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Mike Bruner

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since Jan 23, 2021
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Recent posts by Mike Bruner

Hi Debbie! I was just thinking "I should probably post an update just in case anyone was wondering", and sure enough!

Long story short, everything is good! I'm still not sure exactly what it was, but I'm pretty sure I was right about it being some kind of "environmental stress" rather than a disease. I had to pick off quite a few mostly-dead limbs, but I would have been doing that anyway come transplanting time, so no big deal. I had just potted them up from 2"x2" soil blocks into 4.5" pots when I wrote the original post, and I foliar fed them with fish & kelp fertilizer a couple times over the following month, and although the affected leaves continued to get worse, the new growth looked great.

We had temps into the 30's overnight even last week this year, so I waited until this past Saturday to finally get them into the ground. So far so good! I don't have any pics off-hand but I post a lot on instagram as growing_bodymindsoul so I'll probably post some on there this weekend.

Thanks for the help all! Have a good one.
Hello All - I'd really appreciate some help identifying a problem with my tomato seedlings. They were doing fantastic until maybe 7-10 days ago. Although some are worse than others, it seemed to happen very quickly, more/less all at once, which makes me think it's not a disease, but I could certainly be wrong. I have several varieties, and nearly all of them are affected - interestingly, only the Purple Calabash seem to be fine, and those were super old seeds.

I've attached several good pictures that, hopefully, will make it easy for someone experienced w/ seed starting. If not, here is some background/context that might help:

I started these in 3/4" soil blocks & moved up to 2" blocks. I just put them in the pots seen in the pics on Sunday, and the issue was already going on before that. I did a light spray of Neptune's Harvest (fish & kelp) diluted per instructions on Sunday; no significant response that I can tell so far.

These are indoors on a heating mat under lights. Some of the things I've thought of: 1) Am I over-watering and this is edema? I've started waiting until I see them just start to droop before watering, but it's hard to know if that's doing nothing or if I'm preventing further trouble. 2) I had pepper seeds germinating on the same mat, so I had the thermostat set to 85F - will tomatoes suffer at that soil temp? I've since turned it down to 75F.

Thanks so much for any help. I have a feeling they'll outgrow whatever this is if I can keep them alive until it's time to plant, but that will be at least 2 weeks away - maybe more w/ the crazy weather here in Cinci right now!
Hey All!

I don't think of myself as a beginner gardener, but this really blew me away and I'm wondering if I missed something when I WAS a beginner! I have some great looking lettuce that I planted late last Summer and harvested from through the Fall. Fortunately it over-wintered without any aid from me and has grown a ton since it started warming up again. I tasted some today and it was sweet - like there was an immediately noticeable sugary flavor! I always took "sweet" to simply mean "not bitter" in reference to greens. I've grown lettuce for several years, including in Fall for Winter harvest, and never had this before. These same plants didn't even taste like this last Fall. Can anyone tell me how I managed this lol? I couldn't figure out the right search terms to find anything useful on Google. It sure is something I'd like to repeat! Thanks for any info!

Thanks for your thoughts everyone! I appreciate the thoughtful and measured responses. It was also cool to see the spectrum straight from "no way" to "no worries" without anyone getting heated. I feel like we need more of that in the world!

Anyway - trying to synthesize as many responses as possible - I think what I'll do is not actively look for a way to incorporate the nutrients into my garden ecosystem (e.g., I won't just add it to my compost), but I'll keep it on hand and use light applications on potted plants as a last-ditch option if they seem to be struggling and my normal strategies aren't helping.

Thanks again all!
2 months ago
Hey All - I realize this will be a hot topic. I adhere to the organic spirit 99% of the time, but I try to keep an open mind and don't follow the letter of the law rigidly. Some will undoubtedly want to answer, "you can't, the end" to my question, and I totally support you on that!

So my wife's grandpa passed a while back; he was an avid, although very conventional, gardener. When we were cleaning out his garage, I came across his giant box of miracle grow and thought to myself that, although I would never have bought it myself, surely it would be adding insult to injury for those nutrients to just be thrown away and wasted. So, I took the box home.

I'm reading Phil Nauta's book, Building Soils Naturally, at the moment, and I just read about what the typical synthetic NPK fertilizers do in the soil. So what I'm wondering is, how can I incorporate those nutrients into my soil while minimizing the nasty stuff Phil describes? My thought was just to dilute it a ton and spray it in tiny doses onto an active compost pile over time. Thoughts? I may not be able to bring myself to use it at all, haha...2 warring sides in my brain! Thanks all.
2 months ago
Hello All,

Thanks in advance for any assistance both now and in the future! I've gotten good info here for years, when a forum post came up in Google, etc., but this is my first time registering and asking a question of my own.

Background (you can totally skip this if you're not curious haha): We moved into a new house last April. One of the first things I did is plant a couple table grape vines on the corners of the broad side of the shed. I had intended to build a nice wooden pergola between them early this Spring; unfortunately, given the cost of lumber right now, I'm going to take a cheaper option - a cattle panel arch. It will be something like 8-10' across and 4' deep. I plan to put a bench under it, and I've built raised garden beds around where the arch will be, such that it will be really pretty to look at from the house, and even better as a place to sit and enjoy the garden view.

Anyway - I'm having a hard time finding any specific info on how to prune grapes vines grown on an arch, pergola, etc. to maintain good fruit production in this less orderly but more aesthetically pleasing approach. I understand the basic premise of how/why to prune grapes; I've grown just one vine before and used a simple kniffin-ish approach. I feel like this has to have come up before - could anyone direct me to an article or forum post on the subject? Any info would be very much appreciated! Thanks for your time.

Actually, one more question - in your all's opinion, will 2 grape vines be good enough coverage for an arch of the size I described? I've purchased some cool seeds from Experimental Farm Network that might be good additions to fill it out more, if appropriate - Hablitzia ("Caucasian Mountain Spinach") and Northern Maypop (Passionflower/Passionfruit). I had been thinking to let one or both of these grow up & along the swing set, but I have been trying to think of other places to put more of them!

4 months ago