Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 641-903-9365
We had frost on the car roofs and on the trunks. It didn’t look like on the grass, but we had everything inside so it was good. I have heard of some lawns were white, some had a temperature of 30, while ours was 34. Depending on where you live, hope all is ok. BUT right now it is a perfect day. Sun, no clouds, and very little wind. Temperature at noon is 57 degrees. ENJOY the day we are…
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa email@example.com 641-794-3337 641-903-9365
I am afraid here in North Central Iowa for sure we will have frost tonight. Clear skies after midnight which will lead to the temperature going down. Looks like 34 around 5 to 6 oclock. Enough time for that cold air to hit your plants. So with that in mind all that you see in the pictures will be inside one or two greenhouses. That is why they are on wheels so we can move them. Not my favorite thing to do, but it is necessary. Lots of work for Lyle and Ann but they got all the tall carts inside the heated west greenhouse. Larry and I will hook up the long wagons and push them inside the east greenhouse. When it warms up we will have everything out for your shopping gardening needs on Saturday. Gives us some time but that will happen.
Hope all of you can keep your gardens safe. Maybe we will not have frost, but…..
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365
image from Amazon.com
Second post today. Temperature at 3:00 is 46 degrees but feels like 39. It is cloudy, and looks like the rain is out of this area. Cloudy for tonight so that will keep the temperature in the 40’s. Tomorrow high of only 50 with wind. So it will not be very nice. Memorial Day weekend this will not be as fun as it would be if we had clear, blue skies and warm temperatures. Make the most of it.
Now what they have talked about the brand of petunias, this article might be dated a little. They didn’t talk about Supertunias. Also deadheading petunias I will show you next time how to do that. There are different brands of petunias that have been developed but this gives you a basic idea about planting petunias. We have lots of them here, and they are looking good. Ready to go into your garden.
HOW TO PLANT, GROW, AND CARE FOR PETUNIAS By The Editors
Pretty petunias are one of the most popular flowers because of their exceptional blooms and long flowering period. As with most annuals, they get leggy by midsummer, so you’ll want to prune the shoots back to about half their length. See how to plant and take care of your petunias to keep them blooming.
Petunias are treated as annuals in most areas, but can be grown as tender perennials in Zones 9 to 11. The flowers come in many colors and patterns, and bloom from spring until frost!
These colorful annuals can really add pop to a front lawn and are often used in borders, containers, hanging baskets or even as a seasonal groundcover. Some even have a slight fragrance.
Height can vary from 6 inches to 18 inches. Spread can be from 18 inches to 4 feet.
Petunias are divided into different groups, mainly based on flower size:
Multiflora petunias are the most durable and prolific. They have smaller but more abundant flowers and are ideal for summer bedding or in a mixed border (because they are more tolerant to wet weather).
Grandiflora petunias have very large flowers and are best grown in containers or hanging baskets (because they are more susceptible to rain damage). These large petunias often do not fare as well in the south because they’re prone to rot during humid, hot summers.
Floribundas: Floribundas are intermediate between the grandiflora and the multiflora groups. They are free-flowering like the multiflora varieties and produce medium-sized blooms.
Millifloras: Milliflora petunias are much smaller than any other petunias on the market. The flowers are only 1 to 1½ inches wide, but they are prolific and last all season!
Spreading or Trailing Petunias: These are low-growing and can spread as much as 3 to 4 feet. They form a beautiful, colorful groundcover because the flowers form along the entire length of each stem. They can be used in window boxes or hanging baskets.
WHEN TO PLANT PETUNIAS
It’s easiest to buy young plants from a nursery that sells petunias in flats. Look for plants that are short and compact, not leggy and not yet blooming—they’ll settle in faster.
If you are going to grow petunias from seed, start the seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before your last spring frost date. (See your local frost dates.)
Plant young petunias outdoors after your last spring frost date, but keep a close eye on the weather forecast and protect young plants from late frosts.
CHOOSING AND PREPARING THE PLANTING SITE
Petunias need full sun or they will become spindly. They don’t tend to flower well in shade.
They are quite versatile, growing well in different types of soil as long as the soil drains well and doesn’t stay wet.
Soil should be moderately fertile to promote the best growth. Amend poor soil with compost prior to planting.
HOW TO PLANT PETUNIAS
Petunia seeds are very small (dust-like!) and need lots of light in order to germinate.
When the plants have three leaves, plant them outside.
Space the plants about 1 foot apart.
If you’re planting petunias in containers, use a container potting mix that will drain well.
Hanging basket of petunia flowers
HOW TO CARE FOR PETUNIAS
Petunias are fairly heat tolerant, so you shouldn’t have to worry about watering them frequently. A thorough watering once a week should be sufficient (unless there are prolonged periods of drought in your area). Avoid watering shallowly, as this encourages shallow roots.
Note: The spreading types of petunias and those in containers will require more frequent watering than those planted in the ground.
Fertilize petunias monthly with a balanced fertilizer to support their rapid growth and heavy blooming. Double-flowered cultivars enjoy a biweekly dose of fertilizer.
