How Does Your Garden Grow? Perhaps you are like Mary in the old nursery rhyme and have a flower garden with “silver bells all in a row” or perhaps you are more like me and have a vegetable garden with tomato plants growing all in a row . It’s a nice day so let’s go outside and I will show you my garden of tomatoes, peppers, shallots and herbs…everything you might need to make a delicious summer meal featuring garden fresh ingredients.
I’m reminded of the old nursery rhyme when I look to see how my garden is growing. There are no silver bells like Mary had in hers but I do have beautiful lilies growing outside the picket fence surrounding the vegetable garden.
Once inside the gate, you will see that my garden is planted in four neat rows.
The first row of the garden is planted with four Italian frying pepper plants and shallots on either side of them. You may notice in the photo above that the shallots on the right side have remained small as has one of the pepper plants. Something must be lacking in the soil on that end even though all the plants have been fertilized equally. There is always a mystery when growing plants…some do well and others don’t even when grown under the same conditions.
The three other rows are dedicated to five varieties of large heirloom slicing tomatoes and three varieties of cherry tomatoes.
In New Hampshire, it is suggested to plant a vegetable garden around the 30th of May after all threat of frost has passed. In the 70 days since the garden was planted, it has been interesting to watch the plants grow from tiny seedlings that I raised in my potting shed until now. For the first few weeks of the growing season, we had morning and evening temperatures that hovered in the high 40’s and low 50’s which can sometimes stunt a plant. Even with being fertilized with lobster compost this year, the tomato and pepper plants have remained smaller than in past years. While the cherry tomato plants tower over me, the heirloom tomato plants have barely grown over their four foot cages. That is much smaller than the six feet they have grown to in years past.
One problem that has occurred with the tomato plants throughout this growing season has been persistent leaf curl. You may have noticed it in the photos above and can see it more clearly below. Thankfully it doesn’t seem to affect the tomatoes that are ripening.
While the branches have been kept at least a foot off the ground, a recent development has been some spotting of the leaves. Those are being cut off with scissors that I dip into a jar of water mixed with bleach as I don’t want any problems to spread from one plant to the next if I can prevent it.
Even with a few problems, there is a nice crop of tomatoes on each plant. The cherry varieties have ripened first. We are patiently waiting for the large slicing tomatoes to follow suit, it shouldn’t be much longer.
Off to one side of the garden, I also have a four foot square raised box where I grow parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, tarragon and basil. A day doesn’t go by that I’m not out in the early evening cutting fresh herbs for that night’s dinner.
The crop will be smaller than usual this year but there will certainly be enough tomatoes for the two of us to enjoy in our daily meals. While we are waiting for the large tomatoes to fully ripen, we are using the cherry tomatoes in many dishes. One of my favorites is Spaghetti alla Portofino, you can find the recipe here.
Now that you have seen how my garden grows, I’d love to know what you are growing if you have a garden. Do you have vegetables or a cutting garden so that you can have fresh flowers in your home…perhaps you are even like Mary and have “silver bells all in a row”.