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Click on a thumbnail picture below to see the full size version. 73 Entries.
Wednesday, January 3 View Page
Welcome to my 2024 diary, Tomatoheads! Ding, ding, ding! "Crazy Clayton 2023" tomato seeds may be coming to an auction near you... Get your hands on a set of seeds from the four tomatoes pictured here, my 5.03, 4.76, 4.90, and 5.52. These each came from a different 7.95 Young or 6.48 Young plant. It should be a robust genetic mix. The 5.03 was the same plant as the 7.69. I am taking the year off but nevertheless I might grow a few tomato plants. Have a good year everyone! Will someone break my "balance 20.21 lbs of tomatoes on head" record??? We shall see...
 
Wednesday, January 17 View Page
Basil sprouted well. I've never had much luck with basil, but last year I had one plant that enjoyed being neglected in the corner of a patch of roma tomatoes. So I saved the seed from it. The seed will be in the seed exchange. I plan to take the year off and/or limit my garden space to 4 tomato plants. But I'll post something on here once & awhile.
 
Sunday, January 21 View Page
Beware: dangers of the pacific northwest... lichens so big they might eat your hand.
 
Friday, January 26 View Page
This was a very late sowing of kale. Maybe not a great cover crop, but its better than nothing. Notice the round bale, which could become nutrients for a pumpkin plant or... ?
 
Friday, January 26 View Page
Yep whats this! Just because I dont want to grow a pumpkin this year doesnt mean they arent going to grow on their own, lol. This one germinated outdoors in January under the snow! Thats the magic of 1000 lbs of rotting hay. At this rate, I'm going to be growing pumpkins whether I like it or not, ha ha.
 
Sunday, January 28 View Page
So thrilled with my indoor garden.... I thought the 4 year old asparagus seed was dead for sure but look what just popped up! Basil, cilantro, and onions, are doing well. Its fun trying some new things from seed. Also, I didnt monkey with the dirt too much this year, its mostly just garden dirt. No new potting mix, tight budget & cant afford anything right now, but with results like this, I cannot complain.
 
Saturday, February 10 View Page
What you need on a cold wet day... is an umbrella joke: An 85 year old man goes to his doctor... "Doc, I got a big problem." "I understand you were recently remarried, is that right?" "Yes. My new wife is 23 years old, and that's exactly the problem. She just told me she's pregnant! I haven't been a father in sixty years, and I don't know what to do." "Hmm. Let me tell you a story that I think will help explain what's going on here: A near sighted man decides to go bear hunting. On his way out the door, he accidentally picks up his umbrella instead of his rifle. Once he gets to the woods, he is instantly attacked by a ferocious 1,200 pound bear. He picks up his umbrella and shoots it dead. Does that story make sense to you?" "No! Somebody else must have shot that bear." "My point exactly."
 
Sunday, February 11 View Page
Dandelion, rocket/arugula, laurel spurge and borage are the first flowers of the year. The laurel spurge... to me it has a lovely strong sweet citrus scent, but my roommate couldnt smell it at all. The olfactory sense probably varies more person to person than the other senses. I dont mean to be boring but I have posted first blossoms in the past, not sure its important, but sometimes u got to collect this kind of anecdotal data prior to knowing if it will have any value.
 
Thursday, February 15 View Page
Catfacing on avocado. Ive found that the catfaced avocados are usually perfectly good under their ugly skin... and, while they are admittedly ugly, since no one else wants them they are sometimes the least presqueezed and most perfectly ripe! Its unappealing to most shoppers, and sometimes the grocery gal will ask if I want a different one. But its whats inside that matters, and I figure I can help keep these ones from going to waste.
 
Saturday, February 17 View Page
You're a redneck pumpkinhead if you use your pumpkin lifter to lift the bed off your truck!!! The car repair place wanted $1,100. I fixed it for $45 and 2 hrs of work plus the usual (large and small) risks and indignities of dyi car repair. ...Not really lifting the whole back of the truck here, just funny the photo makes it look that way. It could lift that much, but here it was only lifting 250 lbs or so.
 
