or so then began filling out, Alaska and Sugar Ann grew to about two feet and sort of stalled, Sugar Ann filling out a bit more than Alaska, while Mammoth Melting Sugar Snow grew and grew, reaching the top of the four foot panel, curly little tendrils waving in the breeze in search of purchase. Each of the varieties had it's own habit and I realized that I'd gone to the trouble of carefully marking the boundary of each variety unnecessarily because I could tell them apart. What a surprise to someone who thought they had a black thumb!

Looking out the kitchen window and seeing that panel green with life filled me with joy, but there was more to come. I'd seen pictures of a patch of English peas in bloom and I couldn't wait to see my peas bloom, and it was every bit as spectacular as I thought it would be.

Suddenly there were delicate blooms of white, so pretty nestled amongst the vivid green leaves and curly little tendrils. I couldn't stop looking at them, checking them many times a day, closely inspecting each bloom and discovering the complexity of their design, and although my husband's favorite part was the harvest, I was stunned by the perfection of those little white flowers. It's true the harvest was wonderful, but each spring and fall since it has been the blooms that warmed my heart and filled me with a sense of wonder. I can't help but marvel at what a wrinkly green pea seed can offer. Seeing those tiny pea pods begin to peek out through the flowers made me laugh out loud and my husband looked at me like I was crazy. How silly am I to get so tickled by peas?!

Our harvest was plentiful and delicious, as it has been every year since. The three shelling peas, Little Marvel, Wando, and Alaska, all produced a fair bit of peas, but the best-producing was Little Marvel, filling each pod with four or five good-sized peas. The flavor of all of them was outstanding, I had no ideas peas could be so delicious, raw or cooked. Commercially canned peas pale in comparison! The edible pod peas, Sugar Ann and Mammoth Melting Sugar Snow, both produced well for their size, with the Sugar Ann pods smaller and more snap pea in shape the the broader, flatter Mammoth Melting Sugar Snow. Sugar Ann didn't produce as many pods because the plants are much shorter, but they were crisp and juicy once they plumped up. I thought that Mammoth Melting Sugar Snow had superior flavor but none of them made it from the garden to my house, my husband and son eating every other pea they picked right off the vine.

Last year I tried some of my home-grown Mammoth Melting Sugar pea sprouts on a salad and they were divine, crisp and succulent with the slightest taste of peas. A generous member of the SFG forum sent me seeds for yellow- and purple-podded peas, whose flowers were bi-colored and breath-taking. Only the yellow-podded pea is labeled as edible pod, but that didn't seem to deter my husband, who ate any pod he saw that was ripe. It makes me so happy to see him and my son happily munching on something that I nurtured and grew.

Growing peas awakened my interest in gardening and SFG makes it so easy that the sky is the limit. This year my husband will build a raised bed around that panel of cattle fence and my peas will get their own SFG and instead of only being top-dressed in Mel's Mix, they'll get an entire bed of it. Who knows how big my harvest will be!

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Post Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:12 pm  CarolynPhillips

good grief charlie brown
my essay would be a book having to
include references too.
I don't know how to simplify.
I'll try but I think i have too many irons in the fire.

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Post Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:26 pm  miinva

I'm a technical writer by day, so I guess I get that out of my system Smile I hope you contribute, you're such a wonderfully knowledgeable resource!

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Post Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:38 pm  CarolynPhillips

