Posts Tagged tomatoes

oh, sad garden

I typically think a blog without a picture is not worthy, but I sadly have no worthy pictures to share.  My garden is in poor shape…partly because of the ridiculously hot June we had, and partly because of my lack of weed pulling.  And now we’re having an unseasonably cool (low to mid 90’s) and wet July, so the weeds are going crazy while the plants look pathetic.  I say that, but I do have several melon vines that are going crazy.  I’ve counted 4 melons on them, one of which I think will be ready this weekend.  So exciting – my first melon!  I actually had 2 others that were viciously ripped from the vines by an unknown clawed creature.  I don’t want to take a picture until after it’s been picked and is safely in my house, for I fear taking a picture and officially declaring it will somehow call to the clawed creature that likes to steal melons from my yard and it will disappear.  So I’m keeping it on the DL, and so far it’s working.

The birds have been eating almost as many garden fresh tomatoes as I have, but I did manage to salvage 3 black krim heirlooms.  They are so pretty, and all but one of now been gobbled up (tasty).  I’ve made 2 batches of marinara with my tomatoes so far, and I think that’s all I’ll get until fall.  Not bad considering the weather we’ve had.  (Going to post my marinara recipe soon, but turns out I don’t really have a recipe and make it up every time, so it’s a little tricky to document).

So there you go, that’s my pictureless garden update for now.

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now we’re talkin’

This week I finally have a decent amount of tomatoes.  This is closer to what I expected from my plants this year, but still nowhere near the amount I had last summer.   Still, I am excited to have this many ripe, juicy tomatoes and have been putting them in everything (ever tried boxed mac n’ cheese with fresh cherry tomatoes?  you should).  Most of these are destined to become marinara by the weekend.  I’d better make it an extra tasty batch since I may only have enough tomatoes left on the plants for one more big bowl full. 

tomatoes harvested week of June 21


The varieties in this bowl include:  early girl (most of the big ones), sun leaper, green zebra, red pear, large red cherry, and grape tomatoes.

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tomatoes, finally!

This is the extend of the tomatoes I’ve harvested so far.  I managed to get to the big one (early girl) before the birds, and there are a few dozen more on that plant still, so I’ll be racing the birds for those too.  This time last year I had literally bowls of tomatoes, so I’m disappointed with my plants this year.  I have 2 plants still with no tomatoes on them.  What’s up with that?  On the bright side, this is my first green zebra tomato to pick, and I really like that variety.  They are very tasty, and I love that the birds can’t tell they are ripe because they are green.  Dumb birds.  Maybe next year I’ll fill my garden with green variety tomatoes.


Here’s an update on how my tomato plants are doing as well.  Lots of growth – they are getting huge, just not lots of tomatoes.  They are also turning yellow from the bottom up – not looking all that healthy. 

Today I went on the hunt for compost tea so I can make a batch of Garrett Juice for them, but Home Depot and the other local garden store didn’t have it, and the lady working at Home Depot looked at me like I was speaking Greek when I asked her about it.  Sigh.  Tomorrow I’ll try the organic gardening center Green Mama’s – I’m sure they will have compost tea and lots of other fabulous things too.

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potatoes and carrots and tomato, oh my!

Well, its harvest time for the root veggies at my house!

This was our first time growing potatoes and I had no idea how they would do, but I’m pleasantly surprised.  It was kind of fun digging them up….it was like digging for buried treasure.  Ok, I didn’t actually do the digging, I just supervised as Joey dug, but he really enjoyed it 🙂

This is about half the carrots from the garden.  We didn’t do a great job of thinning them after they first sprouted, so lots of these are pretty small.  The rest now have plenty of room to get nice and plump.

And in other garden news, this early girl tomato is under extreme surveillance as it begins to ripen. I just know the birds are already eyeing it.  It’s a race against the birds to pick this before they peck it – I’m determined to win.