Saturday, February 17 View Page
Ps Sorry if I offended anyone with that "umbrella" joke. I thought it was so funny when I read it but it was late at night and really wasnt the type of joke I was looking for which is part of the reason I thought it was funny.
 
Saturday, February 17 View Page
Last years patch getting a pyro-renovation. The hoops are still up from last year... Bit of redneck wisdom here: Its not a good idea to burn near pvc because its very flammable and toxic if it burns, but here the pvc is conveniently already protected inside metal casings. The hoop house didnt have to come down, and the former pumpkin patch is ready to go. Maybe Elaine will grow a huge patch of sunflowers. Who knows...
 
Sunday, February 25 View Page
A few white "carrots" showed up. I must have mixed in some leftover giant parsnip seed. If you're up for struggling through my poor writing, half my neurons arent functioning sorry! But here it goes: How a companion plant can help your pumpkin results? Here's a mini dive into giving your plant a helpful companion. Last year I planted a giant tomato in the rear of where my pumpkin plant was planted. Only a couple feet separated the two plants. Initially, the tomato plant outperformed my other tomato plants, having bigger stems and blossoms, probably because of all the organics and nitrogen I put there for the pumpkin. But then it struggled to set fruit and grow fruit of any significance. So it was like, "Uh-oh... If this soil wont grow even an ordinary sized tomato, how is it going to grow a giant pumpkin?" It was clear there was a problem with the soil, and because it was a conpanion to my giant pumpkin, it was also the same soil that was feeding my giant pumpkin. So that was a stark warning to me that I might not get what I was hoping for pumpkin-wise. Looking back, I think that mid-season 'caution sign' was part of what helped me grow a larger pumpkin last year. Because of what this tomato plant was telling me. I think what the tomato plant was saying was the nitrogen and potassium and phosphorus were all great, but maybe the zinc, boron, and calcium were not so great. It was still guesswork, but it helped cut the guesswork in half, to see the tomato plant displaying weak fruitset. It really clued me in to the fact that my pumpkin plant was probably going to produce a half-sized pumpkin because what was affecting the tomato plant presumably would affect the pumpkin, again because they were both eating from the same dirt. The changes I made to the fertilizer regimen were unfortunately not in time to save any of the large tomato blossoms, but I do think those changes did help the pumpkin. Anyhow, I will try companion planting again (someday) for this reason. It gives the grower different observations to utilize, and it can make patch decisions easier. I like that the right companion plants can give preemptive warnings or second opinions... I'm considering using some jerusalem artichokes as "living moisture meters" because I think they will complain about low soil moisture before a pumpkin plant will. I know this companion planting thing is just a boring side topic to most growers but I like it. I am open to further ideas.
 
Monday, February 26 View Page
Looks like we finally solved where all those baby carrots come from. Ha ha.
 
Wednesday, February 28 View Page
Hulk Smasher sits atop my trophy wall. Last year was a great year for me! Thanks Steve!
 
Sunday, March 3 View Page
She was only "worried for his giant pumpkins". Clearly she was a devoted wife & not a crazy cat lady.
 
Sunday, March 3 View Page
Ironically, Noah didn't know how to say "No". Just squeezing every last drop out of this lemon.
 
Sunday, March 3 View Page
This cold weather should put us back on track for an average spring. It was a warm February with pussy willow blooming late February and small prunus trees blooming around March 1st. But now winter has returned.
 
Tuesday, March 5 View Page
Happy Super Tues. Who is Marianne Williamson? Is it part of the curse of getting older that there's no one to look up to, except perhaps the person who you know nothing about... I cant help but think that it was passive aggression for my blue state ballot to put Trump last, but, "its just alphabetically listed." I'm sure people will stick with their usual choices, what else can anyone do? Its probably a very uninspiring ballot for many people. You get to vote for the white pumpkin or the orange pumpkin, lol. Ron and Chris are green with envy but the Great Political Commonwealth says they are not green enough, so they are DQ'd...
 
