Look at these pathetic little dudes…
So, here’s what happened to the new garden beds we dug into the lawns on the suburban farm this year. Remember the front lawn garden beds? Well…we didn’t add much of anything after we dug up the sod. We purchased a couple of bags of compost at the store and tossed them in just for good measure. None of our homemade compost was added – nor any other soil amendments. The soil beneath the sod made my heirloom tomatoes look like crap, although they’re actually still producing – miserably.
Nope, no nematodes here.
Okay seriously, so what happened here? Well, I pulled up one of the tomato plants and took a look at the roots. I was looking for signs of nematodes. Since there were no nodules clinging evilly to the roots, I crossed a nematode problem off the list. My best guess is verticillium wilt. Which sucks, but there’s not way of knowing how it initially got there. Could have been brought in by one of the plants (I had only purchased 5 heirlooms – the other 21 I started myself) or it could have been in the soil. Whatever.
Now, these are some bitchin’ heirloom tomato plants…
This was a marvelous experiment because have you seen the pics from the back lawn garden beds that I started as compost sandwiches? AMAZING. (How thrilled was I since I recently told the whole world in my book to make these?) These tomato dudes grew to over 8 feet tall and were not amended with anything – nothing all season. I didn’t add more compost nor compost tea – nada.
Which was hard for me to resist since I knew if I had added the compost tea they would have grown even taller…but I was in experiment mode. So, I just watered them. Interesting, yes? This doesn’t mean that if you make compost sandwiches that you’ll never need fertilizer or amendments – it just means that it’s entirely possible that you won’t.
The Fairy Tale eggplant did just fine.
Back to the front garden bed. I did have some successes out there even if the tomatoes in that bed were an epic fail. The Fairy Tale eggplant is doing terrific. Not mind blowing – but nice. And I was quite pleased with my ‘Golden Midget Watermelon’, too. Don’t let your eyes deceive you when you look at the pic. These melons are ripe when they’re golden…they’re not dying on the vine or anything.
Totally happy with the ‘Golden Midget Watermelon’ out front.
I have to throw in a picture of the apples on my columnar apple trees – they look fab if you ask me. Columnar apple trees are a must on the suburban farm. They grow straight up and you can collect a dozen of them if you’d like.