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 Post subject: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHING!
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:39 pm 
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Okay, here's the deal: In just over three weeks we will be moving from our apartment into a (rental) house way across town. The owners just moved out last week, and they left a small veggie garden growing in the back yard. We are friends with the property management company who is handling the rental (my husband does all their marketing and designed their website), so we know the code to the lockbox and can go to the house whenever we want in the next three weeks before moving in. We have been making the trip at least every other day to water the plants, but that's it.

Vital information:

    We don't know anything about what the owners did with the soil when they planted, or anything about what they have put on the plants up until now.

    We have identified six tomato plants, at least one bell pepper and one 'other' pepper, but we haven't really had the opportunity to examine the others to know what they are (hubby thinks there is some mint?). I will post a picture when I can and maybe you guys can help us out.

    I have exactly zero gardening experience, but my husband grew up gardening - his family had a greenhouse and grew a lot. However, not only was that a long time ago, it was also in England, so the climate and soil here in Memphis are VERY different.

    It has been around 95-100 degrees every day for the last week or so (no rain), and those temps will continue/climb over the next few months before beginning to cool down around Sept/Oct.

    There is no compost yet on the property, but we will probably be starting one (although I know it won't do us much good for a while).

Is there anything we need to do over the next three weeks aside from continue to water when we can? What will we need to do once we move into the house to maintain the garden? I really want to grow some herbs (such as basil) and was thinking of putting a planter alongside the veggie patch. Will early July be too late to do that (I would buy them already started and transplant, I am no where near thinking of starting from seed).

Thank you for your help and patience with a total garden noob!

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 Post subject: Re: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHI
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 4:44 pm 
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Okay, here are the only pictures I have right now, but I can get better/closer ones if needed.

The garden:

Image

The plants:

Image

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I'm in a pure mood with poopietits now. Damn her jugs! - interrobang?!
give my you inquiries! and give poopie you burritos. - acr
Sometimes I think, it's really my lack of cybernetic implants that keeps me from being truly human. - Mars


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 Post subject: Re: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHI
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:04 pm 
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No constructive comments, but that is an adorable little garden!

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 Post subject: Re: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHI
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:13 pm 
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Wow, they went to a lot of effort, I love the structure they built, it's cute!

I don't know what all the free standing plants are but if they're near the sticks they must be a climber. I think you are going to have a lot of fun taking care of that garden and making it your own!

It's a shame they didn't leave you a note, unless they've left one inside the house?

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 Post subject: Re: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHI
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:24 pm 
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Maybe the climby ones are beans?

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 Post subject: Re: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHI
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:26 pm 
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No notes, which I was kind of hoping for. I think the whole move was pretty sudden (they moved because one of them got a job in another state) so I guess it wasn't high on their priority list. They probably assumed that since they were renting the house out the garden wouldn't be taken care of, but if I had put that much work into something I would have left a note anyway in hopes that someone would make an effort!

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give my you inquiries! and give poopie you burritos. - acr
Sometimes I think, it's really my lack of cybernetic implants that keeps me from being truly human. - Mars


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 Post subject: Re: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHI
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:31 pm 
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It's so pretty! I have no idea what anything is, but I am in love with it's cuteness.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHI
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:24 pm 
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That's an awesome garden! I would be so sad to leave that! Keep things watered -- try and water the tomatoes from the bottom and keep the leaves dry. You may need to tie up the tomatoes to the stakes higher up as they grow taller (mine have grown over 5 ft! but without support they fall over, and they aren't climbers so you have to make them stand up!). The herbs up front could be basil or mint -- hard to tell from this distance. Take some close ups!

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 Post subject: Re: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHI
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:49 pm 
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how lovely!

i think i can see some mint or thyme in the front corner, and in the back corner it looks like there are three climbing vines- are they cukes? the leaves look small enough to be peas but there's no way peas are growing in memphis right now, too hot.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHI
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:54 pm 
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All off those free-standing ones with the yellow-green leaves look like pepper plants to me.

And it's super cute! Have fun!


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 Post subject: Re: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHI
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:23 pm 
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Thanks you guys! I'm super excited, I'm just afraid I'm going to kill everything!

I will take some closer pictures next chance I get, but in the meantime here's a link to the slightly larger version of the plants in case you can see any better:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/poopiebitc ... otostream/

You guys are awesome!

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I'm in a pure mood with poopietits now. Damn her jugs! - interrobang?!
give my you inquiries! and give poopie you burritos. - acr
Sometimes I think, it's really my lack of cybernetic implants that keeps me from being truly human. - Mars


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 Post subject: Re: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHI
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:42 pm 
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Oook... the light green bushy leaves in the front left are basil.
It looks like, at least on the left side poles leaning on the fence are peas. Not sure what is next to it on the right.

Fun game! Take more pics next time!

