August 23, 2011

The thing about gardening…

I have a small vegetable garden in our backyard and I’ve been reluctant to post pictures of it because I’ve been somewhat neglecting it this summer! The thing about gardening is that you need to tend to your plants everyday. You gotta prune, inspect, manage bugs, fertilize and WATER your plants or else everything falls apart.  Some days I remember that I need to water my plants when I’m deep in spreadsheet-land at work. I rush home to wilted plants who really don’t appreciate night time waterings. Two or three days of neglect and my tomatoes are looking a little droopy with a few extra yellow leaves hanging around. Fortunately there’s still a lot of fruit coming off the vines and things are ripening up nicely. Fall is going to be here before I know it so I’m savoring every last bit of tomato goodness while I can! Here’s what I’ve got going on…

Besides my 6 tomato plants, I’m growing strawberries.  I actually started them last year and I thought I killed them but they came back! They are sweet but the texture is kinda mushy. They are also very popular with the squirrels. Hmm.

Basil! I’ve been lax on my basil dead-heading. It’s important to get rid of the budding flowers before they bloom! The basil is pretty full though. I’m going to make some pesto this week & thin it out. Mark my words.

I’ve been looking forward to eating this tomato…or maybe I’ll fry it. It’s green!

This one looks pretty awesome! It’s gonna be ready soon! It’s still gigantic in my big hand.

These ones are taking forevs…

These ones are pretty sweet!  I like the shape of them. Teardrops!

My sage is looking pretty good. Too bad I’m not a huge sage fan. I’m prepared for autumnal cooking though!

I know where to get my sage when I make my husband’s favorite Chicken in Milk recipe.

Thyme!! I’m gonna turn some into thyme lemonade. I just need TIME and lemons…

This is the whole set up. It’s looking a little rugged right now. I watered it shortly after snapping this photo.

Btw- this metal container is a trough from the feed store. We converted it into a planter and it’s pretty awesome! I dream of one day having a bunch of them in our backyard. I can’t wait for that day.

Here’s my little helper! Cooper likes putting stuff in our compost bin and I think I have successfully trained him not to pull green tomatoes off the vines. I lost about 25 before he got the point. AHHH.

I can’t blame him for picking stuff. He sees me picking tomatoes & basil all the time. But I actually EAT what I pick off and he does not. Hopefully one day he’ll understand that. Perhaps next year he’ll really be helpful? I think we should grow beans. I also think it would be fun to have chickens but I’m still on the fence about that!

Now please excuse me while I eat this little cherry tomato…

  • Leslie

    Hey Tracy!

    What do you use to support your tomato plants? Mine are so out of hand and collapsing everywhere because of their huge-ness, so I was wondering if you have any suggestions. 🙂

    • Tracy

      I use bamboo stakes & I tie the plants to the stake. I also have them leaning up against the desk. It’s a great way to go. I’ve wanted to do cages but they take up a lot of space and I hear that the metal can burn the leaves in hot sun. Hope this helps!!

  • Sharmila

    I live near Golden Gate Park and the microclimate just hasn’t helped my tomato plants. There are no cherry tomatoes yet and the St. Pierre is just about starting to put out two measly fruits. I LOVE your tomatoes and am totally envious! Also love how pretty your sage is. I heart sage.

  • brownsugarandbacon

    that green tomato would be AWESOME if you fried it up and slapped it on a blt slathered with a basil aioli!

  • Gwen Edwards

    I think it looks great. Gardening is tough. I’m super lucky living in a sub-tropical climate, it’s pretty easy to keep things alive. Enjoy those tomatoes!

  • Irma

    Hey, that doesn’t look bad at all for being neglected plants. Mine had lots of water, no sun, no heat, they look sad tomatoes plants. Basically they grew huge but they are not ripening. Anyway, I wont give up and next year I’ll try again! I’m determined to grow Scottish tomatoes!

  • Katrina

    I don’t have my own garden (apartment renter) so reading about yours makes me super happy! Great looking tomatoes 🙂

  • gnol

    Your vegetable patch looks wonderful. Well done.
    The basil looks awesome and the tomatoes sure look tasty.

  • Nicole @ The Dirty Oven

    Your little garden looks great! I live in Santa Cruz right by the beach and the fog tends to make for very little tomoato crop. It is actually very sad. I am glad to see that someone is enjoying their own home grown harvest. Alas, it is the farmers market for me. Love Cooper’s shirt. Your kiddo has style!