Tomatoes and a Brief History

Tomatoes belong to the genus Lycopersicon. They are in the same family as potatoes which is the Solanaceae, commonly known as the Nightshade Family. Tomatoes are either determinant or indeterminate. Determinant tomatoes are bush type plants developed mostly for large acerage production that are mechanically harvested and for home gardeners with limited space and mostly grown in large container pots. Determinants will only produce for a certain amount of time and then the plant dies out. Indeterminate tomatoes are vining type plants and can grow indefinitely in warm tropical climates or in heated greenhouses if kept disease free.
Tomatoes originated in South America as a “wild” plant. The “wild” plants and green tomatoes are toxic. Only the red tomatoes of “wild” tomatoes can be eaten. Tomatoes were called Zitomate, an Aztec word. The tomato was brought to Peru , then to Mexico in the early 1400's long before “Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue in 1492”. The “wild” plants were grown by the Indians and was a part of their regular diet. The “wild” tomato plants were then carried to Europe after the Spanish Exploration of Central America. In Italy the tomato was called the “Love Apple” or “Golden Apple”. At first it was grown as an ornamental and was considered completely poisonous. Tomato gardeners experimented with the cultivation of tomatoes and gradually gained trust in the culinary uses until eventually it was cultivated and used in sauces and salsa but thought to have had very little nourishment. In the United States there was nothing written about tomatoes until 1781, written by Thomas Jefferson but not commonly grown at that time either. The use of tomatoes became more common after 1837 when the Connecticut Board of Agriculture researched the use of tomatoes by the French but was still considered poisonous at that time. As years went by and use became more popular it was cultivated and cross pollinated to our currant day tomato.
There are many words to learn the meaning to when deciding which type of tomato you wish to grow. I will only list the most important ones. Open Pollinated means the seed are produced from natural random pollination resulting in varied characteristics. Variety is a natural strain of plant that has distinctive features that are presistant for generations without human interference. Cross Pollination is the fertilization of the ovary on one plant with the pollen from another plant producing a new genetic make up similar to either parent. Cultivator is a variety strictly raised through horticultural cross pollination. Hybrids are cultivars that have been horticulturally cross pollinated using two distinctive parent plants to develop a more desirable strain. Tomato varieties kept in the family and handed down generation after generation dating back hundreds of years are known as Heirlooms. The most common heirlooms normally have a recorded history such as Brandywine which was developed by Amish farmers near Brandywine Creek in Chester County , Pennsylvania in 1885. Mortgage Lifter was developed by a man nick-named Radiator Charlie who lived in the mountains of West Virginia. Charlie repaired the radiators of large trucks that traveled the mountain roads. Charlie crossed four large fruited tomato varieties until he produced a variety that grew a 2 pound tomato. He sold that variety for $1 each and sold enough to pay off his mortgage in 4 years and then name his variety Mortgage Lifter. Some gardeners seek heirloom varieties thinking they are of one strain but all heirlooms are not of one strain. Some heirlooms do become genetically homozygous after growing them for generations. This means true to characteristics.
Growing tomatoes can bring many problems into the garden but we keep trying to perfect it anyway. Tomato diseases are a gardeners nightmare and preventing it is easier than treating it. Hybrids are the result for needing varieties that resist these diseases and to improve their characteristics. Keep in mind that they were bred to resist the disease. It does not mean they won't get it. Hybrids have a list of abbreviations or codes on the end of their name letting you know which disease that plant is resistant to.

A — Alternaria stem canker
F — Fusarium wilt
FF — Fusarium races 1 and 2
FFF — Fusarium races 1, 2 and 3
N — Nematodes
T — Tobacco mosaic virus
St — Stemphylium gray leaf spot
V — Verticillium wilt

Example 1: Big Beef Hybrid VFFNTASt = Verticillium, Fusarium 1&2, Nematodes, Tobacco Mosaic Virus, Alternaria, and Stemphylium.
Example 2: Better Boy Hybrid VFNASt = Verticillium, Fusarium, Nematodes, Alternaria, Stemphylium

A link to help your search for tomato problems in the garden. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/02949.html

