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Old 04-12-2017, 07:35 AM
 
Location: Denver/Boulder Zone 5b
1,228 posts, read 2,857,700 times
Reputation: 1112

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Well folks, after taking a hiatus from updates back in August last season following the death of our beloved dog, Dooley, I am ready to get the 2017 garden season underway! As several of you know, I've posted season-long updates of my container garden here in the Denver/Boulder area, zone 5b. If you're interested in seeing my previous threads, I have provided links below.

My 2015 Container Garden | My 2016 Container Garden

We've had a very warm and dry start to 2017. February and March were 8 above normal overall and we hit 80 for the first time ever in February on the 10th. We hit 80 twice in March during a 9-day string of temps above 70. We have yet to hit 80 so far in April, but the forecast calls for highs between 70 and 77 between now and April 18 with lows in the 40s. That is very warm for this area this time of year and is perfect weather for getting the spring garden planted.

With other commitments to family and friends in the coming months, I am pulling back some from my typical ambitious nature when it comes to the garden. I'll still be planting plenty of tomatoes and peppers, but I am foregoing melons, cucumbers, onions and eggplant this season. I will be adding plenty of herbs and a variety of pole/bush beans, though, because I want this to be a healthy season of canning and dehydrating. I use tons of canned tomatoes and look forward to getting more cases added to my extended pantry.

I just started my tomato seeds indoors two days ago because I want the seedlings to be shorter and stockier when I transplant. I usually start them in March and they get way too tall by the time I plant them and it's difficult to deal with 60 plants that are over a foot tall. I started several cells of Hahms Gelbe micro tomatoes that I saved seeds from last season at the beginning of the year. The fruit are now starting to ripen under my grow lights, so I am very excited about that.

I started my peppers on January 01, so they are well developed at this point. I have to remove buds and flowers daily from the 35 plants. I also have Soloist Chinese cabbage that has matured, though stayed much smaller indoors than it would've gotten outdoors. We have harvested one for stirfry and they are still delicious nonetheless. Basil is also doing well, as are a couple other varieties of micro tomatoes that aren't exactly micro (they're about a foot tall, maybe more). Not sure what happened there, but I feel I didn't get the correct seeds.

I don't intend to post my numbers week-by-week this season as I have in seasons past. I am still planning to track the numbers for personal use, though, because I am interested in how well certain plants perform. I like to focus on productivity because I can much of what I grow, so keeping tabs on numbers helps weed out the plants that don't produce well for me.

Below are the tomato varieties I have started seeds for this season. I have included next to the variety whether it's determinate or indeterminate. I can both determinates and indeterminates because many of the indeterminate beefsteaks are nothing but flesh with very little gel or seed locules - OUTSTANDING for canning, salsas, pico, everything. And they're generally more delicious than more determinates. What I do like about determinate varieties is that they hold up better during the cooking process because they are firmer and contain less moisture. Either way, I plan to have a good mix of each.

I have 10 Earthboxes dedicated to tomatoes, so each EB will house two tomato plants. Remaining plants will be planted either in whiskey barrels or gifted to neighbors and friends.

1. 1884 (Ind.) (Repeat - huge, delicious tomatoes on enormous plants)
2. Amos Coli (Det.)
3. Aker's West Virginia (Ind.)
4. Aussie (Ind.)
5. Big Zac (Ind.)
6. Boxcar Willie (Ind.)
7. Brandy Boy (Ind.)
8. Burcham's New Generation (Ind.)
9. Bush Early Girl (Det.) (Repeat - produces several waves of perfectly round 6oz tomatoes - amazing for sandwiches, but also good for salsas and pico)
10. Cream Sausage (Det.) (Repeat - beautiful light yellow color with mild flavor - not overly sweet, but a nice addition to fresh salads and pico)
11. Cuostralee (Ind.)
12. Dr. Wyche's Yellow (Ind.) (Repeat - very large yellow/orange fruits with the most incredible fruity sweet flavor - very juicy, but also fleshy - so tasty and unique)
13. Green Moldovan (Ind.)
14. Hartsack Yellow (Ind.)
15. Heatherington Pink (Ind.)
16. Krasnodar Titans (Det.) (Repeat - I am growing this variety again because the fruit keeps for weeks on the kitchen counter after harvest - a great "storage" tomato with long shelf life - very thick skin and dense flesh makes it almost perfect for pico or sauce - very little juice and fine flavor)
17. Paragon (Ind.)
18. Red Rocket (Det.)
19. Stump of the World (Ind.) (Repeat - always a staple and very reliable producer of large, amazing pink beefsteaks regardless of weather/growing conditions - one of the most delicious tomatoes I've ever grown)
20. Tatar of Mongolistan (Ind.)
21. Todd County Amish (Ind.)
22. Urbanite (Ind.)
23. Woodle Orange (Ind.)
24. Yaqui (Det.) (Repeat - an interesting variety that remind me a bit of the KT above - not quite as large and a little less dense, but a very good tomato with a heavy hitting crop later in the season, at least for me)

