January 12, 2011

planning and considering for spring 2011 planting

My grandmother was always told by others that she had a green thumb. Her plants always looked so beautiful, lush and healthy. Well, she divulged her secret. She said, "Talk to your plants."

Are you laughing? There just might be some truth to my grandmother's statement. There are actually scientific studies taking place on how sound changes the molecular structure of water. Which in turn could possibly change the molecular structure of your food. What do you think about that?

Sing a sweet melody to your plants this year.

On that note... You're probably thinking it's much to soon to even think about a garden. Maybe so, but every year I try to do a better job at whatever I undertake than I did the previous year. A better garden will require some careful planning. Also, each year I take the successes and the failures from gardening years before and build upon that. I know which tomatoes have high yields, which flavors I prefer, which are better for salsa and which ones we love for tomato sandwiches, fried green tomatoes or roasted tomatoes. Are you getting hungry?

I really love heirloom plants. An heirloom plant, heirloom variety, or heirloom vegetable is a cultivar that was commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but which is not used in modern large-scale agriculture. Heirlooms are gaining popularity due to more and more interest in the backyard garden.

I've or I should say WE have (my hubby is a very integral part of this whole gardening thing) planted Brandy Pink, Cherokee Purple, Mr. Stripey, Chocolate Cherry, Roma,Yellow Pear and a few more.

The Brandy Pink has a very high yield and keeps producing well into the fall here in Virginia. I honestly thought the tomatoes would never stop coming. Because they're so plentiful they are a fantastic tomato for salsa, roasting tomatoes and fried green tomatoes.

Purple Cherokee is a beautiful dark, dense fruit. Perfect for tomato sandwiches. The one drawback to this tomato is that the skin does crack as it ripens on the vine.

Mr. Stripey is a huge yellow tomato, sometimes reaching upwards of 2 pounds. It has orange striping that appears once it's ready to pick. This is another tomato that makes a wonderful sandwich. I also like adding it to a fresh, chunky salsa for a pop of color.

Chocolate Cherry has a very high yield. Small dark fruit, great for salads, bruschetta or for snacking.

There are so many tomato varieties out there and I'd love to try them all but we've got very limited space where we currently live and the HOA restricts a lot of what we are able to do. However, this year our development is in the planning stages of possibly adding a community garden. As I understand we have the opportunity to do a buy-in. For the price we would get our own small plot. This would definitely be value added space for us and something I'm frankly really looking forward to. I will be able to expand my vegetable rows. Not many of you get excited about that but for my fellow gardening lovers you know what I'm talking about.

I'm still a country girl at heart. I grew up stacking hay bales and wood, cleaning out a barn and a chicken coop, picking apples and wild raspberries, riding horses and playing in the woods. So I guess that's why there is just something so therapeutic about getting my hands dirty, tending to and training plants and then harvesting the fruit. You should try it you just might share my affection. 

Where to buy your plants and seeds:
The best place to do so is from a local farm, grower or nursery. They already know what does well in your region and climate. If you're new to gardening a local farm can help take some of the confusion out of the mix for you.

If you're feeling a little fiesty and want to take on the gardening world one plant variety at a time with little to no advice here are a couple catalogs that may come in handy.

I've ordered grape vines from this company for my mom for the last couple of years. Check out their site here. They have a couple really great little greenhouses available for small spaces. I just may be ordering one of those this year so I can start some of my own heirloom tomato seeds rather than buying starter plants.

Another site to check out is the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at www.rareseeds.com.

They've got a wonderful collection of heirloom tomato seeds and I want to try 3 or 4 new species this coming growing season.

Happy Planning!

Thanks for stopping by Blue Sky Confections.

Jenny K.


  1. I love the idea of a community garden. I am sad that we won't be able to participate. My grandparents live in old town alexandria and have had their community garden plot for decades and I have so many fond memories of visiting. Your garden is fabulous, sounds like it will be even better this year! Keep talking to them :-)

  2. I love today's blog post! I'm so ready to get dirty in my garden! Most of our vegetable this year will be heirlooms too! I will share what we have growing in abundance so you can save the seeds. My grandmother never bought seeds, she would just share with her friends and in turn her friends would share their dried seeds and vegetables with her. :)


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