I'm so excited about the garden this year. You can read about the beginnings here.
Since then, I have tried and failed to transplant my seedlings. (Who knows what went wrong... too quick, to much shock, too much weather, too much water?) I did decide to sow some carrot and cucumber seeds directly into the boxes, so we will see waht comes of them.
I added a little herb section by sticking my steel tubs (with holes in the bottom for drainage) from last year's container garden in the unused fountain.
And finally, I bought more dirt and many more plants. (Remember, these are our planter boxes.)
We have 13 tomato plants (at least 9 different varieties). This might sound insane, but I have had plenty of plants before and have never felt like I was getting that many tomatoes so I'm going all in this year. My fingers are crossed that I am forced to eat my own words and 700 tomatoes in late summer when we are drowning in ripe produce. That would be the very best and my neighbors would love us.
I planted a four cloves of garlic and two have sprouted already.
I also planted two artichokes (I tried and failed with these last year).
And two zucchini plants (which I hear is insane and we'll be buried in zucchini) and four different cucumber varieties.
There are a few different pepper varieties (bell and spicy) mixed in with the tomatoes as well.
And for fun I bought one watermelon plant, one butternut squash and one pumpkin (we'll probably just get some Ellerie sized fruit).
My goal this year is to keep things alive and do my best to encourage tons of fruit production. I have been reading Grow Great Grub and listening to wise folks on Instagram and so far, the biggest lessons I have learned make total sense:
- Plants are more likely to seed (produce fruit) when they are under some stress.
- Under-watering will encourage plants to seek out water and grow deeper and stronger root systems.
- Harvesting fruit early and often tells the plant to make more fruit.
- Water the ground directly instead of the plant leaves (to prevent mold/rot).
So I am cutting back on my tomato plant watering for sure and am going to spend some time feeling the dirt to determine when water is needed. I am going to be a ruthless pruner this year too and trim back lower leaves and suckers frequently to encourage each plant to focus it's energy on growing tasty fruit, not extra stems or leaves.
I shared a graphic like this a few years ago, but just in case you're new to tomatoes and have no idea how to prune tomatoes, the above image should help. Suckers are the shoots that grow out of the little nook between the main stem and a leaf branch. When they are small, they can be plucked off easily with your fingers.
Difficult to express how much I enjoy tending this little garden. I'm so hopeful it will be a great growing season.