I am also growing the following peppers. My plan is to dehydrate those which I don't use so I can have a variety of both hot pepper flakes/powder and sweet pepper flakes/powder. I have frozen excess peppers in the past and I tend not to use them up before the next season. The only frozen peppers I reliably use are bells for stuffed peppers - everything else gets wasted. I don't generally enjoy the texture of peppers that have been frozen.

I have two Earthboxes dedicated to peppers, so each EB will house 6 pepper plants. I will plant remaining peppers either in whiskey barrels or they will be gifted to neighbors and friends.

Hot:

1. Craig's Grande Jalapeno
2. Habanada
3. Jalafuego
4. Peach Habanero
5. Poblano
6. Serrano

Sweet:

1. CalWonder
2. Early Sunsation
3. Golden Marconi
4. Yum Yum Gold

I will be venturing back into growing beans again this season now that I don't have Dooley trying to tear them all apart. Varieties on the list are below, but I will probably dwindle this to 4-5.

I am growing beans in whiskey barrels and smaller rectangular containers. Beans do not require large growing spaces to produce well.

1. Asparagus Yardlong
2. Chinese Red Noodle
3. Dragon Tongue
4. Fordhook (Lima)
5. Golden Wax
6. Kentucky Wonder
7. Serengeti

I am only using 2 of my self-watering buckets this year due to a lack of time needed to get them prepped. I absolutely love growing in them and will keep them for future seasons, but they do require some work in the spring to bring them back to life and I just don't have the time or inclination to do that this season. I am growing squash in both buckets, as I have tried them in barrels and in-ground and they just seem to do best for me in a more confined environment. Go figure.

1. Costata Romanesco
2. Crookneck

Lastly, my chives came back from last season and I started 3 varieties of lettuce, pak choy and white icicle radishes from seed outdoors back in mid-late February because of our ridiculously warm weather. Last evening, I harvested my first pak choy and radishes to add to a fresh salad - DELICIOUS! My hope is to keep lettuce and pak choy going all summer, either by utilizing the "cut and come again" method of harvesting the tops only or by succession planting. I'll see what works best for me as the season progresses. Of course, I will also have several herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, chives), as well as some random plantings of root veggies to include radishes, beets and carrots. I am foregoing bulb onions this season, but I will be planting the root ends of store-bought green onions soon. I will be dehydrating any herbs and green onions/chives that I don't use fresh.

Apologies for this very long post. It probably looks like just as big of a project this season as always, but it really isn't. I have far fewer plants under my lights than I normally do. I look forward to sharing my season with all of you and I hope you all enjoy the posts. Below are a few pics from the outdoor containers, as well as the plants under my basement grow lights.