Thursday, March 7 View Page
I've had these cactuses since grade school which means they're close to 30 years old. Such slow growth. Pumpkins grow at the speed of light compared to these poor little boogers. Checking last year's diary to guage things... I started tomatoes in February and the pumpkin was started March 10th. I dont think that was a wise start date for either because when they were planted outside their growth was poor/slow, for about a month. And then the pumpkin plant got damaged by frost just after it outgrew its 15' hut, but it all worked out eventually.
 
Thursday, March 7 View Page
Endearing, and enduring, farm animal story: https://www.npr.org/2023/08/30/1196875233/meet-peanut-the-worlds-oldest-chicken
 
Thursday, March 7 View Page
I totally gave up on getting useable horseradish roots, but then I pulled this one up today.
 
Sunday, March 10 View Page
Time sure flies by. I think its time to plant these. This will require a different approach because everything must be geared towards NOT getting a flower/fruit. The hormones and nutrients will need to be telling the plant to stay in the vegetative state. Some speculation here, but the question will be what will signal the flower bud to form vs not form? Too much calcium, too much overall energy, too much stress, too much heat, cytokines from the roots...? I will probably want the humidity up, the roots a bit weaker, more nitrate and potassium, less foliage, more indirect light... growing a long stalk is going to be different than growing a fruit. I vastly under qualified to be attempting this. I know from growing fruit trees that growing the longest branches that are the least likely to set fruit... is mostly caused by overcrowding. So, maybe some healthy but overcrowded plants? There's key micronutrients involved in bud formation. John Kempf might have done a video where he said he could get a shoot to grow indefinitely by supplying it with, loosely speaking, too much of one thing and too little of another. I think nitrate and potassium was the "too much" thing.
 
Sunday, March 10 View Page
So can I keep them in auxin-only mode? Deny them sufficient cytokines to prompt a bud? I think I could.
 
Sunday, March 10 View Page
Tomatoes and tall sunflowers are in. I like using the deli container lids to help keep enough moisture in the seedling mix so that I dont have to water them prior to emergence.
 
Sunday, March 10 View Page
The cilantro is going to have to go outside, because these new chicks need to hatch. There's a volunteer cherry tomato (I pulled out of the cilantro) in the middle of the sunflowers. It will be a companion plant for the sunflowers. 24 tomatoes, of which only 4 will get a spot in the mini grow hut. Thats it for this spring, no more. All my eggs are now in this one basket.
 
Tuesday, March 12 View Page
Yay! I want to grow it all :( The best thing since emptying a bucket of Halloween candy onto the floor!!! The last time I did that was 30+ years ago!
 
Tuesday, March 12 View Page
Pic.
 
Tuesday, March 12 View Page
Fancy packaging, these seeds were ready to go to Mars. Maybe some small Earthlings will plant them instead.
 
Wednesday, March 13 View Page
I think someone will give these seeds a chance, however I know it wont be me. Fly, be free!
 
Thursday, March 14 View Page
This garden bed turned out nice. Stuff is planted, mostly onions and Apiaceae type stuff (thats a new word for me, it means carrot family). A few more things to plant then thats it for this year, mostly going to be growing jumbo sized weeds this year which could actually be interesting.
 
Saturday, March 16 View Page
Soil temp 49 degrees. Its time to break out the rocket stove. A barrel of water fits easily onto this large wood round. Eventually it will burn the center out and I will have to make a new one, but overall its actually easier and better for me to do it this way. The log round will roll to wherever I want to hear some water.
 
Saturday, March 16 View Page
I created a channel to get most of the hot water to flow into the hole. Then I will dump the dirt back on top. Its the instant equivalent to running heating cables for a couple weeks? I had 5/6 of sunflowers germinate and the goal will be a tall sunflower, or if I neglect them too much to be competitive, to at least to get some Meck x Butler seeds. I'm going to dump a few pounds of good fertilizer in the hole and just see what happens. This is it for me. No longer sure if I will grow tomatoes this year.
 
Sunday, March 17 View Page
Runner bean root/ tuber. Will it sprout a new bean plant?
 
Monday, March 18 View Page
This was the grow hut I used for my tomatoes last year. Its shaped like an igloo, which... is possibly the best shape for staying warm? Im planting a lemon tree inside it tomorrow. And I just planted an avocado tree inside a different one... both were grown from seed, and 3-4 ft tall, getting too big for their pots so may as well give it a try. Either I am a total fool or superbly prepared for global warming.
 
