Lessons From the Garden

It makes not one bit of difference how many years you’ve been gardening; there’s always something new to learn.

Or something old to be reminded of…

In the ‘Let’s Try Something New’ category, the Earthbox planters. All-in-all, a successful experiment. I love the casters on the bottom that let me wheel it all over the deck to find the right spot (Have you ever tried to move a big pot full of soil and growing plants? Not. Fun.). The trellis system is excellent. Not only for holding up these huge tomato plants, but as a perch for fledgling swallows…

One caveat: don’t be fooled by the seemingly-huge water reservoir. They still need water every day to avoid blossom-end rot issues. I didn’t use the showercap-looking covers that came with the kit, mostly because my transplants were so big, I’d have had to cut most of it away to get them in the dirt. Maybe they’d be less thirsty if the cap was on…

I may have chosen badly when I put the St. Pierre tomatoes in the planters. It’s the first time I’ve grown this variety – they’re the seeds Hubby brought from France. I researched its characteristics, and it’s supposed to be a determinate-type. Well, these guys have a rather wild-and-wooly growth habit, more like the heirlooms. Next year, they go in the ground.

Oh, yes. There will be a ‘next year’ for this one. Great flavor, great texture, and, so far, the only ripe one. Three whole tomatoes…

What else have we learned about tomatoes this year? Tomatoes and asparagus are good friends. Those leftover seedlings that got stuck in the asparagus bed (back when I thought the asparagus would never come up) are gorgeous! They had gotten all mixed-around before planting, so I didn’t know which ones they were… Looks like San Marzano’s and some of the ‘mystery’ tomatoes from the pack ofย  Mixed Heirloom seeds.

Oh, and never, ever count the asparagus out. As soon as you give up on it, it’ll start shooting up everywhere… All sixteen crowns are growing!

San Marzanos. Fat, beautiful fruit, on sturdy, healthy plants. LOTS of fruit. Every one of them, still green… What lesson do I take from this? Never, EVER go another year without a cherry tomato or one of the extra-early hybrids. I could be eating them by the handful right now…

From the ‘Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time’ category – the afore-mentioned ‘Mixed Heirloom’ tomato seed packet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been fun! I still have no idea what any of them are. But a few days ago I remembered that one of them is a German Green tomato…

Um, how do you know when a green tomato is ripe? Especially when you don’t know which one it might be, or even if one of them made it into the garden… Named varieties, from now on…

Whew! That’s a lot of lessons just from the Solanum family… I’ll tell you what the Cucurbits taught me another day…

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12 thoughts on “Lessons From the Garden

  1. Those plants, asparagus included, look incredible! I, too, went heirloom this year and I, too, am still waiting for my San Marzano & Brandywine to ripen. I will say, however, that the plants are really growing well and the San Marzanos are the best looking green tomatoes that I’ve ever grown. Next year, I’ll start them much earlier — maybe around Christmas. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I think we northern-tier gardeners just need to hope for nights above 50 before June 1…I started mine in plenty of time, but nothing helps when they can’t go in the ground on time…

      I usually do all heirlooms, but this is my first year for San Marzanos. If they ever ripen, there’s gonna be lots of sauce around here!

  2. In case you are still looking for delicious varieties of tomatoes for next year’s garden, may I suggest an heirloom, Cherokee Purple…and if you can find it, an ever tastier Cherokee Chocolate. Oh my goodness they are scrumptious!

    • Funny you should say that… there actually IS a Cherokee Purple in the bed! I love it, but it has good years and not-so-good years up here. One of my friends has had such bad luck with it he refuses to try again. It’s loaded with green fruit, but they’ve got no hint of red yet… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  3. Indeed – how do you tell when a green tomato is ripe? I have no idea ๐Ÿ™‚ It all looks amazing and although we are now over run with tomatoes, the plum were the last to ripen here too… Am insanely jealous of your asparagus!

    • I just planted the asparagus last spring, and for a long time – six or eight weeks, at least – I thought it was dead… I’m so glad it lived, that sometimes I just go up and sit and LOOK at it….

      The hard part is that it’ll be at least two more years before we can eat any… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

  4. Your posts make me wish I could plant a few things. But, there is too much shade in my yard and too many animals. I’m having trouble growing grass this year!!! Have a fun weekend

  5. All of your plants (and fruits) look wonderful! I learned that lesson about asparagus a few years ago. I also learned (this year) that tomato plants keep the asparagus beetles away. I learned the hard way. Next year there will be tomato plants scattered in the asparagus bed.

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