Early Blight is a fungal disease caused by the fungus Alternaria solani. Signs of Early Blight are irregular brown necrotic lesions surrounded by an area of yellowing tissue on older leaves. Lesions on the stems are simular. The fungus survives on infected debris left behind in the soil and on volunteer tomato plants. To help prevent Early Blight, clean all debris , mulch, and avoid overhead watering.
Late Blight is a serious fungal disease caused by Phytophthora infestans. Signs of Late Blight are small dark water-soaked lesions on young leaves that will enlarge quicly and form white mold at the margins of the affected area on the undersides of the leaves. Avoid overhead watering. Treat with a fungicide or destroy plants if infestation is severe.
Powdery Mildew is a fungal disease caused by Blumeria graminis. Leaves will have white powdery spots . The disease worsens in warm dry conditions. Treat with fungicide or sulfur dust. Use milk spray or fungicide to prevent Powdery Mildew.
Fursarium Wilt is a warm weather disease caused by the fungus fusarium oxysporum. The plant leaves will droop downward and may have a loss of green in leaves. This disease is soil borne. There is no known chemical control. The fungus survives in soil for several years. Destroy plants and stakes and sanitize tools.
The most common insects to attack tomato plants are whiteflies, hornworms, caterpillars, aphids, spider mites, and thrips. You can use horticulture oils or sprays, organic or home remedy spray, or companion plants to help detour these pest. I personally use a home remedy tonic in my hose end sprayer to treat my garden beds for fungus, disease, and insects. I use Liquid Seven dust if there is a big problem with worms eating my tomato plants and fruits. If there is a big problem with fungus, then I use Daconil or Fun-O-Nil. But the best treatment of all is prevention. Prevent fungus and disease from showing up because it is harder to get rid of it than it is to prevent it. When it is time to replant your garden beds, clean all debris such as leaves and stems. Sweep it clean and Trash it. Spray a fungicide even if you are not going to plant again until Spring. Do it then and do it just before planting. Don't let plants lay dead on the soil all winter. This will be your worst nightmare, sooner or later. Drench the beds with a fungicide such as Daconil or Fung-Onil. Then turn your soil under.
Always mulch tomato plants. This prevents a soil splash on your plants when it rains or when you water. Fungus is in the soil and also spread by air from surrounding areas that have weeds or others who have fungus on their vegetable plants. Spray the outer areas of your lawn with fungicide.
It is hard to tell if you have a disease or fungus in the tomato patch so it is a given fact from professional tomato growers that it is not a good idea to compost tomato plants. Tomato plants are the worlds worst for causing a fungus disease in your compost. (there is a fungus among us) You should treat the plants on a regular basis but if you don't want chemicals on your tomato plants and fruits, try to use the fungicide up until they start producing or use a safe home tonic mixture to help prevent fungus on plants using a Hose End Sprayer.
Add 1 cup of Antiseptic Mouthwash
Add 3 cups of water.
Set dial sprayers to 1 tbs per gallon.
Antiseptic Mouthwash discourages disease from breeding in the soil.
If you want to help run off the insects at the same time,
Add 1 cup of Dish Soap
Dish Soap softens the soils, washes pollution off plants and detours insects because the insects get a tummy ache and they don't want to come back.
Spray late evenings but give enough time to dry before dark. Spray once a week.
If you get a fungus, you should use a fungicide. It is the only way to start getting rid of it. If the fungus is real bad you should just trash the plant(sadly) or it will just spread to places without you knowing it.
Cleaning all debris is the # 1 way to prevent fungus from spreading.

