Blog of an aspiring foodie


Posted by beer_chris on 9-April-2006

After 2 weekends of back breaking labor in cold January temps building the raised bed, some significant hand wringing as all but one of my seedlings kicked the bucket, and lastly a delay off of the best planting time due to a 2 week work trip to Scotland . . .

The garden is now IN!!!!!

(Note absolute key to a successful garden in lower right – a German stein with a lid keeps garden mix and bone meal out of beer while planting. I'd put that as rule 11 in the Urban Harvest list linked below)

I'm amazingly worried that this is the best it is going to look. I've been trying my best to follow the guidelines on Urban Harvest's site, but I've failed on the planting times – it may get too warm before my blooms set – but after all of this work (I estimate, at this point, probably 60 hours total work into this project) I can't turn back now.

Next weekend I'll build the Urban Harvest cheap cages (Rule 8 in the list) and buy a birdbath and feeder – to try and keep the squirrels and mockingbirds away without netting the whole thing.

Here's the map of the thing (note this is not the same perspective as the picture above):

Note that the perimeter is sown in marigold and chamomile seeds – an attempt at a 'guild' design. I don't honestly believe that the garlic and shallot will do much for me, as these need cold temperatures to set up and form bulbs, but I figured I'd give it a try – these are things I really would like to try and grow myself, as the grocery store stock are typically not that great – green and not as full of flavor as they could be – and these are ingredients I use a lot in the kitchen.

What follows is an inventory of my plants – linked to descriptions – almost everything was purchased as Houston Garden Center and came from the same nursery provider ('Chef Jeff'). I can't find anything online about 'Chef Jeff' starter plants, so I've searched for the varietals to get a better flavor of what these are:

All descriptions are transcribed from the reverse of the identification tags. Links are to pictures of the tags – for me in case I lose the tags

Amish Paste
An old Amish heirloom that dates back to the turn of the century! Generations have used this tomato in sauces and for canning. Full and rather unusual flavor. Said to taste the best of all paste tomatoes. Tasty, solid flesh used for stews, bottling, drying and sauces. 8-12 oz plum shaped fruit. Twice as big as the classic Roma tomato. Great in salsa, catsup or spaghetti sauce. Excellent for slicing. Bright red. Indeterminate. 74 days.

Rutger's Select
“Featured in gourmet restaurants across the country”. Large, rich red fruit is produced on the strong vines. Widely grown and considered ideal for home gardeners. Perfect for many cooked dishes and superb on sandwiches. Can also be used for salads, soups and sauces. Water well in warm weather and feed with a slow release or liquid fertilizer for best results. Determinate. 73 days.

Old German
'Old German' is medium large with yellow and red marbled flesh, fruity flavor and smooth texture. Gourmet restaurants across the country feature this tomato that has been grown since the 1800s in Virginia. Water well in warm weather and feed with a slow release liquid fertilizer for best results. Indeterminate. 80 days.

All American Selection (AAS) winner for 2001.
Large, pink cherry tomato shaped with a distinctive point, like a teardrop! Masses of sweet, absolutely delicious clusters of tomatoes will delight all gardeners. High acid content. Indeterminate. 73 days to maturity.
Perfect for salads, sauces, hot dishes or eaten straight off the vine. Water well in warm weather and apply liquid ir slow release fertilizer for best results.

Golden Boy
Delightful golden tomato with 8-10 oz fruit with great flavor and good disease resistance. Perfect base for many cooked dishes and superb on sandwiches. Ideal for salads, soups, hot dishes and for pickling. Water well to prevent drying out in warm weather and fertilize with liquid or slow release plant food for best results. Indeterminate. 80 days.

Early Girl
One of the earliest slicing tomatoes available. Yields a prolific crop of 4 to 6 oz globular fruit all summer. Use in salads, sandwiches, hot dishes, soups and sauces.
Water well to prevent drying out in warm weather and fertilize with liquid or slow release plant food for best results. Indeterminate. 57 days.

Follow the link above for description info from the Burpee site. This is the only one of my seedlings to survive.

Caribbean Red (pepper)
You be the Judge!
This is the World's Hottest Pepper that you can cultivate at home! It is more than twice as hot as the standard Habanero Pepper. The fiercely hot, wrinkled fruit tapers to a blunt point and turns from green to red when ripe. The pungent hot aroma will explode like fireworks in your mouth when you take a bite! These 1 1/2 inch wide peppers create intense heat in salsas, marinades, salads, cooked dishes or when making your own hot sauces. This Caribbean Red Hot Pepper matures in 110 days.


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