Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In the Garden Progress Report

It has been a couple of weeks since I did a garden update so you will notice quite a few changes in the garden. Everything appears to be quite healthy and happy. The only casualty to date is the Kentucky Wonder pole beans I planted. It would appear the adolescent rabbit chose those for a snack. I've planted more in a manner the rabbit can't get to so hopefully will have a small crop. I am continuing to plant anything that I think might give a crop as well starting plantings for the fall garden. The new beds are still not constructed but should be by the first week of September.

tomato rootsTomato Roots

I mentioned in an earlier post that one way to increase your tomato plants is to remove the suckers then put the suckers in a container of water where they will form roots. The benefits to doing this is you end up with the same variety as the mother plant and the plants are considerably larger so you will get fruit quicker. This is an ideal method for starting tomato plants for growing indoors during the winter months. With careful management tomato plants grown indoors can be used to create new plants for your spring garden as well as provide fresh eating tomatoes.

Pictured is one of the suckers I started in water. The roots are now at the point where the tomato needs to be planted either in a pot or in one of the garden beds. Do try this method with your tomatoes. It is so easy to propagate tomatoes this way!

tomato, lettuce and pepper bedBed 1

Bed 1 is 4' X 10' and is home to 13 tomato plants (4 varieties), 16 peppers (4 varieties), Chinese mustard, Grand Rapids leaf lettuce, mesclun mix and Perfection yellow marigolds. The tomatoes so far are growing well with no signs of the dreaded blight that seems to be making its rounds. They are well above their 4' tall box cages so I have had to start using additional supports and stringing them up. I'm now getting a couple of small ripe tomatoes almost daily and they are setting fruit well so it won't be long now.

The peppers are doing remarkably well so it is going to be a bumper year for them. Here I learned a rather valuable lesson. I had planted 4 Habanero plants in this bed. When I was shopping the nursery sales I picked up a 4 pack of Habanero thinking I had planted Jalapenos instead. So I now have 8 Habanero plants and no Jalapenos! I have decided carry a list of the plants I have might be a good idea. At any rate there will be a lot of peppers for this year's salsas, pickles, jelly and freezing.

The salad greens are abundant with the cooler temperatures. We had a brief couple of days of quite hot temperatures which has resulted in a bit of bolting but not much yet. We've been using salad greens from the garden daily. Not pictured is Bed 2 home to several herbs and serving as a vegetable overflow until the new beds are put in. It too is doing will so I will include it in the next update.

yellow wax Hungarian PeppersYellow Hungarian Wax Peppers

Yellow Hungarian Wax peppers are almost ready for picking. Each plant is laden with several beautiful peppers. This is a medium hot pepper ranging from 5,000 to 15,000 Scoville heat units. They will be used in salads, fresh and canned salsas, pickles and hot pepper jelly as well as a variety of side dishes. I love the beautiful pastel yellow colour!

The Sweet Banana peppers are almost ready for picking as well. They too are laden with a lot peppers. Some of these will be roasted and put up as well as being used in various home canned products and for fresh eating (roasted, stuffed, raw). The Sweet Banana peppers look almost identical to the Hungarian Wax so I will be sure to put them into different baskets while picking.

hanging tomato basketHanging Tomatoes

Growing tomatoes upside down in hangers has caught on to the point there are now commercially made hangers for them as pictured. The homemade version uses a 5 gal plastic pail. Growing tomatoes in this fashion really lends itself best to the cherry type of tomatoes. The container itself is surprisingly quite heavy so be warned you need a very strong, secured hook or branch. I would think the homemade version would be even heavier but then it would be a lot cheaper. It is a novel way of growing tomatoes well suited for small spaces. Aside of being space saving making this method of growing ideal for small spaces it virtually eliminates any problems with slugs or snails! At first I was rather skeptical but now I rather like the idea so will grow more containers this way next year.

Pictured is a Sweet 100's tomato plant. Considering this container was not planted until well into June I am quite pleased with it's performance. This picture was taken towards the end of last week. We had a small heat wave with lots of rain since then so there has been considerable growth since then. The plant is setting fruit and I noticed one tomato almost ripe enough to pick.

hanging strawberry basketHanging Strawberries

I love home grown strawberries picked while still warm from the sun's kiss! I've always grown the June bearing strawberries but this year I picked up a hanging basket of everbearing strawberries. True to their name I am picking a couple of strawberries a day. This is a nice little treat!

The hanging basket is a nice idea so I will likely replant the basket next year. This basket is destined to be planted it its own raised bed. I'm not sure of the bed size yet but was thinking either 4' X 4' or 4' X 10'. From experience strawberries are rather prolific easily spreading through runners that will root not only in soil but spill over the sides of raised beds and root in the paths as well. Another raised bed likely 4' X 4' will be planted with June bearing strawberries. Between the two varieties I should have plenty of strawberries for preserving and fresh eating in next year's garden.

In general I am quite pleased with how the two new beds are performing and can't wait to get the garden extended with the newest raised beds. Watch for next week's progress but in the meantime I should be posting about some of what I've been able to pick.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


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