Tomato seeds can be purchased through gardening catalogs or in garden shops everywhere. Seeds have nutrients stored inside that helps nourish the seedlings until they take root. The plump seeds have more nutrients. The thinner seeds have less nutrients. For the first phase of seed growing, you'll need a container that is at least 2-3 inches deep. It can be any size or shape but should be big enough for you to scatter the tiny tomato seeds an inch apart. You can use disposable drink cups or egg carton sections or old flowerpots that you have on hand as long as they have drainage holes in the bottom. Wash the containers with a mild soap and water solution with a few drops of Clorox added to disinfect them. You'll need to purchase a bag of seed starter potting mix. Don't use regular garden soil as it's too heavy and may have insects or disease. Bagged potting mixes are light and sterile and will promote a healthy environment for your young and fragile seedlings. Most seed starting mixes have peat moss or vermiculite in the mix so it is best to pre-moisten the soil in a bucket before adding to the containers of choice. You can safely plant your seedlings outdoors 1-2 weeks after the last frost. To figure out when you should sow your seeds, count back 6 weeks before your last expected frost date.If you have a good heated greenhouses, you can grow the plants up to 9 weeks before your last expected frost date. After filling your growing containers with the moist growing medium, place each seed about an inch in from the edge of the container and leave an inch of space between the seeds. Transplant after the first set of true leaves have grown. I normally transplant mine when they are between 10 and 14 days old counting from the sow date. After placing the seeds, sprinkle about 1/8 of an inch of additional growing medium to cover them and gently firm the soil down with a spoon or like. Lightly mist the soil surface with water from a spray bottle. Cover the growing container(s) with saran wrap but not tightly. It will need air circulation. 70-80 degrees is the ideal temperature to germinate tomato seeds. A south facing window works well, as long as you don't open it and allow the cold air to come in contact with the containers. It might be best to remove the plants from the cold windowsill during the night but don't forget about them the next morning. They need to be misted on a regular basis so they don't dry out. You can also purchase grow lights and heat mats to aid germination. After tomato seedlings have emerged, they will need strong light for at least 12 hours a day for best results. 10 hours will be ok. If you use shop-lights or grow lights, keep them at least 2 to three inches above the plants. Grow lights get hotter than shop-lights but both get the job done. If you use a windowsill, additional light from a shop-light will help extend the amount light per day plus give off extra heat near the cold windows.
As soon as you see the first set of true leaves it's time to transplant each individual seedling into larger containers. Use a small teaspoon to carefully dig out the young seedling from the growing tray and place it into a 4 inch pot filled with moist growing medium or potting soil as deep as you can giving it at least ½ an inch head space above the soil.
If you are growing tomato plants in a cold frame or greenhouse, you can transplant it every two weeks into a larger pot placing it as deep as you can each potting. For strong sturdy plants, keep tomato plants spaced apart so their leaves don't touch each other. If you run out of room to space them apart from one another, you can trim some of the lower leaf stems to allow more sunlight to the stalk which will make the stalk sturdier. You can begin fertilizing your young seedlings with the first transplanting. Use ¼ strength fertilizer for the first week. Then graduate to ½ strength the second week, then whole strength thereafter. There are many opinions on how deep to plant your tomatoes into the garden. Tomato plants will produce and survive in shallow 6 inch bedding mix if they are fertilized and watered often because the feeder roots which are close to the service of the ground will draw in the water and fertlizer where ever it is located. For best results, loosen soil 12 to 24 inches deep. If you grew your toms in large pots then the soil will have to be loosened to accommodate the depth of the root ball that is in the pot. There is no law on how deep it has to be placed into the growing bed. It will grow with sufficient fertilizer and water.

There is no such thing as the best tomato for the whole world. We have different strains or varieties that produce differently in each zone or region. Each person must grow a variety and see which tomato produces best in their own regional climate. Even the techniques we use to train our plants will have a different affect on how well the plant will produce. The one thing that all tomato plants need is air circulation. Pruning the plants down to the least amount of vines possible helps prevent disease and fungus. There are varieties that grow best in hot regions such as Indian Stripe and Arkansas Traveler and those that produce best in cold regions such as Stupice and Siberian. There is well over 2000 varieties to choose from. Choosing which one to grow can be difficult to decide but fun and rewarding during the growing process. For instance: Cherokee Purple is pinkish purple and Indian Stripe is brownish black but both taste the same. Indian Stripe has slightly smaller fruits than Cherokee Purple but Indian Stripe has more fruit in each cluster and both produce well in summer heat. I promise, it will take you all Winter to decide which one to grow which is why the Tomato is A Gardeners Obsession.
The information you can obtain about tomatoes is endless. There is no way to simplify that information into one small article. It requires a book. There are several good books available about tomatoes. My favorites are: Giant Tomatoes by Marvin H. Meisner, M.D. , How to Grow World Record Tomatoes by Charles H. Wilber, and Let's Grow Tomatoes by Dr. Jacob R. Mittleider.


