The days are getting hotter and the garden is growing bigger! I’m beginning to go through a canning cookbook I have on hand and look through ideas of storing some of our bounty. We both are hoping to make some pickles, canned tomatoes, and maybe some picante sauce my mom used to make. As the garden continues to grow, so does our hope for a bountiful year! Admittedly, last year’s garden was unproductive and overall a sad outcome. Not one zucchini and maybe one or two tomatoes, with a lot of what I’m guessing was blossom end rot and sad peppers that never did much of anything. We planted late, didn’t amend our soil, and bought plants from the store (that were already in bloom and even growing fruits. Apparently it is a “no-no” to plant anything that is blooming. Should have picked off those blooms).
This year, we had more time to plan. We built raised beds, filled them with nutrient dense soil (trying to be careful not to over do nitrogen), grew most plants from seeds, and planted at a more decent time. We did NOT foresee the 2 foot paths not being wide enough! Plants have branched out and fallen over (I’m looking at you tomatoes and borage!), so it’s a bit trickier to get around now. Next year we will stake everything better and EARLIER! And I’m happy to report that the once stunted pepper seedlings are producing a lot of peppers. And although one of my hybrid tomatoes and a couple of pepper plants look to be fighting with disease, we are managing to get a good crop. We’ll be looking into what to do with the problem plants, starting with removing any questionable leaves/stems. I’m guessing that the tomatoes have just been so full and low to the ground for so long, that the airflow had been insuffiecient which invited some sort of disease to begin. It could also be that they are thirsty and not diseased, but either way we are clearing out the leaves/branches that are yellow. I can’t remember a year during my life that the garden didn’t have yellow tomato leaves, even while growing up.
Overall – this garden has been one of the best yet!
Check it out:
San Marzano Tomato plant – branches have fallen over!
Peppers, Chamomile, and Calendula.
More pepper plants.
Green bean patch. Extremely productive plants! Borage is buried in the back as a companion plant.
A different angle of one of the pepper gardens. Purple basil is peeking out in the middle.
Ozark Giant from Baker Creek Seeds.
Jalapeno Mild from Ferrymorse.
So many layers of different plants! Companion planting can make a garden visually interesting while helping it grow!
Going to need to harvest some of the chamomile!
Staked too late in the season and these have taken on the shape of a bush. They are on the ground (oops) but are still thriving. Pink Vernissage from Baker Creek Seed and San Marzano from Ferrymorse.
Look at that depth! I think I see some red tomatoes in there.
The tomatoes have fallen into our squash!
San Marzano – Beautiful!
The Jet Star and Better Boy are T – A – L – L! They outgrew their cages!
Pepper and Chamomile – Best of friends!
Another photo of the tomatoes that are now growing into the squash. They are tough to contain this year!
Jet Star. SO GOOD. Put these on some take-out burgers. No shame.
Strolling through the zucchini (yellow squash is in the front). These are not in raised beds, so they start at the ground and go up to the waist level!
A size comparison – hand and zucchini leaves.
Our first ripe San Marzano and our second Jet Star.
Jet Star Tomato.
San Marzano Tomato.
Not sure what happened here, but it’s a fun shape! Also looks like our very own Peter Rabbit Cottontail tried it out.
San Marzano – Now that’s what I’m talking about! Just look at all of that tomato pulp and minimal seed cavity! Delicious, too!
It’s been a tough garden season for many around here, so we are absolutely thrilled and feeling blessed for our outcome so far. Not bad for not using any pesticides, huh?
If you’re having a tough year for your garden as many are, don’t lose hope! Take notes during this season, and when the months become full of cold chills and hot cocoa, take out those notes and start researching how you can improve the next season. Each season is different and brings new challenges. We are always learning! We had an unproductive and sad garden last year – And already feel the joy of persevering. You can, too!
Have fun continuing to craft your garden!