Getting Leggy in Midsummer
By midsummer, most petunias tend to get leggy, producing blossoms at the tips of long, leafless stems. To keep petunias tidy and flowering, we prune the shoots back to about half their length. This will encourage more branching and more flowers.
After pruning, fertilize and water the plants well to force out new growth and flowers. The plants may look raggedy at first but they’ll rebound with more color and blooms.
Older garden petunia plants can be pruned prune hard (within a few inches of the base) to re-encourage vigor, especially in cooler climates, but keep the remaining leaves.
Remove faded, old, or dead blossoms (a practice called “deadheading”) to both improve blooms and attractiveness, especially for the larger-flowered petunias. Deadheading prevents seed pods from competing with blooms for the plant’s food supplies. Clippings can be added to a compost pile to be recycled.
Petunias have few serious insect or disease pests, though aphids and slugs can be an issue. Avoid wetting the foliage and flowers when watering to help prevent disease.
‘Carpet Series’ is very popular. They are compact, early blooming with 1½-to 2-inch blooms that come in a wide variety of colors, and are ideal for ground cover.
‘Primetime’ series stay compact and uniform, covered with 2¼-inch flowers.
‘Heavenly Lavender’ is an early, compact, double, deep lavender blue with 3-inch blooms on 12-to 14-inch plants
‘Sugar Daddy’ (Petunia Daddy Series), which sports purple flowers with dark veins.
‘Rose Star’ (Petunia Ultra Series), whose flowers look striped because of its rose-pink flowers with a white center.
‘Celebrity’ series petunias are compact and rain-tolerant. The flowers reach 2½ to 3 inches across.
‘Madness’ series petunias have big, 3-inch flowers in many veined and solid colors. They are compact and bloom until frost. They bounce back well after rain.
‘Double Madness’ petunias are compact and floriferous with big, 3-inch flowers all through the summer. Like their single counterparts, ‘Double Madness’ petunias bounce back within hours of a rainstorm.
‘Fantasy’ forms neat, compact mounds.
‘Purple Wave’ was the first cultivar in the class of spreading petunias. It produces large blooms of deep rose-purple. It is tolerant of summer heat, drought and rain damage. ‘Purple Wave’ remains under 4 inches tall.
‘Wave’ series petunias are available in a multitude of colors. Most are not quite as ground-hugging as the original. They are weather-tolerant, disease resistant and heavy-blooming.
Taken from https://www.almanac.com/plant/petunias
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa email@example.com
641-794-3337 cell phone 641-903-9365
Interesting term used this morning with the weather "Wall of Rain". Possibility of frost this weekend....
image from preen.com
I am posting this quickly and will post again today. BUT the weather man called this rain a wall of rain. Haven’t heard that before….but I have to say this is the first rain of this spring that is coming down well. A true spring rain which seems late for the end of May. NOW for the unfortunate news. Cold air mass moving in after this rain, so the temperature will be going down. Sounds like tonight 40 degrees, but Saturday morning for us it might be as low as 36. There is a chance of frost so we will be putting everything away. We can do that as everything is on wheels. DARN Mary 28th seems really late for this. BUT it has happened in the past. So beware and protect the plants. I will post again today. But till then
Till next time, this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365
Interesting plants to use as fillers, in the concept of filler, thriller and spiller for container gardening.
image from Pinterest
We are here, still growing plants, moving more plants out and the black top is full as the long racks are too…( at least we are working on that) Great rain we had and looks like we might get some rain with the cold front coming thru. I don’t like that there might be storms with wind and hail. Need to keep an eye on this because we can move in all the racks, but it will take some time. All of you keep your eyes to the sky and your weather watch apps.
I found this article about fillers for the concept of thriller, fillers and spillers in containers. I am going to try some of these, and you will find the plants very unusual. Thanks for all that have been here and thank you for all of you that have shared, liked and pass this posting.
I am going to adding one more plant to use CELERY….so this gives you an idea of what they are using.
GARDENING PLANTS & FLOWERS
The Best Filler Plants for Container Gardens Written by Marie Iannotti
Salpiglossis sinuata (Painted Tongue)
To get a balanced looking container garden, consider following the old garden adage: Thrillers, spillers, fillers. After selecting your tall, eye-catching "thriller" plants, and your trailing "spiller" plants, fill in the gaps with shorter filler plants. Your fillers will help to create a full, pleasing arrangement without taking away from the showier blooms.
Agastache is a great plant for making the bulk of your container lush and colorful, The long blooming, spiky flowers offset a rounded or weeping focal point.
Growing Fresh Basil
Herbs are nice filler choices. You will have them handy for harvesting and the more you pinch them, the fuller the plants will get. Basil gives you the choice of rich green or many shades of burgundy and purple.
Caladium plants add color without the worry of flowers and deadheading. They always look their best. The heart-shaped leaves will soften a spikier focal point. Caladium makes a great houseplant, or you can simply store the tubers for winter.