Happy Gardening

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Post Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:34 pm  miinva

Wow! Talk about comprehensive! What a great resource.

I'm a little embarrassed at my effort now, but such is life Smile

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Post Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:38 pm  WardinWake


"Some of these (squash) are green, some yellow, some longish like a gourd, others round like an apple; all of them pleasant food boyled and buttered, and seasoned with spice." - John Josselyn, New England Rarities Discovered, 1672

WOW- that sounds just like the squash varieties we have today. Following right behind tomatoes I would venture that squash is the second most widely grown vegetable in the family garden, and with good reason. They taste good, grow fast and put on so much fruit that many varieties require daily harvesting or the fruit can get to big to be at their best. Squash can be eaten in as many ways as you can come up with. Raw, fried, stewed, boiled, made into soups or baked in bread and pies. Squash are easy to keep long into the winter by properly preparing and freezing. Some varieties are good keepers without freezing.

Squash can be an almost care free vegetable except for two main problems, Squash Bugs and the dreaded Squash Vine Borer (moth). There are other problems including Anthracnose, Bacterial Wilt, Powdery Mildew, Downy Mildew, Mosaic and Scab. In this article we will tackle the top bug problem - the Squash Bug.

Squash Bugs cause wilted, dried-up leaves and the damage increases until the vine dies. Squash Bugs are flat-backed, shield-shaped, brown to black with a light colored outline on their abdomens and according to "Rodale's Garden Problem Solver", grow to be 1/2 to 3/4 inches in length. Control is key to keeping the buggers at bay. Placing a floating row cover over your plants until the plants start to bloom will protect them from early season attacks. The "Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening" recommends hand picking the growing bugs and destroying the reddish-brown egg clusters that are located on the undersides of the leaves. The laying of trap boards on the soil over night will help as the bugs tend to congregate beneath them and you can destroy the pests the next morning. Companion planting of radishes, nasturtiums, or marigolds among your squash may help repel them. The "Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture, 1894" suggests early burning of vines and all rubbish in fall and the biweekly collection of eggs. Earlier editions of the yearbook suggested planting an early trap crop and then burning the crop when the crop was fully infested and then replanting for harvest. The use of an organic insecticidal soap may also be required along with the use of Neem Oil spray. With the use of the above suggestions you should have an abundant harvest of your favorite squash variety.

In researching this article I found that there are several resistant squash varieties which include Early Golden Scallop, Early Prolific Straightneck, Early Summer Crookneck, and Sweet Cheese. One of our favorite authors on the Square Foot Gardening Forum reported that the variety Zucchino Rampicante (Meganis Giganatus Vineist) grew so fast and so large in her Square Foot Garden that the bugs could not keep up and she was able to harvest many, many squash despite the Squash Bug's best efforts.

As a final thought we can try to cook last years eggs that may have over-wintered in our garden soil by covering the garden with black plastic and allowing the sun to heat the soil as hot as possible before planting our seeds.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.

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Post Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:19 pm  Megan

Meganis Giganatus Vineist
rofl darn funny

Great post, Ward!

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Post Sat Jan 29, 2011 11:21 am  FarmerValerie

WOW, the very topic I was considering writing about, that blasted Squash Bug. I lost the battle last year, due to a back injury that kept me from gardening. My story last year ends with me limping out to the garden in late October with my husbands torch and butane tank and setting fire to everything in the squash family. I did get some pleasure out of that though. I had read about planting an early crop of potatoes (2 weeks before regular one) and when the bugs showed up burn them, and wondered if that would work for squash as well. I may try it this year, but I will definitely try the black plastic on the box to heat the soil. I'm in NE TX and we are having 72 degree weather for the last 2 days and today, and then a dip in temps, so I am anxious to get started. As much as it pains my brain to look up another topic for this contest, I am so grateful I found it and your article, any help at all with that garden pest is an asset!!! Oh, and I did have a picture that I have since lost of those bugs crawling all over my marigolds, these guys I have must not have read the gardening book on companion planting!

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