Category Archives: Tomato

VISION

Three years ago Elliott & Kristina bought their first home.

To say they had “vision” is an understatement.

Their timing was incredible.

The house had been on the market for sometime.

The front had a mammoth awning.

I’m thinking it distracted couples with lesser vision.

Then there was the backyard.

It was….well…frightening!

But this is no prima donna couple.

They are after all, both descended from gardeners, farmers & ranchers.

They could see what it could become.

Vision.

Not everyone has it.

But they possess it.

And they weren’t afraid of work.

So they began.

I guess you would call the first stage demolition.

Thankfully, I’m a state or so away so I missed this stage.

There was not  a lot to save.

The decision was made to take out even the Aspen trees.

Since, though they are lovely

They actually are a bit of a nuisance.

A single wispy tree will turn into a grove of Aspen

Right before your eyes.

Great for mountainsides.

Not so much for backyards.

The giant deck

Was replaced with a lovely flagstone patio.

Carefully layed by Elliott with help from friends.

My parents used Colorado Red flagstone

Inside and outside the “new house” at the farm.

So there was symmetry here.

Meanwhile in my garden.

I was potting up babies from all over my garden

And buying a few.

By June my friend Vivi and I loaded it all up

And drove this garden to its new home.

The humidity in my car was stifling.

Kristina and I spent a long weekend planting away.

Adding roses and hydrangea from a local nursery.

There’s a saying about perennial gardens

The first year they sleep

The second they creep

And the third they leap!

Welcome to year three

We visited again a few weeks ago

What a transformation.

Perennials are oozing onto the grass.

Morning glories dance along the fence

Greeting each new day

Thyme suns itself on the flagstone.

Cleome spills over the edge of the narrow bed

And little juicy golden tomatoes grow practically wild.

Elliott seems to enjoy puttering around the yard.

Growing not only flowers,

But vegetables as well.

Kristina never misses a chance to make a flower arrangement.

Taking them to friends, her office

And sending guests home with a freshly cut bouquet.

They both enjoy foraging dinner from the garden

And entertaining as well.

This year the Kentucky Derby fell on Cinco de Mayo

Calling, of course, for a Cinco de Derby party.

It’s reported that a good time was had by all.

And…the creeping thyme can handle a lot of foot traffic.

Vision.

It brings sunshine to the world.

Enjoy this glorious week

Gail

Peg at the Morning Glory Gate

Peg at the Morning Glory Gate

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Filed under cleome, Flower Arrangements, Garden Planning, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Gardening Mentors, Gardening;Perennials, Herbs, Hydrangea, late summer garden, Lupine, Morning Glories, Perennials, roses, Sunflowers, Tomato, Uncategorized, Vegetables

FARMER’S MARKET

 

Growing up on a farm in the 50’s

Meant that we always had a garden.

Something was growing all the time.

Seed wheat on a saucer and paper towel

In the kitchen window.

Mother’s roses

And vegetables.

Even when we moved to the city

For a few years.

We had a garden.

Daddy’s job came with a house

And a huge yard.

Mother planted tomato plants

All the way around the edge of it.

By mid summer

There would be 5 gallon buckets of cherry tomatoes

Every day or so.

Last fall's green tomatoes

Last fall’s green tomatoes

And cucumbers.

Endless cucumbers.

Summer's bounty sampling

Summer’s bounty sampling

Now there are only so many times a week

That you can work cucmbers into the menu

So we made pickles.

Lots of pickles!

Recently I ran across mother’s pickle recipe

In her own handwriting.

A treasure.

I copied it for my friend Laura

And she began the tradition all over again.

But what if you want to make pickles

And have no cucumbers.

Luckily Farmer’s Markets  have come into their own.

If you don’t have a Farmer’s Market habit

Develop one.

They are popping up everywhere.

So hopefully you can go once or twice a week.

There you’ll find

Wisdom

In the form of wise gardeners

Who know how to make things thrive.

And baker’s

To tempt you.

Blackberry & Blueberry Pie

Blackberry & Blueberry Pie

And natural products.

Who’ll even make wonderful goat’s milk soap

Unscented for me.

And friends.

Mary at this moring's market

Mary at this morning’s market

And last month

These amazing blackberries

Grown by a young couple who have planted

An acre

That’s right  I said an acre of blackberry bushes

And 2 acres of blueberries.

Can’t wait for next June.

But most of all

You’ll find people commited to providing

Fresh, local food to their neighbors.

