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My back porch update

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
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by BigJimSlade on August 18, 2005 10:43 AM
Hi, Big Jim here.

I just wanted to fill everyone in on the goings of my back porch. I owe many thanks to the people of this forum.

First off, my one strawberry plant I planted has 5 runners growing. It is an everbearing and seems to be doing great! I have grown two calamandarins from seed, and one of them is almost a foot tall now. It really helps to put them in a sealed fish tank with some water in it. I also have a lime tree with a whole lime growing on it, I am very proud.

Oh, and I am growing upside down tomato plants now for the first time, I am hanging them from the roof and they are growing down like wild. I love it!

Questions:
1) My lime tree got 100 blossoms on it, but only one lime. I tried polinating them by running an electric toothbrush through the flowers. Is there a better way to do this next time?

2) My strawberries often have the same problem. Flowers but no fruit. Any thoughts?

Thanks to everyone for helping my back porch!

Big Jim
by Longy on August 18, 2005 11:12 PM
Hey Jim, citrus are usually good pollinators , but they will drop their buds if soil moisture levels fluctuate too much. Insects should happily do the pollination for you though so i'd watch the watering when they blossom. Keep it evenly moist all the time. I figure it's in a pot or a barrel as it's on your back porch so that may be the cause as these dry out fast. Some water crystals and mulch may help. looking at your other problem though, i can't help but wonder if you have low insect numbers helping you.

Strawberries can pollinate on the wind but insects are the key, bees being the masters. Maybe put some over ripe fruit pieces or sugary water near the plants to attract insects. It is supposed to work though i've never tried it.

I love the sound of those upside down tomatoes. I grow an heirloom cherry tomato called Tommy Toe and it sounds perfect for this. I'm gonna give it a whirl i reckon.

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The secret is the soil.
by weezie13 on August 19, 2005 10:08 AM
That is great news!!!
So very~very glad the members here were
able to help you out..
We love to hear that, and we really love
that you came back and let us know......
That makes half the fun of helping,
is knowing things worked out great for you!!!!

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by Triss on August 19, 2005 10:27 AM
Sounds exciting BigJim. Any pics to share with us? I would love to see the hanging tomatoes and hear more about them.

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We are all under the same stars... therefore we are never far apart.
by BigJimSlade on August 19, 2005 10:50 AM
Hi all, I would be happy to take some pics. Does anyone know how I can post them? I am not much of a forum person. [Smile]
by BigJimSlade on August 19, 2005 10:51 AM
Longy,

My back porch is also screened in, I did not mention that one. [Wink] That is why I am out there with the electric toothbrush. I just hope I am pollenating and not molesting with that thing.
by Triss on August 19, 2005 10:55 AM
check out photobucket.com Very easy upload and access to linking here.

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We are all under the same stars... therefore we are never far apart.
by weezie13 on August 19, 2005 11:27 AM
Yep, go to Photobucket very easy to use, very user friendly to load from your computer, and we here don't have to be a member to view them...

My photo~album is at the bottom of my signatuter
button...

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by BigJimSlade on August 19, 2005 11:56 AM
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Tomato Plant

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Strawberry

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Lime Tree

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Calamandarin grow from seed in my fishtank greenhouse
by BigJimSlade on August 19, 2005 11:59 AM
So there are my plants. Just no luck getting those flowers to bloom (no prob with the tomatoes though).

I water the lime tree twice a week, and I really hose it down. You can see all of the new growth, it appears pretty healthy.

The strawberry plant gets a heavy dose twice a week and a smaller watering once in between.

Hope that builds a better mental image of my issues on the back porch. Thanks! [Big Grin]

Big Jim
by Triss on August 19, 2005 12:05 PM
That tomato is awesome. How clever! I am going to have to try that once I figure out how it works (do tell please). And I love how you are starting the strawberries and the greenhouse as well.

Just a hint, resize your pics before uploading to photobucket. Just so they can be seen here in the frame. I usually do mine by 50%.

Thanks so much for staying up late to upload and share the pics. Really enjoyed them!

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We are all under the same stars... therefore we are never far apart.
by weezie13 on August 19, 2005 12:14 PM
Jim, all the plants are indoors????

Try some fertilizers with a high middle number??
I like Schultz Plus 10~60~10........but
anything with a high middle number...

