2013 Garden Update 2

August 15, 2013

Updates from Matt:

I’m kinda wishing I had done one of these posts a few weeks back because the transition photos are impossible to compare!  Here’s back in April and May:


And here’s now!


Early morning shade makes it hard to distinguish anything but it’s clearly booming!  In the front you can see that the two types of kale I planted last fall (that’s right, in about September of 2012) are still going strong.  They have a lot of woody growth, but the leaves still taste good so I can’t bear to get rid of them.  Some okra is springing up in the middle there.

And do you remember this patty pan squash plant?


Here it is now:


It has grown out of the bed and is almost reaching the next one over.  It’s a little weird that 95% of the plant is outside of the bed itself but as with the kale, so long as it’s producing I’ll let it keep going.

You’ve seen some of the harvests make appearances in other blog posts, and we’ve had a good amount of veggies this year.


We’re just starting to really get some okra.



Such a strange plant.

I’m starting to get ready for fall planting – I’ve lamented that we haven’t had any greens for weeks so they’re the first to go into this bare patch.


I made an attempt several weeks ago to sprout some seeds indoors, but I think our house was just a little too warm to really get them going.  They just languished while I tried dark corners, sunny window sills, shady outdoors, and full sun.  Nothing worked.  Oh well!


This is the point in the season that the amount of sun we get decreases by a lot.  It just has to do with the shifting sun and the trees in our yard.  Unfortunately it means that the fruit we do have takes a long time to ripen.


But the harvest has been good!  I should have put something in this photo for perspective because these are all bigger than a fist!


The giant heirloom tomatoes were really fun – Mortgage Lifter and Brandywine both made amazing fruit.  Each plant yielded about 10 big tomatoes, which seems kind of pitiful but that’s the way it is with heirloom varieties.  I’m still narrowing down on my favorites, but I’ll definitely grow the Mortgage Lifter again.  From tasting other gardeners’ tomatoes and previous plantings, I really like Sun Gold (cherry), Pink Girl, Black Krim, Early Girl, and a few others.  My goal is to hit that sweet spot with the heirlooms where they have amazing and unique flavor, but are still decently productive.

Let’s hope these tomato plants keep going!


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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katryn August 15, 2013 at 8:14 am

Gah! This post makes so jealous! 😉
My husband and I live in a condo in DC that we love but we want to move into a house SOLELY to have a garden (and more space to expand our home brewery…haha.) Your garden is beautiful! Does it take a ton of time to upkeep on a daily basis?


2 Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner August 15, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I second this! I like living in an apartment, but I really want to move into a house just to have my own garden. I don’t care how much work it takes! My patio garden just doesn’t do it for me.


3 Paula August 15, 2013 at 8:25 am

Your garden looks wonderful! Did you know that raw okra is delicious? I have grown it for years and just this years discovered that. I have a bountiful crop this time so I am exploring more ways to cook and preserve it. I am also cutting it lengthwise, tossing with a little oil and salt and dehydrating it until crispy. Very good that way too. Okra is one of my favorite vegetables.


4 Ali @ Peaches and Football August 15, 2013 at 8:27 am

How fun! I should have thought of patty pan squash because I love them but almost never find them in the grocery store. I have a pretty small veggie garden and had to fence it all in due to the large rabbit population in the area, so all my zucchini and tomatoes have taken over everything and are spilling into places they should not be. It’s a challenge to reach way into the back for the little cherry tomatoes!

Next year I’ll have to plant less but you never know what will grow and what won’t the first year so it’s just a matter of taking a few seasons to learn what works. Your garden looks wonderful!


5 Jennifer August 15, 2013 at 8:36 am

I really love Julien. It’s a small roma the but I get so many tomatoes off 1 plant (and I stake and prune like you). They’re on the small side but great for things like salsa where you don’t want them to be too watery. And they grow in bunches like a cherry and actually ripened before my cherries.


