Strange varieties

springtogarden(6)July 30, 2014

I garden at a community garden. I can handle all sorts of pests but the one that gets under my skin the most by far is the human pest. So I have decided that I am going to grow weird things that are hopefully delicious but at the same time off-putting. I want things that the majority of society won't recognize or mistake as an ornamental. One guy actually walked up to me telling me that he told his dad that his dad can walk into our community garden and have at it because it is a "community garden". Maybe they need to rename these gardens since we pay to rent the plot and work our butts off hoping to grow enough food to offset the costs and have food for the winter. I am a little angry as someone ran off with some of my garden items and fellow members told me their stories that they deal with every single year.

One variety I will grow is the green zebra tomato because it will be hard to tell when it is ripe. Are there any others? Maybe I should pick varieties that are hard workers so there is some left for me? Any cucurbits that are weird but delicious? I am thinking that for peppers, I can grow the uncommon sweet peppers and put them in the middle so they are dwarfed by the tomatoes. I am thinking that cucumbers are usually good about putting a lot of cucumbers out so I will just grow lots and hope they hide. I won't grow any melons unless they are weird looking. What about butternut squash replacement? I love BN but I am afraid they are too common. Could I ripen them at home? Thanks for any tips and for reading!

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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Not so sure that's going to help with the issue you are having. I'd be plenty mad too! Hope you explained the facts of life to the guy telling his father to raid your garden. Brother!

What about an electric fence? :-) I saw someone posted a link on this forum somewhere for an inexpensive solar powered electric fence.

Or how about hidden security cameras, to get the police involved?

What about growing all really hot peppers. :-) Bordering the garden with very thorny plants. One of those sprinklers that are motion sensitive. Or taking a break from the garden one season and sow the whole thing in cover crop. Maybe they'd move on?

Is the area fenced at all? How about all the gardeners chipping in and getting a watch dog and a dog house and leave the dog there over night? Or get together and work out a schedule so there is always someone gardening there in the daytime and take 4 hr shifts overnight with a camera to catch people after hours?

You're probably right, a whole lot less trouble to try growing crops people are less interested in. :-)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 6:44AM
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ediej1209(5 N Central OH)

How about lemon cucumbers, oakleaf lettuce (looks like dandelion leaves), and things like green beans that are extremely prolific so hopefully if someone would help themselves there would still be some left for you. Man, what a bummer, sorry to hear it. Yep, 2-legged pests are the worst. Best of luck!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:34AM
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Tromboncino squash, looks truly odd and can double as both summer and winter squash. Only drawback is, it takes up a lot of space.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:20AM
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grow rutabaga, chicory (though any chicory is the #1 for groundhogs and rabbits), cardoon, chard, collard, celery, habanero, and parsnips. Other things such as turnips, chicory roots and Chioggia beets do not get a whole lot of love. I would grow something toxic too, but I have no ideas right now (perhaps grow pokeberry, with a large sign "Please do not pick my berries"). I note that some people are put off by tromboncino, although it is the finest type of zucchini, and by yellow pear tomatoes, though people have evolved and are more adventurous these days. You could also intentionally cross melons, then plant the seeds. 99% of the time the offspring tastes like soap. Or plant sacrificial tomatoes, with large poison ivy plants mixed in. Rat traps (large mousetraps) are also an option.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:30AM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

You've got the right idea, go for colors that most people aren't used to. Such as white cucumbers like Miniature White (a pickling cuke) or Boothbys Blonde (a slicer), purple and yellow carrots, and ugly lettuce like Freckles (yeah, I consider it ugly). And if you want to confuse people there is always kohlrabi.

I was also thinking you could spray your veggies with a garlic or hot pepper spray so that is someone swiped something of yours and didn't wash it before chowing down they'd be sorry they did.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:59AM
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Eggplants and okra - if you like them. Nobody wants to pick them.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 1:10PM
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ediej1209(5 N Central OH)

Oh, here's another one - GOOSEBERRIES! Have you ever seen the thorns on those things? - (although gooseberry pie is one of my all-time favorites). Even the birds seem to leave them alone. Since it's a community garden and gooseberries are perennial, you can grow them in pots so you can move them, albeit VERY carefully LOL!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 3:26PM
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loribee2(CA 9)

I have always wondered how that worked in community gardens. I put so much effort into my garden, I would be devastated if I came out one day and those tomatoes I'd been eyeing for weeks were suddenly gone. I think I'd want to cry. So sorry.

