Tuesday, June 24, 2008

home grown

It has all come back to me about why I retired/quit last November. This week and last week were non stop busyness and I didn't like it at all. That was the way it was when I worked even though it was part time. There was never enough time for all that needed doing. While working I'd forgotten how much gardening means to me...and it does mean a lot. Several years of neglect and a lick and a promise to get things in order have started to turn around.

Tomatoes are on the "forbidden list" this summer and thank goodness we planted a bunch this year. Here are some of the tomatoes, very hot serranos, and mild sweet peppers we planted this year. It has been a bountiful year so far.
It has been ages since we have grown the little yellow pear tomatoes. They are less acidic and just yummy to me. When we picked these not all had all turned bright red yet. Once they get a bit of pink they will ripen in the house, but don't put them in the fridge or they will taste like the tomatoes you used to get at the grocery store...pretty much tasteless. We hadn't put up the bird net to keep them them from eating all of our crop. They like them when they turn red and will peck one and it will be ruined.

Putting up the bird netting is a task and a half. Our tomatoes grow really tall so we have experimented with several different ways. See the poles waving in the air all wombly and all. We fixed that real good....and see those weeds in front of the bed....well, they are gone now and the bottom of the net covers up anything that regrows outside the bed.
Here is a picture of hubby as we were starting to get it together putting up the net. See...the plants are very tall....my husband is 6', and those durn weeds in the foreground...actually are driving me crazy and I didn't see them until I just now got to really looking at the pictures. We started pretty early last Saturday morning, because it gets REALLY hot out in that area. It is a rock garden and the heat reflects off the rocks....and well, you know. Anyway, we had tacked our poles up all wombly and all, and were going to put the bird netting over them, when I got to playing around with them while waiting for him to get something and decided a teepee configuration would be really nice. We tied the poles together with twine and then covered them in...what else...duct tape at the top.
It may not be professional, but this way keeps the net up off the plants and gives them room to grow without growing through the netting. Anyway, I am very pleased with the way it is working out this year. Last year we tried pvc pipe, but it was not only not very functional, but the aesthetics were just all wrong. The vines look like they are about to play out, but there are still flowers and fruit on them. It may have been the glare from the sun washed them out so much. When it gets this hot, though, they pretty much quit setting fruit. I need to check the nursery to see if they have new tomato plants. If I plant again in July, they will make a great fall garden. I'll (read hubby here) have to make another little bed to plant in, but I'd been thinking about that anyway. I have the landscape timbers for it and I'm NOT hauling in two tons of topsoil for it again, either. That is another story. In all places this says "I", please read "my poor husband".

My very favorite plants this year are sweet potato vines. Oh my! They are hardy and pretty, too for that matter. One type has a bright green leaf. This is one growing out of the pot and around some ornamental peppers. I like to think of it as our "ring of fire"; however, the peppers are the fiery part. I'm hoping the peppers will drop seeds and come back next year since they are so colorful.

The other picture below is the light color leaf sweet potato vine and the very dark purple one in the same pot spilling out onto the patio and starting to grow everywhere. I love it. It doesn't take too much to make me very happy and when the plants grow I'm there. Everything is reaching the fullness of the season and only need watering and some fertilizer from time to time. I actually do that part...and planting, but digging new beds...well, hmm...I have in the past though.

I have other pictures of the garden, but they are going to have to wait until another day. Blogger is very slow uploading pictures tonight and it is nearly midnight here.
Just one more. This one is planted with basil in a strawberry pot and you can see the light purple/lavender leaves of the sweet potato vine trailing out of the pot with the moss roses. They have covered the entire strawberry pot over. It is great to go out and pick some fresh basil to go with the tomatoes. In the little herb garden we made this year I planted sage, oregano, tarragon, rosemary, and pineapple sage. I didn't have a clue what to do with pineapple sage, but when I looked it up they said it is wonderful in cream cheese.


  1. Oh,I have serious tomato envy,mine never made it to a bed,and you can see the work that got done on the yard this last weekend,I am sooooo ticked.
    You yard is so beautiful,a real inspiration.... enjoyed the parties too.

  2. After 10 years in the Nevada dessert, I met OC and he whisked me off to Hawaii. When we were first discussing the relocation I asked for a bit of ground to garden in because I wanted fresh herbs and vegetables. He agreed.

    Then we arrived here and discovered the reality of land prices. We live in a condo. Ours is the only one whose lanai is growing fruits and vegetables ....

    Btw -- go back to the photo where you got OC and the conductor mixed up. I can clearly see how that happened, but the labels for the photos go BELOW the pictures. My bad. OC is the 50 something white guy with a balding head and the trumpet sticking out of his mouth.

  3. Amber, I am so in awe of your garden. I can hardly believe you are my neighbor in Ft. Worth! I will have to keep reading your blog for gardening tips.

    The tomatoes look delicious!

  4. We planted 3 Tomatoes this year so I also have serious tomato envy. They were early girls so we have had vine ripen tomatoes already.