My Vegetable Garden is Almost Planted

May 20, 2008

This past Victoria Day long weekend, I finally started planting my vegetable garden.

I hammered in 2″ nails at one-foot intervals along the edge and used sisal twine to make the grid for my 8′ x 16′ garden. It worked pretty well, a lot better than the mini-blinds I constructed last year which created irritating ant super-highways. I’m hoping that with the 1″ berm in the vegetable garden I’ll be able to flood those annoying pests out of the garden.

I read a post by Dr. Carolyn J. Male, author of 100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden, on Dave’s Garden (membership required) that the right way to save tomato seeds is to plant 8 of the same variety and save seeds from the inner 4 plants, the wrong way is to save seeds from one or two fruit from one plant and the inbetween way was to save seeds from many fruits from a minimum of 2 plants. Apparently, saving seeds from one plant creates a genetic ‘bottleneck’. I’m pretty new to saving seeds (last year I saved seeds from a couple of hybrid Juliet tomatoes that may have cross-pollinated) and I want to try to do it right this year. I decided to plant two seedlings of the same variety opposite each other on my concrete reinforcement trellis and will be bagging some of the blossoms once they start to show. Here are the 16 varieties of tomatoes:

  • Sweetie – red cherry
  • Blondkopfchen – gold cherry
  • Black Pear – black/purple pear
  • Black Plum – black/brown plum
  • Opalka – elongated red
  • Eva Purple Ball – pink standard
  • Bonny Best – red standard
  • Pruden’s Purple – pink/purple standard/beefsteak
  • Box Car Willie – red standard
  • Canabec Rose – red standard
  • Earliest + Best – red standard
  • Green Zebra – green/yellow standard
  • Aunt Ruby’s German Green – green beefsteak
  • Black from Tula – black/red/green beefsteak
  • Cherokee Purple – black/purple beefsteak
  • Old Flame – yellow/red beefsteak

You can see them lined up, still in their pots, two-by-two on the left side of the garden with the concrete reinforcement trellis in between:

That black area is just some extra black earth I had sitting around that I used to level out the garden. I put one of my wintersown Cherokee Purple tomatoes into the garden. The root system was amazing:

I was pretty happy when they were all planted:

The next day I started to work on the rest of the empty squares in the garden. Last year I had two 8′ boards running across the width of the garden to help me harvest and weed, however, this year I decided to run one board across the 16′ length. This will allow me to have access to the outer sides of the tomato plants as well as the other 4′ x 16′ section.  I also worked on setting up a bamboo trellis for some pole beans.

Under a cool sky, I put in some Black Seeded Simpson lettuce, Rainbow swiss chard, sage, rosemary, Black Eel zucchini, Mosco tomato (a determinate, I think), Cherokee Trail of Tears pole bean, Melody spinach, Cinnamon and di Genova basil, Dwarf Fernleaf dill, Chioggia beets, Mustard Green mix, Persian Broadleaf cress, Gourmet Heirloom Leaf Lettuce mix, California Wonder peppers, Black Spanish Round Radish and Ruby Orach Mountain Spinach.  I put most of the lettuce and greens to the west of the tomato and pole bean trellises so that they would have more shade behind the tomatoes and beans and therefore would be less likely to bolt.

I have 30 spaces left and I want to put in carrots, oregano, parsley, more beets, yellow bush beans, cucumbers, onion, more radish and some more tomatoes that I’ll have to stake individually.  I also plan on running a soaker hose down the base of the trellis to help water the tomatoes once they start to fruit.  I’m going to have to find another 3′ piece of wood to bridge the gap in the walkway as well as find some 3″ boards to cover the rest of the 1′ space.  So busy!


8 Responses to “My Vegetable Garden is Almost Planted”

  1. nhnursery Says:

    Your garden layout looks great. I have never tried a Cherokee Purple tomato before. What are the characteristics of the tomato?

  2. Kathy Says:

    Hi nhnursery,

    Cherokee Purple tomatoes are a mid-season oblate tomato that is dusty, deep-pink with purplish tint and green shoulders. The fruit grows from 6 – 12 oz. in clusters of two to four. It’s an indeterminate plant that has moderate to high yields of deep, rich, smoky, sweet fruit. Originally it was grown by the Cherokee Indians and is said to be more than 100 years old. It’s a good beginner tomato as it is dependable and adaptable to lots of different growing situations. I was so taken with its description that I started a lot of these and now have about 15 extras to give away or sell.

  3. Christina Says:

    Beautiful tomatoes and garden overall. I can’t wait to see how it grows this season.

    I haven’t tried wintersowing (though I keep hearing its praises) and I did grow the traditional method, from seed under grow lights this year for my tomatoes and peppers. Some of my plants did very well–in fact, most of them–but my blondkopfchen tomato has seemed to struggle the most. It’s still 2 inches tall while everything else is passing the 2 foot mark. They’re all in the ground already and for the most part, looking magnificent. If blondkopfchen works for you, I’ll definitely try it again, but for now, I think I’m writing it off.

    Once again, lovely garden.

  4. reggieCasual Says:

    I really like all the tomato varieties you planted. Can’t wait to see photos of the garden in August.

  5. […] at I Wet My Plants designs a beautiful garden bed with 16 varieties of […]

  6. bethany Says:

    I love the name of your blog, btw!

  7. Rick Says:

    I am amazed @ how many squares you have.You planted some great tomato varieties.I am curious how much pruning u will be doing with them as they look to be planted really close to each other.I am in Tennessee and am also growing Cherokee Purple(known as CP round here).I am a lso growing the German variety Little Blonde Girl.My blondkopfchen seems to have different leaves than what they say it should.almost a rounded type,but not potato or regular,I am curious about yours.I already have some fruit growing.Curious also how you will walk thru the garden?or above it.Looks great.Happy Gardening!

  8. Kathy Says:

    Hi Rick!

    I’ll have to take a picture of my Blondkopfchen leaves and send it to you so that you can compare. I got the seeds through a You Grow Girl seed exchange. I need to get another 4′ piece of board to complete the wooden plank walkway that I have running through the length of the garden. I’m using the square foot method for my spacing because I found when I planted helter-skelter I wasted a lot of space. Since I have such a small garden I want to use it to the max.

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