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My little plastic-free veggie garden

Posted By Beth Terry On September 30, 2008 @ 11:02 am In composting,gardening supplies | 23 Comments

Sorry for the quality of the photos. For some reason, my camera and the sun would not cooperate last week when I took these. Anyway, here’s my very little front yard garden grown almost entirely without plastic. Yep. Little. And late. Because I didn’t get started until June. But it is what it is, and maybe you can offer some advice for next year.

If you’ll recall, the soil/fertilizer for my garden [1] is a mixture of front yard dirt, my own homemade compost, and recycled potting soil from my dismantled roof garden. No new plastic bags of anything.

On the left are my four tomato plants, which are probably way too close together. They arrived plastic-free from my friend Jennconspiracy [2] in little coconut coir planters. I removed them and tossed the planters in the compost. Then later found out I should have put the whole thing into the ground.

I was mocked and derided back in June [3] for thinking that I could use one metal cage for four plants. I had tried tying each plant to a corner of the cage. When it became apparent to even stubborn me that this was not the way to go, I bought 3 more metal cages and put them over each plant. Now I read that they should have been spaced two feet apart.

When I first planted the tomatoes, I watered them every evening with the hose. A lot of water. Maybe too much. I don’t know. The lower leaves of some of the plants turned a bit yellow. Later, a friend told me that maybe if I wanted better tasting tomatoes, I should water less. So I started watering every other day. And then the leaves started to look dry and crispy. So I have no idea if I have been giving too much or too little water.

This plant is Principe Borghese. It’s the most prolific, which isn’t saying much. Unfortunately, the tomatoes are kind of mushy and flavorless eaten raw. Cooked in a sauce, they’re fine. Suggestions anyone? Could I have watered them too much? Not enough?

Here is my favorite, Blondkopfchen cherry tomato, which unfortunately has many more leaves than tomatoes. The tomatoes are really only forming at the top. The rest of the tall plant is greenery. But the little yellow fruits pop sweetly in your mouth. How can I get more next year?

This is Paul Robeson. He’s had a tough time. Midway through the season, he broke in half, so only one small stem continued to grow. There are two tomatoes forming, but they are still little, green, and hard.

And this one… I’m not sure what it is because the ID tag disappeared. Small and red tomatoes. They tend to fall off the vine before they seem completely ripe, and I bring them in the house to “finish.”

[4]Oh, and one more thing about the tomatoes before you give me your suggestions for next year. Frustrated with how few tomatoes I was getting, I bought Peace of Mind organic tomato and vegetable fertilizer [5] a few weeks ago and fed the plants. It comes in a cardboard box. No plastic. Good idea? Too little too late?

I laugh when I remember how I thought I’d have enough tomatoes to make canned sauce for the winter. We don’t even have enough to eat right now! Should I bother trying to save seeds? If so, how? If not, why not?

The other plants are organic veggies that came in little compostable eco pots. (Once again, no plastic.) Yellow squash, which is just beginning to form something that looks like actual squash after months of yellow flowers and no fruit, catnip which I obviously bought for the kitties (tips on drying?), and basil which just smells awesome. I’ve been picking off the flowers every few days to keep the leaves growing. Next week, I plan to mix up a big batch of vegan pesto and freeze it in my empty little glass Fudge Is My Life jars. The pesto is the one piece of this whole operation I feel pretty confident about.

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URL to article: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2008/09/my-little-plastic-free-veggie-garden/

URLs in this post:

[1] soil/fertilizer for my garden: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2008/06/urban-compost-recycled-potting-soil/

[2] Jennconspiracy: http://www.blogger.com/profile/16304420774638468362

[3] mocked and derided back in June: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2008/06/urban-compost-recycled-potting-soil/comment-page-1/#comment-2569

[4] Image: http://myplasticfreelife.com/2008/09/my-little-plastic-free-veggie-garden/peace-of-mind-tomato-fertilizer/

[5] Peace of Mind organic tomato and vegetable fertilizer: http://www.hydroponics.net/i/134004

[6] Image: https://plus.google.com/+BethTerry

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