Monday, August 4, 2014

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes - Part Deux

by Kate Collins

Remember my killer cherry tomatoes last year? The 3 tiny plants that took over half my garden?

They're ba-a-a-a-ck!

I don't know exactly what it is -- the perfect amount of sun, the wind off the pond, the moisture from the pond, the soil (clay) or what, but SOMETHING turns my teensy plants into GARGANTUANS.  Maybe it's a combination of all those things. Or maybe . . .

It's love. Yes, that has to be it. All that love I heap upon those plants as I water them, tend to them, stroke their little flowers, must do it.

But then why is the mint plant, or the oregano, staying so small? Do the plants have a secret agreement? Or are my tomatoes the bullies of the garden? Or the superheroes?

Whatever reason it is, as their lord and master, I'll accept them without judgment and let them be whatever they want to be.  I shall be magnanimous, and they shall flourish. As you can see from the second photo, the branches are reaching up onto the patio. Maybe they're headed for my door. Maybe they have plans for ME!

My neighbors are already putting in their orders. Last year I think I fed the entire block from my three little, er, giant plants. People were stopping by to take photos. I half expected to be listed as a tourist attraction in my small berg. Those plants produced well into November. Not even the first freeze killed them. And I still have rows of frozen cherry tomatoes in freezer bags in my big freezer.

Here's another anomaly. I tried to grow leaf lettuce last year in a pot (since the tomatoes wouldn't relinquish their space). Sadly, it didn't fair well. But this year, nestled in between the mint, oregano, and the GARGANTUAN tomatoes, leaf lettuce sprang up. Just one little plant, but I've been picking leaves from it for a month and it just keeps producing. Somehow one little seed floated over from my patio pot landed in the garden and came to life this year.

Maybe I should name my little slice of paradise  KATE COLLINS' MAGICAL MYSTICAL GARGEN.  Think I could charge an entry fee?

How doth your garden grow this year?

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sadly I didn't plant one this year. Normally, I plant tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, watermelons, and pumpkins. Here's hoping my garden plans work out next year.

violetingram.blogspot.com

lavendersbluegreen said...

Sadly I was not able to have a garden this year. Maybe next year... then I will be looking to your garden for inspiration!

Karen in Ohio said...

Mine are going crazy this year, too, and loaded with tomatoes. I may have overplanted--10 regular vines, and one volunteer grape version. Yikes!

mary kennedy said...

A great blog! I have very little sun, but manage to grow parsley and basil. For some reason, the mint went wild this year--seriously, how much mint does a person need?? Wish there were some way to keep the basil and parsley going through the winter but I've never been successful. Any tips?

NoraA said...

No garden here, just two window boxes sitting on the kitchen window. One has mint, the other basil. As they get taller my partner takes cutting from them and roots them. Both boxes are packed with green goodness to add to my cooking.

mary kennedy said...

Nora, I love that idea!!

Heather said...

I'm impressed that your mint isn't trying to take over, which is a problem a friend has with her plants. I've noted that the mint family (particularly dotted horsemint and catnip) has not done as well this year along the nearby bike path where I saw tons of them last year. The only explanation I can come up with is that it was too wet along that stretch this year (we had a lot of rain in June).

The work garden has not fared so well this year -- severe storms in June took out a lot of the plants, and others have struggled. Friends' gardens that are somewhat protected by fences or buildings are doing better. Being in an apartment, I have only a window box on my front windowsill. The plants are healthy, but haven't produced much yet.

Kate Collins said...

That is sad! I'd be wandering around outside looking for something to pluck! Hope it works for you next year.

Kate Collins said...

I'll try to post some garden tips next spring to inspire you! If only I knew what inspired my tomato plants. Sigh.

Kate Collins said...

Overplanted? No o o o. There are never enough tomatoes. (she said, gazing at her loaded freezer and wondering what the he. . .)

Kate Collins said...

When I hear mint I think -- Mojitos! Everyone -- head to Mary's for a mojito partay! Can you cover your soil with thick mulch or black plastic over the winter? Don't know if that will work, but it can't hurt to try.

Kate Collins said...

I truly think my other plants are afraid of the GIANT TOMATOES. They will not spread close to them. I know plants communicate so I'm thinking some kind of agreement is going on here. LOL. I applaud your efforts to grow in a box. My daughter does that, too, and it really depends on how much sun they can get.

Georgette Tarnow said...

My version of gardening every year was buy tomato plants, plant them, fertilize them, water them, stake them, kill them. This year I didn't plant any. Same result -- no tomatoes -- but much less work.

Annette N said...

For the basil, when it gets too tall, cut a pretty nice sized piece off, make sure the lower leaves are off, stick in water and put in sunny window sill. You can have basil for the rest of your days. My cherry tomatoes are doing ok ---not super stars this year, but I am so much better than I was two years ago. I had two giant plants that were plants that attacked the world but not one tomato....I thought it was a plot to make me crazy and of course it worked.

Kate Collins said...

Yum. Don't you feel healthier knowing they came from your own home?

Kate Collins said...

LOL, Georgette. I actually had two plants come up from last year's crop. So many tomatoes had gone to seed that they reseeded! I'm telling you, it's a magical garden!

Kate Collins said...

Too funny, Annette. That's a good tip on the basil. I can't use mine fast enough. I have dried quite a bit of it and then crumble it to use in cooking. I think I might be able to freeze it that way, too.

Karen in Ohio said...

Kate, it's late, but I hope you'll see this. I freeze basil this way:

Remove individual leaves; rinse well, and then drain as much as possible.

Stack leaves and pack into quart-sized freezer bags, removing as much air as you can, so the package is as flat as you can get it. (This method holds a lot of leaves.) Freeze.

When you want to use it, just break off a bit and crumble it while it's still frozen. If you crumble it first, you lose all the volatile oils.

Kate Collins said...

That's great information! Thanks, Karen.

Fred said...

Tell your tomatoes not to turn their vines on the mint, or the mint will take over. I have some spearmint and 12 feet from the original planting, more are coming up. I have three broccoli plants that have been providing a nice even supply. The peppers the same, but they aren't that big. Not big enough to stuff, but a nice snack size.