Our mentor Roy Wilburn has offered these tips.
Fertilizing Tomatoes (Posted by Suzanne, 7/20/15)
Use Bio flora instead of fish emulsion. Bio flora has a lower nitrogen count than FE, and is higher in both potassium and potash. These numbers are important in the growth of both flowers and fruit, instead of leaf growth, which nitrogen promotes. Bio flora (6-5-5) should be used for the type of vegetables that continue to produce fruit throughout the season. Fish emulsion ((5-1-1) is good for plants that are harvested only once such as lettuce.
Sterilizing Tools (Suzanne, 8/23/15)
To prevent spreading disease between gardens and between rows, sterilize all tools with a 10% bleach solution. Soak tools for 10 minutes or more, rinse with water, and dry. Good idea to use a bucket or container with a lid to slow down evaporation. Solution can be kept and used for several weeks.
Insect Control (Suzanne, 8/23/15)
Spray plants with a solution of 2.5 oz Safer Soap and 1 tbsp. of liquid BT to one gallon of water every other week. (In a perfect world we’d have someone to check the plants daily for insect larvae so we could spray 3 days later, but this is the next best solution.)
Melon Care (Suzanne, 8/31/15)
When fruit is two inches or larger, start fertilization. You can place fruit on paper plates and should periodically give the fruit a quarter turn to prevent the fruit from rotting on the bottom. Regularly coax the vines back to the bed and out of the walkways.
Planting Seedlings (Suzanne, 8/31/15)
Soak bed thoroughly — when you stick a finger in there should be no dry spots. Using a yardstick, mark holes no more than 3 inches from the irrigation tape and the appropriate distance between plants. If possible, dip the seedlings into Roy’s secret sauce. Plant the seedlings deep enough that they can more or less stand up on their own. Sprinkle the damp bed with Sluggo Plus (more effective on damp soil but not in pools of water). Cover with shade cloth and check regularly for proper irrigation.
Sometimes a seedling won’t make it. When this happens, ask yourself why — planted too far or too close to the irrigation tape? planted poorly?bugs? vermin?
Planting Seeds (Suzanne 10/20/15)
Fill trays with seed starter soil mixture. Using your finger, create a shallow indentation in each cube and place a single seed in each indentation. Sprinkle more starter soil mixture on top of tray and lighter water.