    • Tracy

      aww thanks! That shirt is actually a pj top. Shhh. don’t tell anyone.

      • Nicole

        PJ’s rock!!! So does your blog….going to do a search soon for a side dish to bring to a labor day BBQ….suggestions?
        PS: I am totally obessed with you and Joy. I know stalker, but not really. Just really like you guys. Heart!

    • Tracy

      Ahh yes. Fog…it’s nature’s air conditioner though!!

  • Nicole

    Goodness, I love that trough! I have garden dreams, too, but this summer I only have two potted tomato plants and they are just now ripening. My first batch of herbs were scorched when we got our heat wave, even the hearty mint! Our friendly neighbor gave us two of his extra tomato plants and thank goodness they are doing well or I would be quite sad.

  • Morgan

    I’m totally lusting after that metal trough! I’ve been dreaming of a vintage wooden crate to plant my herb garden in. A thought for all that basil: have you ever tried basil ice cream? It’s amazing. Life changing! I bet even Cooper would like it.

    • Tracy

      I did a few years back!! I LOVED IT. Thanks for the reminder. When I get sick of pesto, I’m totes gonna make that.

  • Mel@MySunshine

    Yay! I was waiting for this post! Gardening does not come naturally to me so I have questions:

    – Why is the garden elevated on bins? Does it have something to do with drainage or air flow?
    – Did you just dump a potting mix in the trough or do you mix soil from your yard?
    – Are you going to post about your compost pile? I want to try my hand at it.
    – Did you grow from seed?
    – Can you grow anything in the winter?

    Clearly I need to find a good reference book. Any tips are helpful! Thanks for an inspiring post 🙂

    • Tracy


      Ok so here are the answers:

      -garden elevated because I don’t like bending over, the cement is on an angle and my husband didn’t want the cement to be stained and mossy from the water run off.

      -i mixed potting soil, soil that i composted & some organic fertilizers in my containers. They all have rocks on the bottom of the containers to help drainage.

      -i might post about our compost pile…it’s not that exciting!

      -i grew vegetables & herbs from seed last year and they didn’t do so well. It took forever and i didn’t get the timing right.

      -during winter I plan on growing some kale, lettuce and continue with the herbs!

      I highly recommend both of the books by Gayla Trail. She’s an inspiration and the way she approaches gardening is right up my alley!


  • Julie @BananasforBourbon

    Starting a garden – add that to my list of things to do before I’m dead. Oiy, where does the time go? Your garden may be neglected, but at least it’s alive and kicking!

  • Samantha

    Aw looks super good! I’ve always wanted a garden, but I’ve been in apts for the last 5 years, with no patio or space! Cant wait to start one. Yours looks wonderful, have fun cooking with all your fresh goodies!

  • Keely aka The Richest Girl in Bondi

    I think your veggie patch is amazing! I could never keep up with demands of a decent garden *sigh*. Having chooks is great too – they eat all your scraps (even green tomatoes that go uneaten).

  • Leslie


    You’ll have to let me know if you come up with any more recipes for sage–I have a ton, too, and I don’t know what to do with it! I have fried it and put it in a chicken roullade and had it with butternut squash ravioli, but what else? (Other than sausage, that is).

  • Lucia

    We have tomatoes too, big heirloom tomatoes. And yes, they need care. Like human beings. Like red, fat and sweet human beings. Love them.

  • Danielle

    Your garden looks great!! You’re so right that it needs regular maintenance, at least you’re in a ‘raised bed’ of sorts with that trough so you’ve got less of a problem with pests (snails, slugs and mites). We’re constantly fighting those pests over here….

    Also, this may out me as a garden geek, but I’d love to read a post about compost!

  • Ryan

    I find tending to my vege garden each night a wind down from a hard day in the office. That being said, some nights it’s just good to relax and the chore of watering can be too much.

  • Yvonne Langan

    Hey Tracy,
    Your veggie’s and herbs look fab 🙂 I live in Ireland so our weather is pretty bad 🙁 but i have managed to grow some beetroot (which i have sweet pickled), also some garden peas, carrots, scallion onions, lettuce and purple headed broccli. I’m well impressed with my first years harvest. My parents live next door and my dad has a big veg patch which gives us loads of potato’s, parsnips, onions, cabbage. He also grows rhubarb which i make jam (jelly) from.
    Keep up the good work

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