Saturday, May 19, 2007

Planting Tomatoes and Vegetables: First Garden Update of 2007

Last year I had fun giving updates on my garden every week or so, and I thought people might like to see what's growing around here this year as well. I'm a bit slow getting the updates started; I actually planted quite a few of my plants the last weekend in April. I have a garden with a tall fence on three sides, so I'm able to plant much earlier than many people. So far, I've never had anything freeze, and this year it's extra hot, so we're off to a great start in the garden.

Today I'm going to show you the tomatoes and veggies. Utah had an especially cold winter this year, and a few herbs that usually come back didn't make it. Next week I'll show you the herbs that survived and a few new ones I'm trying this year. (Some links included here go to commercial sites. I'm not endorsing or advertising these sites, just using them to illustrate that type of plant. I did like the site Dave's Garden, which posts reviews from gardeners who have tried growing a certain variety of plant.)

In my mind, Brandywine is the premier heirloom tomato. This is a very flavorful tomato, distinguished by it's leaves, shaped like the leaves of a potato plant. Brandywines are huge tomatoes, and the plants get really big too, and last year I gave up on using a tomato cage and just let the plants sprawl on the ground. I'm doing that again this year. This is my favorite tomato for tomato sandwiches. (2 plants)

My favorite all around tomato for salads and slicing is the Celebrity tomato. It's a medium sized tomato with good flavor and grows well in Utah. (5 plants)

Last year someone at my garden center recommended Lemon Boy tomatoes, and I really liked them. I love to use this tomato mixed with Celebrity tomatoes to make Red and Yellow Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese and Basil Vinaigrette. (2 plants)

Of course, you must grow Romas, and you need quite a few so you'll have enough at one time to make Slow-Roasted Tomatoes. I've never been able to find the famous San Marzano, so I picked some healthy looking plants which were La Roma variety. Do you think I'll have enough slow roasted tomatoes this year? (7 plants)

I also planted one Cherry Tomato, which I guess I didn't take a picture of. Yes, that's 17 tomato plants for those who are keeping score. I do have a big garden, and I love to give away tomatoes to everyone in the neighborhood.

This year I'm planting cucumbers next to a tomato frame again. Here is a photo of last year's cucumbers if you want to see how I did it. This worked well, and made it easier to find the cucumbers. I like Sweet Slice cucumbers, but I couldn't find them so I'm trying a variety called Marketmore 76. (4 plants)

This is an interesting plant called Really Big Squash which was recommended to me at the garden center. It's a type of butternut squash, which gets bigger and is thicker in the neck than traditional butternut. (2 plants)

I also planted other squashes including two zucchini, two crookneck squash, and two round zucchini called 8-Ball Squash. The round ones are perfect for making Grilled Zucchini, and they don't seem to get out of control quite as easily as the regular zucchini does.

I guess I forgot to take a picture of the bell peppers, so I'll show those another time. I'm also planning to plant spagetti squash if I can find a plant, and a few seeds for chard, arugula, and maybe even one type of lettuce, but I haven't managed to get that done yet!

In future weeks you can follow the progress of my garden by clicking the label 2007 Garden Updates at the end of this post.

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  1. What fun -- thanks for sharing! We've got our garden planted for the first time in several years, but haven't found any brandywines yet. They are my favorite for sandwiches too -- must get some!!!

  2. How fun! I just started a little garden blog myself here.

  3. Great garden Kalyn!
    When I got back from the US I found my tomatoes had grown out, not up. I can't believe they did that in 2 weeks. I seriously attacked them with the clippers and am hoping they survive. At least it's early, yet.

  4. My favorite cherry tomato is the Sweet 100; good flavor and very prolific producer.

  5. I love looking at your garden. This is the best time of the year, when we set out our hopes, in our garden. Great selection of plants. I have some of those in my garden too!

  6. Christine, good luck finding the Brandywines. You must have them!

    Rachel, fun to see you're getting into gardening.

    Katie, thanks. I trim my tomatoes all the time; they'll be ok.

    Bobg, sweet 100's are very flavorful I agree. I think I got a bigger cherry tomato this year.

    Sher, isn't it just the best thing ever! Look forward to hearing about what you're growing too.

  7. Lucky you. because the drought is so terrible here we can only water between 6am and 8am two mornings a week. I had two Tomatoes this year, perhaps a dozen Zuchinni (remember I was overgrown by them last year) and a couple of pumpkins. perhaps I'll have to just watch yours grow instead.

