Garden Lifestyle

7 things I’ve learned this year and a mystery tomato plant

My garden is back...bigger and badder than ever...but where did that tomato variety come from? And what the heck is it?

The last time I was in the garden, before I came to work here, was years ago when I was a little girl and my mother dragged me out with her. Once I started here, however, I knew I needed to try this gardening thing again, so I started a modest edible container garden on the balcony of my apartment last summer. It was successful and by the end of the summer I had caught the gardening “bug.”

Since then I have been anxiously waiting for this summer so I could really dive into my second year of gardening and use all the knowledge I’ve gained by working here. I’ve expanded and in my garden I have five varieties of tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, bok choy, nasturtiums, dill, oregano, cilantro and four types of basil. I’ve learned several new things from this summer of gardening, and I’d like to share some of the finer points with you.

1. I’ve moved since last year, so while I now have a yard, I’ve realized I’d still rather have a container garden. Mainly because it keeps the bugs at bay…I hate bugs…gross.

2. Even if deer aren’t munching on your vegetables it doesn’t mean your dogs won’t think the containers are fun to dig in. Therefore my deer fence has now become my dog fence.

3. If you’ve never grown a certain vegetable before and you don’t know what the seedling are supposed to look like, you may think you are nurturing baby swiss chard seedlings…only to realize after a month or two you’ve been taking care of weeds.

4. Your younger sister is going to think you’ve finally gone insane when she catches you petting your ‘Sungold’ tomato plant and praising it for growing, “big and tall.”

5. I’m ecstatic my mother saved her knee-high nylons from 20+ years ago for me to use as tomato ties.

6. If you tell people, “I have to go home and see my babies. I’ve been so busy the past few days, and I haven’t been able to check on them. They must be so thirsty,” people are not going to know you’re talking about plants and are going to assume you’re a very bad mother.

And now we come to #7, which is where I need your help:

7. Sometimes gardening is surprising. I swiped a ‘Juliet’ tomato seedling from my co-worker, Ruth, which I grew last year and absolutely loved…but these are definitely NOT ‘Juliet’ tomatoes. Either she labeled them wrong, or I grabbed different ones than I thought, or the tomato fairy is playing a joke on me.

What the heck are these tomatoes growing in my garden? Take a look at the pictures and let me know your guesses. All I know for sure is that they are NOT ‘Black Prince,’ ‘Green Zebra,’ ‘Jaune Flamme’ or ‘Sungold.’ Whatever they are, I’m sure they’ll be delicious!

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