Category: Tomatoes

Hope springs eternal.

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We have had a TON of rain over the last week or so, making my new herbs and vegetables quite happy.

(I’ve been checking my toes, daily, to make sure they are not webbing!)

Apparently, our part of Texas is predicted to have an unusually wet April and May.

Not a bad thing, as we are still recovering from a drought.

(I’ll try to remember, fondly, the rain, come June, July and August…)

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As you can see, above, the rain has compacted the dirt and allowed the, uh, numerous rocks to be revealed.

(We used some extra dirt we had out at the ranch (apparently rocky dirt), but made sure to amend it with plenty of mushroom compost.)

The plants don’t seem bothered by the little rocks, so I guess I’ll quit worrying about it.

(It’s just not as pretty as clean dirt.)

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Above: purple pole beans–can’t remember their name!–watermelon (or cantaloupe, maybe), and bush beans.

(If I find that I have super, great success with any particular veggie, I’ll be sure to list the names and varieties in a later post.)

Both vegetables and herbs appear to be sprouting and growing well.

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Oh, goodness, you have no idea how happy that makes my heart.

I am always so hopeful and excited at this stage of the game.

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Over in the large garden plot, the corn and Kentucky Wonder pole beans are also beginning to stretch upward.

(I used the little orange flags to help me keep track of where I planted seeds–they’re a cheap and convenient way to warn me not to walk on the baby seeds and seedlings.)

I have watermelons, cantaloupe, squash, and some tomato plants in this big garden plot.

Oh, and if my watermelons produce as I hope they will, I will be able to provide the world with watermelons all summer long!

(I may have overdone it with the watermelons…once they start growing and spreading, I’ll take pictures…I’m scared they may take over our backyard and pasture…)

(We’ll be in trouble if the cows and Abner, our donkey, eat watermelons!)

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Marigolds are supposed to be excellent companion plants for all veggies.

They’re heat tolerant, once established, which we need here in Texas.

Plus, they add color and attract pollinators.

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Who knew having a garden could bring such joy?

New beginnings.

Such potential.

Renewed hope.

It’s not too late to plant a few seeds in some dirt, y’all!

I promise you, you will not regret it.

Happy gardening!
E.

 

 

 

 

Spring 2015 Gardening

This Spring, I decided to go a different route and try my hand at raised beds.

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My sweet, handyman of a husband built these awesome beds and I am already loving them!

I like the rustic look of these beds…rusty tin recycled from the ranch, and rough-hewn cedar lumber.  

I’m hoping, by having smaller, raised beds, I’ll have larger output of vegetables.

(Fingers crossed.)

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The plan is to use these beds for herbs and more compact vegetable plants, while using the original garden plot for corn, beans, squash and watermelons.

You know, the plants that like to wonder and spread out.

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Okay…I do plan to put a couple green and purple pole beans in these boxes to climb on the trellis.

I love having a pretty trellis in the garden, even in raised beds.

(See our sweet pet cows and donkey?!)

(Have I told you ThrillCam doesn’t really like it when I call them our pets?)

I’m sort of bummed I didn’t ask ThrillCam to take some “how-to” pictures for me.

Pictures would have shown how he put a floor about 18′ down, in each box, so we didn’t have to fill the entire box with dirt and compost.

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And, believe you-me, we shoveled in plenty of dirt and compost!

I can’t imagine having to completely fill each box.

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(Okay…HE shoveled the majority of the dirt…”and I helped!”)

(A little.)

(I really did shovel some! I have the very sore shoulders to prove it!!)

Fine.

(Does it count that I’m the one who will tend to the garden, though?)

 

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Actually, I think we make for a good team!

I’ll be sure to give updates on what veggies and herbs I’ve planted and how they do.

Happy Spring, y’all!

E.

 

 

 

Gardeners: Help Wanted!!

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Why does my corn look like this?? Where did I go wrong?

