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Heirloom Tomatoes

Brandywine Heirloom Tomato

Last year was my first year to plant an heirloom tomato. Wow, was I glad I did so! I planted a Brandywine Heirloom Tomato for slicing. It was so delicious. Whenever I eat a homegrown or organic tomato, I wonder how it is that in our “progress” and “advancement” as a society, we have gotten so “smart” that we can now mass produce flavorless vegetables covered in pesticides. What are we doing to ourselves? All that to say, if you want to eat tomatoes this season that are pesticide free and full of flavor, try growing an heirloom tomato.

Here is a helpful guide that lists all the heirloom varieties and the days to maturity. Here is the link (from portlandnursery.com):

http://portlandnursery.com/docs/tomatoes/HeirloomTomatoes2012.pdf

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Starts – Nature’s Way

The last couple of year’s I have let a couple of my garden vegetable plants go to seed. It was initially because of laziness, but it turned out to be a great way to get starts for the following year.

Now, each Spring, my garden beds start sprouting beets, tomatillos, and sungold tomatoes. These are the three types of plants that I have let go to seed and seem to do well sprouting on their own each new season. As soon as I see the sprouts, I will dig them up and put them into individual pots in my green house till it gets warm enough to plant them.

Now that’s a great way to get starts each year – It’s Nature’s Way!

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Spinach

SpinachB

It doesn’t look like much now, but give it a couple of months and we’ll be flush with fresh greens.

Rhonda spent most of Sunday in the garden prepping the beds. I timed it right and was able to help finish by turning a bed and adding compost.

Note that the planter boxes are old dresser drawers. We got these from a recycling center and drilled holes in the bottom for drainage. They’ve served us well for greens and herbs.

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Container Gardening

An awesome container garden

An awesome container garden

I’ve talked to quite a few friends that want to build a garden but for some reason are nervous about getting started. The reasons are varied:

  • No time to manage a full-scale garden
  • Landscaping or building planter beds is too costly
  • A lack of skills or knowing where to start
  • No room in the yard or space on the apartment/condo deck
Rooftop Container Garden

Rooftop container garden

If this sounds like you, container gardening may be the way to go. To get started, the tools are pretty basic and start-up costs are low:

  • Containers of various sizes
  • Sterilized potting soil
  • Shovel
  • Trowel
  • Fertilizer
  • Drip or hose irrigation (optional if you water by hand)
  • Seeds!

All of these tools can be found at a gardening center. Even drug stores and grocery stores carry some or all of these. Best of all, the cost of materials are relatively cheap.

One of the things I like best about container gardening is that you don’t have to commit to the “ideal” part of the yard if you aren’t a seasoned veteran. For example, if my planted strawberries aren’t doing well in one part of the yard, I’m sunk. With a container garden, I can just move them around until I find an ideal spot.

With this sort of flexibility, anyone wanting fresh produce should give this a shot. More on container gardening can be found at the National Gardening Association’s web site here:

Container Gardening

A more detailed description on how to get started aimed toward urbanites can be found here:

Maintaining a Container Garden

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