For folks who are more confused than they are thieves, have you considered putting up a sign on your plot saying it's private and not free for public picking? I'm also wondering if you can row cover any of it, particularly those things like carrots that don't require open pollination. I think if you make it hard for folks to get at it, they'll opt for someone else's plot.

I like your idea about the green tomatoes. It's one of the reasons I haven't tried them--not being able to easily tell if they're ripe!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 3:41PM
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This is so awesome guys :D! It actually made me laugh after a really rough day yesterday!
I might have to get that guard dog, Prairiemoon ;-). I did set him straight. I told him that we rent the plot, we sign a contract and we can't put our hands in other people's plots and that if his dad wanted his own garden foods to go down to the office, pay his fee and sign up for a plot. I guess they used to have a sign that said "community garden" near the garden and people were just strolling in picking carrots etc. right in front of the gardeners. When confronted, they'd say "Community garden!" and pointed to the sign. They have since removed the sign after complaints and put private property but I guess people just continue to pilfer.
Edie, thanks so much for the names! I think I will grow beans next year because they do grow so much and kind of hide. I wonder if the purple green beans would confuse them? I like the dandelion looking lettuce idea :).

LilyD74, I love the look of the Trombocino Squash! I want something in place of BN and this looks like it might be it.

Glib I like your thinking. The pokeberry may be the way to go! Definitely some kind of trap. I like the list. I keep hearing about chicory. I am going to grow this next year!

Rodney, I am making that spray! I am googling a recipe. I will spray it on everything. Thank you for the names! I am making my seed list for next year and really wanted some cukes. Freckles is a another great idea. They might think it is diseased or something lol.

Slimy_Okra, I have some seeds for okra and have been interested in growing it. I think I will give it a try next year. I also want to grow eggplant. Maybe I could grow some of the smaller varieties or the white ones so they won't recognize it.

Thank you all for your help! I've got a better idea of what to grow next year.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 3:48PM
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Edie, I think someone is actually growing those lol. Now I know why :). I could put them on the outside and set up my own system so I don't get a thorn. I have never had gooseberries but they look yummy. I will make a fortress out of plants!

Loribee2, Thanks so much! I was really upset yesterday and still am a bit today. I am worried that what they will steal next. I just don't get some people! I guess in front of this one lady, this guy just started picking her raspberries while she was picking. He looked at her and basically said that he was picking some berries. He was really large and he scared her so she said she didn't say no but was totally creeped out by him. She didn't have a cell phone and was by herself. When they complained to the office, they tell the members they don't know who these people are so what can they do about it. This is the only community garden somewhat near me but if I had a yard in the near future, I would be gone. I know it happens to home owners too but community gardens seem more vulnerable.
I like the idea of row coverings and was thinking about doing it anyway to extend the season. I am going to try and make it harder.

I appreciate all the ideas!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 4:00PM
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I have a chicory, Catalonia, which is exactly like a dandelion plant, only much bigger and much more upright. I had to forbid everyone else to weed that bed because we lost several plants to weeding. It is a bitter green, but I like them. Tromboncino is one of my favorite vegetables, chard is one of my top five, and cardoon is my favorite one.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 6:04PM
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Thanks, Glib. I am looking at Baker's Creek and Amazon. Baker's Creek has two types of cardoon. Is there one you prefer? I have some seeds of swiss chard. I got to try growing it again. For some reason, it didn't sprout two. I have two different seed companies but maybe I did something wrong. I am going to soak the seeds and see if I can't get them to sprout that way. I direct seeded them the first time. BC has the chicory so I've added it to my list. I am really sold on the Tromboncino. I like that it can be used as both a summer and winter squash. It can take over most of the garden and hopefully hide most of the fruits.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 7:43PM
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Afila peas - most people haven't seen these (afila pea plants grow a tangle of tendrils and few leaves). There are both shell pea and snap pea varieties.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 9:06PM
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cardoons types are very similar. for chard, i prefer the traditional white ribbed ford hook, which is more tender than bright lights. tromboncino winter squash can get five feet long, and keeps only so-so.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 9:13PM
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lantanascape(z6 Idaho)

Raveena eggplant is slim and green, so it blends in with the stalks of the plants. This is my first year growing it, and it was loaded with eggplant before I even realized it was fruiting.

Also, I'm growing Jing Orange okra this year, and it seems like it stings more than the Emerald okra I usually grow, so something like that might give a thief a bit of a gift that would keep them from coming back.