Each piece I pulled and shucked, had rotten spots at the top, where the silks come out. And, as I pulled off the husks and removed the silks, it was obvious not all the kernels developed.

And, here I thought my corn was going to be my winner this year…

Oh!

Another thing:

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What caused this on my beautiful tomato? A bug, or the heat?

What say you, oh wise and experienced gardeners?

Wait.

I’m not done yet.

I mean, if I’m going to ask for help, I’m going to put it all out there.

I’m being transparent, folks.

My gardening pride will not hold me back.

I am willing to learn!!

Teach me, Gardening Gurus!

This.

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Again, heat?

Poor little watermelon…

OR, do you think water sat on it too long?

Help, wise ones!

(Yes, I promise I took that rock out.)

One more request:

Why am I not getting any green beans?

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I see tons of sprouts/buds of green beans, but when I look for fully grown beans, there are none to be found. I think in all this time, I’ve seen THREE whole beans.

Is this my culprit?

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(Do you know how hard it was to snag a shot of this little bugger? He would quickly scoot around the stick every time I’d get a good view of him…those stinking big bug eyes…I just know he’s guilty of something…)

Okay.

There you have it.

Bring it on, give it to me, be honest.

Practice some tough gardening love on me.

I can take it.

Love,

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Baseball

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Did you know that there are MILLIONS of little black balls of rubber embedded in field turf ? (Did you know there’s a difference between field turf and Astroturf? Astroturf was first invented for the Astrodome in Houston, Tx. They are both synthetic fibers, but Astroturf was inflexible and caused many injuries. Field turf has been improved over the years and the use of the rubber balls–and sand–help to prevent injuries.)

I knew the tiny bits of rubber existed due to the time I’ve spent on football sidelines, but it wasn’t until I was down flat on the fake grass to grab the above picture that I truly understood just how abundant the black stuff was.

I still have imprints on my legs where the black stuff dug into and stuck to my skin.

The good thing, it camouflaged the cellulite.

Sort of.

Okay, not really. It only lodged itself into the cellulite making it that much harder to remove the dag-blame stuff.

According to eHow, the pellets are made from frozen rubber tires.

Well, here, you can read for yourself:

  • When you play on, or carefully inspect FieldTurf, it’s easy to notice a number of small, black pellets that sit below the surface of the synthetic grass. These black pellets are loose, and as you run on the FieldTurf, your feet will flip them up into the air. The pellets are made of cryogenic rubber and are a vital part of the infill structure of FieldTurf. The rubber pellets used in FieldTurf are environmentally friendly. They are produced from recycled tires that are frozen through a cryogenic process. While frozen, the tires are broken into the small pellets that will eventually end up in the FieldTurf.  —eHow.com

ThrillCam spent quite a bit of time and energy acquiring the turf that had been removed from a high school football field somewhere in Texas.

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We were thrilled the previous owners of our new house built a rather large metal building on the property because the front section was just the right length for a batting cage, which both of my boys (and a couple neighbor friends) have put to good use.

Getting the turf TO and INTO the building required an act of Congress; it took multiple days, the use of the tractor, and numerous strong-bodied males to move and roll it into place. (ThrillCam had to cut it into smaller pieces just to be able to lift and move it–with the TRACTOR! It was extremely heavy.)

Then, after the turf was put into place and glued down, the little black pellets had to be spread around to provide spring and cushion.

You can barely see, but to the left of the cage (in the above photo), there are buckets and bags against the wall. See them? Left-over pellets. Extra. Lots. (There are a few mounds of the stuff on outside the building, as well.)

The pellets are environmentally friendly, in that they are made from recycled tires, but, honestly, they will never go away. Ever.

I considered using the extra around my garden as a type of mulch, to prevent weeds growing around the edges. Seemed like a great idea, initially, but, I’ve decided against that because they would eventually make their way into the garden soil, which doesn’t sound beneficial to my tomatoes. (And, we know how much trouble I’ve had in the past growing tomatoes….)

