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The biggest problem I had when I had a yard big enough to grow tomatoes was birds. They poke holes in every tomato, mainly looking for worms and other insects in the tomatoes.

CD
Are you sure it is the birds? Slugs and snails also do that.

(edit: we're up to 11 rabbits since this morning)
 
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I saw my first ripening Sunsugar tomatoes yesterday! One almost fully ripe, and the one next to it just starting, and a few others around the plants with that hint of ripening. The Bronze Torch has some hinting of yellow color on some, and those plants are the largest, so far, growing well above the top of the 5' trellis, though the Sunsugars are close to them!
First ripening Sunsugar tomatoes! 6-20 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Also getting the eggplants producing - the Asian Delight Hybrid the one with the most, so far. The Matrosik is the only one with no visible fruit, but a bunch of them are forming, and it is the only larger one - the others Asian types.
First Asian Delight eggplant started, 6-20 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

First Ichiban eggplant started, 6-20 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

And just now, I went out to spray the okra and other things in the front and side - shady there early. I saw some #!&"# aphids on the okra last night! I had just enough of the Surround mix for those, and I added a small amount of the pyrethrin concentrate to what was left, and used it all up, mostly on the okra. Didn't see any aphids on anything else.

Yesterday I tried that mint treatment on the spotted lanternflies, after seeing several on each of the cukes. I made up a concentrate - well over a cup of leaves, blended with a cup of water in the VM, strained through a very fine strainer, and rinsed, and strained, resulting in just over a qt of very green "mint water". I only sprayed 2 of the plants, thinking that it might be too strong! The SLFs jumped off fairly quickly (normal for them), but several hours later, they were back, so covering the plants with the spray did nothing against them, but fortunately, didn't bother those plants. So I made up a small amount of pyrethrin spray, and hit each of them directly, and later didn't see them there. But, they are probably out there again today. :mad:

Around noon, when coming back in, I had to look at those cherry tomatoes (not for long, due to the sun!), and there were several more Sunsugars ripening, and at least one more Juliet. I'll look closer later, when it's shady there, even though hotter.
 
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I have a jar with DE sitting at the door. Every time I get up to sprinkle the garden... it starts to rain! Not a lot but would be just enough to wash it all off.. :mad:

:mad: seems to be my new favourite emoji
 
I remember one year I planted strawberries, corn, and lettuce. The birds ignored the corn and strawberries, but went after the lettuce. I put netting over it and they landed on the netting and ate the lettuce anyway. I planted beans and the ground squirrels just followed me along, digging them up after I buried them. *sigh*

My little red squirrel used to dig up my garden beds to bury sunflower seeds when she wasn't chasing rabbits, birds, chipmunks, and other squirrels away (I was the source of peanuts, so I had a pass). I've never had so many little sunflowers growing. She's gone now so I was finally able to weed my flower beds and plant in them this year with the reasonable expectation that the seeds will actually be allowed to come up this time.

And today on my little 6" tall tomato plants I saw three blossoms. Will wonders never cease.

So we had two days of 87° temps, today it was 77 and tomorrow it's supposed to be 66. How does anything grow in this climate?
 
Finally, finally, I weeded the containers. Also moved them around a little so the rose wasn't shading the strawberries and my back won't quit calling me a dumb jerk for it.

Tonight I'm going to move the satellite dish and finish putting up the netting on the side of my trailer. I didn't water today because one weather forecast said it's supposed to rain Wednesday and Thursday while the other forecast says not. One forecast has Wednesday down as being 80° and the other has the day being 69°. Go figure.

But I think I'll water tomorrow and then try weeding the irises. The contractor laid dirt down over the area next to my irises and I was going to plant something there, but after running the hose over the dirt, I decided to just have grass there with the irises in the middle.

My project next year was going to be putting dirt and bark in that area but since the contractor already laid the dirt down, my project will be to finish the other side of the driveway (continuing on from the front) and then that will pretty much have my yard done. After that, it will be only a matter of planting things and keeping things watered. I never thought my yard would look like this, considering how bare it was a couple years ago.