6 Lauren @ The Highlands Life August 15, 2013 at 8:49 am

I love our Early Girl tomatoes! And we do Cherokee Purple for our heirloom variety and then a plant of stripey tomatoes which have been delicious this year too!

Now I jut need to plant some lettuces this fall.


7 Julie @ RDelicious Kitchen August 15, 2013 at 8:51 am

wow! I would love to have my own garden like that one day. Must me nice to go out back and just pick what you need :)


8 Alex @ Kenzie Life August 15, 2013 at 9:02 am

I wish I had a yard to grow my own kale in! :) Yours looks so pretty!


9 Emily @ Life on Food August 15, 2013 at 9:09 am

I love gardening. I have never really gotten into a second planting for the fall but this is making me want to get it going.


10 Jola August 15, 2013 at 9:42 am

Wow, this looks great! I just moved into a little appartment with a small greenish stretch in the backyard. Any advise what I might grow there?


11 Christine@ Apple of My Eye August 15, 2013 at 9:49 am

Love the garden update! You guys grow so many fun varieties of vegetables!


12 Melissa August 15, 2013 at 10:00 am

Have you ever planted ground cherries (also known as husk tomatoes)? I had them at a restaurant last week and they were absolutely delicious. I have never seen them in the store so I’m considering planting them next year and was wondering if you have tried them or have any suggestions!


13 Melissa @ HerGreenLife August 16, 2013 at 10:34 am

We grow ground cherries in St. Louis, and they are quite good — my two-year-old really likes them! We start them from seed, I think indoors in early spring, when we start our tomatoes. You should be able to order seeds from most seed companies.


14 Jackie August 15, 2013 at 10:07 am

I want to start a garden so badly!


15 Ingunn August 15, 2013 at 10:38 am

Our tomatoes are finally taking off this year after a (more experienced) friend told me to prune it more aggressively – I remove almost all the non-flowering branches. It makes the plants look kind of ugly, but they’re producing tomatoes like the dickens!


16 Shannon ~ My Place In The Race August 15, 2013 at 10:46 am

The garden looks great! I’ve enjoyed out fresh veggies this year!


17 Charlie August 15, 2013 at 11:10 am

Congrats on having such a beautiful garden – It looks wonderfully abundant. Way to go with the raised beds, i’t truly is amazing how much produce can come from even a very small area.


18 Cheryl Morgan Maxey August 15, 2013 at 11:11 am

So jealous too! We tried a box garden but just have way too much shade. We only harvested 1 squash before the moths took over, but will try to see what does well in the shade this fall


19 Laura August 15, 2013 at 11:16 am

Would you mind sharing what your fall plantings will be? I never know what to plant for the different seasons and thought I’d use what you’re planting as a model! :)


20 Lindsey @ The Next Course August 15, 2013 at 11:47 am

I posted a garden update, today, too!! Yours is incredible!

Is it really already time to plant greens for the fall/winter? I am very much looking forward to having kale at the ready–and so glad to hear that yours planted last September is still going strong.

My sun gold cherry tomatoes are incredibly prolific, but my striped german heirloom plant has only produced 3. I don’t think it liked all of the rain we’ve had…but I just got a few more buds, so I might get up to 5 more by the end of the season. They are delicious, though!


21 Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food August 15, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Nice! My garden is about 1/5 that size, but it’s still nice to have some homegrown veggies and herbs!


22 Farah @ Fabulously Farah August 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Wow! Good job on the garden! This is a great update. I wish I had a green thumb like that.


23 Lisa @bitesforbabies August 15, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I LOVE having a summer garden! The upside of living with my in-laws for FOUR months is having a HUGE garden right at our fingertips. 😉


24 Kara August 15, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Matt or Kath,
I am always impressed and inspired by your garden beds’ harvest. You both seem young but very knowledgable with gardening. My bed’s harvest is only so-so. Would you have any tips on what type of soil to use? And, do you use or recommend fertilizer? I would value any suggestions you may have.


25 Lucy August 15, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I have got to say that I wish I could have a garden like that! I live in an apartment in the city so no garden for me. Got to go to the grocery store to get fruits and vegetables.


