Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Every year when the weather warms up I plant what I like to call a garden (which is really just a strip next to the deck stairs in the back yard).  This year I had big growing plans.   I was going to move the patch to a different part of the yard, or maybe build some planter beds, or both. However, I went on vacation in early March.  After that I was scrambling to get caught up for weeks, then all of a sudden it was the end of April and I gave up on my big plans.

I decided to do things the same as other years, and went to the closest garden center and bought four tomato plants (Roma, Red Cherry, Black Krim, and Big Boy) and two pepper plants (Big Bertha and Big Daddy). I also bought a four-pack of orange marigolds (to ward off pests)

On Mother's Day I planted everything. The tomatoes I tried to grow from seed never took off when they were set outside, and when I moved two volunteer plants to a different part of the garden patch one of them re-rooted and thrived.  The other didn't make it. With those plants gone there were some empty spaces to fill in the bed. I went back to the garden center and looked at the selection of tomatoes. I bought a Super Sweet 100, a grape variety that's done well for me before and Fresh Salsa, which was new to me but sounded good.

When I checked out the cashier asked me if I liked to grow tomatoes, and told me they had some "rejects" in the back; I could take anything I wanted.  I always like the sound of Free, so I went to take a look.There were six plants on the shelf. All of them were lanky and hunched over--they reminded me of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree, but I can't pass up a bargain and added two of them to my box.

When I got home I planted the two good plants in the garden, then wondered what to do with the freebies. The stems were bent over, and I didn't really have any more room in the garden. Enter the freestanding containers.  I have a motley collection of repurposed pots and buckets in the garage.  I found two that were the appropriate size, drilled holes in the bottom, and got ready to plant.  I know from past experience that tomatoes form roots along the stem, so I always plant them deeply; however, in this case I buried those suckers! I broke off a few yellowed leaves at the bottom and put the plants in the pots so the root ball almost touched the bottom, then filled the pots with soil. The bent-over stems were hidden from view, supported by the dirt.

Big Mama (green pot) and Steak Sandwich (white pot) 
I moved the pots to a spot in the rocks next to the garden area. It took them a couple of days to recover from the shock of being buried, but the last few days of summer-like weather allowed them to perk up nicely. Today I inserted stakes next to the plants and tied them up with strips of plastic from newspaper sleeves.  Steak's stems are still bent out of shape, but he has a few flowers; that's a sign of tomatoes to come, so I won't judge a book by it's cover.

I realized today that eventually I'll have to find a different place for the pots.  See the greenery at the bottom of the picture?  I planted some canna lily bulbs there, and they'll soon grow tall enough to block the sunlight to the plants.  Maybe by moving the tomatoes I'll be able to figure out where to put a new garden.



  1. I think you done good and can look forward to tomato sandwiches. I'd walk to Missouri for one one those.

  2. I usually plant celebrity tomato plants in big containers on the deck. They grow and make lots of tomatoes. This year my husband made me a garden. He made a square with poles and filled it with topsoil. My tomatoes are doing pretty well but I don't know if they will be better than the ones in pots. (time will tell) ground seems kinda hard, I think I need to add something ? to the soil.

  3. how fun...they will probably do nicely! I love the name Fresh Salsa for a tomato just makes you want to buy it! ha.

  4. Good luck with your tomatoes. I have never tried growing them before but I have eaten home grown tomatoes a lot. They taste totally different from the store bought ones. Lucky you with the warmer weather. It is so cold here and tomorrow winter officially starts.

  5. charlie brown's tree is so pretty to remember.