Celosia adds a burst of uproarious color. These annuals bloom virtually nonstop, looking good all season. Since they are annuals, their root system won't need excessive space in the container.
Coleus offers an almost limitless choice of leaf form and
color choices. You can even find varieties that prefer either sun or shade. Periodically pinching them back will develop full, bushy plants.
Euphorbia marginata (Snow-on-the-mountain)
For a soothing, cool feel to your container, try the icy white and green combination of Snow-on-the-mountain. This is an annual plant that grows quickly from seed. It looks cool but can handle heat well.
Firecracker Plant (Cuphea cyanea)
The unusual flowers of Cuphea have been likened to firecrackers and cigars. This is a small dense plant that flowers profusely all summer, especially if you are willing to deadhead it. Cuphea prefers some shade, on hot days.
Flowering Maple (Abutilon)
The flowering or parlor maple, isn't a maple at all, so do not worry that you'll have a tall tree on your hands. The lovely crepe-paper like flowers comes in brilliant red and an assortment of pastels. They bloom continually and are favorites of hummingbirds.
Lantana (Lantana camara)
In warmer climates, lantana will be a perennial that can grow quite large and can even be trained into a standard. It is often sold as an annual plant with exuberant blooms, often in festive tri-color combinations.
Ornamental Cabbage and Kale
Flowering cabbage and kale are perfect for fall containers. The colorful leaves are not affected by frost or even light snow. Most offer some combination of purple-pink and green. Removing browning leaves is the only maintenance required.
Perilla frutescens (Shiso)
Perilla often gets confused with basil, probably because they are both in the mint family. Perilla is an annual and won't spread as quickly as mint, but it does self-sow profusely. In a container, it adds lush green or purple color and a spicy scent.
Fuzzy leaves and subtle variegation and patterns make Plectranthus a popular choice for containers. They will fill your container with texture and color, with no effort on your part, other than planting them.
Salpiglossis sinuata (Painted Tongue)
Salpiglossis is a wonderful upright annual plant with an abundance of trumpet-shaped flowers that come in shades ranging from mahogany through purple, pink, and yellow. They also make great cut flowers.
Dusty Miller (Senecio)
That old standby, Dusty Miller, is an excellent choice for containers. The silvery-blue, lacy leaves are the perfect frame for all kinds of tall, focal points. They can handle dry conditions and some shade.
Strobilanthes dyeranus (Persian shield)
Persian shield is a tropical perennial. With its iridescent purple leaves, it is often grown as a houseplant, but it also makes a great annual outdoor plant and using it in containers gives you the best of both worlds. Enjoy it outdoors and bring it in, when the weather changes.
You know how beautiful chard is in the vegetable garden, especially when the sun shines through it. You can also use it as a foliage plant, in containers. Harvesting the outer leaves will keep it attractive and full. Watch out for groundhogs, who love chard as much as you do.
Taken from https://www.thespruce.com/best-filler-plants-to-grow-in-containers-
Till next time, this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa email@example.com 641-794-3337 cell phone 641-906-9365
We are here. We are filling up the wagons, and racks outside. Lyle is planting memorial day planters that are ready for you to pick up. I have worked all day to get information form 2 computers to one new computer. I have been using three computers to do bookwork, internet work, sign work, blog writing. Now I can use just one new computer with new software for our book keeping with a new Quick books program.
I was so faithful in posting every day, but then spring hit. We are busy still planting, and moving plants outside. We work with the City of Mason City with their flowerbeds so Larry makes the trip with those plants. But I do the designing of them. We have had Franklin Co 4-Hers here, and next week we will have the Cerro Gordo 4-hers planting buckets of flowers for their fair.
I am including just pictures of what we have. Next will be a video of the area we have plants. It looks amazing is all I can say. We just got in more perennials to add to the perennial rack. Tomatoes are outside and ready to go into your garden hardened off. We do water with fertilizer but nothing beats the natural rain that they have gotten this week.
This is part of what I said on the weekly radio show….
WOW we have moisture, we have good ground temperature, we will have heat. SO it is time to plant and they will grow well. Our plants here at the greenhouse are looking awesome, and so ready to plant. The right size, the right part of blooming of the plants they are ready to be planted. We have annual single pots, we have large 4 packs of annuals, and we have small annuals in 4 packs. Just got in more perennials to fill in the rack. Trees and shrubs are looking well. Lots of herbs. Hanging baskets are all sale. Greenhouse is still full and having a hard time finding room for the planting we are still doing. We have memorial planters in 3 sizes. We are going full with all we do. Baskets, geraniums, tomatoes, peppers, and all the vegetable crop. Plus have sweet potato plants, asparagus roots. We are open Monday thru Saturday 9-6, and Sunday 11-4 come and see us. The parking lot is full and wagons on the grass, with tall racks full of plants.
I will try to post every day….Hope all of you are well, and enjoying the spring like weather…almost summer like weather now. Till next time, this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365
image from YouTube
It is overcast but we need the sun or the rain. Looks like this week, rain prediction every day but will we get it in North Central Iowa? I am open on Sunday from 11-4.
