Friday, April 3, 2009

1st Year Anniversary.

I'm not real sure what started it all. If I had to guess I'd say it started with me trolling the Internet for information. Who knows what kind of information? Probably from reading the book "Mayflower", which is about the Pilgrims voyage to the New World, and in it I read how they had used the "Three Sisters" technique to grow their veggies. You know, the one where the Indians taught them to grow beans, squash & corn together. Being intrigued and starting to remember learning about such things in school, I went to Google, and from there Wikipedia. You know how it goes. Once I started reading about it I started to think.........."I've always wanted to grow my own veggies." So I probably clicked on some link, and then clicked on another link, gathering info all the way, and then ended up on some blog called "Skippy's Veggie Garden" : . As I started to read about how a fellow New Englander was growing her own veggies, I was impressed. Especially how she grew her tomatoes. And, to top it off, she showed you how to do it.......with pictures! The rest is history. The next thing I know, a year has gone by and I'm eating homegrown potatoes for breakfast and writing in my own blog every three days!'s my 1 year Anniversary as a gardener. I actually didn't plant anything in the ground until April 21, 2008, but the garden prep was started a couple weeks before. So here are some photo's from about a year first garden.

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The original 4 raised beds. No compost bins, and if you'll notice, there's no path to walk on or harvest from in front of the beds, just a fence. I just walked around the fence to pick my first tomatoes. My fence was also held up by little 1x sticks, not the 4x4 posts I use now. And yes, I used pressure treated wood for the beds..........hey, I'm a contractor, I thought lasting longer was better! I also used "Skippy's" tee-pee technique for my tomatoes (pressure treated again!)......I'm still trying to find the best way to stake tomatoes. This year I'm going with 10' re-bar stakes. Besides the tomatoes on the left and right, I had cukes in the middle, beans & squash in the back with watermelon & pumpkin next to the bean bed. The squash & pumpkin got destroyed by pickleworms, and the watermelon wasn't grown with enough room in mind. The cukes did pretty good, as well as the beans & tomatoes. But they all got planted a little late and eventually succumbed to the Florida weather ( & bugs).

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Close ups with a pic of my first ripe tomato.

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Not bad for my first garden, but I quickly realized that I needed to make some improvements. I knew I needed more sun, so I cut some trees down. I then added some beds, put in a couple of compost bins and change the fence a little. The last photo is the current garden. That darn $20 book!........I guess the Pilgrims are still inspiring.


  1. Happy anniversary. Dennis, you must be my doppelgänger. My story is the exact same down to the Three Sisters and starting off at Skippy's Vegetable Garden. We live in a parallel universe, help.

  2. Hi Dennis-- Happy anniversary-- this is great! Take heart, this year's garden shouldn't be anything like last year's. If it is, you haven't learned anything!

    By the way, I found you at Barack Obama's Teleprompter Blog which is something I look at in between helping people plan, plant & tend a veggie garden, and tending my own.

    Good luck with the garden! Add some companion flowers if you can.

  3. WOW! That's great for you first garden! I should dig up some pics of my first veggie garden. (Yes, I did have a veggie garden once!) The same spot is now a car dealership off SR 200, but whatever.

  4. You have certainly expanded quickly. The tomato staking looks interesting. I need to figure out how I am going to support the added tomatoes this year. I have 5 cages presently but I don't think I really like using cages.

    My first attempt at vegetable gardening was 6 years ago and it didn't go so well. I just turned the sod over and stuck them in. Some things produced well with my neglect well others didn't produce at all. I then switch to just tomatoes for the next 4 years until last year when I put the raised beds in with really good soil. Good soil is definitely the key to good vegetables.

    Best of luck with year two. Can't wait to see your garden bursting at the seams this summer.

  5. You are amazing!! Happy Anniversary.........and yes we need a boat around here right now!

  6. Good morning all.......thanks for the congrats. I must adimit, gardening is even more enjoyable with a blog!

    Prospero- you like old "Twilight Zone" shows?

    Marcia,Marcia,Marcia- You sound like you could be pro in your comment....well, don't look too close! By the way, at this very moment I'm planting some flowers from seeds I've bought over the last month. I'm looking forward to adding some color around here.

    WG- lol. That was funny.

    Dan the Man- You know, it's crossed my mind to just grow tomatoes..........but I never listen. I've read up on the cages, and I'm not real excited about them. They look like they work great, but when I grow 70-100 plants I just don't think my wife would appreciate the look. The tee-pees worked great....I just had two problems with them: 1) They take up too much room. Now I plant a row in the middle which I don't think would work well with the tee-pees.There's 12 plants in the bed from the 1st garden, now I'm putting in 17 per bed. 2) As they get taller they grow closer together until they meet at the top and cram into each other. I didn't like that much. But other than that.............

    Darla- jeesh what'd you guys 12 inches? Just so you know, I'm getting my wife all the ingredients to make candles for her birthday. The web site I'm using is Mill Creek....what do you think?

  7. There's a nursery/ fresh produce farm in the area that does a lot of great tomatoes and here is how they stake them:

    They put up a very tall wooden stake with a nail hammered into the top, sticking out from the wood about 1/2".

    They tie a piece of twine to the nail, run it down to the base of the tomato plant, and tie a big loop on the ground around the base of the plant (but not actually tied to the plant). They leave just a little slack.

    As the plant grows, they swing the main vine around the string. They use more strings for large branches and for the suckers that form later in the season.

    They also trim off all the lower branches of the tomato vine, so as the plant gets bigger the trunk is bare for about ten inches above the ground.

    They remove all leaf-axil suckers until the plant starts forming fruit, and then they stop removing suckers.

    The guy who told me about it said the production is excellent and the plants stay upright even in very rough weather.

    Of course, I imagine our summer T-storms in CT are not quite as violent as yours in FL...!

    I haven't tried this technique yet, but I am thinking of doing some that way and doing some the usual way for me (sprawling in cages).

  8. Happy anniversary. I'm debating how to support some tomatoes that I'm growing in pots. I still haven't figured out how I want to do it yet. For the in ground ones I tend to be a cager.

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