Potatoes and sweet potatoes might be a good bet. Most people won't know what they're looking at, and if they do, would have to come prepared with a shovel to harvest them.

If you're going to be gardening there for a while, maybe get a trail cam? Some of them are pretty cheap, and would catch anyone coming into your plot. Or you could just put up a sign saying that there's a hidden camera. ;)

Good luck, that would be really frustrating!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 9:39PM
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Weicker(6a PA)

NC Candy Roaster Squash instead of Butternut or pumpkins. Nobody's touching those monsters!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:19PM
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Weicker(6a PA)

Pick tomatoes at color break. The second they have the slightest bit of color, grab them. Most casual gardeners won't pick them that early.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:21PM
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loribee2(CA 9)

Oh dear, I had this vision that you plant all these weed-looking odd varieties then show up one day to find it all pulled up. Someone felt so bad about your garden getting pilfered, they decided to help you out by weeding your plot for you! LOL

Okay, not funny, but....LOL

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:55PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Gardengal, I think this could work. If you grow a garden that is of no interest for a couple of seasons, they might stop checking and you could go back to growing what you like. And who knows, you might find some new favorites.

I always grow Trionfo Violetto pole beans that are purple. They are delicious too, and turn green when cooked. They attract fewer pests too. Also you might try some yellow wax beans which I find no one is ever interested in eating in our circle of family and friends. IâÂÂm growing âÂÂGolden Gateâ that I got at FEDCO this year, for myself.

There are a lot of âÂÂbitterâ lettuces you can try too. Oakleaf is actually more nutritious too.

I agree with glib, turnips, beets, collards, kale, which are all great for soup, might be a lot less interesting. And you can juice them too. Very nutritious. Actually, glib was pretty creative with the poison ivy plants mixed inâ¦lol.

Do many people like Cauliflower?

I have a great recipe to use okra, if you want it.

There is also a list of tomatoes on the Tomato forum, which people have said they will never plant again. Some that they actually âÂÂspit outâ they are so awful. Maybe you could grow bad tomatoes near the edges of the garden and hide a good one for yourself in the middle? Definitely think picking them at the first sign of color would really work too.

Someone on this forum posted recently that they stopped growing the Summer Squash âÂÂCostata Romanescaâ because it was so prickly to work with. We had already bought the seed, and it really is very prickly and can hurt to try to harvest the squash.

Potatoes are a great idea!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 6:21AM
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Glib: Oh good, I have the white ribbed ford :). I didn't know that about the tromboncino so maybe I will grow just one plant.
n2xjk: I love peas! I will do a spring garden with the afila peas. I'd love peas that people don't recognize!
lantanascape: I just looked up Raveena eggplant and I wouldn't recognize that as eggplant so I know the thieves wouldn't either. The Jing Orange okra is so pretty and I love that it leaves a sting, Ha! I love the potato idea. Non-gardeners have no clue what potatoes look like. I think, from talking to the other gardeners in the community garden, that they like the stuff they can grab like carrots, tomatoes, raspberries and onions - stuff they can grab and run. Potatoes are too much work. I have thought about a sign too. I have read that putting an owl or figurine with big eyes makes people less likely to steal not so sure but maybe I could try. My luck, they would steal the owl.

Weicker: I am already sold on the candy roasters! They fit the bill for my BN squash but I don't think anyone would steal these. I am going to do that with my tomatoes. I notice they only seem to steal when things are about to ripen.

Loribee2: I could see that happening if things got really weird. Everyone is so helpful at the community garden they'd probably thinks I had lost it and was watering my weeds. For the most part, they all grow traditional crops. Next year's garden will be really interesting, to say the least!

Prairiemoon: I was thinking about cauliflower, maybe the purple variety? I love Glib's poison ivy tip :D! And all the greens are something I've been meaning to grow so I am looking forward to growing them. Trionfo Violetto pole beans is getting added to the list too as are wax beans. I might plant a trap crop but for humans of zucchinis since they grow so many and some hide. I am kind of excited to grow some new things and get out of my comfort zone and hopefully beat the thieves at their own game. I just wish I could grow peppers without worry. I love the idea of growing icky tomatoes lol :D. This is a wonderful idea! I am going to go check out the tomato forum. I will look at Costata Romanesca. Anything that makes them work for it or hurts them, I think will be ignored.

