It took a lot of time and effort to expand from this:
And I had a few setbacks — mostly because I got overly excited and started things too early. Also I had some sloppy technique in the seed starts and I had to do some replanting.
I got discouraged a time or ten and worried that our labor efforts and money spent on fencing would be for naught. But as late as it is, compared to everyone else’s gardens in the area and compared to how big my few plants were this time last year, it’s coming along one little leaf at a time. I have lots of healthy babies and lots of room for them. The goal in expanding was to grow enough food to can and freeze some.
This morning brought the best harvest so far. A couple of big pink brandywines, two zucchinis, a few small peppers and several golden sunbursts.
This was our first zucchini and although I initially intended on simmering it with the tomatoes and peppers to go along with our chicken parm this evening, Gordon requested zucchini bread. I couldn’t refuse, since zucchini bread was the reason I grew it at all. Each of my boys made a special request in the garden, and the zucchini was his. The bread turned out pretty yummy!
This morning also brought news of another lost tomato plant. Same death as my djeena’s golden girl. Droopy with a rotted stem. I blamed the wobbliness of my supports along with too much moisture. Well, the moisture is right. We’ve gotten a lot of rain. But after doing some reading, I think it’s southern blight.
And I have no idea what this potato-leafed beauty was, since he never produced a tomato. The tallest, most beautiful plant with lots of flowers and no fruit. I began interfering with pollination, but nothing seemed to take.
I wonder if I used djeena’s bamboo stake in this plant’s bag. I really hope so. If not, there is at least one more casualty coming, because I used it somewhere…..
I put him in the burn barrel and am attempting (feebly?) to use solar heat to kill the fungus so I can safely add the soil back to the compost.
And speaking of compost, I have a nice hot pile in process right now. It’s bigger than it looks. (Hehe)
But when opening the pile to rotate and add to it, I unearthed about infinity of these little maggoty dudes. My lighting was too low to get a good shot of the madness. So all I have is a picture of a couple in my gloved hand. What the fuck are they? Are they vermicomposting or are they infesting? Next mystery to solve, I guess.
$1 apiece. Marshall’s bags. Huge and less porous than the cloth kind of shopping bag, so holds moisture better. I would call it a successful experiment. I have indeterminate heirlooms overtaking six foot bamboo stakes and producing lovely fruit, all contained within these colorful bags.
These came from Burpee’s heirloom assortment, which I did my best to examine for differences hoping to reap the greatest probable variety.
It worked pretty well, because so far I have tasted a cuostralee:
A pink brandywine:
Lots of golden sunbursts:
A black krim and a couple of djena lee’s golden girls (r.i.p. djena’s girl….best tangy flavor but the stem rotted somehow):
And a hundred and fifty million red currants (separate seed pack) but still not too many to keep up with eating them fresh. And they’re the best!
Next summer I would like to put the tomatoes into the ground, mostly because of my own ideals about what a real garden should look like. But honestly, this is working out really well. The cheapy bags hold plenty of soil, they are sturdy enough to move around a bit, and the bamboo stakes do pretty well supporting everything. I do think my supports move a bit too much and maybe that’s why my djena’s girl died. Not sure. But overall, I claim success! Would recommend.
But one mystery remains. What the hell is sticking out of my tomato stakes?
Some days the garden makes my heart glisten with joy, some days it makes me say fuck a lot.
Today was a fuck day.
Some gray wiltedness and brown spottiness caught my eye as I was squishing a few small slugs on the peppers this morning. One tomato plant for sure. Maybe a fungus? I don’t know.
So here’s the strategy:
-Isolate this plant
-Give other tomatoes more room for air circulation
– Apply organic sulfur stuff on Thursday when Amazon delivers it
– Add Epsom salts to soil in case it’s a magnesium deficiency and because it can’t hurt
– Add more compost to soil
– Cross fingers
So luckily it was pizza night at the homestead so I could rush out and use the last two hours of daylight after work. Eddie came out to help (under duress) and thinned out his corn while I worked on this craziness.
The ability to move my tomatoes around made me happy that they are in bags. However my whole stake system sucks pretty bad, which became quite evident this evening. I used long skinny tree branches stuffed into the bags and propped against each other. Sure they are cute and natural and tall and free, but they are also wide based and heavy and basically want to topple the plants over when the bags are no longer too close together. So, I need to find good old light skinny stakes, but tall ones.
Next year I’m tilling the place up and planting in the ground. And spacing generously.
Here the poor baby is, cropped and quarantined. Got rid of that shit.
And here’s my new spacing. Looks so chaotic right now:
And here’s some probable blossom end rot because I was going to let my plants toughen up by not watering much. Yep. That worked.