Sale on hanging baskets 10” $12.00
Seed potatoes ½ price 5 lbs. for $2.50 we have Yukon Gold, Kennebec, Northland Red
Full selection of vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, cauliflower, celery, peppers, tomatoes and still planting more of tomatoes and peppers for a second, and third crop.
We have onion sets in white, purple, and red.
We have strawberry starter plants.
We have asparagus roots Mary Washington and Jersey Giant
Bulk garden seeds lots of green beans, and all the rest for your garden.
Just got planted sweet potatoes that are edible.
Here is what I found out about sweet potato plants to plant.
When to plant sweet potatoes? The best time to plant sweet potatoes is in the spring, right after all the danger of frost has come and gone. Check that the soil is over 65 F and nighttime temperatures do not drop below 55 F. In most growing zones, this is around three to four weeks after the last frost. I don’t know if we are there yet, but you can pick them up and continue to let them grow in the pot till it does get to 55 at night. For us in Zone 4, 3 to 4 weeks after the frost would be after May 15th count the weeks.
Nice selection of herbs.
Give me a call 641-794-3337 or text me at 641-903-9365 email address at email@example.com if you are wondering if we have?????
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365
image from gardeners.com
So here is the scoop Gardeners…Not just cucumbers, squash, winter and summer, watermelon, cantaloupe need to be planted after June 1st. Even up to June 15th. For 2 reasons they don’t like cold nights or cold soil and if you wait till then to plant you will miss the first round of bugs that can kill the plants. For that reason we will have our plants of vine like cucumbers, squash, watermelon, cantaloupe ready after June 1st. We will help you with that timing of when to put them in.
Cucumber plants should be seeded or transplanted outside in the ground no earlier than 2 weeks after the last frost date. Cucumbers are extremely susceptible to frost and cold damage; the soil must be at least 70ºF for germination. Do not plant outside too soon! Our last frost is easily May 15th.
I know you don’t like to hear this but this is also what the Old Farmer’s Almanac says.
Cucumbers By The Editors
An easy-care vegetable that loves sun and water, cucumbers grow quickly as long as they receive consistent watering and warmth. Don’t let cucumbers get too large before you pick or they will taste bitter! See how to grow and harvest cucumbers.
There are two types of cucumber plants: vining cucumbers and bush cucumbers.
Vining cucumbers grow on vigorous vines shaded by large leaves. The growth of these plants is fast, and the crop yield is abundant if you care for them properly. Vining varieties grow best when trained up a trellis or fence. They will be cleaner—versus those that grow directly atop soil—often more prolific, and easier to pick.
Bush cucumbers, however, are nicely suited to containers and small gardens.
Make successive plantings (every two weeks for continued harvests). In already-warm soil, cucumbers will grow quickly and ripen in about six weeks!
WHEN TO PLANT CUCUMBERS
Cucumber plants should be seeded or transplanted outside in the ground no earlier than 2 weeks after the last frost date. Cucumbers are extremely susceptible to frost and cold damage; the soil must be at least 70ºF for germination. Do not plant outside too soon!
To get a head start, sow cucumber seeds indoors about 3 weeks before you plan to transplant them in the ground. They like bottom heat of about 70ºF (21ºC). If you don’t have a heat mat, put the seed flat on top of the refrigerator or perch a few on top of the water heater.
Taken from https://www.almanac.com/plant/cucumbers
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa email@example.com 641-794-3337
Question: The Tarheel State. OK see if you know this? I didn’t.
(Name the U.S. state!)
Friday not so nice as Thursday. We are overcast now, and looks like rain. Question we will be saying all season. WILL IT RAIN? We didn’t put away the wagons last night as it was a low of 39. They are getting hardened off for sure with the cool nights, wind we have had and even the rain. Ready to go into your garden.
So can I plant tomatoes? This is in this article you would read this but this is when you should plant them. We have tomatoes that are ready to go into your garden. We have moved some outside to start the hardening off process, but greenhouse has some also. They look really nice if I would say so. Also still planting some for the 2nd and 3rd crop.
Transplant your seedlings or nursery-grown plants after all danger of frost has passed and the soil is at least 60°F.
GROWING TOMATOES FROM PLANTING TO HARVEST By The Editors
Our Growing Tomatoes Guide takes you from planting to harvesting! Find out when to plant America’s favorite garden crop, the best way to grow tomatoes, how long it takes a tomato to bear fruit, and what tomatoes need to thrive. We’ll touch on how to transplant, stakes and cages, the best tomato varieties, and more tomato tips!
There’s a reason why tomatoes are the #1 home garden vegetable. The taste of a tomato right off the vine is incomparable to a typical grocery store type.
Tomatoes are warm-weather vegetables and sun worshippers!
In northern regions, tomato plants will need at least 6 hours of sunlight daily; 8 to 10 hours are preferred.
In southern regions, light afternoon shade (natural or applied, e.g., row covers) will help tomatoes to survive and thrive.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GROW A TOMATO?
