Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Progress Report

Eggplants are plentiful - this is my first time growing them and I have just a single plant. These italian ones couldn't be more beautiful and tasty. I have been making/eating eggplant rollatini each week and have to learn a few different ways of cooking eggplant.

I have two cucumber plants and they are producing about 10 cucumbers a week. The cherry tomatoes are plentiful but I haven't had a single yellow grape tomato at all from my plant and my yellow pear tomatoes are just coming in which is later than in previous years. So we will keep everyone updated.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Balancing flowers and vegetables

I've posted earlier about mixing my vegetable garden with my flowers since my backyard (as you can see) isn't too large. At the near left is my mix of zucchini and vinca. My challenge is the vining vegetables like squash and melons that require a lot of space to spread out. I also prefer not to get the vines messed up with my perennials. My solution was to use a large patch of my front bed for the vines and then to fill the front up with flowers (this pic is about three weeks ago). I'll post a new one in a few days. You wouldn't believe how much the zucchini has taken over and there is no mulch to be seen in the front as the flowers have exploded. Again amazing results when you go from a drought to a regular rain.

Solar Fire and Mortgage Lifter Results

Just wanted to show off the Solar Fire tomatoes (left and right) and the 4.5 inch Mortgage Lifter in the center.

The past years during the drought my large tomatoes didn't show up until end of July and my garden was overrun with the grape and cherry tomatoes. This year I'm getting the large ones early and just a few cherry tomatoes. Surprised that I haven't had a single yellow grape or yellow pear yet...

My Yellow Taxi tomatoes are finished as well (you can see the last few on the sill).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Favorite Site - Tomatoes by the window

Just a sneak peek of what's to come! The yellow tomatoes are Yellow Taxi a determinate variety that are almost done.

Mortgage Lifters live up to name

Here it is in June and I have 9 tomatoes on my single mortgage lifter plant (and a few more dime size coming along). The biggest of these is already almost 5" in diameter. They are still all green but some of my other large tomatoes are turning red now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My early Yellow Taxi tomatoes - too short?

In response to Cindy and my early tomatoes - some are healthy and bushy but this one is the one that concerns me. These are my yellow taxis. One is bigger and has a ton of fruit the other pretty small still. This smaller one is the one I did pick off the fruit. It is still only about 14 inches high. Compared to the other Yellow Taxi which is probably 3 foot high although a bit droopy and has 11 tomatoes on it. I picked on of those tomatoes still green but large and it appears to be ripening up on my windowsill.

Cucumbers and some tomatoes have arrived

The rains in Atlanta and not too hot temps seem to be ripening the garden much faster this year than before. I have both English and Finger cucumbers and all but one of my 10 varieties of tomato plants has tomatoes on it - several have already produced ripe fruit.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Question for the experienced gardener

I have tomatoes on many of my plants already - this is much earlier than I have ever had tomatoes. Do these early tomatoes stunt the plant growth? Should I pick them off? It would seem that the plants are putting all of their energy into making these early tomatoes and not into growth of plant. Here in Atlanta we have had a great combination of rain and sun and not too hot. My past gardens were all part of the recent drought. Still it seems that 5 weeks is a bit early to see tomatoes on: Yellow Taxi, Solar Fire, Cherokee Purple, Sweet Million and Box Car Willie

Cindy: Any advice? Should I worry? Pick the tomatoes? Let them be?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Challenges of a raised bed & backyard garden

One of the challenges I face in incorporating my vegetables into my backyard and front yard gardens is how to mesh vegetables and the sometimes sprawling vegetation into a pretty garden. Especially in my back bed where it becomes a lot of green against the house and in the front bed which is prominent to anyone driving by the house. I'll start with how I am working with the front bed garden which is the first time I have planted vegetables out front. This is an area that benefits from a lot of strong afternoon sun.

I used an ornamental column to serve as the post for the pole beans - it is five feet tall but we will see if that is enough for the beans as summer progresses. I have wrapped the squash and melon plants around in a circular pattern to take advantage of the drip hose and scattered in some onions for trial. From there I will be planting flowers around the edge and in the front to soften the look. I am investigating companion planting for the flowers but also have to take into consideration what will live in the hot Georgia sun and of course the colors that I like best.

Regrowth of the black cherry tomato plant

In an earlier post I asked Cindy a question about a tomato plant that lost it's top. She thought it would re-generate and sure enough one of the offshoots has taken over the role of the leader and headed for the sky. Hopefully you can see the small white circle drawn around the spot where the plant broke off and then see the regrowth as it reaches for the sky.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sweet Millions

Greetings, this is the first year in my garden that we have had regular rain and it is amazing to see how fast the garden grows. Most of my plants have doubled in size and the one plant that lost its top has sprouted some strong stems. I have my first tomato as well on my sweet million plant! It's still green but this is very early even for Atlanta. The sweet million is an amazing plant - last year's lasted through Thanksgiving and I finally cut it down. Now, it looks like it has re-blossomed, sprouting a small 6 inch plant - I'll monitor and see what happens to this one as I haven't heard of tomato plants being perennials. I will post a photo soon but for now this is what my crazy sweet million looked like last fall (it's hard to see but it grew to the top of the 6 foot pole and then headed back to the ground with no breakage)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Planting the garden

I planted my garden on April 19th after acclimating them to my yard. I will be applying mulch soon. Shown here is my Yellow Taxi tomato in a container. It took most of the day to decide exactly which one to place where - no matter how much I plan I change my mind on the day of planting.
Since Cindy is monitoring these blogs I'll ask my two questions about planting:
1. If the top stem of the tomato plant is damaged and breaks off - will the plant recover and grow another main stem?
2. When you bury the tomato plants stem what do you do with the bottom stalks? I worry that if I cut them I invite disease, but I also read that they shouldn't touch the ground.

Welcome to my garden

Welcome to my garden. This is my third year gardening with the Tasteful Garden and my fourth year with a vegetable garden. The first year I had only one tomato plant and one basil plant. I was hooked, now I have 10 tomatoes in 9 varieties. My repeats include Sweet Million Cherries, Yellow Pear, Yellow Taxi, Black Cherry, Cherokee Purple. New this year I am experimenting with large red varieties after growing arkansas traveller for the past 2 years. My new ones include Box Car Willie, Solar Fire, and Mortgage Lifter and another small type the Yellow Grape. As you can see I really enjoy the small pop in your mouth varieties.

In addition to tomatoes, I am also planting bunching onions, green beans, eggplant, english and green fingers cucumbers, italian bell yellow and red peppers as well as moon & stars watermelon. In the past I have only had middling luck with the bell peppers but I'm trying one more time! I have also put in some local zucchini and cantaloupe.