26 Stephanie August 15, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Black krim are delicious and gorgeous but not always the highest yield. Try taxi for a medium-small yellow tomato with INSANE yields. :) nice work!


27 Kristilyn (Reading in Winter) August 15, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Great post! I just harvested more beans from our garden boxes the other day — it’s amazing how many are growing! Enough that we can have them for dinner AND freeze them. My husband and I used to have a bit plot for the garden which was a pain since it would get muddy when it rained, so the boxes have been a HUGE help. And things seem to be growing better in them! The carrots are huge, the beans keep coming, and we have beets that are going to be the size of our head soon! I just wish the tomatoes would ripen a little faster or we’ll have a LOT of tomatoes come fall! Oh well … nothing wrong with freezing them for chilis and stews!


28 Theresa August 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I’m dreaming of the day I can have a garden! I attempted to grow tomatoes last year, I live in San Francisco, and the fog just wouldn’t allow it :( Someday…


29 Lindsay August 15, 2013 at 1:22 pm

OMGoodness I want a garden so badly! I know we are a long way off from having out own bit of earth yet, but a girl can dream. And hey, the trade off of traveling/living in a new place every 2-3 years is really fun~ but I enjoy reading your posts on your home so very much, and hoping that one day we can replicate all those straight from the soil goodies.


30 char eats greens August 15, 2013 at 2:48 pm

So awesome. I can’t wait until we’re in a more permanent spot so I can start a garden!!


31 Alan August 15, 2013 at 4:50 pm

No deer or other wildlife making mincemeat from your garden? Good for you. (I can’t imagine Charlottesville not having such wildlife, including the UVA students)

Looks great. Dinner at your house tonight!!


32 Melissa August 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Your garden is so beautiful and bountiful! I always say I would absolutely LOVE to have my own garden. I’m a big fan and consumer of fresh produce, so having my own garden would make things much easier and more accessible.


33 Maggie @ Sunnyside Up Smile August 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm

The garden looks great! It’s so lush and beautiful. And it looks like you’re getting an awesome crop out of it too 😉 It makes me miss my garden I had back when I lived in Jersey. It’s tough to grow things on the dry soil here in Cali!


34 Maryz August 15, 2013 at 6:28 pm

I love your garden photos! My garden is looking very similar…still waiting on the tomatoes to ripen but the zucchini is out of control!


35 Christina @ The Beautiful Balance August 15, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Love how much your garden has grown!


36 Kathy August 15, 2013 at 8:53 pm

Wow, it looks amazing! Anything we’ve planted seems to end up being an all-you-can-eat buffet for squirrels and racoons. Have you tried growing San Marzano tomatoes? They are beyond delicious, they basically ruined me for any others


37 Dynamics August 15, 2013 at 9:16 pm

I just bought a peat-pellet and the directions basically say to add water until the pellets expand and them plant the seeds, yada yada. Put dome on tray and keep in warm location AWAY from sunlight. When first seeds sprout, prop dome open. When all seeds have sprouted remove dome and place in a sunny location. After the first true leaves appear cut back all except the strongest. Add water to tray when pellets turn light brown. Do not over water. Harden off plants. Place outside in shade for several days bringing in plants at night. Gradually expose to full sunlight. Transplant.

Hope that helps…Good Luck!!


38 lynn @ the actor's diet August 16, 2013 at 1:27 am

So jealous of your tomatoes! I tried growing them one summer on my porch…I produced one.


39 Jennifer August 18, 2013 at 9:50 am

Beautiful garden!

How do you keep the pests off of the plants? I have the toughest time growing plants because they start to get attacked by things before they even have a chance to really grow. I’d love some tips.


40 Anna @ Fitness à la Anna August 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Oh man, my tomato plants this year have gone wild as well! Hard to tell where one stops and the next starts haha. I also had no luck with greens this year, might have to give it a second try. Thanks for the reminder :)


41 Erena DiGonis May 23, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Your garden photos are an inspiration!


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