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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-06-11 01:22 PM
Original message
Milk bath miracle does it again!
Returned home after my extended absence to some MIGHTY pitiful tomato plants. Short, spindly and generally pathetic. Immediately gave them Lyric's milk bath (approx. 1/2c non-fat dry milk to one gallon lukewarm water for anyone who somehow missed her most-popular-in-Gardening-Forum-ever thread) and VOILA! One week later, they are taking off like gangbusters.

Amusingly, I also returned to two unexpected tomato plants-- growing under the tree in the front yard in amongst the flowers. Must have seeded from last year's dropped fruit (my containers are quite nearby). Amusingly, they were doing as well in so-so soil w/no extra fertilizer as my babied in-container plants. Decided to let them stay as I am hoping that at least will turn out to be a Black Cherry as I was not able to get one this year and included them in the milk bathing.

Thanks again, Lyric for sharing this most wondrous tomato elixir. :applause:
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Lugnut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-11 12:45 AM
Response to Original message
1. I'm doing my plants tomorrow.
I had a bumper crop of tomatoes last year after giving them a milk bath. Bathtime will be tomorrow.
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-11 09:24 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Because mine are in containers, I "bathe" them about every ten days to two weeks.
It's just amazing the immediate effect it has, isn't it?

Wish there was a similar formula for flowers. I Googled to see if milk worked on non-veggies, but it seems it's either neutral (doesn't hurt, but won't help) or bad, depending on who you believe.

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Lugnut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-11 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. It's amazing.
I think it helped the cucumbers too. I am so grateful to Lyric for posting about it.
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-11 11:08 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Yup, definitely good for cukes.
Mine were petered out and dying and now they are making new leaves and flowers.

I think it works for any fruiting veggie. It revived my sqaushes too (SUPER early planting has kept them safe from vine borers, so far. Still having to Dust Buster off Squash Bugs and snip off leaves w/their eggs, but post-milk they are also making new fruit.
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Lugnut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-10-11 01:22 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. My cukes this year are pretty sad.
They look sickly and the leaves look nothing like those on my plants last year. I gave them a milk bath and am holding my breath. I want to make pickles so I need them to survive.

I had a huge crop of tomatoes last year. We ate a lot of them but we had a ton left over. A friend told me to slice them and lay them out single file on a cookie sheet. She told me to drizzle extra virgin olive oil on them and add minced garlic, salt and pepper and Italian seasoning on them. I roasted them in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. I let them cool, scooped them into ziplock bags and tossed them into the upright freezer. I thawed them out to make pasta sauce but I added two cans of Hunt's tomato sauce to them while they were simmering. They needed some additional seasoning and I used the plunge blender to break up the tomato pieces.

My family went wild when they ate this sauce with pasta and homemade meatballs. I bought bushels of tomatoes at the farmer's market to make more roasted tomatoes. I have one bag left in the freezer almost in time for this year's harvest. It was a time consuming but very inexpensive effort that we enjoyed all winter.
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-10-11 09:30 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Sounds yummy.
The location where they hold our farmer's market got an expensive revamp this year and now the prices on produce are just RIDICULOUS! So, I'll have to hope my own tomato plants yield enough to try this.
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Lugnut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-13-11 01:28 AM
Response to Reply #7
21. Prices were excellent at the markets here last year.
I live in farm country so the prices are pretty good at the local farm stores that operate year-round, too. I got a half dozen of corn at the little stand on the highway near my house and the corn was wonderful! I'll be freesing some of that next week.

Update on the cukes - they have perked up very nicely already. The other half told me he thought they were on their last legs but the milk bath gave them a second chance. He was skeptical but finally had to admit that I was right.

I have to tie up the tomatoes again tomorrow because they are growing like mad. A few Early Girls are starting to turn. The Campari plants have a ton of little green tomatoes on them. I see a lot of salads in our future.

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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-13-11 09:37 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. Thanks for the update!
Always nice to hear a gardening success story. :hi:
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GentryDixon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-09-11 08:50 AM
Response to Original message
5. I treated mine yesterday.
When I saw Lyric's post a few weeks ago I decided to try it.

My potted tomato plants are doing better than I have ever seen. My sister is now trying the same elixir on her fruiting vegetables.
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ellenrr Donating Member (619 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-10-11 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
8. I'm going to try this. My one tomato in a big pot started out good,
lots of blossoms, but now it has stopped producing tomatoes.
I've only got about 5 or 6 on the whole plant.
I think this is it for me and tomatoes. A lot of work, and I don't get much. But I will try the milk bath. thanks.
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-10-11 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Do you know if your tomato is determinate or indeterminate?
Here is some good info on the difference:

http://organicgardening.about.com/od/vegetablesherbs/f/...
and
http://tomclothier.hort.net/page35.html


As long as you have an indeterminate or a "vigorous" determinate, the milk bath should do wonders.


Good luck! :hi:
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ellenrr Donating Member (619 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-11-11 05:16 AM
Response to Reply #9
14. hmmm, I read the descriptions,
but still not sure which I have. I think I have the label somewhere.
It is a Rutgers ramapo.
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-11-11 07:36 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. According to this article it is "semi-determinate" (which I'm guessing is the
same as "vigorous" determinate): http://www.dig-itmag.com/features/lifegarden_story/337_... /

Good explanation of "semi-determinate" here: http://www.donnan.com/tomatoes.htm


So, I think a every-ten-days-or-so schedule of milk bathing could help kick your guy back into production. :)
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ellenrr Donating Member (619 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-11-11 01:24 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. yes I found the label and it is semi.
so I will try it, thank you.
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NJCher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-12-11 10:29 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. I keep planting all season long
That way I always have new and more productive plants going in. When plants have stopped producing, I pull them out and replace them with a younger one.

