Gardeners' Corner

Have you tried Plantskydd? It’s a repellant made of … blood … that is supposed to keep away typical garden critters from eating plants. I’ve used it on my native plant gardens in the past just to get them established, so rabbits don’t come and nibble all the newly planted seedlings. It’s a little expensive and smells super gross for the first 24 hours, but it’s worked well for me in the past. – https://www.plantskydd.com/

I’ve only had to combat rabbits, though, groundhogs might have a taste for blood for all I know!

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No, I don’t think I’d ever even heard of that one before. I’ve tried a few different things, but they have all so far only been temporarily effective.

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Have you tired spreading this around your property? Basically just a pepper mix. I’ve used it in the past to deter skunks from entering my yard. Luckily they’ve moved on elsewhere.

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I haven’t tried that one, no. I’ve tried a different spray product, which seemed to help temporarily, and I’ve also tried just using ground cayenne pepper on the plants, which didn’t appear to deter the groundhog at all.

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He’s a cajun ! You’ve just got to bait your traps with Jambalaya !

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October means it’s time for a tomato roundup! There are still ripening fruits on most of the plants, but they’ve basically produced whatever they’re going to before the first frost hits, so here’s how things turned out in my garden this year:


  1. Paul Robeson: I’d heard lots of good things about this heirloom slicing variety, and it did not disappoint. My two plants were much more productive than heirloom slicers usually are for me. The fruit was big and very tasty. These are best eaten sliced up alone or on a sandwich, with a sweet, slightly smoky flavor. The biggest one weighed nearly a pound.


  1. Amish Gold Slicer: This was a free seed variety, and a very pleasant surprise! The plant was very productive — yielding about as many tomatoes on a single plant as I got from the two Paul Robeson plants. The fruits are big and good for all kinds of applications. They’re meaty and slice up well for sandwiches but also hold up well to blanching and made into sauce.

  1. Wisconsin 55: These, on the other hand, were a big disappointment. The plants were supposed to be disease-resistant but were the first to succumb and were dead before the end of summer. The fruit was mostly fairly small and nothing special in the taste department. I won’t be growing these anymore.
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Oh, how yummy !

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TOMATO ROUNDUP PART 2

I covered the three slicing varieties, now here are the other three types I grew this year:

  1. Pomodoro Squisito: These are the only true paste variety I planted this year, after they had done so well for me last year. And once again, they produced well on three separate plants, but I’m thinking I just want a little more variety in my paste tomatoes, so I’ll probably only plant one of these next year.

  1. Sungold: I plant these as my cherry variety every year. They’re vigorous and productive, and they taste great. The two major down sides are that the fruit is very prone to splitting and they are an F1 hybrid variety, so I can’t save my own seeds to grow more next year. But …


  1. Mystery tomato: This is the product of saved seed from a volunteer sungold progeny. I LOVE THIS TOMATO. It’s larger than a sungold, very productive, with a sweet and mild flavor, and not prone to splitting. They are fantastic for snacking or throwing whole into a salad, and I’ve also thrown a few into my sauces. I’m saving seeds from them in the hope that next year’s crop will have the same characteristics.
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I love tomatoes. Most of my diet in the summer is caprese with various heirloom maters. (I unfortunately have to buy them as the soil here is just garbage. I’ve tried growing in containers. I get nice healthy plants but no fruit.

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I’m putting in lavender along the front edge of the yard, and brilliantly bought 8 lavenders (lavandula de provence) right before the hottest week of the year. Which is somehow in October.

Anyway I got basic holes dug and one actually in the dirt, and I’ve rigged up one dripper per plant so I can at least keep them watered until it cools down enough to finish moving dirt around. Will post a picture when they’re in the ground.

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I hate eating tomatoes in any form, but I love tomato plants and growing tomatoes, and those look amazing!

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After a solid week of 90 degree temps I finally got my lavenders in the ground today!

Not done yet, tomorrow I will add a second dripper to each and the cover with mulch.

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Pepperpalooza! Jalapeños and Mad Hatters, all picked today.

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Tongue GIF

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Looks like the first big freeze is going to hit my area after this weekend, which means it’s time to put the garden to bed. And it’s also time for … a pepper roundup! This was overall a great year for my pepper plants, so here’s a little bit about the four varieties I planted:

Jimmy Nardello: These long sweet peppers have been my staple variety for a few years now. They actually didn’t produce quite as heavily this year, but still gave me a respectable crop. And since they’re an heirloom variety, I can just keep saving seed every year.


Lesya: I tried this heirloom sweet pepper for the first time this year, and I really like it. It’s much like a bell pepper, with very thick walls. It’s not the most productive variety, but it did produce far more than any bell peppers I’ve ever tried to grow. I’m saving seeds from this variety too.

Mad Hatter: Looks like a spicy pepper, but it’s sweet (there is sometimes just a tiny suggestion of spice at the base of the pepper). I tried this one from a seedling last year and was impressed by how huge and productive the plant was, so I planted my own seeds this year, and HO-LEE CATS were these plants productive. I have tons of these peppers, and they’re still covered in fruit. If you’ve been following this thread, you probably saw my post about having to tie a huge pepper plant to my fence to keep it upright — that was a Mad Hatter plant. These produce smaller fruits with thinner walls, but there are more than enough of them on the plant to make up for their size. I’m going to see if I can overwinter the biggest plant indoors for next year. It’s an F1 variety, so I can’t save the seeds, but I don’t mind paying for these if they produce this much!

Perfect Rings Jalapeno: This is the only spicy variety I grew this year. I was fortunate enough to avoid “Peppergate,” and am impressed by how productive these plants were and how large the fruit was. These are easily the biggest jalapenos I’ve ever grown. This is an F1 variety from Gurney’s, which means I can’t save the seeds, but I’ll most likely order them again for next year.

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Do you have a new hardiness zone? If you’re plugged into the gardening community in the USA, you’ve probably heard that the USDA has released a new Hardiness Zone Map: https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/

I went from Zone 6a to Zone 6b. How about you? Will the change affect what and when you can plant?

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I’m in 6a which I think is the same as before

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We’re still in 6b, but our zone expanded a bit.

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Still 8a! So my lovely neighbors can keep on growing kudzu

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Well, I just couldn’t wait anymore and started my pepper and basil seeds today. (I’ve had onion seedlings growing since early January.)

There should be a lot of work to get my beds ready for spring planting over the next few weeks. What’s happening in your gardens?

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