Vegetable Gardening

I work at a greenhouse & do a lot of seeding & was interested about what kinds of different vegetables people like to grow in their gardens? Such as what kind of tomatoes, early girl, big boy, brandy wine? Your input is greatly appreciated

Gardener Gardener
Apr '17

Personally, I prefer the type of tomato that produces fruit throughout the season (indeterminate?) rather than the ones that mature all at once (determinate?). Of course the big beefsteak tomatoes are my favorite. Until the hornworms get the plants. :(

3wbdwnj 3wbdwnj
Apr '17

Early girl and some nice plum tomatoes are what I'll be planting.

NJDad NJDad
Apr '17

Re: Vegetable Gardening

I don't always plant vegetables, but when I do, it's hot peppers. ;-)


Nice - just put my Carolina reapers in

skippy skippy
Apr '17

I'm planning on trying spaghetti squash and zucchini this year, along with the gourds and herbs.

Tracy Tracy
Apr '17

I like early girl because they produce for a while. But beefsteak because they are so perfect. And brandywine because they are so large and juicy, perfect for when I home can tomatoes, very easy to fill each jar with them. And romas for sauce. So I plant some of each and then get mad at myself because I need enough ripe at one time to get a canner load of 7 jars, and that rarely happens. We end up with tomatoes on trays all around the house.

I tried San Marzano one year but they didn't ripen all the way to the ends. If anyone local had those I would be a good customer.

And we battle the tomato blight, not much to be done about that except maybe replace the dirt in the garden?

We also do onions, garlic, zucchini, beets and peppers. Things I know we will use and eat. Lots of fresh herbs, basil, parsley, thyme, cilantro, peppermint, chives and others. Have tried carrots but they never get very long. Had a meyer lemon tree at one time, We would get about 10-15 lemons a year from it. Got tired of dragging it in for winter.

hktownie hktownie
Apr '17

hktownie - Sounds like you have one fine garden. I just finished building a hothouse and shed, and plowed an acre of land on the top of a hill with great sun for growing. Most interested in San Marzano tomatoes. Do I have to import volcanic soil from Mount Vesuvius? ;>)

DannyC DannyC
Apr '17

Re: Vegetable Gardening

I started seeding tomato plants last week. Was held up because of the snow. I have 21 varieties, some hybrids but mostly heirlooms. Gardners delight ( cherry) pink Berkeley tie dye/ empire hybrid/ Cherokee purple/ Cherokee green/ Rutgers 250/ chefs choice orange/ German Johnson/ carbon / Nepal / big boy / striped German / supersteak / biltmore / ramapo / ananas noir /Russian 117 / copies / pineapple / big pinks / Vatican.

Tomato man
Apr '17

For tomatos, I typically plant 2 early girls, a couple Cherokee Purples, a couple Ramapos, a couple brandywines and a half dozen San Marzano's.

for the other stuff, eggplant, poblano peppers, bell peppers, italian frying peppers, zucchini, kirby cucumbers for pickles, waltham butternut squash, dill and basil. (and whatever else catches my fancy this year)

bemused bemused
Apr '17

bemused, do your San Marzano tomatoes come out ok? I don't know if the year I tried them- 2015- was just a bad year or if this area isn't good for them? Do you start them from seed or buy the plants?

hktownie hktownie
Apr '17

I've had really good luck with them over the years, never a problem. Don't skimp on the fertilizer the first half of the growth season.

I'm lazy, I buy pretty much all my plants from Godlewski's.

bemused bemused
Apr '17

bemused - What fertilizer do you recommend for San Marzano tomatoes? Are there any other soil requirements, like sand content and pH? Installing a new sprinkler system, so watering will be automated, but how should it be programmed? Thanks for your input. If this works, you are welcome to come and pick your fill later this year.

Tomato Man - Your variety sounds fantastic! Any luck with San Marzano?

DannyC DannyC
Apr '17

DannyC . Don't have SAN Marzano. I have a stand in front of my house we're I sell tomatoes zucchini cucumbers and whatever else I have available. Mostly tomatoes. Hence, Tomato Man. I also sell plants when they are ready. Usually 2nd week in May.

Tomato man Tomato man
Apr '17

Tomato Man - A fond memory is of my grandmother who canned about 30 bushels of San Marzanos every fall, just tomatoes and basil, but which smelled so great for blocks around her basement kitchen, then storing the Ball jars of sauce in 8 x 8 x 8 basement room with floor to ceiling shelves built by my grandfather, enough to supply tomato sauce for a full year of original Neapolitan cooking for a big family. Just want to try to replicate that tradition this year.

What is the address of your stand? Got to try it.

