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Archive for the ‘tomato’ Category

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The vegetable garden is really doing well. I haven’t gone to the farmer’s market in weeks and we’ve been eating like kings. Squash, tomatoes, okra, green beans, onions, pepper (notice no “s”), swiss chard and plenty of herbs. 

Sugar Pumpkin. 
Hopefully the Squash Vine Borers don’t destroy the entire plant before I’m able to see this one ripen.  

Sun Gold Tomatoes. These are so incredibly tasty I can’t see us planting any other type of cherry. We just can’t get enough of them.

Brandywine.
Until just a few days ago when I spotted a few more tiny ones, this big guy was the one great hope. The production has been so bad on these, that tasty or not I don’t think I’ll be planting them again. Next year I’ll try Cherokee Purple instead.

Romas. 
These have just started ripening in the last day or two. I’ll be making some spaghetti tonight. Mmmm!

Octopus Swiss Chard. 
Really it’s just plain old swiss chard, but the twisty stems remind me of a certain sea creature. If I was ESP I’d be adding some really cool pics here 🙂

Okra.
Like the zucchini, these guys can get really big really fast if you aren’t paying attention.

Zucchini.
Still hanging in there. From this picture you’d never guess that I’ve cut into every one of these and lost half. Obviously, I overplanted the bed. Who knew vines could grow like this 🙂

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I know it’s not quite to the last frost, but I looked at my schedule for the next few weekends and I just won’t have time to plant the veggies. I took half a day of vacation friday and got my seedlings into the ground. Saturday I worked on the gazebo again. I’ll have to post some pictures soon to show exactly what took what could have been 9 full days of gardening work since late November. Sunday I installed a drip system. The new beds are really more than I have time to manage with the hose, and my tomatoes didn’t do as well as they could have last year with consistent watering. It wasn’t expensive, and not too difficult. I haven’t hooked up a timer yet. Right now I just turn on the hose while I’m getting ready for work or taking a morning walk.

Tomato close-up. I plan on putting straw on all of the beds, once this cold front passes. I did some research and found that straw is a cooling mulch. That is perfect for out hot summers, but no so great when you’re trying to keep the beds extra warm.
Brandywine, romas and misc. peppers. I planned on remembering which peppers were which when I transplanted them into bigger pots and that didn’t work out so well. I planted all of them, so I guess it doesn’t matter too much. I’ll figure it out eventually.

Okra and swiss chard. I’m also thinking of planting some sweet potatoes as well.

Yellow squash and zucchini. The seed packed said these don’t always transplant well, but mine have really taken off in the last few days. My trick will be trying to ward off the squash-vine borer. I didn’t have much luck last year.

Rainbow Cherry, Sungold, misc. peppers. I have also scattered onions though all of the beds.
After planting on friday the weather forecast kept getting worse. Monday afternoon I bought some row cover and covered everything last night. This should protect against potential frost, and the sub-45 degrees that we’ll be seeing the next few nights.

To fix my bloom issue … I picked up a few bluebonnets at the Natural Gardener. I planted them right by the front walk. Ahh … spring is here, except for that pesky cold front.

Last night I planted some daylily bulbs in this bed as well. I’m hoping the rain will encourage them to pop up quickly. I’d eventually like to make this entire bed full of daylilies. One of my neighbors has a similar thing on the side of the house and it is really beautiful. I am planning on doing the yellow/orange varieties.

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This was my first year with a spring/summer/fall garden. I was able to harvest tomatoes, peppers, onions, herbs, cantaloupe, and watermelon, but not quite the bounty that I was hoping for. I did learn quite a few lessons along the way.
Overall
1. The seaweed spray and “buds and blooms” really seem to work well. I need to be much more diligent about using them.
2. The raised beds worked well and at 10-12″ seemed to be deep enough.

3. Sugar ants are a sign of aphids. I found about 100 sugar ants on one of my pepper plants. At first I ignored it, but observed that it was odd. A few days later I looked closer and found the plant covered in aphids. A quick trip to The Natural Gardener for some all natural insecticide quickly took care of the problem.

4. Plants being cut at the base, looking as if they were cut with scissors is a sign of a cutworm. This looks like a friendly little caterpillar, but only comes out at night to destroy your lovely plants. In my case, it was the chives. I finally found this guy at dusk, when he was just making his way above ground. If you want to find them during the day, you just have to dig down an inch or two around the base of the plant.
5. Plant more of everything!
Tomatoes
1. Due to the not too brutally hot weather, the season lasted from March through December. Due to this fact, the typical small cages will not cut it. The cage would have been fine had it been spring only, but by the time the second round came, the tomato plants had outgrown their cages, and were falling over. I wasn’t able to get a late summer harvest and had to end up pulling them.
2. The tomato plants grow much larger than you can imagine. I originally planted two plants per cage, and they quickly ran out of room. Next year, one large cage per plant.

3. Marigolds do work. I had no problem with tomato horn worms all spring, and this may have been due to the abundance of marigolds I planted all around them. During the heat of the summer, the marigolds died off. When the late summer tomatoes grew in, with no marigolds to accompany them, I found four huge horn worms.
4. I don’t care for the two types I planted. One was the Black Big Tex. The other was the Beefeater. I also grew romas, which did really well and tasted incredible. I found that I really like the Brandywines that I got from the farmers’ market, that I definitely want to try next year.

5. I did get some cracks in the tomatoes during the warmer months. The research I found suggested that this was due to the tomatoes getting too dry and then getting a ton of water. I need to regulate this better next year. I may look into some sort of drip system.
Peppers
1. Plant more! I planted  9 plants, which was nowhere near enough. I need at least twice as many next year.
2. The spanish spice did the best of any variety and have a great flavor.
3. The purple beauty variety is too small for my liking. The peppers were about 2 inches tall. The red beauty and jupiter bells were perfect. 
Squash

1. Pumpkins are squash, yes it seems obvious now 🙂 and therefore affected by the squash vine borer. If I want to try these, or any squash, next year I will need to take better precautions.


Marjoram

1. It seems marjoram prefers the cooler weather. I didn’t get much production out of this herb all summer, but it has really taken off in November. 

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