Anyway, we are happy to have the turf, the millions of rubber balls, and the batting cage, because our family loves baseball.

Baseball–actually, any sport–is a great metaphor for life, in so many ways.

Like the Babe Ruth quote I put on the top photo–it applies to all of us whether we play baseball or not.

Every strike can bring us closer to our next home run.

So get out there and start swinging!

Eventually, we will hit a home run!

(Just don’t fall while running the bases–I’m still picking little black pellets out of unmentionable places….)

E.

Right Now…

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Right now, I’m seeing green!!

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And, new growth!

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And, right now, I see lots and lots of potential!!

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While I claim the garden as my own, I have to give a shout-out to my main squeeze, ThrillCam.

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Right now, he has supported my crazy idea to plant a rather large (for us, anyway) garden in our backyard.

(Unfortunately, I may not have chosen the very best location, as it took a TRACTOR to drill holes for the fence posts!)

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Um, yeah…

Sing with me, “SOLID! SOLID AS A ROCK!…”

Even my youngest punk got in on the action:

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It was short-lived, but I give him an A+ for effort!

(I’d never seen such a tool before! Apparently you slam it down to chisel the rock. I know this because I watched and observed. I’m good at that, watching and observing.)

ThrillCam even hauled over some hay bales for my homemade compost heap. (The hay is supposed to slowly break down along with the veggies and dirt to make yummy compost…eventually…next year.)

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Right now, the weather is fantastic and it’s a pleasure to get out there and pull weeds, to get dirty.

Right now, the plants are happy and healthy, not withered and shriveling from the horrid Texas heat.

Right now, I look quite successful in my gardening adventures!

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Right now.

I’ll keep you posted.

E.

Planted.

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I’m very excited! I’ve started my garden!!

I actually got a few plants and seeds into the dirt!

The seeds have yet to do anything above ground.

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I’m anxiously awaiting their little baby sprouts.

But, I did plant a few transplants, like tomatoes, bell peppers, squash and zucchini. And, I’ve been watching them closely, to see if they like my dirt/compost mix.

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Yep. That’s a tomato plant.

Yep. It has yellowed leaves.

Look at the one in the background; it ALREADY looks dead!! I may have already over-watered them on the very first day they were placed in the ground!!

(Actually, I didn’t over-water the first day. Yes, I watered them, but two days later it rained…a lot.)

Ugh.

Honestly, I think any plant I purchase should each come with a little plant creed attached to them, a declaration, a battle cry:

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor the cursed touch of Elizabeth stays these branches and leaves from swift completion of their appointed fruit & vegetable production.” 

Why? (please read the following with feeling…angst…emotion; maybe even beat your chest and rip your sackcloth)

(huh?)

Why, I ask you?

(louder, please)

Why, I ask you, was I born with such a strong desire to plant and grow things, and yet, lacking in the much-needed abilities to do so??  

Well, I’m just crossing my fingers that all the seeds and little transplants will be strong and persevere.

May they rise above my gardening ineptitude and shortcomings.

Wish the little fledglings luck.

They need it.

E.

It’s Spring! And, we all know what that means…

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If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you’ve learned quickly that I have a black thumb. I cannot grow much of anything.

But, I try.

Oh, how I try.

Take tomatoes, example.

I love tomatoes.

Tomatoes are the easiest thing in the world to grow, besides toe fungus and monkey grass. (Don’t ask me how I know these things.)

For some reason, though, I cannot grow tomatoes.

I’ve tried. (Do a search for tomatoes and read all the blog posts I’ve written on the little red fruit…it is a long and sordid affair.)

I’ve tried growing them in hanging contraptions.

I’ve tried growing them in pots.

Then, last year, I tried growing them in a raised bed.

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I was only marginally successful.

This year, though…this year will be different.

I just know it.

I feel it in my bones.

Stay tuned…

E.