Tag Archive | Trial Gardens

Bye, Bye Mr. Ichiban: The Discontinuation of Ichiban Hybrid Eggplant


“Dear Sir,

I’m an avid reader of your blog and I would like to know the answer to why I can’t buy ichiban eggplant this year. It’s the best.  Was it a crop failure?

Joe”

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Hi Joe,

I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but it is most likely that we will have to have a funeral for your dear friend, Ichiban Hybrid Eggplant.  He is no more.

If you have heard any rumblings through the gardening community in the last five years, then it was without a doubt about how Monsanto had tapped into the home gardening market by acquisitioning Seminis Seeds (to read more on this, click here).  This buyout has resulted in a number of changes, including the correction of varietial names that were illegally sold by Seminis to increase their offerings and desireability (see here) and the discontinuation of many varieties that were only offered to home gardeners.

Ichiban Hybrid is a casualty of this process, as it was not versatile enough to be offered for commercial growers.  The fruits are more prone to scarring and the plants are not as disease resistant as other types.

For now, many companies have replaced Ichiban Hybrid with Millionaire Hybrid (offered by American Takii Seeds and distributed through many seed catalogs like Jung and Burpee).  I have tried it in my trial gardens in 2010, but found that it lacked the flavor of the Ichiban and didn’t seem to produce as well in a side-by-side comparison.

The only hope of Ichiban Hybrid coming back from the ‘dead’ is if Monsanto/Seminis sell the breeding rights to another seed producer, or if  they bring it back themselves.  The likelihood of this occurring is about as good as pigs flying.

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Got Late Blight Tomatoes? Then You Need Ferline F1!


For a long time, many gardeners have been looking for an answer to their late blight (Phytophthora infestans)  on tomato questions.  Now we have that answer:  Ferline F1 Hybrid.

A remarkable tomato variety has impressive late blight tolerance in a garden situation when grown in a number of different trials. Ferline could be the answer to many gardeners’ prayers, to help overcome this most destructive disease. The vigorous, indeterminate plants produce heavy crops of deep red fruits of up to 5 ounces in weight with a very good flavour. Suitable for growing under glass. Also resistant to fusarium and verticillium wilt.

In my own personal experience growing these, I have found that you need to provide adequate support and tie in regularly. Remove all side shoots as they appear and restrict the plant to one main stem. Feed weekly with a high Potash Liquid fertiliser and water only moderately.

Remember, although Ferline F1 Hybrid shows resistance to Late Blight, it is not 100% resistant.  I know, you are saying, “Huh?!?!”  Like humans, resistance is good to a point.  Let’s say that you received a vaccine for a disease along with a million other people.  Likely, a few of that million will get the disease because of other circumstances — being immunocompromised, not eating properly, etc.  Tomatoes are just the same: if they are not healthy and happy, even a resistant variety can get sick.  To ensure that your resistant variety is growing well, remember to follow these simple steps:

1.  Rotate your Solanacious crops.  This means that a particular area of your garden should have tomato/potato/eggplant/pepper/tobacco/petunia/huckleberry/ground cherry/tomatillo/etc. grown it only once in every 3-4 years.

2.  Stake your tomatoes.  Allowing the plants to be up in the air will increase circulation and minimize the wet conditions for disease initiation.

3.  Do not water after 4 p.m.  You want to have your plants be as dry as possible going into the overnight hours.  If it is necessary to water after this time, do so only by soaker hoses.

4.  Remove bad fruit or tissues as soon as you see them.  Letting things rot on the vine is never a good thing.

5.  At the end of the season, clean your garden up properly.  Remove every stem, leaf, or fruit and toss it in the garbage (not the compost).  This will ensure that there is absolutely no way you can ever reinfect your garden with disease.

6.  And last, but not least, purchase your seed from a reputable, certified dealer.  There are a LOT of seed sellers out there that say they *know* their seed is safe because they [insert what they say they did].  However, many can say they did something, and they actually didn’t.  Buy your seed from a certified dealer — they have to by law do tests on their seed (and if they didn’t, you would not be buying from them because they would be in jail).  If you are interested in purchasing this variety, allow me to recommend this company:  http://www.totallytomato.com/dp.asp?pID=00263&c=43&p=Ferline+Hybrid+Tomato

EDIT, 1/22/11:  In addition to Ferline, the All-America Selections has released Lizzano F1 Hybrid Tomato, a cherry-type tomato that is resistant to Phytophthora infestans (Late Blight).  To see more information about Lizzano, click here.

 

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

It’s Not Too Late: Controlling Early Blight on your Tomatoes


“Dear Horticulture Talk Blogger,  I have noticed that I have a lot of blight starting on my tomato plants.  It is early blight, not late.  Is it too late to do something about it?  Love your column and would love to know your thoughts on this. Thanks, ~T.”

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Attention home gardeners — it’s not too early to start your control program for tomato early blight!

Early Tomato Blight (Alternaria solani) is generally one of the most severe tomato problems faced by home gardeners each season.  Early blight shows up as a leaf blight on the lower part of plants. The disease moves upward, and by early to mid-summer, early blight has caused a “firing-up” of foliage over most of the tomato plants in the garden.  As the disease progresses, leaves turn yellow, wither, and drop from plants. Tomato plant severely infected by early blight produce low yields of undersized fruit. Generally, fruit are also show signs of sun-scald since leaves aren’t present to protect fruit from direct sunlight.