Thanks everyone again for your tips! I feel more optimistic about my garden next year :)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 2:03AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

How big is your plot? Is it large enough to have a low fence or hedge of fruit bushes around it? Gooseberries would be optimal. Just making it that bit harder to get in and making it more blatant for someone to enter the plot might help. I also think netting and row covers would be a good idea since it is quite fiddly picking crops under that kind of protection. I do feel for you. I've had my allotment for over 20 years and the only thing I ever lost was a spade I left leaning against the compost heap.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 4:54AM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Have you thought of putting up a sign? Human pests can usually read, and "No Trespassing" signs have legal bearing, and are universally understood. Planting weird and off-putting things to repel humans is kind of an odd strategy. Humans are smart enough that they don't take the stuff that's off-putting, and will take the stuff they recognize. I have yet to see a human who is so repelled by a Tromboncino squash that they will avoid the tomatoes.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 10:36AM
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floral_uk, It is a small plot and I might get a second one. Right now I am using trellises. Despite the theft, the garden is pretty full. It helps that there are gardeners there at many times during the day. I think they struck my plot when they did because no one was there. It was just unbearably hot. I like the idea of gooseberries and I really want to do netting and/or row coverings because I think it would be more work for them. They don't seem to like work.
daninthedirt, there is already a sign. They just hop the fence as soon as the gardeners come in and run with their stolen goods. Some are more brazen and will hang out in your plot picking while you pick and you feel intimidate and can pick up the criminal vibe. This is more rare but has happened to a few members. We can call the police and we are aware of this but the police are very limited in my area and don't like coming out for stolen cars let alone fruit and veggies. This is private property but they don't care. Many people do not know what nontraditional fruit and plants look like. Sure they recognize the run-of-the-mill squash in the store. We were actually told by the food bank to give veggies that can be eaten raw because many of the people didn't know how to cook with most vegetables. Broccoli was more suitable than a beet etc. I think using varieties that are not as common is a great strategy since their pattern is to grab items that are common and recognized as "ripe" by the masses. My plan is to grow tomatoes that aren't the traditional red tomatoes so that they don't know when they are ripe and letting them ripen at my home. I want edible squashes that can't be found at Walmart. I think this will nip it in the bud. All of us are there because we don't have a yard. I believe most of the theft is from the surrounding neighborhood. It is a shame because it is a beautiful park in addition to the garden and lots of families use the park but some people like to ruin it for the rest.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 4:04PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

Ouch. That's a nasty situation. That's a nice idea to plant, say funny colored tomatoes. I think I once grew Cherokee green, and they were nice. Kind of greenish brown when ripe. Sausage tomatoes will confuse thieves as well. There are large numbers of what one would call "odd" squash. Makes sense to plant varieties that don't look like what people are used to eating.

I wonder if it's a big enough community garden that you could get gardeners to put in some time policing it. I suspect a few weeks of policing would disincentivize people from trying to steal from it. People might bring cameras with them to document a theft that is happening at another plot.

Might be interesting to spread some very bad tasting invisible material on a couple of tomatoes. Must be something suitable that won't hurt the fruit. You just have to remember which one it is, and wash it thoroughly before eating it.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 5:18PM
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daninthedirt, it really is! I like the idea of policing it ourselves :). I know overnight, people wouldn't be able to stake out, but maybe if they just get used to seeing gardeners in there every time of the day, they would feel less comfortable coming in. Most of them don't want to be in there when we come in. I really wish they could install cameras. The community did build a fence and later installed lights around the walk way so it has a nice feel to it. A lot of soccer games are played nearby. Last night, there was a guy loitering and hanging over the fence reaching into the garden so we just kept looking at him. He wasn't a member of the garden. He got spooked and went away. It was close to dark too. I love the material idea of spraying them! I need to buy some garlic and pepper and mix it up. Would the fruits be ok having this sprayed on them directly? Is there a ratio I should go for? That would stink if I ate it without washing it lol. I love the odd varieties that taste good too. Baker's Creek has warty squash that people say taste surprisingly well. Thanks for the great tips! I am going to talk to other gardeners and see if we can't set something up.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 7:01PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

I was wondering about what you'd rub on a fruit to make it unpalatable BUT could be washed off, wasn't visible, and didn't hurt the fruit (or be absorbed by it! - ick)

