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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Homegrown Tomatoes... It's a Guessing Game

At least for me it is.

With the fall garden crossing over into the spring garden we started strong this year. After rebuilding the beds with new, good soil, organics in place to use for fertilizing, correct timing in February to plant seeds and seedlings in the ground and most of all ~~ determination to learn some new things and improve the harvest of edibles this season ~~ we were off and running.

The harvest has not been a bad one. I just wouldn't say it's been great. I'm pretty sure I've thrown away almost as many tomatoes as in this basket due to nasty worms eating their way into the flesh.

The choice to abolish the use of pesticides is a true test of fortitude in Florida.

Summer has surely arrived early. The humidity and heat has come upon us like a blanket to smother even the most resolute soul. With it the bugs increase and flourish. The soil temperatures rise and the tomatoes don't like that too much.

Slices of yummy goodness from tomatoes (even though not as pretty as we'd prefer) are what keep us moving steadily onward with our goals. Hand picking worms and not stressing over the losses are our best defense.

The top of the tomato plants are still looking healthy, producing new flowers and amazingly setting new fruit. It's a guessing game when to water and how much to water as each day the forecast is for rain at some point in the day. That doesn't mean we'll see any rain ... there are just chances for rain. Some days it rains and others it misses us all together.

Towards the bottom of the plants things don't look so spry.

And this, my friends, is how it goes. I can't seem to conquer growing tomatoes on lively tomato plants from start to finish. And I can't seem to pinpoint what it is tht needs to be adjusted.

Admittedly, I've been harvesting good tomatoes prior to them fully ripening. Call it scared. Call it impatient. If they are almost ripe and they haven't been eaten by a worm they come off the vine to fully ripen safely on the kitchen sill.

Ah, the ups and downs of edibles. It certainly keeps us on our toes.

With the heat plus a couple of evenings of heavy rains the zucchini plants have succumbed to powdery mildew that is hopeless to control. But in the foreground (above) the 2 straight neck squash plants are still producing really tasty yellow fruit.

It is my hope they will hold out for a bit longer. Fresh goodness that is hard to beat!

The blanket flowers are cheery and don't mind sprawling all over the place to remind me why I mix up blooms and edibles. It's rewarding to have some easy, lasting successes to ease the consternation of the summer veggie season.

The blooming dill offers a bazillion tiny little flowers for the beneficial insects to nectar and rest. I'm sure they are working overtime on the feast of insects that are thriving here.

Pole beans on the trellis in the background have been a hardy lot. Green beans are still feeding us as well as onions.

My best little helper is old enough now to ask if he can pull the carrots and needs little to no instruction any more. He could give the garden tour and tell any one what's what in the garden and why we don't use chemicals on our food.

Overall every minute guessing what to do next or how to do a thing better next time is worth the effort. Hands-on experience works like a charm for me. We'll get this thing figured out eventually. In the meantime, lots of fresh yummy veggies have gone into our tummies. And some have gone into the compost pile. But rest assured, dear reader, we'll keep trying.


  1. I still think the ones you get from growing this way makes you appreciate them even more, not to mention the taste is enough to make me want to scream it from the top of the rooftops. Congrats for taking this approach.

  2. So glad that you are at least getting some of the maters. Mine are still green. Bush beans picked this afternoon. Dug a few taters too. Will have them tomorrow for supper.
    Carrots are coming along. Corn is starting to tassel. Pumpkins {volunteer} are taking over everything. So far only 2 pumpkins are visible. Mostly male blooms. Arrgg.

  3. The blanket flowers are beautiful. Did you grow them from seed? You may have mentioned in one of your blogs, but I can't remember. Anyway, I would love to try to grow some of those!

  4. The fruits of our labor are always sweeter and yummier, and how lovely the little one is also introduced to organic gardening. In the future he will appreciate those moments with you. How i wish i can also do some harvesting, however i don't have vegies as my work in the city is far from the land we own.

  5. Those sliced tomatoes look so yummy! I think spring gardens are the hardest for us Floridians. This year the spring season was pretty short too. The fact you still have tomatoes producing in this heat is pretty amazing. I so love seeing the dill and blanket flowers and other non-vegetably things mixed in. I love your organic approach as well.

  6. Compost,
    I'm right there screaming with you... the taste is indescribable.

    I haven't tried potatoes yet but I want to... just have to make room. Good for you... you deserve big kudos for gardening in containers! I have volunteer pumpkins, too... at least that's what I think they are... no fruit yet.

    Hey!!! Yes, I start them in 4" pots and they sprout up quickly and then are transplanted ... lots of places. E-mail me... I'd love to send you some seeds... I have plenty. hoe and shovel garden at g mail dot com

    I hope for you to someday be able to grow some veggies. The time will be right for you at some point and it will happen... I appreciate your comment.

    The seeds sprouted later due to the cold and then it got humid so quickly and we had spring rains which the landscaping loves but not so much the edibles that prefer even watering. Selah! Onward we go and we'll make the best with what we have. Right? The tomatoes are very tasty... to us and the worms apparently. Had to throw away some more this morning. :-)

  7. There's nothing like homegrown tomatoes...exceptionally yummy! Veggie gardening does have its challenges but is well worth the effort, and you look like you've had another successful season to me. The snails were my peskiest pesk in the spring garden. They seemed to be hungrier than ever. :-) Enjoy your bounty!

  8. I have started planting ornamentals around our veggie garden as well. That way, if the heat is too much for the eat-ables, I still have food for my eyes! Thanks for the continued inspiration!
    When are you gonna start giving tours? ;0)

  9. Hi Meems,

    Blanket flowers are Florida Natives, aren't they? How long do they bloom in your garden?

    Love your blog!


  10. Susan,
    I haven't even had time to do anything about the snails I've been so busy chasing down Eastern Lubbers.

    Ornamentals are the saving grace in the veggie garden when the veggies start to wane. Speaking of you live in this area?

    The variety pulchella which is what I grow from seed is considered a Florida Native. Mine have lasted since last summer ... and they re-seed themselves and start new plants. But I think they are considered a short-lived perennial in our area.

  11. Hi Meems~~ For me, not taking it too seriously has been a big help. In gardening very few things are permanent. There's always next time and it's a lot more enjoyable when you can shake off the imperfect elements.

    Beautiful photos!


Have a blessed day,

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