This is one of our most common questions. The exact “days to harvest” depends on the cultivar and it can range from 60 days to more than 100 days.
In addition, tomatoes can not be started too early in the ground as they are a tender warm-season crop that can not bear frost. In most regions, the soil is not warm enough to plant tomatoes outdoors until late spring and early summer except in zone 10, where they are a fall and winter crop. See when to start tomatoes for your location.
Due to their relatively long growing season requirements (and late planting date), plant small “starter plants” or transplants instead of seeds. Choose young tomato plants from a reputable nursery. Good starter plants are short and stocky with dark green color and straight, sturdy stems about the size of a pencil or thicker. They should not have yellowing leaves, spots, or stress damage nor have flowers or fruits already in progress.
TYPES OF TOMATOES
Determinate tomatoes, better known as “bush” varieties grow 2 to 3 feet tall. These varieties tend to provide numerous ripe tomatoes at one time, do not put on much leaf growth after setting fruit, and tend to fruit for a (relatively) brief period of time. They are generally productive earlier than the vining varieties, and not in the latter part of the growing season. Determinate tomatoes do not require staking or caging. These plants are idea for containers and small spaces. Most paste tomatoes are determine (which works well for making sauce and canning).
Indeterminate tomatoes, better known as “vining” varieties produce the largest types of mid- to late-season slicing tomatoes all summer and until the first frost. Because indeterminates experience more leaf growth, their production tends to be spread more evenly throughout the season. Indeterminate tomatoes need staking. They are ideal in large gardeners. Most beefsteak and cherry tomatoes are indeterminate.
Tomatoes come in a wide range of flavors as well as colors and sizes, from tiny grape-sized types to giant beefsteaks. The choice also depends on how you will use this versatile fruit in the kitchen. For example, Roma tomatoes are not usually eaten fresh out of hand, but are perfect for sauces and ketchups. Tomatoes do need vigilant care, as the crop is susceptible to pests and diseases. To avoid problems, choose disease-resistant cultivars whenever possible.
PLANTING DATES FOR TOMATOES
PLANTING DATES FOR SPRING
On average, your last spring frost occurs on May 2 (at HAMPTON, IA climate station). Average but we know that it is later than that date. I am afraid to say.
Select a site with full sun and, ideally, a space where tomatoes (and members of their family, especially eggplants, peppers, and potatoes) have not grown in the previous couple of years. See tips on crop rotation.
Dig soil to about 1 foot deep and mix in aged manure and/or compost. Give it two weeks to break down before planting.
STARTING TOMATOES FROM SEED
As stated above, due to the long growing season for a warm-weather crop, many gardeners purchase starter tomato plants from a nursery.
However, tomatoes can be direct-sown in the garden if the soil is at least 55°F. Note that 70°F soil is optimum for maximum germination within 5 days. Be certain that your grown season is long enough to bring the plants to maturity. See your first fall frost date.
Or, you can plant tomatoes by seed indoors for a head start. Sow seeds a ½ inch deep in small trays 6 to 8 weeks before the average last spring frost date. See our Planting Calendar for seed-starting dates specific to your area and our article on “Tomatoes From Seed the Easy Way” for more tips.
Harden off your own seedlings for a week before transplanting them in the ground. Set them outdoors in the shade for a few hours on the first day. Gradually increase this time each day to include some direct sunlight. Learn more about hardening off seedlings.
PLANTING THE TRANSPLANTS
Transplant your seedlings or nursery-grown plants after all danger of frost has passed and the soil is at least 60°F.
Place tomato stakes or cages in the soil at planting. Staking and caging keep developing fruit off the ground (to avoid disease and pests) and also help the plant to stay upright. See instructions on how to build stakes, cages, and tomato supports.
When you transplant tomatoes, add a handful of organic tomato fertilizer or bone meal (a good source of phosphorus) to the planting hole.
Do NOT apply high nitrogen fertilizers such as those recommended for lawns, as this will promote luxurious foliage but can delay flowering and fruiting.
When planting seedlings, pinch off a few of the lower leaves. Here are two ways to set seedlings in the soil:
Place each root ball deep enough such that the bottom leaves are just above the surface of the soil. Roots will grow all along the plant’s stem underground. Plant seedlings 2 to 3 feet apart. Crowded plants will not get sufficient sun and the fruit may not ripen.
Alternatively, lay long, leggy transplants on their sides in trenches 3 to 4 inches deep. Bury the stems up to the first set of true leaves. Roots will develop along the buried stem. If you plant this way, consider setting four tomato plants in compass-point positions (north, south, east, west). This formation enables you to fertilize and water the plants in the middle.
Remember to allow enough space for the plants to spread out.
Water well to reduce shock to the roots.
Spacing for Tomatoes
GROWING TOMATOES IN CONTAINERS
Use a large pot or container (at least 20 inches in diameter) with drainage holes in the bottom.
Use loose, well-draining soil (e.g., at least 12 inches of a good “potting mix” with added organic material).
A tray of some sort should be placed under the pot to catch any excess water that drains out the bottom.
Choose bush or dwarf varieties; many cherry tomatoes grow well in pots. Taller varieties may need to be staked.
Plant one tomato plant per pot and give each at least 6 hours of sun per day.
Keep soil moist. Containers will dry out more quickly than garden soil, so check daily and provide extra water during heat waves.
TOMATO PLANT CARE
Water in the early morning so that plants have sufficient moisture to make it through a hot day.
Water generously the first few days that the tomato seedlings or transplants are in the ground.
Then water with about 2 inches (about 1.2 gallons) per square foot per week during the growing season. Deep watering encourages a strong root system.
Avoid overhead watering and afternoon watering. Water at the base/soil level of a plant to avoid splashing water on the leaves (which invites disease).
Mulch 5 weeks after transplanting to retain moisture, keep soil from splashing the lower leaves, and control weeds. Apply 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch such as straw, hay, or bark chips.
To help tomatoes through periods of drought, find some flat rocks and place one next to each plant. The rocks prevent water from evaporating from the soil.
You should have already worked compost into the soil before planting, and added some bonemeal to the planting hole when transplanting.
Side-dress plants, applying liquid seaweed or fish emulsion or an organic fertilizer every 2 weeks, starting when tomatoes are about 1 inch in diameter (some folks say “golf ball-size”). If you are using an organic granular formula such as Epson Tomato-Tone (4-7-10 or 3-4-6), pull mulch back a few inches and scratch 2 to 3 tablespoons fertilizer around the drip line of the plant. Water in, and replace mulch.
Continue fertilizing tomatoes about every 3 to 4 weeks until frost.
Note: Avoid fast-release fertilizers and avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers. As stated, too much nitrogen will result in lush foliage but few flowers and little or no fruit.
Pruning, pinching, staking
If growing vining tomatoes, pinch off suckers (new, tiny stems and leaves between branches and the main stem). This aids air circulation and allows more sunlight into the middle of the plant.
Gently tie the stems to stakes with rags, nylon stockings, twine, or soft string.
As a plant grows, trim the lower leaves from the bottom 12 inches of the stem.
No flowers, no fruit?
If no flowers form, plants may not be getting enough sun or water (too little can stop flowering).
Flower drop-off could be due to high daytime temperatures (over 90°F). Provide shade during the hottest part of the day by using row covers or shade cloth.
If plants produce a lot of flowers but no fruit, the cause might be inadequate light, too little water or inconsistent watering, too cold or hot temperatures (above 75°F at night/90°F during the day), or not enough pollinators (bees).
Low humidity can also affect pollination; the ideal is 40 to 70 percent. If humidity is low, mist the plant to help pollen to stick.
Check out this post for even more tomato tips.
Tomatoes are susceptible to insect pests. To avoid overpopulation of insect pests, follow these basic tips:
Monitor tomato plants daily, checking under leaves, checking fruit, and checking near the soil.
To dislodge many pests like aphids, spray plants with with a good jet stream from the hose.
Handpick insects bigger insects like tomato hornworm with gloves on, dropping into a bucket of soapy water.
Apply insecticidal soap directly to the insect on the plant; this works for smaller pests such as aphids and spider mites.
Apply horticultural oils or sprays diluted in water. Neem oil sprays block an insect’s air holes.
If you choose as a last resort to use insecticides like Sevin, keep in mind that you may be killing beneficial insects as well.
Tomato cutworm (early in the season). Indicated by a chewed stem
Aphids will cause yellow curling leaves and white sticky residue
Flea Beetles cause holes in leaves
Tomato Hornworm and tobacco hornworm cause defoliation
Whiteflies indicated by sticky white residue.
Leaf miners are indicated by tunnel or zigzag patterns on leaves
Corn earworms (aka tomato fruitworms), stink bugs, and slugs cause holes in fruit
When it comes to tomato diseases and other problems, most of the work is in prevention. Here are some tips to avoid tomato diseases:
Plant disease-resistant tomato varieties. Tomato disease-resistant codes are listed on seed or seedling packets (example: F = Fusarium Wilt).
Rotate crops at least every three years in the same spot. Avoid planting Solanaceous family members as well (potato, pepper, and eggplant).
Ensure well-draining soil. Always mix in compost or organic matter.
Water consistently! Do not overwater if you forget nor underwater.
Destroy infected plants. Unfortunately, you often need to remove and discard infected plants or the disease will overwinter. Do NOT put in a compost pile.
Solarize the soil. If the problem is really bad, you can treat your soil by covering it with plastic during the hottest part of the summer for 6 to 8 weeks; the sun will destroy the bacteria.
Tomato Diseases and Problems
Blossom-End Rot causes the bottom side of the tomato to develop dark, sunken spots, due to a calcium imbalance. See the link for remedies and prevention.
Early Blight is a fungal disease that causes leaves to drop; it’s common after rainfall or in humidity. It starts with dark, concentric spots (brown to black), about ½-inch in diameter on the lower leaves and stems. If you catch it early and destroy infected leaves, you plant may survive.