Since the tomato seeds I planted have decided not to appear, I replanted with carrot seeds. It's the wrong time of the year, but what the hey, anyway. We'll see what happens. My aunt in the Midwest is planting her carrots and she said they always come up. Of course, she doesn't have a kill gene for plants in her body like I do.
 
Besides that garlic yesterday, I got about 2 qts of the smaller tomatoes - Sunsugar, Juliet, Napa Rosa, Zluta Gold, and the first time for Ron's Carbon Copy, plus one more cuke and eggplant. Today I picked my first larger tomatoes - Oaxacan Jewel and Early Blue Ribbon, with a couple of others with hints of ripening, probably from that heat I've had in June!
Not super large ones, but a couple of the non-cherry/salad varieties are ripening. The Oaxacan Jewel is the earliest larger variety I have grown the last two years.
Larger tomatoes ripening - largest is Oaxacan Jewel, 4.8 oz, smallest are Early Blue Ribbon, 2.4 oz. 6-29 by pepperhead212, on Flickr
 
String beans in full gear. Blanch and freeze a bunch for the year ( both regular cut and French cut). Will be using/ eating the fresh ones for stir fry, an Indian/ potato sandwich , side dishes and whatever else I can think of. Second planting already in the garden where the garlic was, and third planting just germinated in their cells, and will replace the first planting in a few weeks when they stop producing.
 

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Besides that garlic yesterday, I got about 2 qts of the smaller tomatoes - Sunsugar, Juliet, Napa Rosa, Zluta Gold, and the first time for Ron's Carbon Copy, plus one more cuke and eggplant. Today I picked my first larger tomatoes - Oaxacan Jewel and Early Blue Ribbon, with a couple of others with hints of ripening, probably from that heat I've had in June!
Not super large ones, but a couple of the non-cherry/salad varieties are ripening. The Oaxacan Jewel is the earliest larger variety I have grown the last two years.
Larger tomatoes ripening - largest is Oaxacan Jewel, 4.8 oz, smallest are Early Blue Ribbon, 2.4 oz. 6-29 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

My dad was not a good gardener. Our lawn and gardens looked bad, until he started making enough money to pay a lawn service to do all the chemical stuff.

But, the tomatoes he grew when we lived in Glassboro were really good. It must have been the sandy soil, that drained so well. He also used well water to water the veg garden, which had to be better than the chlorinated city water. Most of the stuff he tried to grow died, but the tomatoes and rhubarb did great.

Anyway, Jersey tomatoes are way better than anything I was able to grow in North Texas. The soil here is all wrong for that.

CD
 
The problem with tomatoes in Jersey now is the heat, not the soil, so much. And many of the varieties that used to grow well here, simply don't anymore. This is why some commercial growers have moved N! But then, there are times like recently, when it got hotter in New England with that heat wave, than it got down here! You just never know...

My first bottle gourd is almost ready to harvest - I figure I'll harvest it about 8", and the next one about 10", if there is no seed production visible. There are several more that I hand pollinated, including the one today. This variety was that old OP variety that had more female than male flowers, while I had a couple of larger varieties that did not provide well, sometimes with all female, and no male flowers, or visa-versa. The second one to the left of the one producing is starting to take off now, and show some buds, and I'll find out how it compares (had to replant it, because something dug it up early). The Snow Melons are finally taking off now - had to replant those, too, due to varmints :mad:
Bottle Gourd, about 7" long, pollinated maybe 5 days ago. Another male flower beneath it. by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Bottle Gourd with flower open about 7 pm. 6-29 by pepperhead212, on Flickr

Open flower on the Bottle Gourd, ready to pollinate. by pepperhead212, on Flickr
 
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The problem with tomatoes in Jersey now is the heat, not the soil, so much. And many of the varieties that used to grow well here, simply don't anymore. This is why some commercial growers have moved N! But then, there are times like recently, when it got hotter in New England with that heat wave, than it got down here! You just never know...