CHEERS!
Attached Thumbnails
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My 2017 Container Garden-img_1200.jpg   My 2017 Container Garden-img_1201.jpg   My 2017 Container Garden-img_1202.jpg   My 2017 Container Garden-img_1203.jpg   My 2017 Container Garden-img_1204.jpg  

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Old 04-12-2017, 10:00 AM
 
Location: SWCT - close to coast
54,329 posts, read 36,430,749 times
Reputation: 8220
Nice to see you back Nick! I am so sorry to hear about Dooley. :-(
Looking forward to your posts and thanks for the weather updates of course. :-)
Looks like you are ahead of me with the plantings but I decided to take a break this year. No thread, no big garden.
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:11 AM
 
Location: SW Fl (hell for me-wife loves it)
2,099 posts, read 995,023 times
Reputation: 5375
Me too, so sorry about you pup.
Your plants look fantastic. You are reminding me I must go pick the last of the lettuce I will have until next winter.
Your temps sound like ours, as far as above average. We too, are dealing with way above average temperatures. Plus a drought.
My neighbor's well dried up on him, it's that bad. (and you hit water down here at about 4-5 feet)
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:34 AM
 
11,364 posts, read 14,902,443 times
Reputation: 17800
Oh my good to see you back I was just asking the other day about you . condolences on dooley it is hard to loose them .that is the only problem with animals they don't live as long as us . glad you got your container garden started . I had put out three tomatoe plants so far and only one is hanging on . I'm hoping the others I get do better .
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Old 04-13-2017, 06:20 AM
 
2,002 posts, read 1,213,709 times
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It's back! Yay!

After winterwinterwinter that seemed to last forever, we saw red Romaine and Swiss chard seedlings at a home improvement center and they got snatched up and went into containers...once it stopped pouring.

Also planted radish seeds, mixed lettuce seeds, and some potatoes that had sprouted. All of a sudden we have a garden.

I need new herbs, two or three tomato plants, and beans. Plus a couple of peppers, but we are never again growing jalapenos...they almost killed us.

I remember photos of Dooley. Very sad.
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:08 AM
 
Location: Denver/Boulder Zone 5b
1,228 posts, read 2,857,700 times
Reputation: 1112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cambium View Post
Nice to see you back Nick! I am so sorry to hear about Dooley. :-(
Looking forward to your posts and thanks for the weather updates of course. :-)
Looks like you are ahead of me with the plantings but I decided to take a break this year. No thread, no big garden.
Thanks, Cam! Yeah, it was a rough summer after he passed (July 08 officially) and my motivation tanked. He was my buddy and it wasn't the same being out in the garden all alone even though he always tried to steal things.

I hear you on taking a break. I toyed with not doing a garden at all this season, but I just know I would regret it if I didn't. I really do enjoy it, but I needed to reduce it this season. Hoping to have relatively minor maintenance other than staking and pruning tomatoes. I will miss seeing a thread from you, but hopefully it will be a good break and you'll be reinvigorated for next season!
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:12 AM
 
Location: Denver/Boulder Zone 5b
1,228 posts, read 2,857,700 times
Reputation: 1112
Quote:
Originally Posted by TerraDown View Post
Me too, so sorry about you pup.
Your plants look fantastic. You are reminding me I must go pick the last of the lettuce I will have until next winter.
Your temps sound like ours, as far as above average. We too, are dealing with way above average temperatures. Plus a drought.
My neighbor's well dried up on him, it's that bad. (and you hit water down here at about 4-5 feet)
Thanks, Terra! Yikes, above average temps in FL - that sounds completely miserable - as if normal temperatures aren't high enough. YUCK. Hopefully summer will bring some much needed rain to you guys! We're bordering on drought ourselves down here on the plains even though the mountains had near-record snows earlier in the summer. At least the snowpack is still 100-125% of average and that should bode well for reservoir levels this summer. Of course, a few weeks of hot and dry weather can change things real quick and they're calling for a hot and dry summer! Time tells all!
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:16 AM
 
Location: Denver/Boulder Zone 5b
1,228 posts, read 2,857,700 times
Reputation: 1112
Quote:
Originally Posted by phonelady61 View Post
Oh my good to see you back I was just asking the other day about you . condolences on dooley it is hard to loose them .that is the only problem with animals they don't live as long as us . glad you got your container garden started . I had put out three tomatoe plants so far and only one is hanging on . I'm hoping the others I get do better .
I know, phone, it sucks. His passing completely devastated me and my partner for several months, but he had the most wonderful and healthy life and we loved him deeply - he knew that. It's time for me to get out in the garden and carry on with our spring traditions. He's here in spirit.

