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Old 03-15-2016, 05:36 PM   #21
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Im Jealous.
Ive been eyeing a local bee keepers class for the last few years to take with my son.

This year was the year we were going to do it, and this year it was cancelled .

I did attend a lecture on bees at the philadelphia flower show a few weeks ago. Great lecture. Definitely made me even more interested. Hopefully they will bring back the class next year. ( Its a year long hands on program).
Me too. I worked with a bee keeper years ago, what fun and what a great thing to do for those plants that need the pollination! Honey, oh my, we can never get enough.

We use big 4-5 foot heavy gage tomato cages for tomatoes, beans, egg plant, cucumbers (train up very well) and in the winter we use them around our younger fruit trees. The are at least 20 years old and we push them into the ground about a foot. It's a good investment over the years.

To prevent damage on the tomatoes from fungal disease, it's important to take off the lower leaves because a fungal infection will travel from the splash of rain drops (or watering) that goes from the soil, splashing onto the lower leaves and it travels up the tomato plant. It may not stop it completely but it improves the life of the plant enough to get more tomatoes over the entire season.
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Old 03-15-2016, 07:39 PM   #22
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Me too. I worked with a bee keeper years ago, what fun and what a great thing to do for those plants that need the pollination! Honey, oh my, we can never get enough.

I am *so* looking forward to the honey! We might even get some this first year.

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We use big 4-5 foot heavy gage tomato cages for tomatoes, beans, egg plant, cucumbers (train up very well) and in the winter we use them around our younger fruit trees. The are at least 20 years old and we push them into the ground about a foot. It's a good investment over the years.

To prevent damage on the tomatoes from fungal disease, it's important to take off the lower leaves because a fungal infection will travel from the splash of rain drops (or watering) that goes from the soil, splashing onto the lower leaves and it travels up the tomato plant. It may not stop it completely but it improves the life of the plant enough to get more tomatoes over the entire season.
This is so true. Fungi and bacteria live in the soil. As you say, you can't keep them off completely, but anything you can do to minimize exposure helps.
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Old 03-16-2016, 01:20 AM   #23
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Our neighbor up the street keeps honeybees, but he's had issues with colony collapse disorder and has lost a few of his hives. Much as I love honey, I've never been interested in keeping bees. However, after reading this article about bees from the local birdie store, I'm more inclined to offer B&B accommodations to the native solitary bees. Those little buggers are busy keeping our plants pollinated, and deserve our help with staying around even if they don't gift us with sweet nectar.

Spring Mason Bees and Summer Leafcutter Bees

They sell cute little bee "hotels", of course, but all you have to do is google "bee house plans" and you have all kinds of options for every skill level. I need to get Himself busy in the basement.
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Old 03-17-2016, 12:24 PM   #24
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I know they do. In our case, it was wind from nor'easters that blew them down. We have some pretty fierce storms here.

You don't want to keep the growth inside the cage because it would get too crowded. Most plants need air moving through them in order to dry out after rain or watering; wet plants encourage fungal growth.

Whether the plants are inside or outside the cage, the weight is the same and the cage is supporting it. Unless you're letting it lie on the ground, which I wouldn't recommend.



It shouldn't take more than a week or so to get the results. The extension results will include micronutrients, which many home test kits don't, and they will also give you recommendations for any necessary amendments based on your local conditions. I also read an article that said home test kits aren't necessarily reliable. Extension kits are done at agricultural universities. I think it's worth the six bucks.
Allowing the tomato plant to grow normally in and outside the cage may hold all the weight. But it also distributes the weight more evenly resulting in a much sturdier plant/structure. If you train it up and over, this is when you have problems as they get top heavy. This has been my observation over the years.
I am also of the opinion that concrete mesh or fencing as some of you call it to be the best option. Since i have 24 heavy duty tomato cages, I decided to roll with them yet again this year.

As far as soil testing.
I am really only concerned about PH. My intention is to stop or prevent bottom rot on tomato's and premature yellowing of the leaves on both tomato and peppers.
I have introduced so much organic matter over the years, I have lowered the PH (and did not correct it) and this is what causes both problems I mention above.
I added some lime last season to late and added what was left last week.
I don't want a false PH result from these recent additions.
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Old 03-17-2016, 01:08 PM   #25
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As far as soil testing.
I am really only concerned about PH. My intention is to stop or prevent bottom rot on tomato's and premature yellowing of the leaves on both tomato and peppers.
I have introduced so much organic matter over the years, I have lowered the PH (and did not correct it) and this is what causes both problems I mention above.
I added some lime last season to late and added what was left last week.
I don't want a false PH result from these recent additions.
Soil pH is only one of several causes of blossom end rot: http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.corne...to_BlossRt.htm

Yellowing leaves are often caused by nitrogen deficiency following heavy rains. The rain saturates the soil, washing the nitrogen out of it. The fix is to fertilize with a nitrogen-forward fertilizer.
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Old 03-17-2016, 10:29 PM   #26
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Kayelle, that's similar to what we do. Our Master Gardeners who take care of the vegetable garden at the extension office have a similar setup, but they use wood.
Yep, but as you stated before, wood posts can allow slippage with the wire.
The metal posts as pictured prevent that with the little metal nubs.
We too, get fierce winds that would knock over anything else.
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Old 03-17-2016, 10:51 PM   #27
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Yep, but as you stated before, wood posts can allow slippage with the wire.
The metal posts as pictured prevent that with the little metal nubs.
We too, get fierce winds that would knock over anything else.
They, and we, train the vines around the cross-pieces, which prevents slipping.
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Old 03-18-2016, 02:21 AM   #28
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When we grew tomatoes we used wooden stakes. As the plant grew I would fasten the plant to the stake with a length of old pantyhose. I no longer wear pantyhose, so I guess it's a good thing I also no longer grow tomatoes. :
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Old 03-18-2016, 12:00 PM   #29
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Soil pH is only one of several causes of blossom end rot: Blossom End Rot Fact sheet

Yellowing leaves are often caused by nitrogen deficiency following heavy rains. The rain saturates the soil, washing the nitrogen out of it. The fix is to fertilize with a nitrogen-forward fertilizer.
Low PH is what keeps the plants from absorbing the nitrogen. Thus adjusting the PH for my condition is advisable and what I am doing.
I have been through this over the years and it took me all this time to pin point the issue.
The PH is to low.
I am performing a test this weekend as I bought a kit. We shall see how it works out. Thanks for the link.

Note: The yellowing problem is not the normal end of growing cycle yellowing.
The yellowing starts at the bottom and eventually works it way up.
Its directly related to PH. But hopefully I will learn more after the soil test.
I came to these conclusions by careful examination of study plants and finding my exact problem. When two, three problems add up to one answer, it would be silly to not attempt the cure.
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Old 03-18-2016, 12:15 PM   #30
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I have all these seeds, but am unable to do anything with them until next month. If I had wide windowsills, I'd already be able to start indoors. However, narrow sills and the garage it not heated. I'm getting anxious to start.
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