Well, top of the morning to everybody. We hope all are fine and have enjoyed your weekend. Guess what…we had some rain. Only about a quarter of an inch, but good night it was appreciated. We have been bone dry.
We’ll be settin out a few plants today, more Beefsteak tomatoes, and settin cucumbers out too. Although this time we’re goin in the ground with seeds.
I know the sun scalded our first cucumber plants and Beefsteaks, but we’d set them straight out of the greenhouse into the direct sun. This, we found out…is a no-no! At first I thought it was our compost was just “too hot,” and brought in topsoil to mix and possibly “cool the compost” down some.
We found at later, through good advice from “our friends” who watch our videos that, this was probably not the problem, but once again, we just were not hardening the plants up first. Still I’m glad I added the topsoil, as this will work out good for us, too.
Here’s a comment from our good friend Bobby. Bobby lives in Virginia and is one fine gardener. He’s a heck of a great guy, husband, Father, and good Christian man. Bobby has a couple greenhouses, and he takes care of 5 large gardens on his place as well.
Here’s his comments involving “hardening” your plants prior to settin them out in full sun, after having started them in the greenhouse.
“I found out about the hardening off deal last year, first hand. I didn’t lose any plants, but they sure did look rough for a while. Being inside under plastic is just so protective they aren’t strong enough to face the elements all at once. Lots to learn, but you’re doing good.”
This from another good friend, Bernard, who I believe lives in Virginia as well. Bernard is also a “master gardener,” not just by name, but by trade.
“The sunlight the plants get in a greenhouse is different from direct sunlight. They need to be shielded from the sun and exposed a little more each day for about a week.”
The main reason tomato leaves turn white is that the plants were not hardened off before being planted in full sunlight. They curl because there is no water left in the leaf. Plants will get sunburn if they are moved from a shaded place into direct sun. When I take my plants out of my greenhouse I have to cover them or they will be sunburned even though they have been exposed to the sun. I use a tarp over a frame and expose them at little more each day for about a week and then I remove the tarp. On cloudy days I do not cover them. When bad storms are in the area I cover them to prevent damage.
Cukes stems are made up of more water and have smaller diameters so they would be show signs quicker than tomatoes.
If the tomato plants only lose their leaves but the stems and roots are not damaged they may put out new growth and you will just lose time, do to a later harvest.
Here’s another from a good friend as well.
“Hey Dub did you harden them off before putting them in ground, sounds like that’s the problem.”
So you see, we learned a valuable lesson, even if I had lost about 50 plants. Since we’d never grew in a greenhouse before we just had no idea. It could have been much, much worse. Have you noticed that I’m using the word WE now, even though I made the goof.
You see, if they’d have taken off and done real well, then I’d have taken all the credit, but since I goofed, I decided I’d share the goof with ole Deb. Now…it’s WE! LOL!
I cringe to even think about…what if I’d have set out plants in the whole grow area?? All of a sudden you’re talking a WHOLE lot more we could have lost. I call it a beginner’s mistake. My wife calls it…ignorance, but I’ll have to compromise a little and say we’re both right! Dad-gummit!
So, we’ll now be planting 22 Beefsteaks, and 4 varieties of melons. Yep, I’ve hardened them all off for a week. I set them on a bench we made and they get full sun until about 2 in the afternoon. At this point the greenhouse itself shades them.
The melons we’ll set are 6 Georgia Rattlesnake, 5 Jubilee’s, 4 Sugar Baby’s, and 2 cantalope’s. We have 1 more Jubilee and 1 more Sugar Baby, but they’re not quite ready to set yet. They’ll be another week or so.
We’ll probably go ahead at this point and set a few more seeds of the melons and stagger them to get a couple crops hopefully.
Tomorrow as well, we’ll start settin out more plants on the bench to start the hardening process. We’ll be putting out three varieties of eggplant, the Listada De Gandia, Ukrainian Beauty, and the Florida Market. We’ll be settin out to harden 2 types of hot peppers, and 4 types of sweet peppers, too.
The tomatoes we’ll be hardening are the Homestead, Green Pineapple, and Rutgers to go along with the Beefsteaks which will already be in the ground. The Cherry tomatoes are the Mini-Orange, Black Cherry, Reisentraube, Isis Candy, and Fox Cherry.
We’ll set at least 15, and no more than twenty plants each. I’m talkin tomatoes still. We’ll set out 6 eggplants each, and the peppers we’ll set out probably most of what we have.
We’ve got 3 types of squash, 5 types of lettuce, 2 types of spinach, 3 types of carrots, brussell sprouts, 3 types of beets, radishes, 3 types of black tomatoes, and celery in seed trays that are sprouted now. Those won’t be too awful long from being ready to go as well.
As we set each new vegetable out in the grow area, we’ll be running micro-jet for each row. I personally, like to set my row, then install the lines. This shows me exactly where to put the heads for each plant to put the water right where it’s needed. After that screw up of killin those first plants, I SURE DON’T want to tick Deb off at me again!! The “heat’s” finally easin off from that go round! LOL!
I gotta say this though, it HAS been work, and a whole lot of it. Getting the pad for the greenhouse, erecting it, digging out existing dirt and going back with good soil, building our beds, setting up where we wanted to plant what, building seed tables, racks, and now planting and installing a water system. PHEW!!
BUT, it has all been worth every minute! The benefits of what we’ll be producing from a freshness standpoint, a nutritional standpoint, and a cost saving standpoint are tremendous. The very best thing though is that Deb’s having a good time with this!
She’s bending and stooping, she’s out in the sun and fresh air, she’s learning how to set seeds, transplant them into larger pots, she’s learning the different vegetable varieties, and is loving every minute of it.
The biggest part of the work is just fixing to be over with once we get all our water system in. Then it’s to see that everything is getting what it needs, and watching everything grow off. It then becomes less of a work thing, and more of a managing thing.
This project, like most any project you start, was heavy work on the front end, but with more of a keeping everything maintained, and just keeping an eye on things from there on out. This will be bringing us both much pleasure in the years to come!
Thank you guys for droppin back in to visit with us today. We sure appreciate ya’ll doin so! Please take care, and God Bless! Deb says to keep a smile on your face, and one in your heart!
Dub and Deb