Gardening for Cooks Posts

Indoor and outdoor edible gardens.

Tomato Support for Creative Types

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

Tomato Support for Creative Types

I am a “creative” type – meaning I have an excuse to be disorganized and messy. Unfortunately, I also have an appreciation for order and clean aesthetics, (yes, I’m that guy who wants all of the things on the dresser to be lined up “just so”) which is in direct opposition to my messy and lazy nature. Eventually, these two aspects of my personality collide and I reach a point where I just can not stand a mess any longer.

Today I hit that point with my tomato plants.

Tomato Support for Creative Types

New Planting

Monday, November 8th, 2010

New Planting

It’s cold.  The outdoor garden is just about done for (although the rosemary soldiers on).  Fall is settling in and it’s getting dark at 4:30.

Good thing the Aerogardens are ready to go again.  Nothing beats harvesting fresh, tender herbs in the middle of a snowstorm.  This time around, I am using some tricks I learned online.  Last time, I used the Aerogarden herb kits (my gardens came with these included).  Now, I’m using some of my own seeds from Park Seed, third-party liquid nutrients and a set of third-party grow plugs.  The plastic baskets are re-used from the AG kits.  This brought the cost of a new planting to less than half of what AG’s kits would cost.  Also, I get more of what I want and none of the filler.  I have planted basil, thyme, oregano, and flat leaf parsley in two Aerogardens.  They are all growing.  (In fact, I used a little of the young thyme in the recent Goat Cheese and Herb Souffles) So far, so good!

Aerogarden Grow Log – “Wrap Up” August 25th

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

I haven’t posted about them in a while, because I was busy cooking and using them, but the Aerogarden plants have run their course.  The herbs are now dry and yellowing, and things just aren’t the same.  The tomatoes actually went first and stopped bearing fruit, although I was not diligent enough about harvesting, feeding and pollinating new flowers.. maybe they could have lasted longer.  It’s to be expected.  All three gardens have been running since early February.

Overall I got a lot of cooking done with the herb gardens.  I really liked being able to walk 10 feet to the gardens and grab some fresh thyme or parsley for a dish.  I give the herb gardens a solid recommendation.  One caveat – you do have to take care of them and clean up a small mess after harvesting.  There are a lot of little leaves in there.

The cherry tomatoes… well they were delicious.  And I did get quite a few of them.  If you are a big cherry tomato fan for salads, I say it’s worth it.  Other than salads, I didn’t find too much of a use for these.  But they did taste good.

I need to clean out the gardens soon and think about the next planting.  Right now I am thinking about doing a lettuce garden, another herb garden and either a custom herb garden with more of the herbs I use regularly (no more mint, please) or a hot pepper garden.

Overall it has been an enjoyable experience and I didn’t have any major problems.  The only snafu was some mold that appeared early on and had to be swabbed with hydrogen peroxide.  But that was pretty simple.  All in all, it was sure nice to have some fresh things growing when the ground was covered in snow.  I will definitely be growing more in these gardens!

Square-Foot Garden Check In – July 16

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

We’ve finally gotten to the fun part.  I’ll have to add a picture of the garden “overview” soon, but I’ve been pulling a lot of delicious cayennes, jalapenos and tomatoes from the garden.

The tomato plants are bursting with green and ripe tomatoes.  First, they had a problem with the bottom of each tomato rotting (fixed that by adding eggshells to the soil), and now they are splitting and cracking a bit due to unusually heavy rains we recently had (growing too fast).

Square Foot Garden Check In   July 16 Square Foot Garden Check In   July 16

The tomatoes might not look perfect, but they taste so good.  I remember my mother bringing home really good tomatoes from the New Jersey farms she passed on the way home from work when I was a child.  These are like that, maybe even better!  They are sweet and full of flavor.  The variety I planted is called “Better Boy.”  Definitely will plant these again.

Square Foot Garden Check In   July 16

Square Foot Garden Check In – June 29

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

It’s been almost a month since the last Square Foot Garden post, and a lot has happened.  We’ve had some unusual weather over the month of June.  Golf ball sized hail and unusually hot weather.

Tomatoes started to form, then grew larger

Square Foot Garden Check In   June 29 Square Foot Garden Check In   June 29

But there were some (quite a few in fact) problem tomatoes which developed large, flat brown spots on the bottom of the fruit.  I found out this is called Blossom End Rot and is due to a calcium deficiency in the soil.  Notes for next year’s garden…

Square Foot Garden Check In   June 29

Square-Foot Garden Check In – June 2

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Haven’t posted an update in a while… the garden has come a long way.  The tomatoes are growing like crazy!

Square Foot Garden Check In – June 2

We replaced the lettuce that had died with cucumber plants.  I have no idea how those will turn out, but they are growing rapidly.

These little guys seem to enjoy the Cayenne and Jalapeno pepper flowers…

Square Foot Garden Check In – June 2

Aerogarden Grow Log – May 14

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Everything is in full maturity now.  The tomatoes and herbs taste so good, and everything is plentiful.  We went away for 10 days to Prague.  The gardens got a bit out of control (as you can see), but survived.  Nothing is showing any sign of slowing down.

Aerogarden Grow Log   May 14 Aerogarden Grow Log   May 14

“A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it is better to be thoroughly sure.”
~ Czech Proverb