Monday, March 18 View Page
Lemon and avocado... If I was afraid of failure, then I would never learn anything about how to be successful.
 
Wednesday, March 20 View Page
Someone nibbled my giant sunflower starts. Tossing this one culprit into the the fish pond. Its an eat and be eaten kinda world... My hopes for this sunflower project are quite diminshed now.
 
Wednesday, March 20 View Page
This tomato leaf is showing some yellow. Which could be low nitrogen. But I think its low nitrogen caused by cool temps or low energy because too much energy is going into the roots? Not sure how I could fix it from a nutritional standpoint, there might be a lot of nitrogen in the soil... its hard to tell anything during cold weather. The microbes in the soil want to hit the snooze button and wake up a month from now, and who can blame them. It could be low magnesium too. I might go that route first. It might seem silly to worry about it because its a older leaf, but I think the older leaves do have an important story to tell. The young leaves are blissfully removed from any hardship, but the older leaves know whats really going on.
 
Thursday, March 21 View Page
I mowed a barrel of clippings from my yard. I put the barrel in the grow hut. I put the seedlings atop the barrel. Is this "compost-heater" working to keep them warm...?
 
Thursday, March 21 View Page
Temp outside the grow hut 51 degrees, temp of the sunflowers soil is about 70. The top layer of tomatoes are getting the cold shoulder at just 60 or so. The sunflowers and large central tomato are making good progess. The rest of them are waiting for things to warm up. Maybe they are waiting for their own barrel of clippings? This diary is on track to win me another razzie award.
 
Thursday, March 21 View Page
The indoor greens went nuts when I put them outdoors in real sun for a few days. Even after clipping them down, they still barely fit under the grow lights. I was going to write some ideas here about what I could do better. I thought I had some good ideas... but not really. I guess it just seems like I am really close to having a little utopian setup here. I think the combo of the "wallapini" and the "igloo" plus the natural compost heat plus a hot water/rocket stove "wake up, winter's over" blast of heat... It could all add up... the missing piece of the puzzle is a way to get woody material to biologically decompose and generate heat... because prior to late march the grass clippings arent available (and if they were you'd want a farm animal to be eating them). So I think the missing piece of the puzzle is... how to get the brown stuff to generate as much heat as grass clippings. I have almost limitless pine needles and dead grass and dead blackberry canes. If I could perfect the art of composting "the browns", thereby generating heat and beneficial fungal matter, then "there would be no bad cylinders in my gardening engine." Like spent fuel rods, the barrels will cool down. But unlike uranium, the spent material could be useful yet again, as at that stage they should make perfect worm food... Its interesting to be part of a cycle that never runs out. For example, the all-powerful federal government... might run out of money. Their vast strength is all illusive. But in wild unmanaged nature, there is no conceivable end to the cycle of detritus, and fungus, and worms and new growth. Nature has a very secure plan for us, and it costs nothing except to stoop to the level of using whats already there. Well, its the same dead horse that others have beaten before. We're always just one serpent away from Eden. We're always so very close.
 
Thursday, March 21 View Page
More musing... I will have to post more about the "wallapini igloo" concept and whether I can move barrels of compost in and out of one. I tried last year but the barrel sat in it all year until finally before winter I did remove the barrel (after first removing the compost that was still in it). The problem is there is no space for a barrel except in the center, and then its in such a low awkward spot that it just isnt convenient to move it. A larger igloo-wallipini would be too much work for one person? But maybe not. Everything from wind to snow to weeding gets harder the bigger the thing is. But of course if its going to contain tropical trees then those would probably need a bigger design. Bit by bit, I will try to make it happen. If the barrels could be moved around, moved out of the way for weeding and planting and harvesting. And the trunks and branches of any trees were also out of the way, much as possible... Maybe four small 15x 15ft "wallapini igloos" each with one tree inside, covered by an over-arching 30x30 ft larger greenouse structure.
 