Of course, you could dust with diatomaceous earth (DE). The way you do that is by misting, and then blowing the dust (like with a vacuum cleaner in reverse). That would make for an unappetizing dusty appearance, but would wash off easily. It would repel both insect pests and uninformed human pests! In principle, you could just take a small handful of the stuff, and just blow over it at the fruit. DE is harmless to people of course. There is some evidence that DE isn't good for bees, though, but bees aren't going to be landing on a ripe fruit. The stuff isn't expensive, but you might want to get your community garden compatriots to chip in for it.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 7:45PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Another thought. My allotment area not only has notices saying access for allotment holders only, it also has fences and a locked gate to which only plot holders have a key. The fences aren't high and the gate is often left open but it all adds to the understanding that this is not a public area.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 5:47AM
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Ground cherries are pretty strange looking yet are fabulous. They look like little paper lanterns hanging. "Picked" and eaten green from the plant will make a person sick. They are ready when they fall to the ground. Most thieves probably wouldn't know that nor would they want a brown one from the ground when they could get a fresh green on from the plant. ;)

Have you considered putting up an official sign that says something like "experimental pesticide in use. Approved respiratory mask required at all times. Laboratory specimens only. Not for human consumption. " You get the idea. Oh, be sure to add an scientific reference number on the bottom corner of the sign.

Of course, you would have to let your fellow garden neighbors in on it. Who knows, maybe they'd join you.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 6:14PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

If you put up falsified signage, might as well install a couple of mock surveillance cameras as well!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 6:38PM
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daninthedirt, I love this idea! I have DE already and this would work. But yes it would take a lot so I will keep that in mind. I think I will try it out on some fruit tomorrow to get the hang of it.

floral_uk, This would be great! I think seeing a lock for most people makes them stop and think. I am going to talk to the lady who runs it.

erin_nc Ground cherries sounds wonderful! Ha, ha I like the way you think. I've heard of ground cherries but know so little about them so I know they won't know :). I am adding this to the list. I have a cold list and a summer list going now. I wish we could put up a quarantine sign on the fence just to freak people out but I think the city wouldn't approve since it is at a park. Gotta do the sign with the reference number :)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 6:51PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

It wasn't until recently that I learned how to REALLY use DE. The usual explanation is that you just spread it around at the base of the plants, and somehow the insects go down there and frolic in it.

But the idea of misting your plants and then BLOWING DE onto them is just fabulous. They end up looking kind of sickly white, but I find that they are then impervious to, for example, stinkbugs. Of course, after it rains a lot, you have to do it again. I suspect that whitish looking tomatoes won't look all that appetizing to thieves. The trick is to get it mostly on the plants. The first time I did it, the plants got dusted, but so did I, in an enormous white cloud that surrounded the bed. A little goes a long way, by the way. You can make a huge cloud with just a handful of DE.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 7:07PM
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Cheaper than DE and less tragic for bees is the organic spray "Surround," which covers your plants with a protective film that makes them look sick. Even bugs won't like them.

For a melon, try planting "Brutto ma Buono," sold by Seeds from Italy and Baker Creek. Very lumpy, ugly, and gray. You can scarcely tell it's edible, let alone that it's a melon - and a very sweet, juicy one, at that!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 2:07AM
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Thanks, daninthedirt! I have been applying it wrong. I don't use it too often but when I did container gardening, I would put it at the base. I suppose if I did my milk-water treatment, for my plants, I could then dust it on and it would stick then because of the wet leaves. At the garden, there is no electricity so if I dust it on when leaves are slightly wet maybe that would work.
Mscook, I found Surround online. What an interesting product! It says it works on PM as well as bugs which is a bonus where I live because we get it almost every year. The fruit definitely looks diseased lol. Do bees still want to go to flowers or is it a turn off for them? Would I need to hand pollinate? I've never heard of Surround before but I like that it is a clay. If bees don't like it, I could put it on later in the season when everything is too young for theft. I like the Brutto ma Buono. Ha ha, that thing looks rotten. I am added it to my list. The fellow community gardeners are going to think I really lost it next year :D

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 7:21PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; HZ10, Sunset z30, USDA z8a)

With regard to blowing DE and making it stick, have a look at Larry here.

On a smaller scale, I just take a handful, and blow at it with a shop vac running in reverse. Can rechargeable vacs blow, as well as suck? But if you just have a few plants, just take a deep breath and BLOW. The big white cloud is what you're look ing for.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 7:41PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

Another idea is to make a warning sign, that not all things are edible. Skull and crossbones may help too.

For some different squashes, you could also try Ronde de Nice, perhaps just different enough. Instead of cucumbers, try Mexican sour gherkins.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:24PM
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daninthedirt, Thanks for the video! That helps me out. I think this will keep them protected for this year from the thieves.
tishtoshnm: Ronde de Nice is very pretty and one I haven't seen. No one would guess when it is ripe which is perfect. Thanks! Do the Mexican sour gherkins grow a really long vine? They are so cute, I kind of want to grow them now indoors :). I have a little indoor garden with some lights. I am going to try a sign and tell the other gardeners.

