We enjoy living on a lake in Quail Valley but cherish our view. This results in some challenges in keeping landscaping small or to the side (containers on one side and a terrace garden on the other side). Our one concession is for tomatoes, we must grow them vertically rather than let them sprawl since we have a small lot. I have three vegetable gardens of about 55 square feet each which I rotate. This year I have the additional circular garden where the fig is, but it will eventually be the home for the avocado.
I have root knot nematodes since my lot is mostly backfilled sandy soil. I plant nematode resistant tomatoes and they have very few nematodes when I dig them up, unfortunately the cucumbers and okra have no resistant varieties. I typically plant Elbon Rye in October, but this year I experimented with biofumigant winter crops (broccoli, rape seed, arugula). I am an organic gardener except for starting my plants with Osmocote. Soil testing indicates that I have an excess of phosphorous and thus I am careful with fertilization (I use blood meal and Microlife 6-2-4).
This year I have been fighting a battle with tomato fruitworms, I sprayed BT three times already (in late afternoon). The last time I changed to Spinosad. Lost 5 large tomatoes today and we are still finding live worms! Any tips will be appreciated.
The tour includes Bonanza miniature peach (new) in 22 gallon container, Ichiban eggplants, Suyo cucumbers, Tatume squash (they outrun the squash vine borer and taste like Zucchini), Okra (Zeebest seed did not germinate, reseeded with Gold Coast Okra), Miho satsuma, Gypsy pepper, Green Globe artichokes, and Big Beef tomatoes. I use multiplying onions as a somewhat “repellant” border for the gardens and always have a fresh supply of scallions.
I am doing a test comparing the bird nets I always have used versus mosquito nets. I must protect the tomatoes from the birds, or they will decimate them. We pick the large tomatoes at pink, but I think the small tomatoes do not ripen after picking as well as the large tomatoes do. I leave cherries and grapes on the vine unless it is going to rain, since I do not want to lose them to splitting.
The tour continues with Supersweet 100 (about 9 feet tall and far too dense), Tycoon, 3rd planting of Suyo cucumber, YIMBY compost bin, Belinda’s dream rose, Baby Bubba okra in container, Red Fire Spike, Joey avocado (new), native bee hives, Black & Blue salvia, Little John bottle brush, pentas (seem to be a trap crop for leaf footed bugs), David Verity cuphea, Little Miss Figgy miniature fig in container (new), red grape tomato, Celebrity tomato, Ouchita blackberries, (Tifblue, Premier, Climax) blueberries (all in 22 gallon plastic containers painted with silver metallic paint) and two Purple Martin houses. Everything is irrigated with ¼ inch drip hoses under mulch.
We weigh the tomatoes to track production and the winner in my garden has been Carmello (25+ lbs.), with Big Beef a close second (22+ lbs.). This year we could not get any Carmello transplants, so we planted Tycoon instead. They have done well for a 6 pack with 2-inch peat pots and tiny roots.
We have been eating tomatoes, tatume squash, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, blackberries, blueberries, and peppers from the garden. We had our first Big Beef tomato on a BLT today and it sure makes all the effort worthwhile! My wife Cathy is from New Orleans and she can cook anything and make it taste wonderful. I am a lucky man to be quarantined with her.
Larry & Cathy Leising May 18, 2020