Tag: garden project 2009

Plants in the ground

I finally transplanted all of the pepper and basil seedlings into our planter boxes this past weekend and sowed a row of spring onions as well. The tomato cage is over the spring onions to discourage certain cats from using our planter box as a litter box.

The Golden Jubilee and Roma tomato plants are getting big, and there are several green tomatoes forming!

The Sweet 100 is getting ginormous!

Yesterday I spotted our first ripening cherry tomatoes:

And the rogue butternut squash are thriving as well. There are at least two tiny squash that have formed:

Finally, I planted one of our rogue Sweet 100 seedlings in the front yard planter box. We’ll see how it goes.

Expenditures from the past few weeks:

  • New 100′ no-kink garden hose – ours burst open: $56.01
  • Drip irrigation materials (another weekend project for the future): $38.32
  • Another ultomato stake – $6.45
  • Organic plant food – $6.44

Expenditures summary:

  • One-time: $138.04

    • Herbs for front planter box: $10.37
    • Gear: Tools, hoses, tomato stakes, etc.: $127.67
  • This season: $24.50
    • Plant starters and plant food: $8.58
    • Seeds and seedlings: $15.92

As beginning gardeners, our one-time expenses this season are getting pretty high. I’m interested to see how our expenses will compare next season.

Now, I need to figure out how I’m going to keep track of our production!

Garden 2009 update

Oh boy, I’ve been dropping the ball on updates. Here are a few highlights from the past few months.


The seedlings grew nicely in my makeshift greenhouse.

We finally finished weeding out the planter boxes, tilled the soil, and mixed in compost from our compost bin. I picked up three organic tomato seedlings from the Farmer’s Market. The Sweet 100 went in the corner box and the other two went in the rectangular box.

  • Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes – $2.50
  • Golden Jubilee – $2.50
  • Viva Italia Roma – $2.50

In mid-April, I added potting soil around the seedlings and put them outside to start to try to acclimatize them. Unfortunately I forgot about them… and by the time I remembered and brought them back in, a third of our seedlings had wilted and died. Quite sad, I started up more seedlings in another plastic tray. I think this one used to be an Oreo cookie tray.


Fast-forward a month. The seedlings are still inside, although I just started putting them back outside to get them used to the growing summer heat before I put them in the ground.

The two tomato plants in the rectangular box are doing great. We even have some mini roma tomatoes starting to develop.

To our surprise, some things have started sprouting from our compost that was mixed into the corner box. We think we have some rogue butternut squash coming up and have left a few to develop to see what happens. We also got some tomato seedlings that came from from last year’s Sweet 100’s, and I dug up some of them to give to our neighbors.

The Sweet 100 is flourishing – no surprise – and the start of cherry tomatoes can be seen on the bottom branches:

There is also a mystery plant behind the Sweet 100. Anyone have any ideas?

The only other expenditures this month was for the three “Ultomato staking systems,” at $19.36 for all three. We have two wire cages from last year that were too small for the massive Sweet 100, and I liked the customizable stakes and supports of the Ultomato. I’ve already snapped off the side rungs and replaced them a few times to give some of the branches more support as the tomato grows.

Gardening 2009

Last spring/summer, we had just moved into our house and dove immediately into amateur newbie gardening. We planted a Sweet 100 cherry tomato plant (with great success and production) and a Better Bush tomato (not as successful – the tomatoes had rot or some other strange fungal thing going on). We tried a few rows of unproductive corn (later determining that we didn’t have enough space to do it “right”), had several basil plants (most of which shriveled up and died except for one productive plant), and one pathetic pumpkin seedling that never got more than five leaves. In short: We ate lots and lots of cherry tomatoes and harvested a few sprigs of basil.

This year, armed with not much more knowledge but lots of optimism and a few gardening books, we’re trying the learn-as-you-go approach

So far, I’ve added some herbs to our front yard planter box, so we now have rosemary (planted last year), sage, oregano, lavender (came with the house), and curry plant (which smells like curry but isn’t actually what is used in making curry powder). I just picked up a thyme seedling which will go there, too. And that’s probably all you’ll hear about the front yard planter box for this season.

  • Sage – 4 seedlings – $3.48
  • Oregano seedling – $3.49
  • Curry plant seedling – $3.4

Our back yard has two planter boxes – a triangular one which gets full sun except in the late afternoon, and a rectangular one which gets full sun except in the early morning. The triangular one is half-weeded, the rectangular one hasn’t been touched, as you can see.

I’m thinking this is a good spot for another Sweet 100 cherry tomato. Last year, we were unprepared for the immense dimensions of the plant, and it collapsed our 40″ wire cage. We ended up stringing it up to the fence and attempting to use various stakes to hold it up. There should be plenty of room for the tomato plant here (and we’ll probably buy a special extra-large tomato cage), and I’m thinking the basil plants can go in the front corners.

I haven’t really mapped out this one, yet. We’ll have one short row of bell peppers and one of jalapeno, if all of the seeds sprout, and a row of bunching onions – maybe two rows. I’d like a couple tomato plants (suggestions on good varieties for central California are welcome!). We’ll probably have room for two more rows of something else, but I’m not sure what, yet.

Expenditures for back yard garden

We have a few gardening tools from the previous owner of the house, but I went out and bought a hoe, too. I also purchased seed starter pellets and a few packets of seeds.

  • Hoe – $7.53
  • 25 pellets – $2.14
  • Basil (Genovese) – $2.27
  • Bell peppers (California Wonder) – $2.27
  • Jalapeno Early peppers – $2.29
  • White Lisbon Bunching Onion – $1.59

The onions will be directly sown, but I started the basil and peppers a week ago, and the basil is starting to sprout!

“Real” gardeners will laugh at the pitifully few seedlings I started — six basil, and three each of the peppers. I think most of our available space will go to tomatoes, and having never done peppers before, I wanted to just start with a few.

I made a mini-greenhouse using a “spring mix” salad container. Nothing like reusing before recycling! (The lid isn’t usually on so the plants get plenty of air.)

I think next year (or winter) I’ll venture into the realm of ordering from seed catalogs and use up the rest of my pellets; for now, I’m just excited that there are signs of life.

Updates will come.