Late Blight is a fungal disease that causes grey, moldy spots on leaves and fruit which later turn brown. The disease is spread and supported by persistent damp weather. See our blog on “Avoid Blight With the Right Tomato.”
Mosaic Virus creates distorted leaves and causes young growth to be narrow and twisted, and the leaves become mottled with yellow. Unfortunately, infected plants should be destroyed (but don’t put them in your compost pile).
Fusarium Wilt starts with yellowing and wilting on one side of the plant and moves up the plant as the fungus spreads. Unfortunately, once this disease strikes, the plant needs to be destroyed.
Powdery Mildew is a fungal disease which leaves white spots or a dusting of white on the leaves. It can be managed. See the link to learn more.
Cracking: When fruit growth is too rapid, the skin will crack. This usually occurs due to uneven watering or uneven moisture from weather conditions (very rainy periods mixed with dry periods). Keep moisture levels constant with consistent watering and mulching.
HOW TO HARVEST TOMATOES
Leave tomatoes on the vine as long as possible.
Harvest tomatoes when they are firm and very red in color, regardless of size, with perhaps some yellow remaining around the stem. Harvest tomatoes of other colors (orange, yellow, purple, or another rainbow shade) when they turn the correct color.
If temperatures start to drop and your tomatoes aren’t ripening, use one of these methods:
Pull up the entire plant, brush off dirt, remove foliage, and hang the plant upside down in a basement or garage.
Place mature, pale green tomatoes stem up, in a paper bag and loosely seal it. Or wrap them in newspaper and place in a cardboard box. Store in a cool (55°F to 70°F), dark place. Cooler temperatures slow ripening; warmth speeds it. Check weekly and remove soft, spotted, diseased, or ripe fruit.
Never place tomatoes on a sunny windowsill to ripen; they may rot before they are ripe!
HOW TO STORE TOMATOES
Never refrigerate fresh garden tomatoes. Doing so spoils the flavor and texture that give them that garden tomato taste.
To freeze, core fresh and unblemished tomatoes and place them whole in freezer bags or containers. Seal, label, and freeze. The skins will slip off when they thaw.
Tomatoes come in many sizes, from tiny “currant” to “cherry” to large “beefsteak.” There are thousands of tomato varieties to suit different climates and tastes. We recommend looking for disease-resistant cultivars.
Early Varieties (fewer than 70 days to harvest)
Early-maturing cultivars such as Early Girl may be slightly less flavorful but will produce fruit 2 to 3 weeks earlier than midor late-season cultivars.
‘Early Cascade’: indeterminate trailing plant, fruit in clusters; disease-resistant
‘Early Girl’: indeterminate; meaty fruit; produces through the summer
Mid-season Varieties (70 to 80 days to harvest)
‘Floramerica’: determinate; disease-resistant; firm, deep red flesh, strong plant
‘Fantastic’: indeterminate; disease- and crack-resistant; meaty rich flavor, heavy yields
Late-season Varieties (80 days or more to harvest)
‘Amish Paste’: indeterminate; heirloom; large plum tomatoes, acorn-shaped fruit; juicy, excellent for sauce.
‘Brandywine’: indeterminate; heirloom; beefsteak with perfect acid-sweet combination, many variants are available
‘Tomato, Roma VF’: determinate; compact roma tomatoes; resistant to wilts. Meaty interiors and few seeds; heavy-yielding; good for paste and canning.
‘Sun Gold’: 57 days to maturity; indeterminate; resistant to Fusarium wilt and tobacco mosaic virus; bright tangerine-orange color on grapelike trusses; intensely sweet taste
‘Yellow Mini (F1)’: 57 days to maturity; indeterminate; sweet juicy favor; compared with other cherry tomatoes, Yellow Mini resists the splitting that is caused by too much rain or inconsistent watering; high resistance to tobacco mosaic virus.
Beefsteak, Beefmaster, Ponderosa, and Oxheart are noted for their large fruit. However, these larger fruited types often are more susceptible to diseases and skin cracking.
WIT & WISDOM
Ease a headache by drinking tomato juice blended with fresh basil.
In 1781, there is record of Thomas Jefferson—an experimental farmer—raising tomatoes for his guests.
The tomato plant is native to South America, but it was not commonly cultivated in the United States until 1835. In 1522, Spanish explorers returned home from the New World with tomatoes. Many people believed that the fruits were poisonous, which isn’t too far of a leap: Tomatoes are in the same family (Solanaceae) as deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna). Potatoes and eggplants are also part of this family.
In the 19th century, the tomato was called “The Apple of Paradise” in Germany and “The Apple of Love” in France.
People have argued for quite a long time about whether tomatoes are fruits or vegetables!