Early blight tends to get off to an early start in the spring when wet weather is experienced soon after transplants are set. These type conditions are ideal for infection of young tomato plants by the early blight fungus. But probably the most important reason this disease is so common has to do with the tremendous popularity of tomatoes in Southern gardens.

For top yields of high quality fruit, early blight control is essential. Since early blight-resistant tomato varieties aren’t available, gardeners have to use a combination of practices to keep this disease in check.

As experienced gardeners know, growing a crop in the same area for several years often leads to increased disease problems.  Early blight control is based on crop rotation, removal and destruction of crop debris from previous crops, staking, mulching, and timely application of fungicides.

Staking and mulching are important in an early blight control program, since staking keeps foliage and fruit from contacting the soil surface, and mulching cuts down on “soil splash” onto lower parts of the plant. Since soil particles often contain the early blight fungus, this is a good way of keeping the fungus from invading plants. Plastic, or organic mulches (pine straw or even newspapers) are equally effective.

Application of fungicides is also generally needed for early blight control. Field tests have shown that chlorothalonil, maneb, and mancozeb fungicides — all available at gardening supply stores under a variety of trade names — provide effective early blight control when used according to label directions and applications are started early in the season.

As an added plus, any of these fungicides may be “tank mixed” with an insecticide such as malathion or Sevin (or newer formulation, Eight), thus allowing a single application for control of disease and insects.

Begin fungicide applications as soon as possible after transplants are set out and continue at 7 to 10-day intervals throughout the season. Also, applications should be made after a rain. Other leaf diseases such as leaf mold, gray leaf spot, and Septoria leaf spot are controlled by these fungicides.

Make sure to read and follow label directions concerning rates, application intervals, and the number of days required from the last application until fruit can be harvested.

For more information on Early Blight Resistant Tomato varieties, click here.

 

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

New from HPS: Pear Goliath Hybrid VFF Tomato


For those of you that really like to garden, I recommend the HPS  catalog.  HPS stands for Horticultural Product and Services.  Whether you are a small commercial grower or a home gardener, the HPS catalog is one-stop source for premium products at discounted prices.  They offer a wide selection of vegetables and one of the best selections of flowers in the USA.  As their catalog says, “Value is more important than ever these days…”

The other great thing about HPS is that their 2010 catalog is already out!  I like to look upon it as that one present you get to open before Christmas!

Anyway, back to today’s featured variety: Pear Goliath Hybrid VFF Tomato.

(Image courtesy of http://www.hpsseed.com/products/00012.jpg)

“90 days.  Large, blocky fruits weigh in at an impressive 5 to 8 oz. — the largest saladette we’ve seen yet!  Firm, meaty, and 3 to 4″ in length with good flavor.  Great when sliced for hamburgers, diced for salsa, cooking and roasting.  High yielding, bushy plant habit.  Disease resistant.  Determinate.”

Before the devastation of what will now be referred to as the ‘2009 Late Blight Infestation to End All Infestions’ , my Pear Goliaths were looking (and tasting) great!  I had only two tomatoes from these before everything was wiped out, but they were spectacular! Mine were used to make BLTs.  In the past, I have had problems with tomatoes that are a bit juicier and get the bread soggy.  The Pear Goliaths held up well — no sogginess, but still juicy enough to be just right for the sandwich.  My hope was to make some salsa out of these too, but unfortunately that never came to be.

In addition to HPS, Pear Goliath is also available from Totally Tomatoes (introduced in 2009).  It can be found at:

http://www.hpsseed.com/dp.asp?c=327&p={BAC78099-9F04-4B95-8732-F620314A2358}

or:

http://www.totallytomato.com/dp.asp?P={DF5EE05F-AEB7-4995-A7D0-47B81DC33682}

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

New for 2010 Posts


As a new little thing, I have decided to start highlighting some of the really cool new varieties that are coming out for 2010.  The ones that I will be highlighting are those that either I or my friends have been trialling during the 2009 growing season.

In addition to the usual information on growth habit and such, there will also be inclusions of recipes or other little information as appropriate.

I hope you guys enjoy the information!

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Notes from the Trial Gardens: Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


–The second crop of  _____ Radish that we are trialing was finished off today.  If all goes well, my plan is to put in some of our current favorite varieties to examine late summer stresses.  Will probably plant German Giant, White Icicle, French Breakfast, and others.  Also have a yellow radish that I’m interested in trying.  Oooo, and it is time to get those winter radishes like April Cross (Daikon), Black Spanish,  and Watermelon/Red Meat in.

–Despite Mother Nature sending us a unseasonably cool summer, the bush snap and wax beans are finally ready to pick for the first time.

–The cool weather has also stunted the summer squashes and zucchinis.  The plants have been pampered and yet are barely a foot tall and trying to flower.  Those flowers just happened to disappear because someone is hoping that we will get some heat and finally make all that water and fertilizer work!  No names as to who has been picking off the flowers…

–The tomatoes continue to go to town on setting!  Can’t wait until we get some ripe fruits!

–A new addition (at least for me) is our Double Click Cosmos.  I have been eagerly anticipating their blooming, and today was not disappointed.  The first has opened and was a pink one.  Beautiful!

–Sunflowers continue to be a bit on the short side, but given this summer, I’m not surprised.

 

© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.