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pasta with garden veggies

Turns out I had a few other things ready for pickin’ in my garden this week:  1 small white onion, 1 garden salsa pepper (hot!) and fresh basil.

white onion, garden salsa pepper and fresh basil

Only missing a few ingredients to make a killer pasta dish.  Since my tomatoes are still ripening, canned will have to do today.  But I still feel satisfied to have 3 of my own grown ingredients in this dish.  Here’s the breakdown for this easy dinner:

  • 1 small-medium yellow or white onion, chopped (or whatever is growing in your garden – this recipe is very flexible)
  • 1 pepper, chopped – again, your choice of variety.  We like spicy (and the garden salsa pepper made this dish spicy!)
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used pinot grigio)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz. turkey sausage (optional, and could also use chicken – whatever you like)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 7 oz pasta – whatever shape you like

Bring a pot of water to a boil for your pasta.  Cook pasta per package directions.  Saute onion, garlic and pepper in a medium skillet in a little olive oil until soft, about 5 minutes.   Then add wine and simmer until half the wine is evaporated.

Pour a glass of wine for yourself, and sip while you finish making dinner.

Add the can of tomatoes (with juice), sausage, chopped basil and salt and pepper

Let this simmer for about 10 minutes – it will thicken slightly.  Drain the pasta once cooked and add to the pan with the sauce.  Mix well.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese (or not, it’s your dinner after all), and dig in. 

bon apetit!

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Dad’s garden

So apparently I inherited my love for growing veggies from my dad.  He lives about 300 miles south of me in Kingwood, TX, just outside of Houston.  We always talk about how our gardens are doing and what’s growing.  Since he’s so much further south, he was able to plant about a month before me, and his garden is doing fabulous.  Clearly from the pics, he loves to grow tomatoes (as do I – what’s not to love about homegrown tomatoes?!).  He’s hoping for a better crop than last year, and from the looks of it, I think he’ll get it. 

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everything is blooming – week 2

My plants are finally starting to take off.  Up until this point, their growth has been slow, but they seem like they are about to all shoot up.  I have lots of stuff blooming, and my first few tomatoes have revealed themselves. 

view of the garden, standing in the tomato zone the tomato and pepper zone. Soon this should look like a jungle.

Yesterday everything got a healthy dose of liquid seaweed – yum.  That will be my primary fertilizer all year.  Last year I mixed up a big jug of Garrett Juice as well, but I haven’t needed that yet.  It helps with diseased plants and some insects, and is organic.  And of course, just like the seaweed, is super stinky. 

Green zebra heirloom tomato plant. This plant is doing well. I LOVED this variety last year, and the plant produced a lot.

Homestead tomato plant. This plant is the smallest tomato still, but has 2 tomatoes already! Go homestead go!

Sweet 100 tomato plant. I'm trying this guy out in a pot because I ran out of room in the garden.

Garden salsa pepper plant - my fastest growing pepper plant. If you look very closely, you can see the first little pepper on it.

And here are some pics of my giant (and some not so giant) herbs that I didn’t post last week:

Cilantro - I planted this from seed in the fall, and it grew really slowly all winter, and then shot up about 2 months ago. It's out of control now.

these chives are left over from last year - they lasted through the winter, and have taken off this spring. I like the flowers - really pretty.

my basil is starting to grow pretty fast. If it gets anywhere as big as last year, it will soon by taking over this area!

I planted 2 kinds of flowers in the veggie garden this year to help pollinate and keep bugs away – marigolds and sunflowers.

I planted several sunflowers thought the garden this year to help with pollination and bugs. I read that aphids love sunflowers so will stay away from other plants if you have them.

 And here’s everything else that’s growing: 

I'm thinking this guy is going to take off in the next week or so. I hope so - I want to make zucchini bread!

1 row of shalots, next to a flowering thyme plant

potatoes getting bigger everyday!

my onion plants are starting to flower. These are red and sweet yellow varieties.

Happy Gardening!

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