Tag Archives: Garden Journal

Garden Journal: Tomato Varieties Galore!

When I was out in the garden the other day I was struck not only by how pretty the tomatoes are, but also by the differences in how each variety is formed.  I thought it would be fun to share them all with you!

This Big Beef is almost ready to harvest!

Champion VFNT:

Yellow Pear tomatoes.  I love the way these ones look.

Japanese Black Trifele.  These heirloom tomatoes will be deep blackish purple when they are ripe.

Basket Pac.  These look like they will be cherry tomatoes.

Brandywine, another heirloom variety:

Cherokee Purple (also an heirloom variety).  The description says “dusty pink outside, purple-green inside”.  But the picture  of the outside looks pretty purple to me.

Early Girl Hybrid:

Supersweet 100.  This plant is covered in very prolific branches of cherry-sized tomatoes!

Mr. Stripey.  Another heirloom, this one will be red and yellow striped when ripe.

Some sort of larger cherry-type tomato:

San Marzano.  This is my first time growing these and I am excited to try them!

Sun Gold Hybrid.  I grew these orange cherry tomatoes last year and they are so good!  The one furthest to the right was harvested and eaten minutes after this photo was taken.

A tasty treat!

A few young sun golds just starting to grow:

This post is part of Garden Tuesday hosted by Sidewalk Shoes.

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Garden Journal: Pests, Pests, Pests!

It’s been a while since I gave a garden update and a lot has happened!

First, the good news:  The tomatoes are thriving!  My husband planted 20+ plants and I planted 4.  They are all doing well, and we even have a few fruits beginning to turn red.  We have a pretty wide variety of types and we are looking forward to trying them all.

Thriving Tomatoes

The potatoes are also doing great!  They are growing well and I have even spotted a couple potatoes forming.

Potatoes

I have planted cucumbers, cabbage, zucchini, green beans, and a couple of experiments:  eggplant and okra.

Okra Plant

Now, the bad news:  Pests!  What kind of pests, you ask?  Many:  ants, earwigs, mice, and moles.  I even spotted a skunk in the garden the other night, and saw a big slug FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER in our hot, dry climate.  There are probably other pests out there that we just haven’t seen yet and I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before the racoons find us.

The two pests that seem to be doing the most damage are the moles and earwigs.  The moles really love my nicely dug garden beds and are zig-zagging their way around the whole thing.  It’s hard to put my hand down into the beds and NOT feel a mole tunnel.  My husband has set a couple traps, but so far we haven’t caught one.

The water from the drip line is creating holes in the soil above the mole tunnels.

The earwigs (I HATE earwigs!) are eating our plants.  My husband confirmed this last night when he went out after dark and saw his basil plant covered in earwigs that were clearing eating the leaves.  Most of the sprouts I grew from seeds were eaten, and I suspect the earwigs or the mice.

I had a basil plant completely stripped of its leaves in one night, and all that was left was a stem and a few branches.  The plant is rallying though, and is starting to grow new leaves!

The basil plant "stripped" of its leaves.

So while we’ve had some great successes, we are waging a frustrating battle with garden pests.

Almost ready for harvest!

Do you have trouble with garden pests?  What do you do to combat them?

I shared this post on Garden Tuesday at Sidewalk Shoes.

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Garden Journal: The Cardboard Experiment

I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day!  We had a lovely day and a fabulous dessert that I will be telling you about tomorrow.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was having trouble keeping my garden soil moist enough for my seeds to sprout.  Well, I did a little research and came up with something worth trying.

I was perusing our newest gardening book, The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible, and found the chapter on planting seeds.  It talked about keeping soil moist in dry climates, and suggested one may have to water two to three times per day!  Not going to happen!  But then there was a little sidebar about germinating carrots, which are apparently very sensitive to soil that doesn’t stay evenly moist.  The book suggested placing cardboard over the beds to keep the soil moist.  I thought, if it works for carrots, why not for other types of veggies as well?

Using rocks keeps the carboard in place even when it's windy

It appears to be working!  After a week of using the cardboard I have beet sprouts, a bunch of arugula sprouts, and a few chard sprouts.  I have also set up the drip system, which soaks the beds more deeply than the hose.  With the drip lines, I don’t even need to move the cardboard to water my beds.

Lessons learned for next year:

1. Set up the drip system right away!
2. Use cardboard until sprouts appear to keep the soil moist.

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Garden Journal: Potatoes and Other Progress

I got my potatoes planted today!  These are the varieties I planted:

  • Yukon Gold – 4 plants
  • Red Pontiac – 4 plants
  • All Blue – 2 plants
  • Russet – 2 plants

Cut and ready for "curing"

Last year I grew Red Pontiac and Yukon Gold and had great success.  I added in All Blue and Russet this year just for fun!

One problem I ran into last year is that I planted my potatoes way too deep and they took forever to appear at the surface.  Hopefully this year I planted them the right depth!

Ready to Plant

My husband has done some work on his section of the garden too:

Newly built beds

Yes, we have separate sections in our garden.  We are both into growing vegetables but have different ideas of what we’d like to grow and what techniques to use.  This way we each get to plant what we want, how we want!  We do share some of the work:  I will lay out the drip lines for both of us, and he will build me some structures for my beans and cucumbers.

The tulips under our tree are blooming!  This is the prettiest part of our yard and it only lasts for a week or so.  I love how the sunlight “lights” them up.

Tulips

On a final note, I have only had a few sprouts come up from all those seeds I planted a few weeks ago.  It is very difficult for me to keep the top few inches of soil moist enough for the seeds to germinate, even though I try to water every day.  I really need to get the drip lines set up and running – that would probably help.

Anyone have any advice on keeping the soil moist in a dry climate?

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Garden Journal: First Planting

“I might plant some seeds today.”  My husband looks confused.  “In the literal sense.” “Oh…”

With the hot, dry summers we have here in Reno, growing cooler-weather vegetables like spinach or lettuce must be done in early Spring or Fall.  I have always wanted to try growing some of these cooler-weather veggies, but have not been on the ball early enough to get it done.  This year I finally managed to get some planted!

Here is what I did today:

I prepared the garden beds by amending them with:

Dr. Earth Organic 5™ Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer 5-7-3
Master Nursery Bumper Crop (organic compost)
E.B. Stone Organics Soil Sulfur (to make the soil more acidic – we have very alkaline soil)

I planted quite a few seeds!

Arugula
Lettuce
Spinach
Beets
Parsnips
Swiss Chard

I will probably plant more arugula, spinach and lettuce in a few weeks to extend the crop.

The Freshly Planted Beds

I have purchased seed potatoes, but will wait to plant them in a few weeks.

I can’t wait to see some sprouts come up!  Anyone else getting some planting done?

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