DannyC DannyC
Apr '17

DannyC - Tomato Man is who you were talking about last year:

http://www.hackettstownlife.com/forum/732108#t756642


sputtering out my drink

4catmom 4catmom
Apr '17

Tomato man 440 Rockport Rd Port Murray

Tomato man Tomato man
Apr '17

GC - Thanks for trolling me. I forgot about Tomato Man, a sure sign of the onset of dementia. ;>) 4catmom - Don't choke on your own spittle. :>(

Tomato Man - I'm there this weekend to get your advice on what to plant and how.

DannyC DannyC
Apr '17

to be honest, I just use the bag of lawn fertilizer in the shed. I don't augment the dirt (I'm in the black muck valley of Allamuchy). I toss some lime on every year or so, but mostly, I just plant and water.

bemused bemused
Apr '17

bemused - Hmm. I may be over thinking this. It is just that I am responsible for a very large area not in "the black muck valley" and want to raise a success crop this year, particularly tomatoes. Snow piles gone, temps in the 60's, time to fertilize and plant.

DannyC DannyC
Apr '17

Those with hot peppers do you have any tips for growing them up here? I've tried for a couple years now and only ever get 1-3 peppers per plant.

Dwight
Apr '17

Has anyone planted sugar snap peas? Are they easy to grow? Trying to plan my garden a little different this year. I think I'm going to leave most of the tomato planting to The Tomato Man, lol. Hot peppers for GC, green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, and I'm going to try Kale for my friends bunnies. Would love to hear what everyone is planning

Bessie Bessie
May '17

Bessie - from past posts I would suggest contacting "MesiterNJ" about that. There are previous posts about decent snap pea crops. How hard it was to do, I don't know that he really commented. But looks like a good source on those.

PS - You rock for my peppers. Thanks again. ;-)


I plant sugar snap peas every year. They like cool temperatures. The sooner you plant them the better. Usually around st Patrick's day. Because of the 20 inch snow in march I planted late. Once it gets hot they stop. And anyone interested in purchasing tomato plants stop by.

Tomato man Tomato man
May '17

Bessie, we're planning almost the same things as you, with the addition of yellow and red bell peppers. We're probably going to put them in the ground this weekend. Hubs just dug me a new garden bed along the back of the house where I get full sun.

Tracy Tracy
May '17

Tracy, I'm doing peppers too!

Bessie Bessie
May '17

Bessie that kale is a great idea for bunnies and for you too! You can pull the tender young leave for salad, really good for you. And the tough older leaves you can just leave them in the garden all winter and pull as needed for the bunnies. My grandpa used to grow kale for my bunny when I was a kid. I remember the dark green leaves still going even when surrounded by snow.

hktownie hktownie
May '17

Re: hot peppers. I have the opposite problem. I get plenty of hot peppers (jalapeno, cayenne, hot italian) and almost no red/yellow/orange peppers. Maybe a couple per plant and have no idea why.

MeisterNJ MeisterNJ
May '17

I'm going to attempt yellow peppers (not by seed) in a large pot on my deck. Last year I grew yellow tomatoes by seed in the pot..wasn't a disaster, but I got very few tomatoes and they were pretty small.

positive positive
May '17

I was given a tray of 9 varieties of hot peppers that I just transferred to containers. With these cold nights lately, I've been bringing them inside and then putting them back out in the morning. Should I keep doing this or is it safe to keep outside now?

This is my first time growing anything in years, so any tips would be appreciated. :)


I might keep the habenero and similar types like scotch bonnet, scorpion, etc inside for quite a while. But others you can always cover on a cold night.


MeisterNJ, same for me with the peppers. I had more hot peppers than I knew what to do with. I got a few nice cubanels and a few small bell peppers. Maybe I'm not getting the right varieties.

Bessie Bessie
May '17

Re: Vegetable Gardening

Real tomato plants for sale. 4.00 per plant. Twenty varieties. Lots of heirlooms. Ready to plant.

Tomato man Tomato man
May '17

Does anyone use newspaper for weed control?

Bessie Bessie
May '17

Bessie do you mean roll it up and hit the "bad" weed! LOL

My father used to do that when we were children. To clarify I mean the newspaper in the garden for weed control.


My sister uses paper and grass clippings on top. I think it's gross but she has made it work successfully for a few decades.

I am going with the plastic weave. After year 1, seems OK and will get a few more years out of it at least. Only issue is the weave disintegrates when you cut or trim it. Anyone know of a plastic mulch seamstress that could put a hem in it? Was thinking of hitting it with the torch.....

