July 3, 2011
by Matt

Tomato Harvest is On!

Brandywines and Cherokee Purples Ripening on Vine

Pink Brandywine and Cherokee Purple tomatoes ripening on vine

The Cherokee Purple and Pink Brandywine are going wild now.  They’re not setting new fruit well due to the temperatures, but thanks to an early start they have tons of fruit on them ripening.  Friday and Saturday morning resulted in a harvest of seven pounds of Cherokee Purple and five pounds of Pink Brandywine.  Hopefully this brief cool down we just got will give me some new fruit setting, but time shall see.

Ripe Cherokee Purple and Pink Brandywine Tomatoes

Ripe Cherokee Purple and Pink Brandywine tomatoes


July 1, 2011
by Matt

End of June Garden Update

End of June Garden
It’s the end of Juny and the garden is in overdrive. I’m pulling 10-15lbs of zuchinni a week out, tomatoes are turning daily, peppers ripening and new growth coming in.  My Mr. Stripey, Pink Brandywine, Solar Fire and Cherokee Purple tomato plants are being hesitant on producing fruit, but nothing to worry as of yet. I did a rather aggressive pruning last week and cut off almost all the suckers to the canopy.  We also got a nice hot streak which could have inhibited pollination directly after the pruning.  I’m sure more fruit will be popping out this week, but we’ll have to wait and see. Continue Reading →

June 29, 2011
by Matt

The More You Know: Tomato Leaves

When discussing tomato plants and cultivars leaf type is a term thrown around a lot of the time as well as other classifications.  Most tomatoes fall in to two basic categories of leaves.  Regular Leaf and Potato Leaf.  While not an overly important factor in determining what kind of tomato to plant it is a useful piece of classification knowledge to know.

Regular Leaf Tomato Plant

Regular Leaf Tomato Plant

The most common type of leaf on tomatoes is the Regular Leaf.  Regular Leaf tomato plants usually have several leafs grown from each stem with serrated, saw like edges.    Size, color and texture can all be vary, the shape of the leaf is the main distinguishing factor.

Potato Leaf Tomato Plant

Potato Leaf Tomato Plant

Potato Leaf tomato plants have leaves that have fewer or no interruptions in their edge and our normally larger than regular leaves. Potato Leaf plants will sometimes have leaves with a few growth lobes, as seen above, and very little serration to the edges.  Potato Leaf plants foliage is often stronger than its Regular Leaf counterpart.

June 28, 2011
by Matt

Zuchinni Lasagna

Zucchini Lasagna with a fresh Greens Salad

Zucchini Lasagna with a fresh from the garden salad.

Today I’ll be sharing the recipe to my awesome Zuchinni Lasagna. Taking the time to make a proper tomato sauce makes this lasagna a winner. By removing the meat and the cheese you can have an amazing vegan lasagna also.  I call this Zucchini Lasagna since thin, long ribbons of zuchinni are used instead of pasta.  Keeping with the healthier side of things since I’m not using pasta I also decide to cut the fat of the cheese back by using cottage cheese and a bit of cheddar.  Remember the enjoyment of cooking is experimenting so feel free to go crazy with this as your base. Continue Reading →

June 25, 2011
by Matt

Finalizing the Reclamation of the Fence

View of Fence with the New Beds

The new beds with the landscape feature along the fence.

Day two of my fence bed project began as the first day.  I raked my bed clear of debris, collecting the rocks to the side so I could properly shape the remainder of my bed.  With a sizable collection of rocks I began a little water collection/potted vegetable growing area.  Before any digging or construction was done I completely surrounded the first bed with a space for water to flow.  I dug a three inch wide trench to a depth of four inches that ran for foot to connect the bed to the water collection area.

Next, I dug a 24″ deep hole with a diameter of 30″ or so for the water collection area.  I removed the soil to and filled the bottom six inches with sand.  Over the sand is a six inch layer of smaller rocks followed by a decorative layer of larger rocks.  From the bottom of the well I placed stones up and out from the center.  Once the rocks are laid to the top of the well I just repeated what I did for the first bed at the second bed to make the trench for excess water to flow in.

Close up of the Water Collection area

Close up of the water collection landscape feature

Continue Reading →

June 24, 2011
by Matt

Reclaiming Wasted Fence Space with Corn

Wasted Space Along Fence

Wasted space along the fence. I believe it used to be a rock feature that just was never maintained.

Along the fence in my backyard runs a swath of dirt and rock.  Over the past year of living here I have found myself picking weeds and grass out of these rocks to keep them from looking horrible.  Looking out back the other night I thought I’d like to grow more corn, the problem with that is my garden is small and compact. I already have an eight foot row of corn in the back of my garden, where it won’t steal the light from the rest of my plants.  Instead of picking grass and killing weeds from these rocks, I’ve decided to make a border against the lawn with the rocks along the fence and clear the space between to plant corn.

Removal of Rocks from Fence Area

Removed the rocks from the area with a standard rake.

Armed with my rake, hoe, shovel and scoop shovel I went to work.  I split this in to two sections due to the heat wave we’re having right now.  I can get half of this done in the morning before the temperature shoots over 100 F.    I cleared the rocks in the area simply by applying downward pressure with a rake making sure to knock all of the rocks in the soil free.  Stubborn rocks were negotiated free by delivering a swift blow to their face.  Once the rocks and debris were clear I went over the cleared area looking for debris and began shaping the bed’s area.

Once rocks, debris, and weeds were cleared it was time to put the hoe to work. I used the hoe to dig the bed to a depth of 12″.  Once the initial depth was reached a rake was used to break apart the soil and remove any left over debris.  I mixed two cubic feet of my own top soil/composte/mulch blend into the existing soil and supplemented the area with slow release fertilizer since nothing had been grown for at least a few years in this area.

Continue Reading →