My patio garden is winding down–my tomatoes are all hanging from the vine, waiting for the right temperature to ripen, and then as they do I’ll come along and gladly pick them to eat for b’fast, lunch, and dinner. Forty in all which isn’t bad for five plants that are producing. Both of the pepper plants died from being battered around in the wind–so they’ll be none of them. But the wonderful herbs, esp. my rosemary right now, more than make up for it. Our butterfly bush is full of beautiful blooms and we’ve seen many butterflies on it these past few days. Another year of gardening and feeding the birds has almost come to an end. We still have a few orioles and also their young, as well as all colors of finches and their young. We’ve gone through two cases of food feeding them and oh the hummingbirds–they’ve really loved the homemade syrup I’ve made for them all spring/summer. Each year around this time it is almost as if the hummingbirds take a mental picture of our deck, saving it somewhere in their senses, so that they remember who will feed them again all next year. They will have such a long, long journey to travel to get away from here for winter and then such a long, tiresome journey to get back to us. This spring when they first arrived all the birds looked so haggard, but now they look happy, healthy, and restored. It makes my heart very happy to see this year after year.
Our first tomato!
Our butterfly bush–
Farmers Market Hauls–
That’s all for now–Happy August!!
I’m three months into my container garden and a total of 4.5 months working on and caring for this year’s garden. Here is what happened in the last 2 weeks–
I cut back the peony and the peony bush grew back better than ever.
I’ve spent three storms on my deck getting drenched tying up bush tomato plants.
I’ve harvested zero tomatoes but so far have about 40 green tomatoes of various sizes.
My petunia and my smaller geranium plant died.
I have harvested oregano, thyme, and rosemary four times now. I’ve made soup, roast, and spaghetti using fresh herbs this past week.
I’ve got four large tomato plants –two of which look dead. I’ve got two small tomato plants, and by small I mean 2 ft tall, and one (there was two) pepper plant that looks promising. My succulents were cut back and they look fabulous. I bought a tropical plant at Walmart that is growing like crazy, as well as my butterfly bush which is four times bigger than when we first bought it. The butterfly bush is definitely this seasons biggest winner! I visited a lavender farm a couple of weekends ago and bought a small lavender plant. I believe it is the most expensive single plant I’ve ever purchased- $10.00, so I am really babying it 🙂
Until next time- be well!
Well, another week of barely any sun. I think we had sun on Saturday and about 30 minutes of it today–Wednesday.
Despite another week of icky weather–cold, dreary, damp, and no sun, I have a small tomato on one of my plants.
So– I have 2 Rutger’s Heirlooms-one has a tomato growing, 2 bush cherry tomato plants, 2 bush beefsteak tomato plants, and 1 purple Cherokee. I have snipped off the bottom foliage on all my plants (to prevent blight) and fed them. I recently purchased another thyme plant, Thai basil, a miniature rose, lemon balm, and a beautiful oregano plant. Tonight I made sure everything was planted in my garden, watered and fertilized. The next two days we are expecting temperatures near 80 and sun. This week I lost the Roma tomato plant and maybe soon the hydrangea? I am trying to keep it going after its blooms died but so far it isn’t doing very well. The juniper we planted this year and the two hostas we planted last year, which are growing by our front door, are doing alright. The browning and needle loss of my evergreen are slowing down–fingers crossed. This is how it all looks this week–
So this year I am going to be focusing 100% of my attention on growing tomatoes–bush tomatoes to be exact. I am going to use my entire deck for this endeavor leaving a small spot for herbs and a couple pots of flowers for the bees.
I’ve realized over the years that I’ve put an incredible amount of energy toward my container gardens but never really perfected the art of growing any one thing. This is the year! I will begin to grow my seedlings probably towards the end of April because I won’t be able to harden them off outside until the end of May. I will also be buying my tomato plants from a local nursery and my herbs and flowers will be from Bonnie Plants. I’ve been growing Bonnie Plants rosemary and thyme for almost 15 years and in my opinion, they are always the hardiest plants to buy from anyone around here. I’m choosing to grow bush tomatoes because I want all my tomatoes to harvest within a month or two so that I can harvest them, can and freeze them, and enjoy the rest of my summer. Indeterminate continue to grow to several feet and have tomatoes all season long–requiring care and water throughout the growing season until season’s end.
Here’s how to grow bush (determinate) tomato plants in containers:
- Buy good draining pots big enough for the plants you are planning on having in them.
- Pick a nice sunny spot where the plants will receive at least 6 hours of sun. Group the plants together to help shade the root zones of each plant but not close enough to touch. Keep the plants in a wind-free area (this one is big for me because I may have to create one).
- Use good premium soil. I use Purple Cow Organic soil and have always found it to work the best for me. I need really, really good soil not only for obvious reasons but also because our deck is not shaded. It also gets incredibly hot and has too few hours of sun for growing.
- Plant your plants properly buy digging a hole and covering 2/3 of the plant with soil to encourage good root growth.
- Add your trellis or tomato stakes right away.
- Leave about an inch of space from the top of your container to add mulch to hold in moisture.
- Feed your plants. I mix Purple Cow Tomato gro with my Purple Cow Organic Soil mix and throughout the season use their compost tea and their bio-active fertilizer. ***This is not a sponsored post***
- Water regularly.
That’s it for now–just blogging about this has made me feel happier and more hopeful that spring is coming.