No Greg, not hit them. Turns out weeds were looking for an outsider to drain the swamp so they could flourish. All you have to do is read some MSM news to them and they disappear. Where earplugs though; the departing whine is terrible :>)

strangerdanger strangerdanger
May '17

Hi I bought tomato plants for my 86 year old mom. She loves fresh tomatoes. Can anyone tell me please where I can get the cages for them. Other than Home Depot or Lowes. I only need 5. I really don't want to pay $8/piece. That's ridiculous.
Thanks


The cheap gardener says skip the cages, tie em to stakes. "How about a little bondage, you classy tomato :>)"

Two ways ---- hd or lowes have thin plastic ones for about 3 bucks. Just a thin plastic pole about the diameter of rebar. Or get 1x2x8 furring strips from either hd or lowes for about $1 each. These are 8 ft, so cut a couple off, put a point on it, and hammer it home. I am really cheap so went initially with the wood and added a few plastic ones each year. They have green and red so nice colors...

Sure beats $2 for a bad cage to $5-$10 for a good one just to have to tie the tomatoes to the cage anyway......

For ties, try to use something that breaks down in a year so you can just cut the dead plant off, let the ties fall where they may, and put the stakes away for the winter. I am using some old yarn right now. Will get about 4 years or so off the wood this way, only the bottoms start to rot and then I get some smaller stakes for awhile. Also get a low of two-foot wood pieces. Sounds stupid but I swear they are lifesavers. Like something digs in under the fence, just pound a few 2-foot stakes in to stop it right away. Or need a tent stake to hold a fence, cage, or whatever ---- so don't throw them all away.....

Then it's bondage time, tie your classy tomatoes up :>)

strangerdanger strangerdanger
May '17

I use these. A bit pricey to start, but I've had mine for a long time. They're great because you adjust them as the plants grow:
https://www.amazon.com/Gardeners-Blue-Ribbon-3-Pack-Ultomato/dp/B00GRPENAU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495409833&sr=8-1&keywords=ultimate+tomato+cage

MeisterNJ MeisterNJ
May '17

I've heard of people using pieces of old nylons to tie tomato plants to stakes. But not many people wear those anymore!

You can also avoid bondage, use stakes and then tie strings from stake to stake to form a grid at 2-3 different heights from the ground. So each string is holding more than one plant. Whatever you do, remember you may need to place branches onto the support as the plant grows, and you need to get your hand in there later to pick your gorgeous tomatoes!

Tomato Man, what heirloom varieties do you have?

Has any one heard of removing lower foliage from the plant and laying the plant at an angle, with alot of the stem under soil, to encourage more roots? I read about this recently, curious if it will work. We are late getting ours in because putting in a new bed and the rain slowed us down a bit.

hktownie hktownie
May '17

hktownie. Heirloom tomato varieties. Gardners delight ( cherry). Cherokee purple. Cherokee green. Rutgers 250. German Johnson. Carbon. Nepal. Striped German. Ananas noir. You can plant tomatoes on an angle. I always plant mine as deep as possible. Every part of the plant that is in the ground makes more roots, making the plant much stronger.

Tomato man Tomato man
May '17

Tomato Man, just PM'd you.

hktownie hktownie
May '17

Agreed. Tomatoes are vine-like weeds. I always plant then as deep as possible, although have never cut a leaf to do it; might try that. No, never side-ways, ez enough to go straight down plus wouldn't want to bend or have the thing have to bend itself because it was sideways. Probably wouldn't hurt.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
May '17

Plants are 4.00 each. No romas. I'm an excellent Gardner. Not so much with computers

Tomato man Tomato man
May '17

Htownie, we've done that and it does promote root growth. We remove the bottom leaves and plant it very deep.

3wbdwnj 3wbdwnj
May '17

hi Tomato Man

I sent a PM (private message) via email to see if you can still sell me-

1- Gardner's delight
2- Cherokee purple
3- Rutgers 250
2- Nepal

Posting it here too in case my email isn't getting to you, please click on the envelope next to my name to reply. Your plants look so healthy!

hktownie hktownie
May '17

Wondering where everyone bought their plantss for their gardens. Lowes was almost $4.00 a pot for vegetables. Also looking for some flowers for window boxes. Planning on going to Donaldsons but thought I would check her to see where others have bought theirs this year.

Bessie Bessie
May '17

I have to do that myself over the holiday weekend, Bessie. I'll be checking up on what Godlewsky's has. Shoprite are often reasonable but I didn't see a big selection and they have mostly hanging baskets that weren't cheap at this point. Probably will check into Tranquility as well after Godlewsky's - they often have some good items.


Bessie, not close, but my husband got ours from the farmer's markets in Paterson near his school. It's something like a full flat mix and match for $8-10.

Tracy Tracy
May '17

and if you really want to travel - the best I've been to is Gro-Rite in LIncoln Park - closed Sundays

4catmom 4catmom
May '17

Re: Vegetable Gardening

Happy tomato plants!

