Thursday, July 18, 2013

Horrah for Tomatoes and Flowers!!!!

What a fabulous year for tomatoes.  Honest, we just can't pick them fast enough.  I know everyone has at one point in their life purchased a tomato plant or two putting them in a pot in their back yard or in a small garden.  They really want to do what they are destined to do, flower and produce the yummy red/yellow fruit.  If they fail, it is normally because people forget to keep them watered or they outgrow their pot; or they are put in a location without enough sun.
For several years, we have used almost every type of tomato support system.  We have used the individual cage; we have used string; we have used wood posts and string.  But the best solution for us, because we grow so many plants, is we use metal cattle fencing, the panels.  Frank drove in T-posts for support, we wired the metal fencing to the posts and they have been used over and over again.  You can find these panels and T-posts at Tractor Supply.  They come in various heights and lengths and they also have the fencing in a roll that can be used.  It is strong and sturdy.  I have never had luck with the cages, just when the plants start producing they get so tall and sometimes tip to the side.  I used to have tons of these all stacked up and some had broken legs; some were stronger than others, as I said, we finally gave up on them. 
I do start many of our crops in my little greenhouse, but there are many

vegetables that start off better just being direct seeded in the ground, such as green beans; corn; cucumbers; squash.  I only tried starting tomatoes once from seeds and it wasn't worth it to me for the time and effort.  I purchase my tomato plants from our local hardware/nursery people called Mac's.  I order them to be delivered at a certain time; I order a certain number of the various varieties that I want; and when they arrive, I make sure I get them into the ground within a few days of delivery. 
Over the years, I have narrowed my varieties down to basically-Early Girl, Roma, Big Beef, Cherry Bunch.  The varieties vary in names depending on the nursery/grower.  I stopped growing the small cherry tomatoes long ago, I grow the variety that has clusters and the size is about 2-3x larger than the old fashioned "cherry" variety. Small, medium, large and for salsa/canning.  These are my choices.
I used to grow many types of heirloom tomatoes but stopped about 2 years ago.  Maybe it is just me, the way I grow them, but I never had really good luck with them.  I apologize to those that love the heirloom, I do too, but I just can not grow them;spend my time, money and only have a very small yield.  And honestly, the plants themselves are really not very healthy look, long, stringy, not dark green.  Again, just me, that is my opinion.
We delivered our CSA basket yesterday.  In the basket were potatoes, squash, cucumbers, baby carrots, peppers, tomatoes (Early Girl and Cherry), blackberries, strawberries, nectarines, peaches, Asian Pears and a watermelon!!!  Lots of fruits and vegetables.
Speaking of flowers, I know I keep saying how beautiful my section of country fresh flowers are in my gardens.  These gardens are planted out back with the vegetables so they are specific for cutting arrangements.  My good friend Sarah ordered 4 arrangements this week, 1 for a grave site; 1 for a gift; 1 for her office; 1 for her kitchen counter.  I also had an order for one using just pinks.  I happen to have some Stargazers blooming so included them in a white vase with white hydrangeas, pink zinnias, the star gazers and they turned out so beautiful.
The watermelon are ripe too!!!
Have a great weekend!

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