So it’s been quite a while since I blogged about the garden. We’ve been busy! We have been producing a ridiculous amount of tomatoes! We’ve been picking them a few times a week for over a month and haven’t been able to get them all.

When I look underneath the plants I’ve found twice as many have gone to waste that we’ve even picked. Lesson learned, the layered soil setup of Black Earth compost, potting soil and Healthy Start works far beyond my wildest expectations!

The tomato plants are still covered in green tomatoes and even flowers but I don’t think we will get much more out of them this season with the sharp change in the weather we are experiencing. Too bad that all the green ones will go to waste, they will make a tasty meal for a raccoon when I pull them I’m sure.

Our cucumbers have been huge, the kids love them. As an experiment I left 1 on the vine way past ripe to see how big it would get. The picture doesn’t do it justice, it was about a foot long, 3″ across and tasted horrible! We do have carrots still growing but they’ve been shaded by the cucumber all season so they don’t look like they will reach maturity.

Here’s a few other lessons I’ve learned from the Great Garden Experiment of 2015 (it took me till now to name it!):

  1. The tomatoes in the raised planter far out performed the ones in the pots. The pots were just too small for the size the plants got. While the raised planter ones are still a deep green, the ones in the pots have been yellowing for a few weeks and even dying back, meaning they used up the nutrients far sooner than the raised planter. Makes sense, less growing medium in the pots. The pots would have have benefited from a fertilization around the end of July.
  2. I used light blue, white and terra cotta colored plastic pots. The blue and white performed about the same. The terra cotta colored one was always dry well before the others and produced less. The terra cotta color absorbs more heat therefore requires more water. Good lesson for containers growing anything.
  3. Seeing how huge in height and width the tomatoes got, and the size of the cucumber vines, the raised planter is far too small. I’ll be building a larger ground level garden with a wire system built into it to do a better job of holding the tomatoes up and give the vines more room to spread. The raised planter will be used for peppers, carrots, lettuce etc.
  4. Critters weren’t an issue. The only thing something went after a couple times was the Roma tomatoes. We would go to pick a ripe one and a nibble would be taken out of the bottom. Only the Roma’s though. It wasn’t even enough to bother worrying about. We do have 2 large dogs and the garden is right up against the house so that helps.
  5. Best lesson of all; a home garden can produce a huge amount of produce if set up properly. After the initial set up, it really isn’t much work at all. The kids loved it and I ate my weight in TOMATOES!

On another note, I’m very happy to report that repotting and cutting the Mandevilla way back did in fact save it. I actually haven’t watered it once since the make over, just relied on the rain, which hasn’t been much and it’s doing great. It puts on about an inch of growth a day and is flowering. So lesson learned, even in a pot Mandevilla needs very little water, don’t over compensate for how quickly pots dry out.

I’m already looking forward to next year, I’d love to start to set these up for clients as well. I’ll be doing more research this winter! Sorry to go so long, it’s been a while and I’m excited!

Any questions on the garden please feel free to shoot me an email, chris@swazyalexander.com.
Garden talk resumes sooner than you think!