Tomato man Tomato man
May '17

Bessie - I am so happy with my dianthus, which came up and bloomed profusely with no maintenance -.no fertilizer, water, nothing, they just came up from last year on their own.

Tomato man - What a neat tomato garden! Again, I am looking for big Jersey beefsteaks.

DannyC DannyC
May '17

DannyC. All varieties listed above on April 4 th. Still have most varieties left. I plan on planting this week as long as the weather holds out. So next week all bets are off regarding what varieties are left.

Tomato man Tomato man
May '17

Re: Vegetable Gardening

Look what we grew! Banana for scale.

Tracy Tracy
Jul '17

Looks like a newbie.....

When you post a picture of the "whale" zucchini begging us for solutions to dispatch the beast, then you will have arrived :>) Never could figure out how they hide so well.

Seriously, if you get overwhelmed, don't have enough "friends" to dump them on, or produce a herd of whales, you can grate the skins and some pulp into 2 cup baggies, freeze, and use for zucchini bread in the Winter. Just defrost in colander in sink to drain off some of the liquid. 2 cups because that's what my recipe calls for.

Hope you have a great season. I quit this year due to 'failure to communicate...." Told son I was thinking of replacing fence; next thing I know, it's gone. After that strange Spring, I said ----- next year for me :>)

strangerdanger strangerdanger
Jul '17

Tracy - Nice work. Disregard strangerdanger.

DannyC DannyC
Jul '17

Really? Was it something I said? Don't like Zucchini Bread?

strangerdanger strangerdanger
Jul '17

Way to go Tracy! Here come the ratatouille, frittata, zucchini bread and zucchini on the grill! Also if it starts to look like you will be overwhelmed can always harvest some of the blossoms to stuff and or fry.

hktownie hktownie
Jul '17

hktownie, the plants are seriously taking over the garden, but only one other zucchini growing so far. A friend said not to let them get this big because the skins get tough? But honestly, we didn't even realize they were there, hidden by the leaves (is that what you meant SD?). We also have some yellow squash going but they don't seem to be doing as well. I'd love to try stuffing and frying some of the squash blossoms. Yum. For now I will probably turn these two monsters into zoodles.

Tracy Tracy
Jul '17

They do get tougher and the seeds get very big too. Best to find them when they're smaller. They are either great at hiding or they grow that big all in one day, we have never yet figured it out :-)

A couple years back I started to succession plan.. plant 2 hills and then 2 weeks later 2 more so they don't all come at once.

hktownie hktownie
Jul '17

Yupper, those little devils sure can hide, even when they're not little. I swear I have had a small one on one day, a whale (as we call them) the next. And yes, it's the core and seeds that gets a bit rough with the whales.

Like I said, one recourse is to grate in freeze em for zuc-bread during the winter. Just make each portion one bread's worth (or two if you swing that way!). Toss the core.

A second is hollow em out and stuff em as they make a nice baking dish. Stuff anyway you like: rice/groundround/zuc/sauce --- whatever. No one may eat the zuc still, but it looks nice!

One year I found a hybrid --- no seeds, no real core. Could grow em as yuge as I wanted. Sweeter too. But can't find the hybrid anymore.

Yellows are always harder. I found a nice yellow "egg" from Burpee I use. Hardy, nutty tasting and more prolific than crookneck. Hybrid, so you don't get many seeds but with squash ----- who cares, you always have too many seeds anyway.

Plus, sometimes zuc plants get a worm. You will see entire plant start to go overnight. Need to pull asap as it will spread fast. I plant zucs in a couple of places because of this. Never had that will yellow.

And lastly, zucs are shameful sex addicts. Put them to close to the cantaloupes one year and got zuccalopes. Or was that cantalini. Either way, did not work out at all.

Good luck and if they start really coming in, find friends or figure ways like the freezing or stuffing to dispatch either a multitude or moby dick.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
Jul '17

I love the idea of succession planting. I wish we had more space to do that. I think we were overzealous with the zucchini and squash in the space we have since it spreads and grows so big. We also have a raised bed on the side of the house where we threw some gourd plants in two years ago. Well, it's basically this monster now with enough mutant gourds to fill every Thanksgiving cornucopia from here to Tibet. :)

Tracy Tracy
Jul '17

Hi, I'm looking for zucchini blossoms. Does anyone know where to buy them?
Thank you

JustJoe JustJoe
Jul '17

Actually I am wondering what people do to keep squirrels and birds out of the garden. The birds around my house do not seem to be afraid of the scarecrow, the squirrels and birds won't go near the chickens if they are in their pen, maybe a giant blow up chicken?
But really I need ideas the buggers are eating my squash flowers and other stuff in my garden

HobbyFoxSC87 HobbyFoxSC87
Jul '17

How do you all keep the weeds at bay. I weeded the whole garden two weeks ago and looks like I never did. Any advice ?? Thanks :)

Cherie1 Cherie1
Jul '17

My sister uses newspaper and grass clippings.