GREAT PICTURES by the way, thanks for sharing them.!!!! [thumb]

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by BigJimSlade on August 19, 2005 12:19 PM
Gotchya! I will have to resize next time. [Smile] And thank you for the compliments. I am so happy that I am learning how to do this stuff finally.

A funny side note, my fiance kills all plants that she touches. She walked out and picked up the strawberry plant container on the far right (still attached via runner) and the new roots ripped right out of the soil. She reiterated that she kills all plants and will probably avoid the porch for a month. I will have to do something nice for her. [Smile]

The fish tank greenhouse grows that thing like crazy. $10 for a 10 gallon tank at a pet store. Works great!

As for the tomatoes, I thought I read about it here, so I hate taking any credit, but this is what I did.

1) Went to the dollar store and got a plastic bucket.

2) Took a utility knife and cut a hole about the size of a tennis ball in the bottom. (note I grew these guys from a rotten tomato that fell in the dirt and just started growing, so there are actually 3 tomato plants competing in that bucket)

3) Place the plant(s), which are a few weeks old, out of their container and into the bottom of the bucket.

4) Fill with dirt.

5) Hang in a sunny place, and tada! [Smile]

I actually have another one growing from the top of the bucket too. There is an awful lot of dirt in there, so I thought why not. The hardest thing for me is finding a permanent place to hang it. The apt roof is not suitable for drilling into, so I have to get creative.

Big Jim
by BigJimSlade on August 19, 2005 12:20 PM
quote:
Originally posted by weezie13:
Jim, all the plants are indoors????

Well, all on a screened in porch, yes. Is that bad?

Thanks for the fertilizer suggestion. Any reason why a high middle number?
by Longy on August 19, 2005 03:39 PM
OK Jim, no insects. Figures.
So i did some research and it seems an artists brush is ideal for hand pollination of citrus.
Also citrus flowers have both male and female parts so they should self pollinate anyway. (That's a generalisation but is true for most types) Maybe the toothbrush dispersed the pollen to the air ???? Your choice of words, "I just hope I am pollenating and not molesting with that thing." gave me a laugh but maybe it is a tad ....um... violent??? Also a cotton bud, what do you call 'em? Q tips??? Yeah one of those might be better.
Great photos. I'm definitely gonna hang some tomatoes in my pergola.
hey i just had a thought, maybe when the blossoms are on the lime you could put it outside thru the day near a place where bees are active and let them do the job. They have the operators manual afterall [Wink]

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The secret is the soil.
by LMT on August 19, 2005 06:34 PM
Jim, dude, go outside once in a while. Take the babies outdoors on a nice afternoon and let nature take its course.

Or I could tell you about the cheerleader slumber party and the electric tooth brush.

Na, take the plants our doors every once in a while.

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Currently listening to: Vince Guaraldi Trio -- A Charlie Brown Christmas. Adult and contemporary but evocative of youth and innocence, a must own CD.
by weezie13 on August 19, 2005 08:33 PM
[Embarrassed] [Big Grin] [Big Grin]

quote:
Thanks for the fertilizer suggestion. Any reason why a high middle number?
The high middle number will produce flowers and help in the fruiting process...

Next year, in your soil add some Alfafa Meal,
Compost, Fish Meal, Blood Meal, Bone Meal, or something a little extra "organic" to your soil..
it'll give you a slow release fertilizers that
are easier on your plants to digest and utilize.
but in the meantime, if you use that other type,
it'll help with the blooms...
(It's not considered organic, but I do use it
once in a while for a "boost" and for shock of transplanting)

I also was going to say what Longy and LMT said,
put them outside for a wee~bit of fresh air and
some bees to visit...
And the paint brush works too!!

WOW [shocked] on the electric toothbrush!!!

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by BigJimSlade on August 19, 2005 09:40 PM
Thanks Longy! I will definitely try to get them outdoors next time.
by Triss on August 19, 2005 11:12 PM
I am really going to have to try the hanging tomatoes. I am surprised that with a tennis ball sized hole, nothing falls out, but I am willing to try it out.

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We are all under the same stars... therefore we are never far apart.
by BigJimSlade on August 20, 2005 04:45 AM
Thanks to everyone! I am going to wait until I get more blossoms and try out some new techniques. I will let everyone know how it works out. [Smile]

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