Yes, I am THE Jenny Smith

Chugging along

There’s not a lot happening in the garden right now besides … disease. I’m getting squash and zucchini every day, and the blackberries are putting on, and my Stupice gives me at least one tomato every day. I have had my first white pepper and a cucumber, so that was exciting! Juliet, Stupice, and Sun Gold have produced fruit. I also have one Cherokee Purple I picked green that ripened inside and we ate. We are still working on the greens (so peppery!), and I’ll have to pick more Chard soon. So far I’ve not had any slicers or beefsteaks ripen. I’m kind of worried that they will get blossom end rot — so far every tomato in the bales…

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Fourth of July Tomato!

It’s A Thing here in Virginia that those who can get a ripe tomato by the Fourth of July have really accomplished something. Well, here’s my accomplishment: It’s a ripe saladette, not a slicer, but I’m taking it. I’ve also pulled several Sun Golds as well, but cherries don’t count either. Wednesday Fertilized today finally using Neptune’s Harvest. I had started trying to salvage these broken branches the other day, but I decided that it was too hard on them being outside in the nearly 100 degree heat and brought them inside. We had our kitchen cabinets painted blue last week, and I’ve been trying to get things reorganized while we have most everything empty. It’s been a slow process…

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Can you have too many tomato plants?

Really— can you? Nichole came through and gave me three beautiful Italian tomato plants yesterday, so I filled up the last three spots in my garden with them today. She gave me a San Marzano, which I grew last year and loved, and two Bisignano #2 plants. Both are paste tomatoes. I’m excited to see how they do. This time I took some pictures of what I did to plant. I’m not much on folk stuff, but aspirin is good science that helps plants yield more and resist disease like late blight better. My friend puts eggshells in with her tomatoes as you can see. This is unlikely to help with blossom end rot — my soil is already very…

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Back home

My daughter decided to move to Utah to be closer to school and to try and get her driver’s license at the beginning of the month. She got everything lined up, we found an apartment to move her into, and we’ll took off on June 4. The trip was super wacky. We had snow, rain, hail, rainbows, and dust storms. It was crazy. With the virus and protests, we decided not to travel after 7pm in case there were curfews, which slowed us down some — not that I minded. Sydney’s car is NOT comfortable to travel in. We spent a few days with Jared’s folks on the way out. They are working on their new house. While they were…

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Angry birds

I went out this morning to spray because I saw some bug damage yesterday during my daily walk-through of the garden, and a Very Angry Bird started chirping and dive bombing me. I ignored it, figuring it was just surprised I was outside so early, when it flew down and landed just feet away from me on the rose arch. When I didn’t move fast enough, it actually moved to stare me right in the eye and tell me what it thought about me — and it wasn’t safe for a family blog. After a minute or two I suddenly came to the realization that the thing I thought was a clump of leaves caught in the shrub, wasn’t. I…

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First blossom! And the winner is…

I was surprised to see my first open blossom today on a tomato plant that I grew from seed! So exciting! My sister in Houston already has first-sized tomatoes, Daddy has tomatoes, even Del has a legitimate double tomato on his Bear Claw, but I didn’t even have a single blossom. Until today! 2020’s first tomato plant to open a blossom is … Stupice! This isn’t a surprise — Stupice is known for being early. I should be eating tomatoes from my own garden come the end of next month. My aunt always says it’s a big thing to get your first tomato before July 4 here. I think I will make it! The rest of the garden is looking…

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Cucumbers planted!

Jared finally fixed the broken trellis, so I put in my little baby cucumber plants today. I had planted three indoors thinking that at least one of the seeds I put outside would sprout. Nope. It was probably the frost. I put the three that came up out today, and I planted two more little seeds to see if they’ll come up. If they aren’t up in a week or so I’ll go buy a cucumber plant somewhere. The lettuce I planted is doing very well! It’s too late to get much from these seeds, but I don’t mind picking at baby stage for salads. I can always get mixed local lettuce at the farmers market most any time at…

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Catchup day

Today is garden catchup day. It’s been too cold to work, so today we made up for it. We cut grass, weed wacked some spots that needed it, made two trips to the dump and two to the woods, cleaned up most of the old shed stuff, planted out about 25 leeks, put in a 18 hollyhocks, moved some new bricks to the garden beds, moved the grow bags where they can be watered automatically, mulched around the clematis and roses, started mulching around the blackberries to see if it will keep them honeysuckle down, put the fire pit back together, stacked up the wood from the wedding, planted zinnias, planted herb seeds, and pulled I don’t know how many…

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Tomato planting day!

It finally came! I’m like a kid waiting for Santa, except instead of being excited to play with toys, I’m excited to get to play in the dirt! After arranging my tools, I decided to pot up the tiny plants for later planting out. I may put them out at the end of the month, or I may wait as late as the second week in June. These plants will be my second string that I’ll put in after the first planting peters out. I had good luck doing that (unintentionally) last year, and I’m going to try it again. I moved Italian grape to a bigger pot, transplanted the two late germinating Cherokee purples, and I split out this…

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Self-control when gardening

It is taking every bit of self-control I can muster to avoid planting my vegetables out right now, even though I know we got another frost warning for tonight. Ideally I’d have had my plants out last week, but this polar vortex has messed up all my plans. I’m back to bringing the plants in and out again, but at least now I’ve only got about 25 to schlepp around instead of 90. I’ve been carefully watching the temperatures, and we brought in the plants on Friday afternoon. About that time we realized the fluorescent ballast on my existing grow light setup had gone out, so Jared went to the store me to save me. He ended up buying led…

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Italian grape

The Italian grape tomato plant — last of the seeds I stole from Italy six years ago, and the only seed to germinate — is progressing, but very slowly. I fertilized last week with a foliar spray (diluted Neptune’s Harvest), and it seems to be doing better. It’s been two months since I planted it, so I thought I’d post some pictures of its progress. It is planted in the only black oval-shaped container, so it’s easy to compare progress with its cousin plants, which are now three or four times its size. Today, its cousins planted at the same time or 10 days later look like this: I have worked hard to baby that runty seedling, and it’s paying…

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How to double or triple your asparagus yield

We end up with a lot of asparagus each year, and I mean A LOT. I have 25 asparagus plants out, and they produce like gang busters all season. It’s so amazingly tasty out of the garden that I often eat it raw while I’m cutting. It’s so good! I’ve been growing this asparagus for six years now, and I’ve been experimenting with longer cuts for the past four years. Read below for my tips on increasing your asparagus yield. 1. Include female plants When I was planning our asparagus bed years ago, the recommend number of plants was 10 plants for every person in your family. That would have been 40 plants for us. I knew how long my…

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