I use a breathable plastic that's a weave. I staple it to lathe strips to hold it in place, sometimes put a thing or two on top until the plants cover since it can lift in the middle even if the edges are secure. Had no mold or ugly stuff growing underneath, have gotten 3 years out of it so far.

Tried solid plastic years ago but hated what developed underneath. Don't think it was harmful, just grossed me out.

Need to figure out how to stop the weave from unraveling though after you cut it. The staples to the lathe does not but wondering if I can hit it lightly with a torch and cauterize the edges so they don't unravel.

At the end of the year, I cut the plants, life the clothe, turn it over on the lawn to dry it out, roll it up and put er away till next year.

Otherwise, crowd your plants, that helps.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
Jul '17

You need to take 10 minutes of every day to do it.

CraftBeerBob CraftBeerBob
Jul '17

Re: Vegetable Gardening

Well my herbs and tomato plant seem to be doing well, but my red pepper plant doesn't even have buds on it yet, although it is growing and the leaves look healthy.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Some pics of what I'm growing..dark out though

positive positive
Jul '17

Re: Vegetable Gardening

Basil.

positive positive
Jul '17

Will posts pics of my pepper and tomato plants tomorrow.

positive positive
Jul '17

positive - Your basil looks beautiful, even in the dark. Do you always use pots, raise your plants from seeds, and prune them often (to keep them growing, and of course for great tomato sauce)?

DannyC DannyC
Jul '17

Hang in there on the peppers. One of the home gardener's money crops, you can dispatch extras just by chopping, freezing in a baggie. At $2 or $3 lbs in the winter, it's a nice savings, not to mention better tasting. But sure to have a one meal, one baggie portion and you can pop it out of the freezer right into your cooking pan.

Don't know how you started it, but peppers are the earliest to plant, indoor seedlings only. Like February. Many a year I have waited patiently for the flowers in late summer and fruit during the fall because I got a late start in the seedlings. No matter, usually get the same amount overall since they can handle a pretty good frost.

More chance of this if they are heritage type seeds; the hybrids yield earlier usually.

Since my garden is just mine, and not feeding yuge family, I use less seeds and therefore more hybrids. I have a really nice high oxidant pepper where the fruit is bigger than a cherry pepper but much smaller than a green or red. One, or maybe two per salad. Lime green, tastes like a green bell, no to few seeds, and no issue with fruit bending the plant over. Much easier.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
Jul '17

positive, I have a problem with red peppers every year. I usually only get one or two decent ones, and then a few that are either small or start to rot before they turn red. Same thing with orange or yellow. I do ok with green bells. Hot peppers are no problem at all and I get a ton of them. I'm sure it's a soil issue like pH or something. One of these years I'll figure it out.

MeisterNJ MeisterNJ
Jul '17

Meister - if they rot, it sounds like the soil is too wet. What color are the leaves? Dark green or light green.


Re: Vegetable Gardening

Thanks Meister, thought it was just me.

Here's a pic...

positive positive
Jul '17

Re: Vegetable Gardening

At least my tomato plant is producing..not an abundance, but I'll take it. The past two years were disasters.

positive positive
Jul '17

Re: Vegetable Gardening

One more...

positive positive
Jul '17

positive - that's a nice healthy looking pepper. I wouldn't suspect it's too wet at all. Is that it's regular location? It looks like its partially shaded. Does it get as much sun as possible? It should.


Positive, your plant looks very lush and green a sign of to much nitrogen. You might want to get a soil testing kit. Another thing could be inadequate pollination.

The Man The Man
Jul '17

Too wet and I would think you'd have yellowing before the leaves drop.

Too much nitrogen gives you lush foliage and no flowers.

Be patient, flowers will still come. If you think you need fertilizer, it's the phosphorus that gets you the flowers and fruits. There's miracle grow flower food, but still has too much nitrogen in it. Looking for pure phosphorus or a phosphorus/potassium combo --- no nitrogen.

Or just put it in the sun and wait.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
Jul '17

The MAN, yesterday I put the pepper plant on top of a table to get more direct sun. Hope it works.

About too much Nitrogen, would adding some sand to the soil help?

positive positive
Jul '17

A soil test kit can be had at Lowes, If they flowers try cross pollinating by using a small artist paint brush.

The Man The Man
Jul '17

Plants always look fine, lush and green. I'll see about 10 flowers or so, and then nothing. Maybe it is a pollination problem.