  8. Ed, we had a drought here for about five years but the water restrictions weren't that bad. We could only water before 8:00 A.M. and after 8:00 P.M. Ever since then though, our water rates are really high. Last summer I was paying nearly $100 a month USD for water. This year I'm going to try to do a lot more watering in my garden with the hose when I'm in town, just to save on water. I wish I could send you some veggies later when I have tons of them.

  9. ooo i love to see herb gardens :) We recently planted some tumeric but nothing has happened so far (that we can tell :) ) ... my dream is to have a tomato plant, and some more herbs, still getting up the courage :)

  10. Wow ... you do have a great big garden! Lucky you. Wish I lived next door for some of those tomatoes. Hope you have thousands of tomatoes.

  11. Your tomatoes look happy! I love writing about my herb garden, though I'm off to a slow start this year. Spring is the best time -- everything feels so hopeful, before the slugs, moles, rabbits, deer, etc etc etc.

  12. Wow - 17 tomato plants! I can't wait to see all the wonderful things you'll make with them this summer. I think Brandywines are the best for sandwiches, too. I am growing four San Marzano plants, started from seed. Come to think of it, I've never seen San Marzano plants at any of the gardening centers.

  13. Hello Kalyn,
    I love the pictures of your veggie garden.
    I have not tried to grow celebrity but I'm thinking of trying a brandywine this year.
    My favorite all around tomato is early girl. It is a very prolific medium tomato.
    I tried a tomato last year called vanilla cream. It is a small light yellow tomato. It is extremely sweet. Not very many actually made it into the house. I just ate them off the vine.
    I couldn't find them this year:(

  14. TriniGourmet, go for it. Tomatoes and herbs are really not that hard to grow. They probably do really well where you live!

    Tanna, I would love to live next door to you. All the tomatoes you ever wanted, just over the fence!

    Lydia, isn't spring the best. (Followed of course by summer, when there's no school, lol!)

    Christa, very envious of the San Marzano plants. I've got to get with it some day and try some seeds for my tomatoes.

    Chigiy, I like early girl too. I got some of those for my dad's garden. The vanilla cream tomato sounds very interesting! Do try the Brandywine. This will be my third year planting them. They taste just wonderful.

  15. I'm very jealous, I wam dying for the day I have a yard big enough to have my own veggie patch - for now I just have a plain old herb 'shelf'

  16. Looks great, Kalyn! What a good feeling a new garden is. I am loving my little garden of herb pots (since I don't have a lawn area I am allowed to plant). Can't wait to hear of its progress!

  17. Great garden post--I was interested in your tomato selections. I've got Lemon Boy and Brandywine, too. Like Rachel, I started a new garden blog--too many hobbies for one blog! Or maybe just split blog personality.

  18. I so want to grow Brandywine tomatoes! Did you start yours from seed?

    We're in a new house with no vegetable garden plot, so I'm container gardening this year and building raised beds for next year.

    Seeing your pictures is making me itch to get started!

    Wow - 17 plants. I'll send you my address if you get overun with tomatoes this summer. ;)

  19. Ange, having a garden is truly wonderful. I hope you get one someday.

    Chris, look forward to hearing how you're using your herbs.

    Lucette, another lemon boy and Brandywine lover! I have no idea how you guys can keep up with two blogs, but I do kind of like the idea of a separate garden blog to document the progress.

    Alysha, for a few years now I've had good luck finding Brandywine tomato plants. I get them at Home Depot here, but I've seen them in other garden stores too. Good luck, I hope you can find some.

  20. Kalyn, this is an amazing garden! How sweet of you to show us!

  21. Then you'd be in trouble sending me veggies. The customs police are even worse than the water police. Offer appreciated though

  22. Kalyn - I found Brandywine plants at Lowe's today! I only bought one because I'm doing them in containers this year and I'm not sure how a bigger tomato will do in a smaller space.

    I have my plants, now I just need the containers and the soil....... :)

  23. Patricia, glad you like it.

    Ed, yes, I don't want to mess with the customs police.

    Alysha, glad you found a Brandywine. They are so tasty!

  24. I agree with you that planting and watching the harvest of a garden is so fulfilling. I really enjoy mine and daily I look forward to the amazing changes and growth progress. Once my tomatoes mature, I wind up giving most away to friends and people at work. Tomatoes are so easy to grow. The varieties with varying colors, sizes flavors and shapes make it easy to be salad creative.


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