For example, tomorrow I'll do a walk-around my garden and put in new cucumber and squash seeds.

The younger plants are able to better withstand the colder temperatures in the fall, too.


Cher

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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-13-11 10:44 AM
Response to Reply #20
26. I am now going to try a second planting of squash this year.
Your success in NJ starting from seeds gives me hope that I'll do well here in VA too. I was worried seeds wouldn't have enough time to get going and, of course, you can't buy squash seedlings anywhere this late in the season. Thanks for the inspiration! :hi:
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Vinca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-10-11 04:52 PM
Response to Original message
10. I've never heard of the milk bath. How many plants will a gallon of it feed?
I'm going to pick up some dried milk tomorrow. My tomatoes are not as robust as usual this year so maybe this will do the trick.
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-10-11 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Make sure to get NON-FAT dry milk.
The fatted kind is actually bad for your plants.

I just gave mine a second bath tonight and one gallon fed:

1 cucumber (actually 2 plants in one pot)
6 tomatoes (four in pots, two volunteers in the ground)
3 peppers
1 squash (2 plants in one pot)
1 french beans (2 plants in one pot)
1 pot of peas (the last stragglers of my spring planting and some new ones that popped up--- from dropped dried pods while I was gone, who knows?)

Mine are all in pots, so I follow Lyric's every-week-and-a-half suggested bathing schedule. If yours are in the ground, I'd give them MORE milk water less often. See Lyric's original post for in-ground schedule.
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Vinca Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-10-11 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Thanks. My eggplants are sorry looking, too, so maybe I'll give them a drink, too.
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-10-11 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. In my experience, it works wonders for any veggie.
Good luck!! :hi:
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Raven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-11-11 08:37 AM
Response to Original message
16. How often do you do this milk bath?
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-11-11 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. Mine are in containers, so I bathe them about every ten days. Every two weeks at the most.
Edited on Mon Jul-11-11 02:12 PM by beac
See Lyric's orginal post for her advice on timetables for in-ground plants: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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Raven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-11-11 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Thank you Beac.
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NJCher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-13-11 07:50 AM
Response to Original message
22. I just returned from an early-morning trip to the ShopRite
With $7.99 worth of nonfat dry milk. I am ready to mix and head to the garden.


Cher
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-13-11 09:39 AM
Response to Reply #22
24. Early morning or late evening is best, just like regular watering.
Good luck! :hi:
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NJCher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-13-11 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. I did half the garden this a.m.
Edited on Wed Jul-13-11 10:35 AM by NJCher
From re-reading the thread, it looks like I gave my plants a lot more than you did. Well, it's their first one, so...

Anyway, I think I will take pics for today's watering and then compare them to pics I'll take around the 23rd of July.

But when you say "pathetic," you haven't seen these plants of mine. I picked them up on the 25th from the nursery and yeah, they have settled in a little, but for the most part, they still look just like they did back when I got them. Other than tomatoes, they are sad, sad little plants.


Cher
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-13-11 10:47 AM
Response to Reply #25
27. Great! I'll look forwrd to your before-and-afters.
(My camera is still overseas w/mr. beac and my phone takes lousy pics.)

Am I right that your plants are in-ground? If so, a bigger dose of milk bath should be just fine. Even if they are in containers, I think you'll be okay. :)
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ellenrr Donating Member (619 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-13-11 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. do you spray the leaves and fruit with the mixture?
does it gum up a sprayer?

thanks,
ellen
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-13-11 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. I don't spray the leaves, but I hear you can do that if you have a problem w/
fungus or mildew on the plants. I've also heard of just pouring it over the leaves, but that seems hard to do acurately. I suppose what I give is really more of a "milk drink" but since Lyric called it a bath, I've just been using that term ever since.

I mix mine in a big pot and then funnel it into a used plastic water jug (a milk jug would also work! ;). I made holes in the jug's lid with a hot nail (just heat it with a lighter and then poke it thru over and over to make lots of holes. I also make a larger hole in the upper handle of the jug to make it pour more easily. With my jug-pourer I can really control the flow and pour in gently at the base of each plant.
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NJCher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-13-11 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. yeah, they're in raised beds
Everyone I've told about this is excited and they want to hear the outcome. I was even passing this tip around the bar at the Portuguese grill we had lunch at today!



Cher
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-13-11 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. I hope Lyric checks in soon to see how much she's helped us all again this year.
:)
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TuxedoKat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-18-11 08:24 AM
Response to Original message
32. I'll try this
although it may be too late for this year. My plants were fine up until about three weeks ago when I went on vacation. I came back and they looked sickly, some yellowing leaves, etc., like they stopped growing or something and hardly any tomatoes. I don't know if we had too much rain this spring (the last half of May it rained almost daily) or if I planted other things too close to them (squash, lettuce, brussel sprouts).
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NJCher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-22-11 09:10 AM
Response to Original message
33. study shows milk spray effective in halting powdery mildew
I just found the first spot of powdery mildew on my cukes this a.m. so I was doing more research on how to stop it. What turned up is that milk is effective in stunting powdery mildew. A 30 per cent solution of milk with water sprayed on the plant slashed the severity of the disease by 90 per cent.

If you want to read the article with a little more detail, see this:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/home-garden/powdery-mi...


Cher

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