MeisterNJ MeisterNJ
Jul '17

Does anyone know if The Lords Psntry accepts fresh produce? I have a bag of zucchini that we will never eat and I hate to see it go to waste,

Bessie Bessie
Jul '17

Tomato Man, have you had tomatoes yet this year. We've gone by on several occasions with no luck in getting them from the stand. Is there a certain time that's better than others to get them? I have a lot of cherry Size in my garden, but none seem to be turning red,

Bessie Bessie
Jul '17

Yes, Bessie, the Lord's Pantry will accept fresh produce. They are open from 9-12 Monday through Thursday.


I'm heading to Tennessee in a few weeks for the Eclipse and don't want to bother someone to come and water my small (~5' x 10') garden every day... so I'm planning to set up a sprinkler on a timer. My question is what is the best sprinkler head to get for such a small target area? I obviously don't need to irrigate a 4,000 square ft area with an oscillating sprinkler. Is there a good stationary sprinkler that would focus on such a small area that would suit my needs efficiently? Or would a perforated hose lain in the garden itself be a better and more efficient method of watering?

ianimal ianimal
Aug '17

I read in my companion planting book that putting half a book of matches a few inches below the dirt at the bottom of the hole, then planting the pepper plant on top would result in more fruit. (Roots would not get to the matches until the plant grows a bit)

We tried this with 4 out of our 9 pepper plants. So far the plants planted with matches look a bit smaller, but they have more blossoms/fruit. Will send an update when we get to harvest.

Maybe you could add phosphorous now by sticking a few match sticks down in the dirt around your plant?

hktownie hktownie
Aug '17

Bessie, just started putting them out a couple of days ago. Mostly the small early ones. Should have a full stand in a week or so. All depends on the weather.

Tomato man Tomato man
Aug '17

ianimal - have you considered a couple of "aqua globes"?


Perforated hose on a timer would be my choice. Aqua Globes are more suited for indoor use although you can put them outside if you want but the price will be quite high app. 5-7 $ per plant.

The Man The Man
Aug '17

The Man - I was thinking something globe like because it sounded like there was a really small area. If it was bigger then something like a simple round sprinkler would do. As for the cost, a used half liter water bottle and a 1 inch pvc tube makes a home made one for a fraction of the cost.


Re: Vegetable Gardening

Yo Bessie!

Tomato man Tomato man
Aug '17

Tomato Man, my husband got me some on Tuesday. He talked to your wife. The tomatoes were amazing!!!

Bessie Bessie
Aug '17

OMG - please tell me serious heirloom tomatoes didn't end up in "Spaghetti-O Casserole".


A beautiful young deer just helped weed my garden, and left alone my tomatoes, peppers, corn, garlic, scallions, chives, basil, sage and parsley. Thanks, bamby.

DannyC DannyC
Aug '17

Finally getting some peppers on my pepper plant, but green. They are supposed be red bell peppers? It's OK....just glad I'm getting something.

I have lots of tomatoes growing, but not even close to turning red yet.

positive positive
Aug '17

Positive, I picked a small green pepper from my garden and left it on the counter for awhile and it turned orange!

Tracy Tracy
Aug '17

That's exactly what happens to me, positive. I'll get some green peppers, and they will turn slightly red, but then rot very quickly before they fully ripen. I did get some nice yellow peppers. Smallish, but very good. They are planted in a different area with more sun, so maybe I'm onto something.

MeisterNJ MeisterNJ
Aug '17

I think that's it Meister..more sun.

The yellow and orange peppers are my favorite and they contain more nutrients than the green and I think the red.

positive positive
Aug '17

Re: Vegetable Gardening

I'm grateful for corn,
That good Silver Queen,
For cantaloupe,
Peaches and fresh green beans,
For squash, and okra,
And small red potatoes,
But nothing is better then Home-Grown Tomatoes !

Tomato man Tomato man
Aug '17

Re: Vegetable Gardening

Recent harvest of some of my hot peppers. Love the colors. I even have some purple ones growing too!

So far I've made salsa and stuffed peppers using some of these. Would love to make my own hot sauce next. I know I will need quite a few to do so.

Can I keep growing these indoors when it gets too cold outside? Or is there a certain point where the plant is just done?


What a good looking group of peppers. You can take them inside, well before it gets too cold. But remember they need extra sun in the winter, keep fluorescents on them for extra hours to equal a summer day of light. I've always gotten new plants but they say you can keep them going inside for 5 years or more. Take a couple of peppers every once in a while and use them just for growing new plants from the seeds.


