Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mystery tomato

One of the interesting (and frustrating) aspects of gardening is the unpredictability of it. Plant 20 seemingly good seeds, only 10 germinate (sometimes none, which is what I am finding out, though I think my seed is too old). Give all your seedlings the same amount of water, fertilizer, and love, and they grow at different rates (or, again, not at all).

My point in mentioning this is the discovery of a rogue tomato plant in my garden about a month or so ago, and its extreme growth and production despite my not planting it and lack of proper care. Not sure how it got there, other than perhaps through my compost pile after spreading some of it in the garden. When I saw it, I decided to let it grow just to see if, by chance, it might produce something (I have read many times that planting the seeds of store bought produce will not grow true).

Check out the number of fruits and flowers.

To my surprise, the plant grew... and grew... and grew. And not only that, but produced numerous flowers to which have grown numerous small tomatoes. To date, there are approximately 50+ tomatoes growing on this one plant that is about 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Looking through some seed catalogs, it looks as if this is a Cherry Roma tomato plant. The description says: 'Incredibly heavy set of 1" long plum-shaped fruits,' which is how this plant looks. My wife also identified the fruits as ones we have purchased in the past for parties.

The amazing thing is that I started some regular cherry tomatoes, Black Krims, and Old Virginias a short time after this one showed up, and they nowhere near got as big as the Cherry Roma before they began fruiting. And the Cherry Roma is just in plain old dirt, not a row I created and added anything to—just dirt! I have since added a bit more compost around the plant, but nothing major.

We have in the past 2 days picked some of the tomatoes, shown below, with many more that will mature in the next few days.

I am definitely saving some of the seeds from this plant, and hope to have the same success when I actually try to grow them!

I also have 2 large sunflowers that have sprouted on their own. Yet another anomaly, as I have planted sunflower seeds in my daughter's garden which did not grow.

Such is the wonders of nature, I guess.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

This and that...

Red potatoes from my first ever planting!

Been a while since I posted anything... I am still here and actively working to better my gardening skills.

Started a new garden back in March, of which my success has been minimal. I managed to get a good amount of red potatoes (my first time planting them). And my tomatoes seem to be doing good. Everything else I have planted is not as I had hoped. I am thinking my seed is too old, or gone bad, as hardly anything germinated. I do have a couple watermelon and squash plants that came up after I had given up on them. There are bugs eating my cow pea and corn seeds, though I did find one pea plant poking thru this morning.

I could also attribute it to lack of water. With the terrible dirt we have here, the water just runs off as you water, thus putting more water in the paths between the rows than on the plants. A bought a soaker hose, but at 50 feet long, it is difficult at best to use in my short-rowed garden.

I do have one rogue tomato plant growing in the garden, apparently from the compost pile. It looks like roma tomatoes, and they are growing on the vine much like cherry tomatoes do—several fruit on one branch. And the plant is huge. And I haven't really done anything to it except water it.

And on that note, it amazes me that you can spend all this time preparing a garden, meticulously plant your seeds/seedlings, water them with love... and get nothing! In addition to the "roma", I have 2 sunflowers that just popped up—one in the garden, and one where an old compost pile sat. Still scratching my head on this. Perhaps I just need to randomly scatter my seeds in the garden, cover'em with some leaves, and see what happens.

I am kidding of course, but it does zap some of the motivation out of one!

After watching the Back to Eden film, I have put some requests out for wood chips, but no luck yet. May have to "bite the bullet" and pay for  a load from the company near my home. But at $125 per load, that is a bit steep for my budget (and the wife won't be too happy either)!

Anyway, that is the news for now. Will keep the updates more frequent in the future.

Pray for rain! : )