Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wrapping Up the Garden

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What??  Already??

In my little game of catch up, I’m presenting our 2009 Tomato Project in a hurry.  Kind of like when they say on cooking shows “through the magic of television...Ta-Da!”.   Here’s a little look at our Earth Box results. 

After 4.5 weeks, both plants REALLY took off.  We already had several blossoms and I started to plan a way to stake our little plant babies.100_0404 The Earth Box website sells their own staking kit, however I decided not to purchase it for our first year of Earthboxing.  Instead, I found these metal tomato cages at Menards for a little over $2 each!  Woo hoo!  A real steal…..now hopefully it will work!DSCF2759 We weaved the both plants through the cages and also tied some of the major braches to the cage using this stretch tie that I found at ACE Hardware.  I also used this to tie the two cages together for additional support.  Lesson learned?  Cage before the plants get this big next year.  It was kind of difficult to get the braches inside the cage without breaking a few of them along the way. Boo hoo. 

Woo Hoo!  Our First “Offspring”

Finally, during week 10 post-planting, we realized the literal fruits of our “labor”.  

 DSCF3128DSCF3073 Our precious first little tomato from the Early Girl (EG) plant.   Beautiful huh?  Yummy too!  As you can see, the plants are growing wild at this point.  The German Queen had kind of taken over, however the EG still produced loads of new fruit.  I was a little worried about supporting these giant plants, but crossed my fingers.

Week 12 and beyond….

By this time, we really started to get daily tomatoes from both plants.  The EG produced several small to medium sized fruits that were mild and juicy.  The GQ took a little longer to produce ripe fruit as expected and they were totally different from the EG in every way.  The tomatoes were HUGE and sometimes funky in shape.  Hey, but who says something has to be pretty to be tasty?  They had very little juice which made them ideal for sandwiches.

 IMG_3298IMG_3261 IMG_3266

Notice how the plant has grown up and over the cage.  Eventually the vines crawled across the deck!

Earthboxing – The end of our first season

We had an extremely mild summer in Illinois this year and gardens suffered for it.  As the weather got colder, we decided our season had ended once our fruit production slowed down quite a bit and many of the leaves were suffering from mildew. While breaking down the Earth Box, we were amazed at the HUGE root system of these plants, especially the German Queen.IMG_3947

Well, there you have it.  Our first adventures in “urban” deck gardening with the Earth Box.  We will be using it again next spring and I’m hoping to add another one to our little deck garden.   During the cold (and LONG) Illinois winter months,  I plan on researching new types of plants to try next season.

All and all it was a great experience and fun to do.  I enjoyed showing our kids how we can eat the things we grow…just the way my parents showed me when I was little. <insert sentimental sigh here>

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