Next week is Dog Days at our Farmer’s Market.

Aptly named for the first Saturday in August.

That means that even your 4-legged friends

Can enjoy the fun.

So… dig into the heart of summer

At the Farmer’s Market.

Enjoy,

Gail

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Filed under Blackberries, Blueberries, Cucumbers, Farmer's Market, Gardening, Gardening Mentors, Pickles, Tomato, Vegetables

Over Mothering or Under Mothering???

 

 

Years ago a friend and I used to joke about how we were mothered.

Both raised in the 50’s and 60’s

We marveled at the different styles of mothering we experienced.

We dubbed her mother’s style as “over mothering”

And mine as “under mothering”

Looking back all these years later

I realize that we were both young & wrong.

Her mother had 4 children

It’s not humanly possible to “over mother” with 4 children.

My mother had 3 children, my grandfather living with us

And no running water!

Who am I to judge.

But the truth is we all wonder if we are doing this right.

We even have those moments when our children are grown.

Which brings me to this year’s tomato plants.

The last 2 summers have produced maybe a dozen tomatoes in the entire state.

Just not good tomato growing weather.

But this year is different

People are raving about their tomato crops

And rightly so.

My uncle George has such a bumper crop

George's Tomatoes

George’s Tomatoes

He’s even more popular at the retirement village he lives in.

And a healthy 88-year-old man was pretty popular to begin with!

Then there’s my house!

Let me give you a little history.

I was determined to have a good tomato year.

So I started my plants early – like January.

As they grew I kept potting them in bigger pots

So that I would have big healthy plants to put in the ground.

And I did.

I even located extra tall – 8″ tall – peat pots to achieve this goal.

Then when mid-March was acting like mid-April

And everyone else was digging their plants into the ground.

I chose to protect mine from what I was certain would be a late frost.

Never happened.

Which means I “over mothered” them at that stage.

I kept in that mode when I finally did plant them

Making sure that they had crushed egg shells

In the bottom of each appropriately deep hole

For all those deep roots.

I even used a new – to me – organic fertilizer as I planted.

Then I left them alone – “under mothering”

They grew and grew

And began to bloom – lots of blooms.

It’s getting really exciting at this point.

Then the blooms began to turn brown

And fall off.

Every single bloom

On every single plant

Except for one

What is going on?

June was a perfect tomato month

All I have to show for it

Is about a dozen tomatoes on one plant.

And 4 large happy tomato-less plants.

I’ve tried everything.

Jerry Baker’s tomato tonic of epsom salts and baby shampoo.

My friend Virginia’s solution of a Tums (calcium) allowed to melt into the roots.

So far I can’t see any change.

If anyone has other ideas.

Let me know.

So…are they suffering from “over mothering”

Or…”under mothering”

The truth is we all are probably guilty of both at some time.

It’s hard to know when to move forward

And when to pull back.

A minister once told me that

“All parenting is incomplete

We do the best we can

God will take care of the rest.”

Perhaps the same is true of growing tomatoes!

Gail

At least the Daisies are happy!

At least the Daisies are happy!

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Filed under Garden Planning, Gardening, Motherhoos, Timing, Tomato, Uncategorized

BULB PLANTING TIME

It’s the time of the year when I begin my frost dance.

Or should I say “threat” of frost dance.

You know the routine.

The first few nights you just throw a sheet or towel over a few tender plants

Then you drag most of the ferns in to the warmth.

After a few more sunny days

It happens again.

Freeze warnings

You begin to take them seriously.

You start picking things.

Almost ripe tomatoes

Not quite mature peppers.

Then the freeze frenzy really sets in.

One cold windy morning you yank every green tomato off the vine.

Cut cockscomb to the ground.

 Whack away at armloads of roses and zinnias

Dig up baby basil plants for your winter supply.

Then lie in wait for mother nature to kill everything you’ve nurtured all year.

After several nights of freeze warnings

It finally happens.

The first hard freeze.

The killing freeze.

With the end of one season

Another begins.

So now it’s time to plant…….

Spring Flowering Bulbs!!!

Even though I won’t actually plant my bulbs till later in the month.

I thought I’d send along this primer.

Here’s what I know about planting bulbs.

As with all of gardening the health and size of the bulb will determine the quality of bloom.

So look for big bulbs that are firm.

Make sure there is no mold present

Soft moldy bulbs will only turn into compost not flowers.

Tulip bulbs should still have their brown “skin” attached.

We talked about bulbs a bit in August in two prior blogs.

