Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Garden Club

I leave the garden for 4 days and look what happens!  I guess it could have been a bad result, with a tornado or something, but still I could hear the weeds calling me outside to do some clean up as soon as I unpacked the cooler and started a load of laundry in the washer. 

According to the rain gauge, 2.5 inches of rain fell while we were gone.  Made for easy pulling weeds, but also made them all HUGE.  I filled ELEVEN 5 gallon buckets and I'm not done yet, but it's a big improvement.

There are edibles out there too!

I hadn't planned on pulling any carrots (mostly because I thought they weren't ready yet) until these came out alongside some big weeds I yanked out of the ground.  I'll let the rest grow for a while longer

I think we have finally figured out how to have a successful tomato garden.  First, spacing is huge!  As in the more the better, and even then go a foot or two wider than that.  Of course, that's not an option for every gardener, but tomatoes grow with such gusto* that unless you can keep up with the pruning (and can cut off a few blossoms and tiny, green tomatoes without having a panic attack), they spread and tangle together and become a giant mess by the time they start to ripen. 

*I think it was was Riot Kitty who commented the other week about tomatoes being the sluts of the plant world.  I couldn't agree more!  Besides the overall craziness, I am constantly pulling out tomato plants that come up on their own all over the garden.
Second, staking or caging.  For years I used those flimsy wire cages from the garden center.  You know, the kind that stack not so neatly, stick together and bust at the welds?  Never again!  Now that the Gardener made me some heavy duty towers out of used electrical conduit, I have sworn off wire cages forever.  I actually bought 2 of the heaviest round cages I could find at Fleet Farm, and still they don't hold a candle to the practically FREE homemade cages.

And third would be pruning and training.  Even with the new cages, the tomatoes still need to stay inside them to be successful which means going out every few days and tucking the new growth inside.  I also adopted a heavy pruning technique starting last year, which is proving to be quite effective.  You should have seen my brother's face last week while we were out working in the garden and I was snipping off entire branches (the suckers) of tomatoes to encourage more vertical growth and less sprawling outward.  Not only does it look cool to have tall vertical towers of tomatoes, it also prevents the tomatoes from hanging on the ground and reduces the chance of disease because no fruit is laying on the ground rotting.  The bugs seem to leave them alone this way too.

Summer squash

Anybody else gardening this week? If so, grab the Monday Garden Club button on my sidebar, paste it to your blog entry and link up below with Mr. Linky.


Secret Mom Thoughts said...

I'm so jealous of those heavy duty cages. Tomatoes really are sluts. Love that.

LL Cool Joe said...

Yeah that sounds like a Riot Kitty comment! :D

I'm very impressed! Someone has been working very hard!

Riot Kitty said...

LOL Joey!

Now I want some raspberries.

Riot Kitty said...

BTW, oddly enough, I was just telling someone how tomatoes are the sluts of the plant world.

Shady Lady said...

Those tomato cages rock! So do you, having the patience to maintain your tomatoes. Your garden looks awesome!!

Out in Them Sticks said...

Everything is looking amazing as always. Your hard work is paying off!

We came back to a weed bed. Not the best year for us.

Next year, I guess!


sheila said...

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm I think that's my problem, spacing. I had to rip out a whole zucchini plant this morning because it was growing into my cucs and killing them. Plus, they are so overcrowded they aren't producing much anymore. :o(

I have to think either less plants or more space next year. Ughhh.