This post was edited by gardengal13 on Fri, Aug 8, 14 at 8:56

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 8:47AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

If you use the Surround (which I was going to suggest), don't spray it on the flowers. You'll be applying it with a sprayer which will give you the ability to just apply it to the fruit and foiiage.

I use Surround frequently, as protection against insect pests as well as sun scald and heat stress.

Don't mix up any more tha you'll need for an application, then run plenty of clear water through the sprayer right afterwards. It will really mess up a sprayer if you let it sit.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 11:36AM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

gardengal- The Mexican sours do have a good sized vine. Grew them once years ago and I didn't like the way they tasted and didn't know what to do with them at the time. They had like a citrus-y flavor to them. They certainly didn't taste like they were already pickled as some of their descriptions claim, although I'm sure they'd make decent pickles. They are very small and crispy/crunchy.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 12:00PM
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For a long time I have gardened a rented acre behind a public campus, so many people walk by. It's fenced now, and this year I have pole beans growing on the fence. The deer are sure helping themselves to foliage but I don't think anybody has picked any, amazingly.

However, I have a volunteer squash plant growing there this year. I think it's a cross between Costata Romanesca and Black Beauty. Anyway, it grew an immense fruit, very striking looking with an almost 180 degree turn in it. The other day I saw it was gone, clipped off clean, no trace, so not an animal. Amazing, because somebody had to undo the 8-foot high wire fence to get in, and they put it back in place just so.

Anyway, my daughter said, and I agree, it will likely turn up in the summer squash competition at the fair which is only a week or so away now. Maybe I'll have to go just to seeâ¦.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 2:44PM
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Rodney, I will only grow this one if I am in the mood to pickle them. I am glad to know their vine is long. I won't be growing this one indoors lol.

rhizo_1, Good to know. I'd like to keep the bees happy if possible. They were really busy the other day I was visiting mid morning. The more I learn of Surround, the more I like. Insects, sun scald and of course, the human pest are so annoying that if I can use one product and stop all three, that would be fabulous :).

pnbrown, That is so upsetting! I would check out the fair too if I were you. So sorry that happened to you and I feel your pain. Some people do amaze me. I am glad that your pole beans are being left alone except for the foliage.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 4:37AM
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I'm really not at all upset, just somewhat surprised. I was curious to grow out that cross into a second generation to see if it was at all stable. The eating quality was inferior to Costata so no great loss. Very good-looking though, had the ribbed shape of Costata but the very dark glossy color of Black beauty, and immense.

Maybe the person that took it thought it was edible at such a huge size - that would really be a waste.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 7:15AM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

I'm chiming in a little late here but I have to recommend 'Aunt Ruby's German Green' tomato, they are large slicing tomatoes that are pale green and surprisingly firm when ripe - but absolutely delicious. Very challenging to tell when they are ready to pick. Another odd one I've had success with is 'Chocolate Cherry,' they are large cherry tomatoes that are a rather unattractive brown color.

I'm not sure how helpful this could be but I just have to share... When we were kids my brother left his T-Rex toy in our uncle's garden, when the gardener came across it hiding under a fern he nearly died of a heart attack. Maybe get some creepy looking toys - like spiders and snakes - and tuck them in about your plants. Hopefully people will be startled away before they look close enough to realize they're fake.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 11:27AM
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Pnbrown, It is very strange. Still rude but I am glad it wasn't a terrible loss! The person probably thought it was edible. I find that most people who steal, don't know very much about gardening. They just grab it and eat it at least in my area. But I am sure some thief will surprise me with what they will take. I read an old thread here from about 7 years ago and the guy said he had compost stolen among other bizarre things. I guess some thieves are gardeners too lol. Hopefully, you will get another volunteer next year to have :).

Peachymomo, I am looking for a great green variety. Thanks for letting me know! I am growing a green zebra but is one of my slowest even though it is one of the strongest plants so I'd like to try a different green one next year. I grew the zebra this year for kicks not thinking of thieves lol. 'Chocolate Cherry has been one I've wanted to try before this happened but I didn't think about the dark color. I definitely think they go for the traditional red tomatoes.

Fake spiders and snakes is a very cool idea! I don't think they spend a lot of time in the garden more like a grab and dash so they probably would be scared off.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 10:25PM
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