Thursday, March 21 View Page
A.I. has revealed its secret plans to win the 150 sq ft contest... The only thing realistic here was the apparent nitrogen/ potassium deficiency in the leaves, lol. All the nutrients went into the pumpkin, clearly! If pumpkins are anything like chess elo ratings, AI could hit 3800 pretty easily.
 
Thursday, March 21 View Page
The real reason for Stonehenge. The efforts we go to...
 
Friday, March 22 View Page
The slug did not decapitate the apical buds so we are go for launch on 4 out of 6 of the little rocket engines. 2 Meck + 2 Butler. They are going in the ground tomorrow. Hopefully the dirt is 65 degrees and the bugs leave them alone, they arent very big. I could add a grow light... Might help. Credit: A.I. images in this diary are from designer.microsoft.com.
 
Friday, March 22 View Page
Its like cheescake. Two bites is the right amount.
 
Saturday, March 23 View Page
Tomatoes planted, tall sunflowers planted (different location), and lemon tree planted. Most worried about the sunflowers. Maybe adding a grow light will be the key. The tomatoes were tiny. Would have been nice to have them be bigger. Oh well.
 
Thursday, March 28 View Page
The only way to ween myself off pumpkins is by teething on something else. I dont plan to start one of these until May, however. The bushels here all look like good options. How will I choose just one...
 
Sunday, March 31 View Page
Who just added the secret sauce?? Happy Easter!
 
Sunday, April 7 View Page
I discovered a new species of tree, the fiveg tree.
 
Thursday, April 11 View Page
These are not the seeds Ashton sent me...
 
Thursday, April 11 View Page
These are! Thanks, a real temptation for sure. They definitely need to see dirt!
 
Saturday, April 20 View Page
No lack of sun in this spot. The question is, what to plant. Maybe an amaranth bush/tree. Double plastic for solarizing. Technically I should have a single layer during the day and two layers at night but there's a breeze today, so maybe having two layers will be optimal.
 
Saturday, April 20 View Page
This is a compilation of the giant amaranth photos here on bp. It seems like this plant was created in an AI fantasy world, but these pics are all real.
 
Sunday, April 21 View Page
First female cucurbit spotted... maybe next year it will be an Atlantic Giant. Plant was suffering a bit of calcium deficiency but coming along now.
 
Wednesday, April 24 View Page
Sunflower update. Looking a bit bedraggled... the volunteer tomato to the right is growing like a weed.
 
Wednesday, April 24 View Page
Gonna be a scorcher next Wednesday. I think we might have to break out the ice packs, lol.
 
Sunday, April 28 View Page
Will start some bushel gourds soon!
 
Sunday, April 28 View Page
The syrup bucket... a pit of despair for those who think they can swim out, but really they cant. Was thinking about the ways of gardening Ive tried that work, and the ways that dont, and in hindsight I think that my biggest garden helper (second maybe to plant tissue testing) has been the worms... I think they help so much with disease, nutrient availability, and general soil health. No till, or shallow "rake/till" methods where only the top 1- 2" of soil are disturbed seem to fit best with what I think I need to do to get the best results. I think some places are too hot or too cold to see the full benefit of earthworms, aka having populations large enough to make a noticeable difference. If someone devoted 1,000 square feet to growing not pumpkins but instead earthworms, but THEN grew a pumpkin atop that spot... this might effortlessly lead to pumpkin success? The only effort would be in growing the worms. I might try this. This piece-of-cake gardening would basically be to just care the worms, get their health and population as high as possible, and then with just a few minor modifications, the pumpkin or gourd or whatever, would almost literally be the icing atop "the cake."
 
Tuesday, April 30 View Page
Round 1 Bushel Gourds. Aiming for 3 plants... Not expecting perfect germination from the 5+ year old seeds.
 
Tuesday, April 30 View Page
These will be Round Two. I'll start these next week. I might do some sort of blind plant selection later so that I am not biased, either consciously or unconsciously, about the grower, the cross, or the lbs. I really just want to focus all of my attention on the plants themselves. I believe I can get a good result if I just treat it like a pumpkin plant. But I think selecting the right plant will be the key.
 
