Friday, June 05, 2009

Friday Night Photos: 2009 Garden Update #3 (Tomatoes, Herbs, and More Time to Garden!)

vegetable gardenToday was the last day of school and the end of my teaching career, and although hugging the kids goodbye was a little bittersweet, I'm ready to move on to the next phase of my life. I'm hoping that next phase includes more time for gardening, but so far this year I haven't done much more than throw the plants in the ground and try to water them. As I mentioned in the last garden update, it's been hard to find time for the garden with so many decisions about house renovations, and the huge job of packing up a classroom after 30 years. Luckily some plants are able to flourish on their own, so I thought I'd start this update with a shot of some perennials that grow along the edge of my garden.

With so much going on, this is definitely a scaled-back garden year for me, and I only planted six tomatoes (more than enough, but far less than I usually end up with!) I had photos I took on May 22 that I was planning to use for tonight's post, but when I looked at them I realized how much the tomatoes had grown, so I quickly shot these pictures just before dusk. There are a lot of weeds in the garden, but happily the tomatoes don't seem to mind! This is a Brandywine tomato plant, an heirloom variety that bears very large fruit, and by far my favorite tomato for flavor.

Next in my row of tomatoes is the Fourth of July, a medium-sized all-purpose tomato that ripens early in the season.

This Green Zebra tomato is an heirloom variety I haven't tried before, but it was recommended by someone at the garden center who always seems to like the same tomatoes I do so I have high hopes for it.

Celebrity is the tomato variety I've grown the longest, and it seems to do very well in Utah's climate. This is another medium-sized all-purpose tomato.

Another new-to-me variety is this Pineapple Tomato, an heirloom that produces yellow fruit that are pink inside. Again, recommended at the garden center, and I'm very curious about it.

Finally, this Abe Lincoln Tomato is another heirloom variety I'm trying out this year. I didn't plant any Roma tomatoes this year, but I'll buy a few at the farmers market when it's time to make slow roasted tomatoes.

I've already shown most of the herbs that survived the winter, so these four are new herb plants. This is the basil I planted from seed, thriving and badly needing to be thinned. I usually try to thin by digging out some clumps and planting them in spots where the seeds didn't come up that well. On the left of the photo are two larger basil plants I bought, and the one in the front has already had quite a bit of basil cut off!

None of my parsley came back this year, so I bought Italian Parsley and Curly Parsley plants. They are slow to get established, and although the plant in the front of this photo looks pretty good, most of the parsley plants look rather sickly, like the one in the back of the photo. Hopefully I can nurture them a bit more now that I'll be home.

Lemon thyme is another new plant this year. I bought this after I loved the silver thyme I grew last year, and I decided you can never have too many types of thyme in your herb garden!

Finally, rosemary is one of my favorite herbs, but it rarely survives the winter in Utah so these are two new plants. They seem to be adjusting to the herb beds pretty well, and I'm thinking I should cook something with rosemary soon!

This is the third garden update for 2009. You can see all the updates in order by clicking the label 2009 Garden Updates.
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  1. Just wanted to let you know I served your Black Bean & Rice Soup with Lime & Cilantro at a birthday luncheon today and it was a big hit. Everyone LOVED it! Thanks!

  2. We can all use more thyme ;o) and basil and rosemary and ... always more thyme.
    Congrats on the last day. Bittersweet, yes, you'll miss it and you won't. I think you've got many interests and will probably find even more with a little extra thyme on your hands now. If you're like me you'll find you're even busier than when you were working.

  3. Kalyn,

    Best wishes to you as you leave your life as a teacher and start your new one. I loved my teaching for thirty years and know from experience it will take a bit of time to redefine yourself. Enjoy!

  4. I love heirloom tomatoes. We too have been so busy with house renovations that gardening has been on the back burner. Will buy from the farmers market this year. But we are fortunate in NC to have Rosemary as a perennial so my plants are quite large. Congratulations on your retirement.

  5. Just a word of congratulations on your retirement. I can tell by the tenor of your writing that your students were fortunate to have you.

  6. Wonderful garden you have.

    Best wishes as you move on to your next stage in life.


  7. Your garden looks beautiful where did you buy the heirloom tomato plants? I am here in Salt Lake and didnt know you could buy them around here or did you order the through the mail? Id love to try something more than the early girls and beefsteak :D Carm

  8. Karie, love that soup too! So glad to hear it was a hit.

    Thanks to everyone for the retirement good wishes. I'm really happy about it.

    In Salt Lake I find heirloom tomato plants at Western Garden, Millcreek Garden, and even at Home Depot some years. I've always bought plants because I never manage to order seeds in time or get them started indoors!

  9. It sounds like your garden center has a tomato concierge - like a wine sommelier. Your garden updates always inspire me. I still haven't tried growing squash. My new stuff this year: sugar snap peas, broccoli, spinach, turnips, sage, thyme, onions and leeks.

  10. Congratulations, Kalyn, on your retirement. Whenever we have a friend retiring, my first offer is on the first work-day (like Monday, to Friday) I meet the friend for coffee just to celebrate the I'm-retired life. So since you're way over in SLC, I salute my coffee cup from a distance!

  11. Nice looking garden Kalyn! Enjoy your retirement and Happy Gardening!!


  12. Congratulations on your retirement!

  13. Lemon thyme is one of my new favorites. Mine wintered over nicely, but I added a second plant this year because I've been using so much of it, especially with some of the mild white fishes like cod and halibut.

  14. Thank you everyone for the retirement wishes. It's been so nice to have a relaxing Sunday without feeling pressured to "get things done."

    Lydia, I may have gotten the idea of lemon thyme from you, especially if you blogged about it. Can't wait to use it.

  15. I am very impressed with your wonderful garden! I am starting out with a fail proof tomato planter and potted herbs... if all goes well, maybe one day my garden can look like yours...actually planted in the ground! ha!

  16. I think you will love the flavor of the 'Green Zebra' tomato. I grew it last year and it was a hit with all family members. It turns just a bit yellow when ripe...I had to ask last year and you might benefit from that info. Enjoy!

  17. Ashlea, I've been gardening for about 30 years, so you have plenty of time to learn! I have to say that adding the raised beds has made my garden better in so many ways.

    Layanee, thanks for the info about the Greek Zebra. Really looking forward to trying it.

  18. Oh, green zebras are my favorite! Your neighbors are gonna skip Whole Foods and come to your garden instead. Hope you have some baskets and carts ready for them. ;)

  19. Hi Kalyn, Congratulations on your retirement and new life! You've got so much going on - new office addition, more time to garden and write. I look forward to seeing and reading what will be coming 'round the corner now. Are you still planning on coming out to California sometime soon?

  20. Susan, so glad to hear that! The person at the garden center raved about them, so I'm excited to try a new type of tomato.

    Christine, definitely still coming, but not sure how soon. I need to get my house finished (and refinanced!) before I spend money on anything else. But I'll be coming sometime for sure!

  21. Congratulations on your retirement!


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