Can you use some shade netting to reduce the impact of the direct sun on hotter days/weeks/months? Ambient heat will stop flowering plants from setting fruit, but if the heat is borderline, reducing direct sunlight might help. Shade netting can also prevent fruit from splitting open from the water inside getting too hot. I know that people down here use it for that second reason.

I know my chili peppers often got "stretch marks" from direct sunlight here, but that didn't have any effect on the taste of the peppers. They just didn't look as nice. Some netting would have stopped that.

CD
 
I actually do get shade here - some more than some would want for tomatoes,, but sun comes up on the east side, rises up to the other side of a large sycamore tree, starting about 12:30 pm, and the sun would be on the garden again, but in the early evening, start going behind the house, and eventually, the entire garden is in the shade. The side and front have a reverse of this - a little longer, which is why I put the peppers and okra there, since they seem to like it more.

One thing I use on larger tomatoes (and many other plants) that helps against heat, is Surround - the white kaolin clay compound, that is used as an insect repellent, instead of an insecticide, and the white surface helps against the heat.
 
My garden is kinda broken into 4 quadrants. Each gets a different amount of sun/ shade. My tomato garden was always in the section which received the most sun. I have seen the plants get affected by the extreme heat in recent years, so I now kinda broke the tomatoes up. 1/2 in that same section and 1/2 in the section that gets a little more shade this year to compare. Coincidentally, due to drainage problems in past years, I have split the garlic up two in the same areas as the tomatoes ( 1/2 in the section with the most sun/ 1/2 in the second most). As far as the garlic goes, although obvious, the side with the most sun had no water log issues at all, where as the other one had some ( definitely not as bad as the past few years, but there was a clear different in the qualities when comparing their locations). Cleary the shadier section was keeping the soil moister, which for some plants is great, but not so much for the garlic. If the tomatoes do well in that slightly shadier garden, then both the garlic and the tomatoes have found their new homes.
 
I was wondering about that, the sun and the reflective property of kaolin clay. @pepperhead212
Where do you buy yours or how?
I have gotten the last three 25 lb bags of Surround from here:
The price has gone up (as with just about everything!), but is still much cheaper/lb than the 5 lb bags I got originally, from Gurney's, or one of those places with the 50% sales, when it is still much more. groworganic.com has a 20% off sale for new customers, but you've probably ordered from them before. And as much as I use it, it lasted me close to 4 years! I dated the last bag I finished when I opened it, and it was almost 4 years before, when I started using it, that I finished that one. I dump it into a 4 gal bucket with a lid, and measure it out of that, as I need it.
 
Watered the lawn yesterday in the morning. Then it clouded up and rained all afternoon. No rain in the forecast I looked at.

But I've gotten three strawberries now! They're about the size of the small end of a minute, but we will take what we can get.

The Shasta daisies are all blooming and I'm having headaches with the lawn. The front was supposed to be grass, the back was supposed to be orchard grass and wildflowers and that's how the contractor swore he seeded. But the front is about a foot high and going to seed and the back is barely growing. Same soil, same amount of sunlight and shade.

But I went out to pull some ferns and in the back part the alyssum is already blooming all over the place! It would be alyssum, of course. So far the plants are about 1" high and hard to see from an acre away. You'd have to be standing on top of them to see them. But this still makes my heart happy!

And out of the 500 or so carrot seeds I planted, three are coming up! Naturally, they're right next to each other so I'll have to thin two and that will leave me with one carrot this year. Gardening. Who needs it? LOL
 
I have gotten the last three 25 lb bags of Surround from here:
The price has gone up (as with just about everything!), but is still much cheaper/lb than the 5 lb bags I got originally, from Gurney's, or one of those places with the 50% sales, when it is still much more. groworganic.com has a 20% off sale for new customers, but you've probably ordered from them before. And as much as I use it, it lasted me close to 4 years! I dated the last bag I finished when I opened it, and it was almost 4 years before, when I started using it, that I finished that one. I dump it into a 4 gal bucket with a lid, and measure it out of that, as I need it.
Thank you so much.
They are currently out of stock but I'll see what I can do to find some. I'm surprised you only used 25 lbs in 4 years, since I see it on everything. You are such a productive and skilled gardener.
 

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