I’ve got tomatoes on the brain these days. Last weekend I had a table at Seedy Saturday at the Brickworks here in Toronto and the highlight was trading for some new tomato varieties. I walked away with at least ten new varieties feeling like a kid in a candy shop. That giddy feeling hasn’t worn off. I love tomatoes! The hard part comes next in deciding which to grow.
Later, when I got home from the event I took stock of my total tomato seed collection and was shocked to discover that I have collected over 130 varieties. I had never bothered to count before now. No wonder I have a harder and harder time narrowing down the list that will end up in the soil each year!
Last year was my best tomato season ever. By the time the hard frost hit we had harvested 110lbs of ripe fruit (NOT including cherry or currant varieties) plus another 30 or so pounds in green tomatoes. I don’t think I grew more plants than I have in the past as there were years when I was able to split the plants up between 3 gardens, and I recall one year just under a decade back when I was able to fit 16 plants into the community garden plot, plus the same on the roof. I think the windfall came down to even better, sunnier growing conditions and a really hot summer.
I meant to post about tomatoes today, but with the weather so warm and spring-like I headed off to my friend Barry’s garden to photograph some early spring ephemerals before they are gone.
You may know fellow garden addict, writer, and general all-around badass Margaret Roach through her well-loved books, via the pages of Martha Stewart Living magazine (she was the first garden editor there), or through her superlative website, A Way to Garden. Today, I am thrilled to announce that Margaret and I are in the process of creating a marketplace of green friendly and relevant products and services that will appear on both of our sites simultaneously.
Last month marked 12 years since I launched YouGrowGirl.com. Throughout that time I have tried a variety of advertising options and platforms as a way to help support the work and out-of-pocket costs incurred in keeping the site going. Doing that without selling products, companies, or services that go against the values that I espouse has been nothing short of difficult and last year I severed the last service I was using out of frustration. Since then it has become apparent that in order to find balance and navigate the lines between my own personal integrity, the real demands of running this site, and my commitment to you to create an environment that is transparent and uncluttered with garbage, I would need to take matters into my own hands.
I have a ton of respect for Margaret and the work she does. She’s a wonderful writer and a really cool woman that I am proud to have as a friend and colleague. We are very in tune in regards to our views on gardening, green living, and the environment, so teaming up together in this way to help support each other professionally makes perfect sense. I am so thrilled to be doing this with her!
What this means:
- Small ads will appear simultaneously in the right-hand sidebar on both of our sites.
- All ads are vetted by us collectively.
- We promise to do our best to only feature products and services that we either use ourselves in our home gardens and homes and that are in keeping with our values. No Big Chemical sponsorship or unconscionable ads have ever appeared on this site, and never will.
- The revenue generated by these ads will help to cover the operating costs associated with the running of our sites and allow us to grow the content we can create and publish.
Lately, I’ve been using photo sharing sites/apps like Instagram and Flickr to chart the progress of my seeds and seedlings as they germinate and grow. My older model iPhone does not take the nicest photos under low-light conditions, but I’ve found it to be a helpful way to track progress for my own purposes, especially when I can’t be relied on to write the proper date on plant tags! Let’s hope that it was wishful thinking on the part of my subconscious mind and not the effects of aging that caused me to inexplicably write “Sept” instead of “Jan” on the first round of hot peppers that I sowed a month and a half ago.
I purchased this particular large, green, plastic container used and for only one dollar at a plant sale in the spring of 2010. It’s not particularly beautiful, but isn’t offensive either — I recognized it right away as a good sized tub with an uncommon depth and girth that would make a happy home for several plants.
I originally used the pot for a mixed scented geranium (Pelargonium) planting that I had in mind at the time. If you’re curious, a photo of it appears on page 123 of my new book, “Easy Growing: Organic Herbs & Edible Flowers from Small Spaces“.
Close up on ‘Mint Mocha’ coleus.
With more space to grow in the ground last year, I allowed myself room to play with ornamentals and even gave up more coveted container space to them. This time around I wanted to plant something in the big green bin that would quickly hang over and hide it completely.