Category Archives: Garden

Tomato Varieties for The Garden

Tomato Varieties to be planted this year:

Tomato varieties are the mainstay of many home gardens. When grown correctly fresh garden tomatoes are fantastic. They can be eaten straight from the garden, cooked into sauces, stews, soups – just pick what you like and tomatoes can probably be added. Tomatoes can be easily canned using the hot water method, for directions go to Ball Corp, and can even be frozen. So, any excess fruit grown can be stored for another day. When we have enough, my wife and I stew the tomatoes and can for use in sauces, soups, stews and chili.

Tomatoes have vitamins A, B, C, iron, phosphorous and potassium.

The first of the two tomato varieties I planted for the 2015 garden was a straight forward type called “Abe Lincoln”. It is an organic tomato. It started slow but once it got started it went crazy. Planted – 4 pots with 4 seeds eAbe Lincoln tomatoes are American Heirloomach on March 1. I planted 4 of the plants the 2nd week of June. All are over 6’ tall and as of mid-September have produced a little over 12 lbs. with about twice that amount yet to come. The flesh is firm a solid red and almost a perfect round shape. I really like this tomato, it is juicy but not so much that when cut into there is a mess. Cut a slice and sprinkle some salt – excellent.

The advertising for the Abe Lincoln states: 90 days, indeterminate — ‘Abraham Lincoln’ was originally released by H. W. Buckbee Seed of Rockford, Illinois in 1923. Abraham Lincoln tomatoes are large, meaty, flavorful heirloom tomatoes. There are many exceptional heirloom tomatoes, but ‘Abraham Lincoln’ consistently produces huge crops of extra-large, meaty fruit.

The second tomato variety I chose is an heirloom organic. I picked Botanical Interests Pole Cherokeepole cherokee purple tomato varieties will be grown for summer time eating Purple. I have grown this tomato before and really enjoy it. Pole Cherokee is a big, meaty, tasty hunkin’ tomato. The meat is firm and there really is not a lot of excess juice (which I like).

The company advertising states: 80 days from transplanting. Indeterminate. Cherokee’s rose/purple skin with green shoulders encases red brick colored flesh with just the right level of sweetness. You’ll be harvesting large numbers of 10 to 12 oz. tomatoes from this well regarded heirloom variety from summer to fall. The flavor has been described as yummy, tasty, wonderful, delicious, heavenly, and unbelievable! Provide support for vigorous vines that reach 6 feet or more. The package states organic and labeled NO GMO

Planted – 4 pots with 4 seeds each on March 1. I planted 4 of the plants the second week of June (family vacation trumped planting this year) So far this year, as of September 18th, I picked about 16 lbs. The Cherokee Pole plants are smaller plants than the Abe Lincolns but frankly I think they taste better and grow larger fruits.

tomatoes_on_the_vine
tomato vines with tomatoes

I planted 8 plants along the north side of garden bed 1. Spacing is as instructed – 2 feet apart. The other plants in the bed are peppers and eggplants. The spacing away from the tomatoes is also 2 feet. This year I have kept the plants trimmed. I cut off about two thirds of the leaves trying to keep air circulating. Any leaves that hit the ground were immediately removed. Watering was kept on the light side and during the late morning to give the plants time to dry. So far, as of September 18th, all the plants have stayed healthy. I do cage my plants and frankly they do well. What is great – no chemicals used on the plants. Just 2 doses of Miracle Grow 10-10-10 fertilizer early in the season nothing more. About as organic as I get!!!

Over Labor Day my grown children “went shopping” in the garden. Each ended up with tomatoes, as well as other veggies, to bring home.

As of October 11, all tomato plants were pulled. We ended up with 8 plants producing 35 lbs. of tomatoes. That is only 4+ lbs. per plant. In theory we should have been able to grow about 60+ lbs. with 8 tomato plants. With the early summer cold and damp and the summer very dry I can excuse away. Others that also garden stated their tomatoes were somewhat the same as ours so….. Still for the investment in 2 packages of seeds – roughly $4.00 we were able to produce (based on our local supermarket prices of $1.50/lb.) $52.00 in tomatoes for the season. All were eaten, saved and given away.