Sunday, May 5 View Page
4/4 of the Clayton tomatoes alive still here, if barely. Poor weather and neglect but this is actually a good result for tomatoes planted outdoors at just 2 cotyledon stage. Really, it was an experiment to see if they would even survive. Alive and growing... cant ask for more than that yet.
 
Tuesday, May 7 View Page
The volunteer tomato. If I had started my giant tomato plants sooner, then they could all be this big. A bigger plant isnt better if its just a big mess, with unsolved nutrient issues, though.
 
Wednesday, May 8 View Page
The 193 Sherwood and 243 Brown bushel gourds are coming up. The others are probably duds.
 
Sunday, May 12 View Page
Bushel gourds: 193 Sherwood black pot 243 Brown orangey pot The others either rotted or their seed coats were impermeable to water. I'll have to try the Joe Jutras technique for the next round (which should be tomorrow) and see if it boosts the germination rates. These guys are slower to start than pumpkins! Its all just for fun, so no worries!
 
Tuesday, May 14 View Page
Started the six on the bottom... trying to get a diverse mix. The four on top can be for next year... I tried filing the edges, they are definitely woody seeds, some of them I probably didnt file enough. Hopefully a few pop up.
 
Tuesday, May 14 View Page
Elaine wanted to post this in her diary but I guess she is going to use mine instead. This is such a non-pumpkin diary. But hopefully a sunflower, or tomato, or bushel gourd turns out good. Gotta put these kids to work, since they are already too smart for school.
 
Saturday, May 18 View Page
I made a clone just prior to this momma plant getting sick. 'Queen of the night' is the variety. I used Scott's method (altitude maters). Nothing but water and potting mix and leave it alone for a couple weeks.
 
Saturday, May 18 View Page
Indirect light/ or some am/pm light is sufficient... there's no need for either full sun or full darkness. I used the water bottle as a mini greenhouse (ironically I used the same water bottle as a pot for the momma plant... I am very cheap). The water bottle greenhouse keeps the humidity up which may help the clone get established. Also I trimmed off the furthest portion of the leaf so the ratio of leaf to stalk was lower. The stalk holds water and leaf releases it so having a bit more stalk or a bit less leaf is good. The sucker is broken off where it meets the momma plant, this is where it will naturally break off cleaner and easier. I think a healthy medium-sized sucker/side sprout is the easiest size to use.
 
Saturday, May 18 View Page
After letting it sit for a couple weeks, it has more than doubled in size and it has got some roots! This was a great idea that Scott wrote about last year. Check his diary out last year, or the tomato forum, if you want to read more about this trick.
 
Thursday, May 23 View Page
Bert and Ernie the bushel gourd bedfellows. They are in this tough world together now. The 243 Brown (lets call this one Bert) had weaker roots and is lagging a bit, maybe overwatered it, the 193 Sherwood (lets call this one Ernie) is stronger. The new mix they are in is mostly composted wood chips, some fire pit dirt and some regular dirt. I'll offset any nitrogen drain with miracle grow. Plus I have the fish fertilizer and dead bees which will add nitrogen. I used the decaying wood chips mostly for some aeration under the plants. Hopefully the result is healthy roots and hopefully some healthy fungal biology & worms later on... Now that they are in the same dirt together it will be a fair competition, eventually one will become the main plant and the other will be demoted (but not pulled out, you'll see...).
 
Thursday, May 23 View Page
There's an excess or a deficiency here. It looks a heck of a lot like a virus but I am dealing with non-soil that is about as good as cement mix. The fruit is setting normally, a bit slow to ripen, but... the crinkled shrivelled leaves arent right... Any ideas? It probably needs some humic/ fulvic or something to chelate the minerals and get rid of this cement mix effect. Idk.
 
Thursday, May 23 View Page
I harvested about the best cucumber Ive ever eaten off this plant, it doesnt say what the exact variety of persian cucumber it is, I have found hints of unpalatable-ness in every cucumber I've tried, but not this one. Its got some of the same wacky nutrient issues. Its also growing non-soil that is mostly rock and clay, perfect stuff for a parking lot. The ph could be off and there's probably nothing stopping the clay from binding to certain nutrients.
 

 

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