A Late September Madison Saturday in Photos

Today’s delicious finds at the Dane County Farmers’ Market: last round of sweet corn, white thai eggplants, purple carrots, bountiful hot & sweet peppers, green onions, leeks, beets (with greens!).

Pretty, pretty peppers.

Beautiful veggies, beautiful pit bull, beautiful weather. Everything I ever wanted.

Smile

And Kiss!

Our tomato plants are still full of goods. We’re hoping they ripen up quickly this week while it’s a little warmer!

Thyme’s still standing tall.

Our precious elephant ear is finally back on the mend.  And it’s lovely.

Zinnia Love

Zinnia Love Forever.

Relaxin’

And strikin’ poses.

Time for lunch.

Post by Amanda

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Fed by Our Garden

A few of the lovely things we’ve been eating from our garden:

Chard

Arugula & Lettuces

Sunstart Tomato

Jalapenos &
Cherokee Chocolate, Sunstart, & Clear Pink Early Tomatoes

Carolina Gold, Cherokee Chocolate, & Clear Pink Early Tomatoes
Mint & Basil

As you can see, the past few weeks have been delicious.

Post by Amanda

Tomatoes and more Tomatoes

After getting the space for the garden established, it was time to get some veggies and herbs in the ground.  In the spirit of keeping things simple this year, I intended to have a small selection of plants to manage.  A co-worker whose parents own Happy Valley Farms, a veggie farm which does CSAs and sells at area farmer’s markets, asked if I would be interested in taking some tomato plants since they would have more than they need.  I happily said yes, thinking I could get 4-5 plants.  She replied that she would get me an amount closer to 10.  I knew I wouldn’t use them all but, you should never look a gift tomato plant in the mouth  (that phrasing doesn’t quite work, but you catch my drift).  I knew I could always pass the extras onto friends and neighbors.  I assumed they would consist of a couple varieties and welcomed the small selection.  3 weeks later I went to pick up what I thought was a large amount of plants, only to be very happily shocked.  They had given me 28 tomato plants consisting of 23 varieties.  Many I had never heard of, which is always exciting to me since I often flip through seed catalogs searching for the best tomatoes to plant.  Tomatoes like Indigo Rose, Paul Robeson, Striped German, Black Zebra, Big Rainbow, and etc. were laid out in front of me.  To a tomato nerd, this truly was every major holiday rolled into one.  The selection!  I had expanded the garden space to accommodate 11 tomato plants, which meant the careful process of selection.  Once I had my line-up,  I planted them in my newly established garden plot, but oh, what agony looking at those 17 other plants I would have to find good homes to go to.  In a moment of true weakness, I couldn’t give them up, after all, there were so many I had never seen before.  I wanted to know what they would all become in color, shape and flavor.  With the permission of Amanda I set off into the backyard, digging out more spaces until all 17 orphan tomatoes had found a home.  Combining those tomatoes with the two plants I received from our local farmer’s market a few weeks earlier, I had a line up of 30 plants and 24 varieties.

The beginnings of a beautiful tomato crop

The orphans I couldn’t stand leaving behind.

Making room for all!

I figured since I would never have such an opportunity again to grow so many varieties at once, that I would take notes and monitor the progression of each variety.  That way, I would have first hand knowledge of what varieties of tomatoes are best suited to grow in the garden.

I did not plant any Yellow Brandywine Tomatoes, which in my opinion, is the best tomato I’ve ever eaten.  But since I was given all my plants, I have no regrets, in fact I’m always excited to try growing new things.

Now I dream of rainbow colored salsas, tomato soup, and quart jars upon quart jars of tomatoes being canned in the fall.

…and so does Willa!

Posted by Lanny

It’s Gardening Time…

At the top of our “must have” list in selecting our house was a sunny yard with ample space to grow food for ourselves.  I’ve been an avid gardener my whole life, and nothing would make Amanda happier than if we woke up tomorrow in a world where there was no other food than veggies and fruit.  Seriously, the woman loves eating plants.  So the lot was almost as important to us as the house, and we’re happy with what we found.  It’s a decent lot for the city of Madison–certainly not huge, but there’s enough space to grow healthy crops of some of our favorites.

When we were house shopping in the early spring, I assumed that we wouldn’t be moved in before planting season, which in Wisconsin is generally accepted as June 5th.  So when we were able to get the house so early, we decided just to do something small since we have so much else to do and I hadn’t started anything from seed yet.  Image

After watching the movement of the sun over several days, I measured out an 8 foot by 14 foot plot that would get above the 6 hours of continuous sun that most plants need. I then took my shovel and carefully began to scrape the soil just below the roots of the grass so I could transplant the grass to other parts of the yard such as around our peony bush, which for some reason had no grass around it.Image

Willa did her part by sniffing every stretch of dirt I exposed.  Such a helpful girl!

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Once I had my space cleared, I dug about 8 inches down around the edge and drove stakes into the perimeter, which would be the anchors to my chicken wire fence.

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This is me pounding my stakes into the ground with the blunt side of my hatchet, much to Amanda’s chagrin.

I stapled and wired the fence in place, and then covered the bottom with soil.

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Finally, just to make an extra challenge for rabbits and chipmunks, I lined the edges with brick.

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I’ll get an exciting veggie post up soon!

Posted by Lanny