Oxheart Tomato Experiment

I posted about this experiment last January while I was shopping for seeds.  The Natural Gardening Company wants to discover which part of the country has the best tomato growing climate, so they asked gardeners to try planting the heirloom seeds of the Oxheart Tomato, planting on April 4th and transplanting on May 9th.

Today I chose my largest plant…

oxheart tomato

and transplanted it into my garden…

oxheart tomato2

They actually have a camera focused on theirs to record the growth… The Tomato Cam

I was two days late planting my seeds because we had so much going on and I forgot, but I think my little plant is looking pretty good. I totally expected theirs to be twice as big as mine.

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Starting from Scratch…

That’s what it feels like this year. Everything died in the hoop house during the frigid December freezes, and I’ve had a cold/flu for a month, so I haven’t felt like doing anything, but I’m better and things are getting rolling around here…thanks to my gardener daughter Anna. 🙂

She roto-tilled in the clover cover crop on this new plot near the hoop house…

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And planted these seeds from the Natural Gardening Company

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Lettuces, spinach, chard, bok choi, beets… can’t wait!!!  I thought the seed prices were very reasonable. We’ll see how they perform.

I soaked the beet seeds overnight. Something that was suggested on the seed packet that I’ve never done before, but according to them it will boost the germination.

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While Anna did all the hard work, I busied myself starting seeds in flats…

3I have several different heirloom tomato varieties that I bought at a Farmer’s Market in Holland, Michigan, and saved the seeds, and I have my special Down to Earth Digs seeds bought from Stacey on Etsy

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Last year we began to convert our large back yard into something productive, a large strawberry bed with 2 fruit trees.  We had a pretty good harvest of strawberries, and an overwhelming abundance of  cucumbers that I planted under the baby trees. Now we’ve added a new garden space in our back yard. You can see it  in the distance…

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It really feels a lot like starting all over again from scratch, and everything looks so brown and drab and dreary.

Thank you to Tera, who bought me the beautiful Freesia featured at the top of the post. 🙂 How bright and beautiful, a reminder that soon, very soon there will be color in our gardens again.

Oh…and I did keep the rooster, and I’m calling him Darcy. Thanks to vuchickens for the great suggestion. 😉

down to earth digs ~ a review

I just received a package I ordered from my incredible blogging friend Stacey at down to earth digs, and I just have to take a moment to rave about her Etsy shop

package

You know, it is so special to receive a package nicely wrapped and personalized. Something that is a great gift for gardeners.  I ordered her snips, tomato seeds from her lovely garden and seed packets that her talented daughter Laura designed. I love them all!!!

seeds

But there is something more here…there is a personal connection. This is not just buying something made in China. And that means a lot to me…

thank you

Thank you, Stacey. I love everything!  And I love your personal touch!

If you are looking for a wonderful gift for a gardener, or something for yourself visit Stacey’s Etsy shop… downtoearthdigs

You’ll love it!

Saving Tomato Seeds

I bought 5 beautiful specimens of organic heirloom tomatoes at a Farmer’s Market in Holland, Michigan in hopes of saving the seeds for my tomato garden next year…

cherokee

Italian

Here then are my finished seed packets labeled with the pictures I took of each tomato,   because I forgot the names the farmer had told me. Not very scientifical is it ??? 🙂

I do know that the Cherry Cherokee Purple tomato was his own experiment. So that should be interesting…

seeds

The following video from Seattle Seedling gave me all the info I needed to save my own seeds…

On a side note, aren’t these beautiful tomato posters ?

TOMATOESgmushrooms

Heirloom_Tomatoes.jpg 82kb Botanical Posters

I love tomatoes, and I have to say my favorite is the little cherry Sweet One Hundreds. What’s yours?

Good-bye August…

Just a few more things to post before September…

Who would have thought of putting tomato vines in flower bouquets???

flowers 1

The answer: The Seasonal Bouquet Project, if you haven’t checked out their blog you should take a peek… 🙂

This bouquet from August’s bounty has marigolds, sage, zinnias, tomato vines, oat grass, salvia, and catmint…

flowers 2

bouquet

Seedlings for the fall garden are growing…

seedlings

And I’m getting ready to do a September challenge of 30 Paintings in 30 days starting tomorrow. I painted a few ahead of time because I’ll be on a trip for one week in September.  But here is one I did called Farm Girls…

Farm Girls

This was from a photo taken back in June when the tornado went through Moore, Oklahoma and hit my son’s barn… We planted a flower garden for them while the guys picked up debris…  The story is here A Flower Garden and a Tornado All Mixed Together.

If you would like you can follow my 30 days of painting over at    a little corner of the artist in me…

August Reflections

As I sit here and type reflecting on this August soon to be over, the fragrance of fresh picked basil fills the air around me… makes me think of pesto and fresh tomato mozzarella pizza with lots of basil leaves scattered on top…absolutely my favorite kind of pizza. : )

Rosemary and oregano in the bouquet on the table…love herbs…

bouquet

Who would have guessed that?  With a title like Rosemary, Lavender and Thyme…

Rosemary

Love zinnias too… They are prolific right now…

zinnia

Sedum, hosta flowers, liriope, lamb’s ears…

sedum

Oat grass in a favorite blue glazed ceramic pot…

oat

Love the colors…

I’m listening to a daughter chopping cucumbers and making bread and butter pickles…We have such an abundance of cukes this year…it’s crazy…

Painted a bouquet of gorgeous flowers from a photo blog…couldn’t help myself…so fun…so many incredible colors…

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The temps are more normal for August in Oklahoma…HOT, but for the first time since I’ve lived here, I’m actually going to miss summer…unbelievable!

I still wear my boots, long sleeves and trusty gloves to go pick tomatoes in the field to avoid chiggers and ticks, but this year incredibly I’ve only found one tick on me and that was last night and I’ve only had a mere 6 chigger bites… again unbelievable!

gloves

Our charming neighbors stop by for a visit…a mama deer and her three fawns…

deer

They have been leaving my garden alone…I think the glittering of the shiny CDs really works to keep them at bay…

Seeds of kale and bok choy started in pots and lettuce, spinach, parsley started out in the garden…going to plant radishes, broccoli and cabbage a little later today. It’s soon to be fall…