Weekend Gardening: Successes and Challenges

Print Friendly

In spite of all the rain this year that has drowned parts of our garden, the tomatoes and peppers have continued grow. The tomatoes and peppers do well in their location on the south side of the house, the same spot we had them in last summer, and we already have lots of blossoms on the plants. I found four more volunteer plants, some tomatoes and tomatillos, bringing the total number of volunteers to eleven. There’s no room for them here, so we’re going to move them to another part of the yard to see how they do.

Andrea's Recipes - Tomatoes and peppers

It’s hard to tell from the above photo, it was very bright out, but there are two rows of plants, shorter peppers and tomatoes in the front, taller tomatoes in the back. Michael built two sizes of cages, some three feet tall, other’s five feet tall, and some of the tomatoes have already topped out the five foot cages. If last summer is any indication, we’ll have them at the top of the balcony above, up to nine feet tall.

We planted both green and purple tomatillos and have blossoms on all the plants.

Andrea's Recipes - Tomatillo blossom

We have a few Sun Gold tomatoes already on the vine.

Andrea's Recipes - Sun Gold tomatoes

And true to their name, some Early Girls have set fruit as well.

Andrea's Recipes - Early Girl tomatoes

The Miniature Chocolate Bell Peppers are the first of our peppers to set fruit. They are a short, stocky plant that produces colored stuffing peppers that turn a chocolate color when ripe.

Andrea's Recipes - Miniature Chocolate Peppers

The rest of the garden is swimming today from the sudden downpour we had this morning. We hope that the herbs will hold out, they are looking very yellow from too much rain. The last of the spring lettuces bolted, so I need to pull those and start another round of summer lettuces. Just like last year, we are having trouble with eggplant flea beetles, a pest that feasts on eggplants.

Andrea's Recipes - Eggplants devoured by insects

All of our eggplants look like this, but we’re holding out hope that some of them will make it. If not, then sadly we probably won’t plant eggplants next year as we’ve not found a reliable organic method to keep these pests at bay.

[Disclosure: This blog earns a small commission through affiliate links.]


  1. Judy Garczek says

    Hi Andrea:

    It will be interesting to see if your volunteer tomatoes produce any fruit. They will grow, but are known not to produce. Also, when I planted a garden, I was told to rotate my crops, like the farmers do. I never understood that concept as the ground did not know what was planted in it. You stated that you planted in the same place as last year. What do I know, they look great. I miss gardening. I have an acre and a half but so many deer, they eat everything before it gets a chance to grow. Fencing it in, is out of the question, I can buy lots of veggies for what a fence would cost me and I am too old to reap the harvest for too many more years. I did enjoy the challange when I did garden. Looks like yours will be a great success this year. I have some beans planted at an old neighbors house and a couple of zucchini’s also. I am out of zucchini relish and need to make more this year. Thanks for listening and good luck with your crops.

    Judy, Froglady

    • CHUCK says

      Judy, regarding rotation, two things. One, nutrients decrease if the same crop is used each year. Two, same crop-family can lead to diseases and bug infestation. By rotating, different nutrients are used while you are adding back others with compost and by using other families in the same spot, you diminish the possibility of disease.


      • says

        Hi Chuck and Judy. You are right, rotating crops is the ideal thing to do, however we have only a small yard and that location is best for the tomatoes and peppers for the amount of sunlight it gets. We add compost to replenish the soil and keep a watchful eye for any diseases, but so far have not had any problems. One way to combat any problems is to plant some cover crops, which we have not tried due to regulations within our community.

  2. says

    Chuck is spot on; I would have given the same answers, to Judy. Andrea, we too have a very small spot to grow things in; this year because of the lack of space, I bought 10 Earth Boxes and they are extremely efficient. We picked up some of the organic packages they put out, it was like, one dollar more. My volunteers always produce fruit; some are better than the original fruit, some not, depending on the genetics and how far back they go in volunteering. Andrea, I don’t know if you use Spinosad yet, but we have used it on our eggplants; it is organic of course and it worked for us. We use it also for leafhoppers; we have our peppers growing year after years in the same pots, until they finally die of old age or lack of nutrients so we have to keep an eye out for pests as they are in the same soil that the bugs may have found them the previous year. Tomatoes die usually in December, but the peppers never seem to die. It is tough to rotate them around.

  3. Marta says

    Let your lettuce bolt! They have beautiful flowers and produce lots of seed which you can save very easily!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *