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"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Little Marvel Peas (Pisum sativum var sativum)

Most home gardeners know certain varieties are consistently good performers for them. There are three ways to tell if a variety is a good performer for you general area. The first way is to pay close attention to the varieties being sold at local nurseries. Usually there will be one variety that is consistently sold at all of them. The second way is through word of mouth and the third is through trial and error. When you find a good performer you will likely plant that variety each year. So it is with Little Marvel Peas.

Little Marvel Peas (Pisum sativum  var sativum)Little Marvel Peas

Little Marvel Peas (Pisum sativum var sativum) are consistently good performers for me. They are frost hardy so should be planted early in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked for an early season harvest and in mid to late summer for a late harvest. They mature in 64 days on compact plants making them ideal for square foot gardening. I will be growing a couple of Little Marvel peas indoors this winter as part of my continuous harvest plan.

There are 7 to 8 nice sized, sweet, tender peas per pod. The firm pods are almost round in diameter when the peas are ready for picking. The pods snap open easily for shelling. Pictured is an average sized pod from this year's

pea harvestHarvest

Unless you grow a lot of pea plants it is difficult to get enough for more than fresh eating. My yield this year has been about a pint of shelled peas. That's not enough for preserving but they were quite tasty for fresh eating.

Pictured are a few of the shelled Little Marvel peas along various peppers from the garden. The Homesteader peas gave a very light yield of about 10 pods. The main problem was the peas were planted too late for a good harvest. Rather than try for fall planting I've decided to start both in pots indoors.

The peppers went into over drive so I've been picking a lot of those. They are such gorgeous colours! I can't help but smile when I see them peaking out through all the greenery.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome

Saturday, September 19, 2009


This is a wonderful time of year in the garden! The garden is blessing with it's abundance daily. I am dealing with a couple of problems and the ADFF (average day first frost) is quickly approaching. The days are getting shorter and cooler. The evenings have been fairly cool as well. After such a cool, wet summer it is hard to know whether we will have a nice autumn although that is the prediction. I'm not taking any chances in case we get frost earlier than expected.

vine ripe tomatoesVine Ripe Tomatoes

Pictured is yesterday's tomato harvest. There are Sweet Millions (cherry), beefsteak (upper right), Lemon Boy (bottom right) and Heinz 1429 (bottom left). By far my best producers are the Sweet Millions, beefsteak and Heinz 1429. The Sweet 100's have produced very little. The Lemon Boy has once again proved itself to be somewhat problematic, low performers.

Recently the rain has been less resulting in less tomato splitting. By far the cherry tomatoes have been most affected by splitting. Tomato splitting occurs when the tomato roots take up too much water causing the fruit to plump quicker splitting the skin. The next problem is some tomatoes simply falling from the vines. This is primarily affecting the Heinz 1429 tomatoes although it has happened with the cherry tomatoes as well.

late blightLate Blight

Throughout the entire growing season there have been horror stories of late blight. Late blight is a fungal disease that rapidly spreads through tomato plants. This year it has been particularly bad. True to previous experience Lemon Boy was the first to be hit with blight. Late blight is controlled by removing damaged foliage and not composting it. Washing your hands well after working with an affected plant will also help control the spread.

I noticed the first signs of late blight a couple of days ago. At this late stage in the outdoor there is little point getting too stressed about it. I'm removing as much damaged foliage as possible while trying not to knock of immature fruit so there is a bit of a trade off. I also noticed a couple of tomatoes with blight damage so I removed those as well.

tomato clippingsTomato Clippings

At the same time I am taking a lot of clippings of the healthy growth for growing indoors. Pictured is the first grouping of clippings to come indoors. As you can see the foliage is quite healthy. It is important to ensure any foliage used as a clipping is healthy to prevent any disease from spreading through the indoor garden. I cut a clipping and put it into a water filled container then wash my hands and repeat for 4 clippings per container. Then I set the container on the patio well away from the main garden and other clippings for a week. As long as there are no signs of disease, I check for any insects and manually remove them then bring the clippings indoors. The clippings are checked daily for any signs of insects. Indoors I use manual removal combined with a homemade soap spray if necessary. Once roots form the clippings are either planted in soil or left as individual plants in water. I use an organic fertilizer for the plants. As the plants grow the process for rooting clippings is continuously repeated throughout the winter.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome