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Old 02-01-2006, 11:56 AM   #21
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Raven, thanks for all the info on BER, I have had trouble with it off and on everytime I grow tomatoes. (Most often when we are away for holidays and the watering is uneven.) My MIL's solution worked really well for me this year. She saves all her eggshells, washes them, crushes and dries them and sprinkles them around each tomato plant. It worked wonders for me this year. Only had one plant that had BER.

Dina, listen to buckytom he is right on the money. Your soil needs some work and then you will be able to do anything in that garden. I'm chuckling though, because you live in Zone 9 and I think I live in Zone 3. How the heck could I ever give YOU gardening advice? LMAO!
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Old 02-01-2006, 12:28 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dina
Anyone interested in gardening? This novice gardening has several questions to all you gardening experts.

I love gardening and I'm determined to make a beautiful garden this year. Looks like Spring has sprung down here in South Texas and I'm in desperate need of saving some of my plants: exoras and hibiscus, to name a few. So anyone interested in some gardening chat, exchanging your expertise, tips, hints on becoming a "green thumb" gardener, etc. just come on in here.
Dina, as long as your nights are not dipping below 50 degrees, you can move your plants outside into a semi-shaded area. If you put them directly into the hot sun after they've wintered indoors, the leaves will blister. You may get some leaf drop anyway, but don't freak out. Prune and feed the plants, keep moist, and they will make new leaves.

In your climate, you need to find a heat-resistant tomato, like Sunmaster. Most tomatoes won't set fruit when nights are over 80 degrees. On the other hand, peppers will love your climate.

The above mentioned methods of ammending your soil are excellent.
Save your coffee grounds and eggshells in an emty coffee can, and add those to the soil. And try to find some good aged manure...not the bagged stuff...horse, cow, chicken, whatever you can get from a farmer or stable. Spread on your tilled garden in the fall, let it set all winter, then plow in the following spring.


Raven, a hybrid Roma that is larger and more disease resistant is available now.

Azaleas need rich acid soil, and should be planted on the east or north side of your house. They must be kept moist.
I don't grow roses, but my dad did. They need a rich, humousy soil, at least 8 hours of sun a day, a regular feeding and spraying schedule, proper pruning and lots of love.
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Old 02-01-2006, 01:03 PM   #23
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Yes, Alix. I'm taking buckytom's advise on the compost. I'm off to Home Depot...

Constance,
Thanks for your advice. I will probably not grow tomatoes again but as long as I have my peppers, I'm happy. I'm curious about what the coffee grinds and eggshells do to the soil. We have horse stables just around the corner. I'll check to see what leftovers I can get from there.
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Old 02-01-2006, 01:38 PM   #24
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Hmmm....

I wonder if that BER is what hammered our tomato plants last year?

Might be time to add some eggshells and calcium carbonate to the compost bin...

Thanks!

John
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Old 02-01-2006, 04:11 PM   #25
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Went and got the compost, some red geraniums, red/white dianthus and a beautiful red mandevilla. I hope it's not too late to get the soil ready with the compost for Spring gardening. DH dug 8 inches and mixed all the clay soil with the compost. Eek! He planted the mandevilla in our back yard. I potted the geraniums (in some potting soil of course) and put them in our front entrance. I have yet to plant the dianthus since they all came in one pot and I'm afraid to break the roots. Any suggestions?
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Old 02-01-2006, 05:47 PM   #26
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Eggshells work but I would feed them to a worm-bin to convert them to a more digestable form for the plants (and the worms love them).

The easiest worm-bin I've ever found is a large piece of cardboard laid on the ground and kept damp (not wet). Put your veggie scraps (no meat, butter or grease) under the cardboard and it'll draw worms like flies (they'll also eat the cardboard). Worms love Coffee grounds and tea-bags as well.

You can also broadcast your garden area with cornmeal then cover it with leaf litter. Stick your scraps under the litter and when you uncover in the spring the compost and worm castings are already in place and worked into the soil.

To raise the acidity level, first get a soil analasys done at your local extension office (this is imperitive on new ground). Then you can use either Garden Sulpher or cover the area in Pine Needles. Remember though that Sulpher breaks down over a period of 4 months so for either treatment you will have to do it in the fall to get the proper pH for the spring.


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Old 02-02-2006, 05:36 PM   #27
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The eggshells and coffee grounds improve the texture of the soil...by inviting worms, actually. The calcium in the eggshells also helps neutralize the acid in the coffee grounds.
Ravin, those are great ideas! I didn't know about the teabags...I'll save those too.
By the way, I had a friend who found some nice potato plants coming up in his compost pile, from the potato peelings.
He also fertilized his garden one year with dried sludge from the local sewer plant, and got LOTS of volunteer tomato and corn plants.

Dina, if the dianthus came in one pot, it's probably one plant. I wouldn't try to separate it.
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Old 02-02-2006, 05:38 PM   #28
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Thanks for all your tips Raven. I will make sure to plant a few pine trees around my ixoras. I love the beautiful orange flower that blooms in them and I'll do anything to keep them alive and hopefully, one day, bloom. Ixoras need that acidity. I'll be saving my egg shells, veggie scraps, coffee grounds and tea bags as well.
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Old 02-03-2006, 06:25 AM   #29
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a quick tip to see what your soil structure may need is to turn a shovel full, then grab a fistful of relatively dry soil from it. compress it in your hand. if it completely sticks together, you have heavy, clay soil. follow the heretofore mentioned tips for repairing clay soil.
if it completely falls apart, nothing clumping, then you have very sandy or pebbley soil. this is ok if you have plants that require good drainage like succulents (cactii), but it will not sustain veggies or any deep rooting plants without a ton of watering and fertilizing.
if about 60 to 70 percent clumps, then splits apart a little, you have decent middle of the road type soil structure, which drains properly, but also holds enough moisture and allows some air to reach the roots.
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Old 02-03-2006, 10:02 PM   #30
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Another good way to do that is take a quart fruit jar, put a trowelful of your soil in it (filling the jar about of the way) and fill the rest with water. Put a tight lid on and shake the living daylights out of it. Then let it sit overnight. The next day it should have all settled out and stratified.

The Clay layer will be on the bottom, Sand in the middle and Organics on top and all three should be just about even. If any are missing or anemic you can ammend accordingly. :)

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