Great! Thanks GC! :)


Very impressive SueR

Bessie Bessie
Aug '17

Re: Vegetable Gardening

Thanks Bessie! :)

This was my first time growing anything in many, many years. And even then it was only flowers. I was given 9 seedlings which I transplanted into bigger pots, but these things grew bigger than I expected (my tiny deck looks like a jungle!) and the pots aren't really heavy enough. But I'm making do and am proud that something edible actually grew! It's been a great learning experience and I know now what I'd do differently next year. I just really wish I had more room to grow other veggies. One day. :)


2017 ah ha moment. I found a stainless replacement rack for my old hot water bath canner! It wasn't hard to find, just hadn't thought of it before.
https://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Steel-Canning-VICTORIO-VKP1056/dp/B0039PMJW0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1504207737&sr=8-2&keywords=stainless+steel+canner+rack

Had the canner for a long time, used it some years more than others. But the rack had so much scale on it from our hard water that every now and then a jar would hit against it and break. And it was tricky to fit all 7 jars into the rack because the dividers were so rough.

So far this year I've done 4 quarts marinara sauce, 5 pints plain tomato sauce and 14 quarts of tomatoes. All sealed, easy in and out and none have broken. Such a simple thing to make August easier.

hktownie hktownie
Aug '17

hktownie - You use self-sealing Ball jars, right? And fresh basil in your sauce? Fantastic.

One of my fondest memories as a kid was on or about the first day of school when my grandmother canned tomato sauce, using about 30 bushels of San Marzano plum tomatoes from Franky's Market in Paterson, and fresh basil from her own garden in Wood-Ridge. She made enough for the whole year for a big family, storing jars in a 8 x 8 x 8 foot room with floor to ceiling shelves built by my grandfather. The smell when she was cooking spread for over a mile and was heavenly.

DannyC DannyC
Aug '17

SueR...if you plan on container gardening again next year, might I suggest using kitty litter buckets. They hold one plant with room for them to grow and best of all, they're free. I'm sure many of the kitty lovers on HL can supply them to you. I'm thinking of going that route instead of the mt olive community garden next year.

Bessie Bessie
Aug '17

Many cat liter brands have done away with the buckets. Used to stock pile them, now only a couple left.


GC, I've never noticed. What do they put the large amounts in now, bags? I will have to take note in SR.

Bessie Bessie
Aug '17

Bessie - Card board boxes.


I enjoyed container gardening for a number of years; used those big 5 gallon tubs you could pick up at Walmart. Even put them on handcarts so I could roll them into the sun and out of harm's way if needed.

Issue I had was drainage. Even with plenty of gravel at the bottom, on a rainy year, they often got away from me and turned into some pretty ugly swamps. The kind you feared getting sick from, yech.

Beyond that I did love them. Even rolled them into my sunroom one year getting tomatoes into January. And yes, that meant one almost ripe, less than tasty tomato --- but still homegrown.

I think tidy cat is still plastic. Most plastic lasts a few years, but not forever. Starts to fatigue and break apart, especially from the sun.

Then I went full garden but now use raised beds, which, to me, is pretty much like container gardening except not mobile.

strangerdanger strangerdanger
Sep '17

Danny C- Yes! I was given sauce from an Italian friend of the family who used to run a catering business and spotted the fresh basil in the jar, a sprig with a few leaves. I've been adding basil to my sauce ever since. Wish I had shelves like that though, still have a lot more tomatoes coming.

A 5 gallon tub could be used for container gardening without a swamp, use a drill to make some holes in the bottom, and still add the gravel. Just remember to set it on a plastic tray if you bring it in the house. We had to do this for a few of my flower planters that didn't have drain holes.

hktownie hktownie
Sep '17

strangerdanger - You're right. The one notable hold out on the cat litter plastic tubs is Tidy Cat.

If you put enough gravel in first, you can not only put holes on the bottom, but some holes at the lowest part of the sides. In addition if the soil starts to get packed together you're supposed to be able to submerge the whole tub in a larger bucket. Hold it under water until all the air bubbles stop. Then it should go back to normal drainage again. I've had hanging baskets with that problem that have been saved by doing that.


Re: Vegetable Gardening

Thanks for the tip Bessie. That would have been great. But yeah, I've only seen (and use) the card board boxed litter.

Here is a pic of my purple peppers. Not sure what kind they are. They grow up from the plant, yet in the same container there's also long red ones growing down! (Hanging)

When I was given these plants they had sticky notes with the names on them, but they fell off and got mixed up. Now that the peppers are growing I can figure a few out, but some I think were totally mislabeled. But, whatever the names, they're enjoyable. :)


SueR - That looks to be a cayenne pepper. No matter what its color it should be about the same heat as other cayenne types. The longer thinner red peppers in your picture look to be de arbol. They look a bit different but should be very similar to the cayenne for heat and taste. The others in your pic are definitely habenero. Not Scotch bonnet because those are always crinkled up instead of being smooth. Extra fiery hot either way.


hktownie - Looking forward to the wonderful smell of your tomato canning. If you have a small area, preferably in your basement, I can build you efficient shelves, at no charge except for materials.