I wish I could plant tomatoes outdoors already! I am sorry only one of yours is hanging on - do you have time to plant more before the stifling heat of summer sets in for you? It's certainly warm enough here right now, but Mother Nature always warns us (in her very evil way) that she is in charge. Out of the last 10 seasons, we have had our last snow in May during 7 of them, so I certainly am not holding my breath. My plan is to transplant tomatoes and peppers on Memorial Day weekend. I am taking the week before off of work to do the whole hardening-off process; something I despise, but know is necessary. BLECH.

I hope your tomatoes produce a bunch for you - what else are you growing?

Last edited by NickMan7; 04-13-2017 at 07:28 AM..
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:24 AM
 
Location: Denver/Boulder Zone 5b
1,228 posts, read 2,857,700 times
Reputation: 1112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonchalance View Post
It's back! Yay!

After winterwinterwinter that seemed to last forever, we saw red Romaine and Swiss chard seedlings at a home improvement center and they got snatched up and went into containers...once it stopped pouring.

Also planted radish seeds, mixed lettuce seeds, and some potatoes that had sprouted. All of a sudden we have a garden.

I need new herbs, two or three tomato plants, and beans. Plus a couple of peppers, but we are never again growing jalapenos...they almost killed us.

I remember photos of Dooley. Very sad.
Send some winter our way, Non!! We have had less than 20" of snow (normal is close to 60") and this year so far is way too warm. There are trees in the city already completely leafed out which is totally unheard of until May around here. I've never seen it look so summery this early in the season.

Don't you love growing lettuce? It's one of my faves! I inadvertently planted two varieties of head lettuce this season, but I way over-seed anyway, so it should still work fine as my usual loose-leaf lettuce. Lettuce is lettuce and I will love every leaf I eat. Radishes are fun, too - I always grow one or two rounds of them - what variety(ies) is/are your favorite? My partner LOVES white icicle - I tend to lean more French breakfast and other red varieties. I have some unique ones I purchased from Baker Creek (red meat and zlata) that I want to try this fall.

I am joining you in the "bean brigade" this year. You remember me bad-mouthing them over the past two seasons, well, this season I have changed my tune. I will prevail, come Hell or high water! What are your favorite types - bush or pole? I am doing a mix of both, but I think I'm going to prefer the growth habits of the bush beans - easier to manage and don't require supports..

How did the jalapenos almost kill you? Too hot? Ours were hot last season, too, which was a nice change of pace from 2015 when they had ZERO heat. I am venturing into habaneros this season, too. YIKES. I will be handling the peppers with gloves, you can be sure, even when harvesting them. I sure as heck don't want any capsaicin in my eyes or anywhere else for that matter.

Looking forward to hearing how your garden does and seeing photos!
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:49 AM
 
11,364 posts, read 14,902,443 times
Reputation: 17800
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickMan7 View Post
I know, phone, it sucks. His passing completely devastated me and my partner for several months, but he had the most wonderful and healthy life and we loved him deeply - he knew that. It's time for me to get out in the garden and carry on with our spring traditions. He's here in spirit.

I wish I could plant tomatoes outdoors already! I am sorry only one of yours is hanging on - do you have time to plant more before the stifling heat of summer sets in for you? It's certainly warm enough here right now, but Mother Nature always warns us (in her very evil way) that she is in charge. Out of the last 10 seasons, we have had our last snow in May during 7 of them, so I certainly am not holding my breath. My plan is to transplant tomatoes and peppers on Memorial Day weekend. I am taking the week before off of work to do the whole hardening-off process; something I despise, but know is necessary. BLECH.

I hope your tomatoes produce a bunch for you - what else are you growing?
hey I just noticed this morning I have some maters growing that were just throwed in the garden as an expieriement LOL . I'm also growing boston pickling cukes , black beauty squash , my lettuce did wonderfully this season too hot here now to start anymore . The rest are flower beds . Zinnias , sunflowers the mammoth kind , a perennial mix and marigolds . some dianthus cause they were gorgeous last year .
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