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Saturday, June 30, 2012

The garden in June

June 29, 2012 022

Hot temperatures are upon the deep south right now.  In the garden, that means the tomatoes are aplenty!  We planted 21 tomato plants and we have 19 that have survived so far.  From those tomato plants (actually only from 9 of the plants – the others haven’t ripened yet), we have put up 9 1/2 pints of salsa and I’m working on another double batch as I speak write.  Not to mention, we have given tons of tomatoes away to many friends.

June 29, 2012 015 all of this from nine plants (and this was after the Romas slowed down production)

After last year’s lack of tomatoes, I’m wondering why we are having such a good year.  Here are a few things we did differently that may (or may not) have made a difference:

  • planted tomatoes early trying to beat the heat
  • the Roma tomato bed was fertilized with composted chicken manure
  • all plants are fertilized every three weeks with fish fertilizer
  • it has not gotten as hot as early as it did last year

June 29, 2012 018 tomatoes to share

I don’t know if these things have made the difference or not but we have had a great tomato year so far with many more tomatoes left to harvest.  However, since our temperatures have hit the 100s this week, I’m wondering if it will all slow down like it did last year.

June 29, 2012 040 a first for our garden – tomatoes we started from seed – they are HUGE

One of my gardening friends who always has a very productive garden told me some of his tomato secrets for planting in Louisiana.

  • He direct sows some tomato seeds in cow manure on January 31!  (Yes, you read that correctly!)  He sows these seeds around his cold frames so he can cover them as needed.  He also starts seeds inside to transplant outside after the frost.
  • He leaves tomato plants in the ground after the temps get so high that they stop producing.  He continues to water them as normalThen in the fall when the temps drop, his plants give him more tomatoes!

June 29, 2012 012

I’m going to leave some of my plants in the ground for the rest of the summer and see what happens.  I will have to try the direct sowing in January of 2013.  Of course, I’m sure I’ll let you know what happens!

Tomatoes are not the only things growing in our garden.  Here is what else you will find:

June 21, 2012 017 this is our first year to harvest grapes

June 29, 2012 021 many different varieties of sweet and hot peppers

June 29, 2012 030 these stinking bugs – ugh

June 29, 2012 031 our cucumbers have not done well this year – I pulled them all up, mixed in composted chicken manure, and replanted.  Hopefully this time, we will get a better crop.

 June 21, 2012 084 many herbs

 June 21, 2012 021 wildflowers

plus some watermelons, cantaloupe, and okra

How’s your garden growing this summer?

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