DannyC DannyC
Sep '17

Anybody have ripe tomatoes yet? I've got big green monsters... can't wait for them to turn red.

ianimal ianimal
Jul '18

ianimal, if you don't want to wait.. you can put them in a brown paper bag and place the bag in the cabinet. They will ripen up pretty quickly. I've done this many times.

positive positive
Jul '18

I have some Roma's that are ripe.

MeisterNJ MeisterNJ
Jul '18

Re: Vegetable Gardening

Here's a pic of a bunch of toms on one of our super sweet 100 plants. Can't wait!

Marvin Marvin
Jul '18

Re: Vegetable Gardening

Did someone say ripe tomatoes?

Tomato man
Jul '18

you def live up to your name 'Mater man.

MeisterNJ MeisterNJ
Jul '18

Ok, this may be more appropriate for "A Thread for Stupid Questions"

I'm growing peppers in a pot (supposed to be Red Bell), however they are green and look to be fully grown, they are pretty large. This happened to me last year as well, supposed to be Red Bell..turned out to be green peppers.

Does anyone know why my peppers are not turning red?

positive positive
Aug '18

Red just means they're fully ripe. You have to let green peppers go a long time to turn red. It takes patience. And since it's in a container you may need to make sure the pot doesn't dry out yet gets loads of outdoor direct sun. The sun helps them ripen and turn red.


Thanks GC. That did cross my mind, but it seems like it's taking forever compared to the tomatoes turning red and the peppers are quite large.

Still an amateur at this..thanks again.

positive positive
Aug '18

An old wives tale says the full moon helps tomatoes ripen, maybe it applies to peppers too? And the full moon is this Sunday, so maybe wait and see. We also really haven’t had *that* much sun lately, so with the combination of better weather the next few days, along with the full moon, maybe they’ll start to turn early next week?

3wbdwnj 3wbdwnj
Aug '18

I need medium sized green tomatoes. Any out there?


Ditching the community garden I belong to next year and would like to do some container gardening. Anyone that gardens that way care to offer advice on how you do it and what do you grow? Also, I have a lot of basil that needs to be picked. I would like to make pesto and freeze it. Does anyone have a good recipe that make and freeze. I read that if you’re going to freeze it, you shouldn’t add the cheese until you’re ready to use it. Is that true?

Bessie Bessie
Aug '18

To all Garden pros here at Hackettstown:

When can we start planting Tomato & other veggie plants in the raised garden? I mean with this weather going North to south in couple of days, I am not sure when to plant so they don't get frost bite. I already have the plants....they just need to go into the garden.

Thanks for your help.


Hi ERS,

Although the rule of thumb is we're pretty much past our Last Frost Date around Mother's Day, to be 100% sure, this article says:

So if last frost is predicted to be on May 17 in your area, it could actually happen anywhere between May 10 and May 24. Most gardeners plan to begin planting outdoors around May 24 or so in that case. It gives a nice safety zone.

I'd also judge your current Tomato plants' stage of growth, such as how tall or thick the Tomato plant's stem is (questioning how strong it can withstand growing outside).

On the other hand, regarding all your "other veggies", there is a number of "Cold Temperature Tolerant" plants - such as beans, cucumbers, eggplants, okra, pepper, pumpkin, squash, sweet corn, sweet potato, and watermelon. Plus these listed at this site, to worry less about (Ok to plant now):

https://thefreerangelife.com/cool-weather-crops/

Good luck on your Happy Gardening!

{the real problem is the critters!!!...you can perfectly grow and nurse the biggest, best, beautiful Tomato/Veggie plant, and right the day before you are ready to harvest it...CHOMP!!!... that chipmunk or etc go to it first/beat you to it with a little message from them "Thanks for doing all the hard work for me Mr. Farmer" lol !}

ftcfda@aol.com ftcfda@aol.com
May '19

For me, Memorial Day is almost always a safe time. It tends to me be pretty conservative and most times you're fine before that. Looking at the recent weather report it sure looks like we're already done for any chance of frost. Give it one more week if you want.


Thank you....I will wait for memorial day weekend.


That's why I stopped growing tomatoes, they always got snatched by a raccoon or squirrel before I could get to it myself. Now I plant hot peppers, they show no interest in spicy stuff.

honestyseasy honestyseasy
May '19

The deer eat the tomatoes in my neighborhood. They even ate my hostas.
I discovered a good replacement for the hostas --- sweet cicely. It's a beautiful plant which flowers in spring and forms unusual seed heads that are edible. The whole plant in fact is edible, an anise-sweet flavor. You can prepare the leaves like spinach. Perennial and spreads so you can move new plants around your property.

happiest girl
May '19

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