Back to vegetable garden bed 1

Just a quick note, I always like to try different ideas. For the 2014 garden I tried growing a tomato from Canada that turned out to be a hybrid. The tomatoes that I took the seeds from were large, juicy and delicious. The tomatoes that grew from the seeds ended up being a plumb tomato. They were not overly tasty at all. So…word of warning.

Vegetable Garden Bed 1

Vegetable Garden bed # 1 is 8′ wide x 16′ long. Orientation is set for the tomatoes to be on the north side and the eggplants on the east. This bed should receive about 8 hours of sunlight in the summer, not great but it has proven sufficient. Last year this bed had bell peppers, yellow summer squash, cucumbers and pole beans. All did well and produced well.

Eggplants – 9 Plants

Lettuce – 2 rows of 3 plants each

Sweet Bell Peppers – 9 Plants

Tomatoes 8 Plants

 

The eggplants and peppers are in roughly 36 square feet of space each, the tomatoes run the length of the bed with about 2 1/2 feet of space into the bed.  The lettuce was allotted 24 square feet

This bed should produce for the summer until frost kills off the eggplants, tomatoes and peppers. I would be happy to get two or three crops of lettuce before the frost comes.vegetable garden bed 1 was the first vegetable be I made in 2011

The first year, when I made the bed, I added 9 cubic feet of peat moss, 10 cubic feet of topsoil and around each of the plants I added approximately 6 quarts of organic compost. Each summer I layer grass clippings to retain moisture and add nutrients. For the last 4 years I have laid roughly 3″ of leaves in the fall and turned over in the spring. Right now the soil is a nice dark brown and is crumbly

For 2015 an additional 6 cubic feet of peat moss was be added. Each plant was supplied with one gallon of organic compost at planting. For the lettuce, organic compost was raked into the rows.

Tomatoes – there are 2 different varieties of tomatoes. Click here for the listing

Bell Peppers – I will plant only 1 variety of bell pepper this year. Click here for the listing

Eggplant – 1 variety. Click here for he listing

2014 Vegetable Garden

Strawberry are great fruits to grow in the vegetable garden. Ordinary strawberry fruit ripen in June in the Northeast USVegetable Garden

So this is the gardening section of the blog. Gardens and garden work for me are “Zen”. Vegetable gardens are the ultimate in Zen. If planned correctly and managed, vegetable gardens provide food and satisfaction. If managed well, vegetable gardens save money and provide quality food that can be “chemical” free and GMO free. For me that is very important. I started my vegetable garden for several reasons:

First – I am cheap. Food prices and quality have become a joke. I can go to any store and find plenty of fresh food. Problem – Look at the prices – ridiculous;

 Second – what is the quality of the food being sold – are there pesticide residues? What about GMO? Has the food been genetically engineered? If you don’t know much about some of the concerns people are raising about GMO just surf the web there are plenty of articles. You can also watch documentaries. Vermont passed a law requiring GMO foods to be labeled as such in grocery stores;

Third – a well-planned and managed vegetable garden can and will provide food long after the fall frosts have come and shut down the garden season. I like that because I hate spending money and just think, as the “preppers” out there say…well you know ;

Fourth – there is a lot to be said for “thinking globally and acting locally”. No better efficiency in field-to-table than backyard-to-table. Think of the saved fossil fuels & labor; and finally

Fifth – Gardening is a science experiment. For the last three years I have changed up tactics, tried new varieties. I like to grow cabbage. I have tried various ways to control cabbage moths – picking off the eggs works best and there is no need for pesticides. Last year I tried new tomatoes (heirloom), it was an unmitigated disaster. Blight took all of them. This year I will try something different. The ultimate goal of my garden is to grow enough vegetables for a summer and fall of good eating and then enough for the entire winter. Pretty lofty goal!!

With all that said, my garden for 2014 will consist of three beds that are 8’ x 16’ and a section along the back yard fence that is allocated for 12′ x 4′ of potatoes, 8’ of garlic and 8’ of shallots.

Bed # 1 will be filled with a “crop” that should be planted late May and stay viable until Frost.