Taken from https://www.almanac.com/plant/tomatoes
Till next time this is Becky Litterer Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365
Answer: North Carolina
I am back...of all time not to post daily but I had computer trouble, and then been busy in this greenhouse. Here is a list of the spillers we have here for your container gardening.
lophosp lofos wine red
plectran ivy purple swedish
Success Blue trailing
Sweet potato vine
I have for this whole year been able to post every day, but I had computer problems and super busy in the greenhouse. I will try to get back to the daily post. YES, one more night of frost for us here in Northern Iowa. I know all of you are anxious to get out in the garden. I know you think this is a different year. BUT to tell you the truth it is what our springs are like. Cold, frosty and not planting till around the 15th of May. More years like this than we have had nice weather without the frost. Stay safe, stay warm, and soon it will not be cold at night. Even the greenhouse was cold yesterday without the sunshine. Plants are happier today and growing.
The Proven winner’s have marketed a planting idea for containers. Spiller, Filler and thriller. We have several spillers here for you to use. Here is this list.
Dichondra Silver Falls ‘Silver Falls’ is a cultivar that is grown in St. Louis as an ornamental annual foliage plant. It is best grown in baskets/containers or as a seasonal ground cover. From a hanging basket, it will cascade downwards to 3-6’ long in one season. As a ground cover, plants only rise to 2-4” tall, but spread rapidly by stems rooting at the nodes to 3-4’ wide in one season. Branching silver stems are clad with soft, rounded, fan-shaped, silver leaves (to 1” across). Foliage is often described as having a metallic appearance. Tiny greenish-yellow to white spring flowers are not showy.
German Ivy German ivy or Cape ivy ( Delairea odorata, formerly Senecio mikanioides ) is neither a true ivy nor is it from Germany. Instead, it originates from South Africa and merely mimics the ivies in the Hedera genus with its lobed leaves and vining growth habit. German ivy is not fussy when it comes to growing conditions.
Sweet potato vine Marguerite Dwarf IPOMOEA Dwarf Marguerite This variety of Sweet Potato Vine has deeply lobed, chartreuse foliage and a compact growth habit. Due to its low maintenance and how easy it is to grow, it's great for beginner gardeners. Perfect as a spiller to hang over the sides of containers.
Sweet potato vine side kick bronze Sidekick Heart Bronze Ipomoea Plants combine beautifully with a wide range of colors and textures. It adds interest with its uniquely shaped foliage. This sweet potato vine is a perfect component plant in combinations and offers excellent heat tolerance! Goes all summer long!
Lophosp lofos wine red These Lophospermums have large trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom throughout the season. Lofos are self-cleaning and have a vigorous, trailing growth. Perfect as for hanging baskets!
Lysimachia FF sunburst Foliage: dark glossy green Bloom: gold Bloom Time: summer – fall Height: 2-4" Spread: 3' Shape & Form: trailing Culture USDA Zone: Z 6 Exposure: full sun/part shade Water: moderate
Lysimachia goldie is a unique variety bred by Syngenta. It is commonly used as a trailing accent plant in hanging baskets, window boxes, and container combinations. Goldii also looks lovely spilling over a rock wall and acting as low-trailing ground coverage throughout the landscape.
Magettic candy corn , known as candy corn plant or firecracker vine, is a beautiful and exotic vine that is native to South America. This vine is a member of the Coffee family, although it bears no resemblance at all. It will grow in full to partial sun. It does well indoors and out, and can grow to 15 feet as long as it is supported well. The flowers are red-orange tubular shape, with bright yellow tips, making it look like candy corn or fireworks.
Muchi wire vine Botanical Name Muehlenbeckia axillaris Common Name Creeping Wire Vine, Sprawling Wirevine, Matted Lignum Mature Size Up to 6 inches Sun Exposure Full Sun/ Partial Shade Soil Type Tolerates a variety, but must be well-drained Soil pH Not particular Bloom Time Late spring Flower Color White Hardiness Zones 5 to 9 Native Area New Zealand and Australia
Many kinds of wave petunia
Easy wave beachcomer
Easy wave great lake mix
Easy wave opposite mix
Easy wave south beach mix
Easy wave star fish mix
Easy wave yellow
NEW! Success blue is a trailing variety
Plectran ivy purple Swedish Soft, fuzzy, purple-tinged leaves make this Plectranthus a good companion plant in containers. Care Provide part shade and well-drained soil.
Portulaca color blast lemon twist Colorblast Lemon Twist Portulaca Plants bring a mass of yellow and white blooms over fleshy, green foliage. These succulents are drought and heat tolerant. Portulaca plants are a great option for hanging baskets, containers, or planting along rock walls.
4 kinds of supertunia
Mini vista indigo
Thumbergia Arizona Swedish Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11. In St. Louis, it is perhaps best grown as an annual vine that is replaced each spring. Grow in organically rich, fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best with some afternoon shade. Easily grown from seed sown directly in the garden after last frost date. Start seed indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date for earlier bloom. Also may be grown in containers that can be overwintered indoors in a warm sun room. Cuttings may be taken from favorite plants in late summer for overwintering
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa 641-794-3337 641-903-9365
Hi! My name is Becky and I am a master gardener. I own Becky's Greenhouse in Dougherty, Iowa.