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 Post subject: Re: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHI
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 7:48 pm 
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Congratulations, that garden is adorable! Seeing the bigger size picture, I'd say you've definitely got tomatoes, peppers and basil in the front.

I'm not sure, but the little things in the back by the poles do look like peas to me - I can sort of see some tendrils that look exactly like my sweet peas on the one climbing up the pole 2nd from the back. Maybe they're so small because as torque said, it is too hot for peas.

Unfortunately I don't know anything about gardening in temps that hot though.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHI
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:55 pm 
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Maybe you could put some shade cloth or mesh over the frame to give the plants some shade if it's super hot? When it's summer here I will look into covering some of my herbs because it just gets way too hot.

poopiebitch wrote:
but if I had put that much work into something I would have left a note anyway in hopes that someone would make an effort!

Me too, I'd be sad to leave a garden behind & I'd definitely leave a note in the hope the next tenants would look after the garden.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHI
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:56 pm 
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I agree with what everyone else has said as far as what the plants are. The good news is that, except for the peas (they normally tend to be more of a spring plant that doesn't like hot weather, but I guess it's possible they planted a more heat tolerant variety?), all of those plants need basically the same care--hot weather, regular deep watering (don't let them dry out!) and some fertilization about once a month through the growing season (I like kelp fertilizer for tomatoes and peppers). Rather than water by hand, I like to use soaker hoses and just leave them on for about an hour a couple of times per week. Watering by hand often doesn't get the water more than an inch or two deep, which encourages the roots to grow closer to the surface where they are more likely to dry out. The deep watering encourages a deep root system to develop, which means happier, cooler roots through the summer. As the tomatoes grow, you'll just want to take some twine and loosely tie them to the stakes behind the plants to help guide them up--I like to tie the twine in a loose figure 8 so the stem has room to get thicker without the twine cutting into it. Lastly, keep an eye out for suspicious bugs on the plants. In my area I mostly need to watch out for aphids, but you might call a nursery or e-mail your local co-operative extension to get a better idea of what you need to watch for.

Gorgeous garden! Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHI
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:55 am 
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Glad to meet another hot weather gardener! Do those tomato plant tags say DET or IND? very important to know how big your plants are gonna get, and whether you need to cage them or if they'll be fine on those stakes. The bush tomatoes (DET) will only have one crop, and then that's it. The crazy vine tomatoes (IND) will keep you in fruit until November, but they tend to get enormous.

Pop! wrote:
Rather than water by hand, I like to use soaker hoses and just leave them on for about an hour a couple of times per week. Watering by hand often doesn't get the water more than an inch or two deep, which encourages the roots to grow closer to the surface where they are more likely to dry out. The deep watering encourages a deep root system to develop, which means happier, cooler roots through the summer.


I'm all for the soaker hose method, although I water daily (mine are in raised beds), you can buy a timer pretty cheap and hook it up to your hose. Maybe hook up a regular hose to the house/timer and then attach a soaker hose to the end for the garden area - if it's as far from the house as it looks in the photo. It's the only way my garden gets watered when we get those 60+ days in a row of 100ยบ+ and no rain.

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 Post subject: Re: Garden experts, HELP! Inheriting a garden and know NOTHI
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 9:56 am 
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Jessica and Pop! have some crucial information there. Here's my 50 sheckels:

Prune those tomato plants. I start at the bottom and pinch the "suckers" off. Here's a link to a tutorial:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjLXGo_n ... re=related

To boot he mentions being from the south. He gets to the pruning about 2:50 in the video. Trellising is important too.

You'll want to feed those plants something with nitrogen for growth, and the tomatoes and peppers will need food with phosphorous and potassium to help them bloom and set fruit. Both also need calcium and magnesium to prevent blossom end rot:
vegan grow formula: http://www.wormsway.com/detail.aspx?t=prod&sku=GBTG405
vegan bloom formula: http://www.wormsway.com/detail.aspx?t=prod&sku=GBTB405
calcium magnesium supplement: http://www.wormsway.com/detail.aspx?t=prod&sku=GBTB405

The cal mag plus is made from chemically derived ingredients, no animals. just chemicals. some people are not down with that. you can use epsom salts too:
http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/loa ... 11573.html

Personally, i'm a fan of adding 1 T of molasses to luke warm water, giving it a good stir until it is dissolved, and feeding it to the tomatoes. Makes 'em taste better.

I would also suggest sending a soil sample to your county extension office. They'll analyze it for FREE and you'll know exactly what you need to add/withhold from your plant babies.

You have many choices for bug control--a great approach is just keeping leaves clean. Aphids can get outta control real quick, so ladybug applications is a good way to control them without using chemicals. Beneficial nematodes applied to the soil is an awesome way to prevent the tomato horn worm from ripping your precious 'maters apart. I love my vegetables, so I use a variety of approaches when dealing with insects in my garden. If your garden is heavy in biodiversity, you shouldn't need much.

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