Planning Time and Planting Hope

So lets cover how to plant all this stuff.

First – find a gardening friend

Make a pact to help each other plant bulbs.

This friend may be a spouse, a child, a sibling, a neighbor

Or if you’re lucky you have a Megan.

Megan has helped me plant bulbs for well…

I don’t remember how long.

We use the “lasagna” method. 

It saves labor

And makes for glorious blasts of color.

Which means you never….never….never

Plant in rows.

Instead if you want to line an edge

Dig a series of oval holes.

Good sized holes

Because you will put a minimum 7 daffodils and 11 tulips in each hole

Dig the hole 6 ” –  8″ deep.

Mix in a little Bone Meal

Place the daffodils pointy end up

(That is very important !)

Make sure they don’t touch – or they will rot!

Use odd numbers 7 – 9 – 11.

Cover with a few inches of soil

Add a bit more Bone Meal

Then place Tulips

Again pointy end up.

To get a good show use at least 11 tulips or more.

Then repeat soil and Bone Meal

Top off with Dutch Iris.

Then refill to ground level.

Actually a little higher since it will settle when you water it all in.

And do water it all in

The water will fill up the air pockets in the soil

This will keep it from freezing when it’s first planted.

If you’re really energetic or inspired you can cover it all with pansies.

Now….that’s a blast of spring!

We do a series of these “lasagna Holes” on each side of the path

Leading to my garden house.

This forms a full border that doesn’t look contrived.

You’ll notice that the biggest bulbs need to be buried the deepest.

So you plant from large to small bulbs with this method.

Lilies can be planted 3 – 5 to a hole

Or…you can dig a winding trench

Place the bulbs in a zig zag pattern along the trench.

I generally don’t plant anything else with them.

So…that’s pretty much how we do it here.

It’s a tried and true method you may want to try.

Or not.

After all gardening is personal.

We learn from each other.

We adapt to our own garden.

We create.

We wait.

Gail

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Filed under Basil, cockscomb, Daffodils, Dutch Iris, Ferns, Garden House, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Grape Hyacinths, Green Tomatoes, Oriental Lilies, Peppers, roses, Spring Flowering Bulbs, Tomato, tulips, Uncategorized, Zinnia

SEEING

Recently I bought a new camera.

Just a simple point and shoot that hopefully will give better color to the pictures I share.

I’ve noticed something since I got it.

I see differently

more, actually.

Can’t wait for the sun to come up to go into my garden and take pictures.

Pictures of the same flowers and bugs that I’ve known for years.

Decades really.

Late summer visitor - Orb spider

But I’m seeing them differently through this new lens.

Veronica spicata, for instance.

Veronica Spicata

It’s not a terribly showy flower.

I’ve called it a “filler flower” for years.

Probably not politically correct to cast it in such a subservient role.

I’ve even threatened to dig it all up from time to time.

But…the truth is it’s a great flower

now that I see it through a new lens.

And cockscomb

Sure, I’ve marveled over the big “brainy” blooms

Now I’m fascinated by the clusters of feathery blossoms as they rustle in the breeze.

I’m suddenly drawn to the things that have been right in front of me.

Things I walk past each day

Yet don’t truly see.

Like this short but mighty Gloriosa Daisy that just begged me to take its picture.

Seeing

It’s so important.

Critical really in much of life.

Perhaps seeing is the thing that ties the varied parts of my life together.

Because I garden

I observe.

My mind keeps going to another of my passions.

Hunger

How to solve it.

It, like veronica spicata, is right in front of us.

Everyday.

We may not see it.

We likely don’t realize it’s even there.

But it is

Everywhere

Close at home

And far away

If we look – choose to see.

Recently we opened a food pantry at the high school.

It will provide food for kids who have none on weekends.

It has refrigeration so kids can have access to fresh food

A staple for so many of us.

A luxury for so many more.

Kelly is planning to plant another “field” of lettuce this fall.

Harvesting last spring's lettuce

I’ll have a row or two.

We’ve made arrangements to have volunteers come and cut and take it to the high school.

Lettuce bagged and ready to deliver

Seeing a need right in front of us.

Planting a way to meet that need.

Seeing the world connected.

Is it any wonder I love to garden!!!

Gail

P.S.  If you have extra fruit and vegetables you’d like to share, just let me know.

A potential fall tomato crop?

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Filed under cockscomb, Gloriosa Daisy - Rudbeckia, Hunger, Lettuce, Orb Spider, Tomato, Veronica Spicata