Tomato Planter and a Garden Update

I added tomatoes to my garden! My grandfather grows tomatoes up in Colorado, and they are always so much fun to pick off the vine and eat, and much tastier than store bought ones! (Side note – did you know that many of the tomatoes you buy in stores are dyed to help them look more ripe? When we wash our tomatoes and put them in a bowl on a paper towel, the paper towel is always left very slightly orange-yellowish.) When we went to the hardware store to get supplies for planting vegetables earlier, they were out of tomato plants which was quite disappointing. When we went back for some other supplies though, they had more! And they had my favorite kind from my grandfather’s house – super sweet 100s. I also needed something to plant them in, so I asked the lady working at the Lowe’s garden center what sized container I would need for two tomato plants. She said she had a container that would work fine if I wanted one for free – yes, please! I met her and picked it up a couple days later, and after a little spray paint and some drainage holes I think it turned out great!

Red plastic tomato planter

This is probably much deeper than I really need for tomatoes, but hey, it was free! I got some red spray paint for plastic (in sunset red by rust-oleum), and painted all the visible surfaces (outer sides and top of inner sides – not the bottom or most of the inside which won’t show in my garden). I then drilled several 1/2″ holes around the bottom and sides for some drainage. I filled the tub up most of the way with compost (super cheap available from my city compost facility). I got some lime from the hardware store and mixed it in to the top foot or so of my compost because my grandfather suggested it – it makes the soil a bit more basic. I also helped Eddie put up a trellis to tie the tomato vines upright as they grow out of some fencing wire and a couple of 8 foot posts. My grandfather always ties his tomato plants vertically towards the roof on his porch – and they grow more than 6 feet tall! I like the vertical growing more than the cages you see because it makes all the tiny tomatoes easy to find and pick as they ripen. I really hope these guys do well even with our hot summers here.

Tomato Planter

In similar news – the rest of my garden is doing quite well, for the most part! My peas are going gangbusters! They’re already over two and a half feet tall (they’ve grown almost an inch a day!), have several flowers, and even have a couple baby pods already!

growing peas - pea pod and flowers

Most of my potato plants are doing well, but something is eating away some of the leaves. A couple of my potato plants are just being devastated. After some internet searching I think it may be snails – apparently they come out at night, so I’ll be looking for them after it gets dark.

potatoes - healthy and being eaten

The garlic is still growing well. I think the onions, green onions, and basil are all growing slower because they were planted from seed rather than bigger parts of the plants – like whole peas, chunks of seeded potatoes, and heads of garlic. They’re still coming along though!

gardening: garlic and onion plants

And here’s how my whole garden area is doing, 40 days after planting (plus adding the tomatoes a few weeks later!

Vegetable Garden

Mmm, I love the red planter and raised bed with those growing soon-to-be-tasty plants!

I have a garden!

Last fall, I got really excited about having a vegetable garden. I looked into how to build a raised bed, got a book about vegetable gardening, and decided what I wanted to plant and found out when to plant it (because our winters are so mild here, there are a good number of things you can grow in the fall and a few things that can be planted before the winter for the next spring). Eddie and I got some wood, paint and dirt, and built a beautiful red raised bed to put in our backyard. Then, our dog decided she loved what she thought was her new personal sand box/bed, and we found out how expensive cute fences are (womp, womp).

Well, a few weeks ago, my wonderful husband put a fence in for my garden, I got some seeds and some compost*, and a friend came over and helped me break up the soil, mix it with the compost, and plant my veggies (thanks, Alison!)

I ended up planting basil, garlic, green onions, onions, peas, and potatoes. I didn’t do as much researching this time, and ended up planting the peas right in the middle of the bed without realizing they grow to be 6′ tall – yikes! we put in a trellis, and we’ll see how the potatoes behind them do when they start blocking some sun. You may notice our raised bed is not quite full. We’d lost some dirt since filling it in the fall due to our puppy playing/digging in it, and even with the added compost didn’t have enough to fill the whole bed. Since its my first time gardening, I figured I’d wait to buy more dirt until next season if I find this works well for us.

It’s been 10 days since planting, and already everyone but the onions have started popping up!

The peas started coming up after only 5 days, and are still by far the largest plants (they are supposed to reach 6 feet in three months).

Peas

The basil started popping up after about seven days. They’re still pretty tiny, but more up popping up every day.

Basil

I planted four heads of garlic, and first saw the first one today – 10 days after planting everything.

Garlic

The first potato plant popped up yesterday (after 9 days), and another two showed up today. The green onions have also started growing, but they are very skinny and very short. Looking forward to seeing the onions, and seeing all these guys keep growing. And, of course, having some delicious home grown vegetables 🙂

The first few days of watering I just used a normal hose, and it tossed up a lot of the dirt. Since a few of the smaller seeds (basil, green onions, and onions) were planted only about 1/4″ below the surface, I was worried I disturbed too many of the seeds for them to grow well. So far the basil has been doing great, but we’ll see if the green onions and onions end up doing well. I eventually got a fan spray attachment for our hose, which waters the plants much more gently.

fan spray hose nozzle

*If you want some compost, see if your city offers any. I was surprised to find that mine has a composting facility where you can drive up and get as much or as little as you like. We have a truck, and they used a big machine to just scoop it into the back for us. We got 500 lbs. (not just for this garden) for $7 – which seemed like a pretty great deal. Way easier than making/maintaining a compost bin of our own.

Avocado Pasta

I shared some of my favorite pinterest avocado finds last time (see my full avocado pinterest board here), but I saved this recipe for a special post all its own: avocado pasta. This has been one of my husband and my favorite recipes all summer – its quite healthy pasta recipe which still has a tasty creamy sauce – just this time the creaminess is from avocadoes (and great for your skin and hair!) instead of cream (which is really just great for lovehandles). It also comes together in about 15 minutes!

Vegetarian green avocado pasta

Avocado Pasta Recipe
makes about 4 servings
adapted from Oh She Glows

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 small avocadoes (or about 1.5 large ones)
  • 7 oz. spaghetti
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil (for cooking pasta – if you want)
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. parmesan cheese

Avocado pasta ingredients

1. Cook pasta according to box directions. I usually add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the boiling water to keep noodles from sticking together.I like to use pasta high in fiber and protein – this time I used Barilla Plus.

2. While pasta is cooking, add garlic, lemon juice, avocados, and 1 Tbsp. parmesan cheese to food processor. Pulse until well blended.

Avocado pasta creamy sauce

3. Once pasta is cooked and drained, mix sauce into pasta. Garnish with remaining parmesan cheese, and enjoy!

Vegetarian green avocado pasta

Have you ever made a creamy sauce using something healthy instead of cream?

I’m sharing this at some of these places.