Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I was determined this year to get a bunch of tomato plants in the garden. Previous years proved disappointing-- my starts were destroyed by then-puppy Maisie and a late frost cleared the store shelves from gardeners quicker than I and only luck at a yard sale saved me from zero tomato plants. I scored 10 plants and while I was happy, it was not enough for canning and preserving. One year, I also goofed and planted too many grape tomatoes and not enough canning tomatoes.

My starts this year failed me, but it was still early enough that I had good pickings from the local farm store in town and I bought 42 plants. 2 died, so I have 40 plants in the ground, growing and thriving so far.

Many of my tomato plants are showing young fruit and I am quivering with anticipation of eating home grown tomatoes. We caved a few times and ate store-bought ones and were disappointed by the flavor and only made us more hungry for what will soon come from our garden.

This is what jungle-boy Peter thinks the fence panels are for! I didn't mind when there were no tomato plants there, but now, I shriek and race to get him off, so he doesn't smoosh a tomato plant underfoot.

I use cattle panels for my tomato plants. You can see the panels above behind the pool and I am also using old carpet as a weed blocker. I borrowed the idea of using cattle panels from fellow blogger O'Melays last year and they work great! Much better than the flimsy tomato cages, which I never liked using, and better than stakes, which the tomatoes always grow higher than and end up flopping over. Using cattle panels allow me to plant on both sides and then tie the vines to the panel as they grow. So much more sturdier and cheaper, actually, than using tomato cages.

Here's the math:

40 plants = 40 cages @ $3.50 each = $140.00


40 plants = 4 cattle panels @ $18 each = $72.00


We had lots of rain this Spring, plus it was rather chilly, so it feels like we got our garden in later than usual and the ground was just too wet for me to plant at times. I never got my peas in, which I'm really disappointed about, but some of the other stuff we got in are doing great. Potatoes are starting to really come up and I need to hill them this week. The peppers got a rough start when the chickens got into the garden and pecked their leaves off, but now they are starting to flower and show fruit. My cabbage and broccoli are been eaten by tiny black beetles and caterpillars-- I can never seem to grow these here. I had not planned to grow corn this year, but I still had seed left from last year, and space in the garden from not planting other things, so I got 12 rows of corn in and they are about 6-8 inches tall now. Hope they grow better this year and I get more ears than I did last year:: 550 seeds planted = 12 ears.

I failed to get onions planted, along with asparagus, strawberries, beans and cukes. I'm aiming for a winter garden, though, my first, so I'll be trying cabbage again and some root crops like carrots and potatoes. Starting small and if it is successful, I'll add more next year.



Christina said...

My garden this year is laughable I blame the baby's. I only got two tomatoe plants going lots of beans and a few squash plants in. Oh and Strawberry's but it has been a colder wetter spring here.
BTW did you ever find out if your jams can clear customs?

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