Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quick Lesson For Pruning And Tying Heirloom Tomatoes

New Beds Being Installed

As we begin planting the heirloom tomatoes this spring, we have found ourselves feeling way behind schedule even though March is not even over yet. It is mostly because of such mild winter temperatures this year that have the tomatoes already wanting to burst out of their pots.

So what has happened is that we are still working on putting in the new beds and planting as we go. It's amazing because I even started my tomato seeds a few weeks later than normal.

Many people have not seen our Top Bar Method for supporting tomatoes. I've just written a recent article for Natural Family Today explaining in detail how this system works. But now I need to show how I prune and tie them as well.

In this photo from the Aggie Horticulture and Extension Service you can see that you keep the suckers pinched out so they don't branch out into new long stems. The suckers are found in the Y of the branches or the crotch so to speak. I also prune the lower side shoots under each cluster of flowers or tomatoes, but leave a couple side shoots above the cluster to keep the tomatoes protected from being sun scalded. This keeps your plant concentrating on making fruit instead of so much foliage.

When I tie them I use a basic jute rope (not the nylon type) and make a figure 8 by looping under a side shoot just under each cluster of flowers and then around to the rope support.. This way when the tomato cluster get heavy they have plenty of support.

The thing I like most about using the ropes to tie the main stem to is that they have some give to them. As strong winds come blowing through the entire plant will sway with the rope a bit. This has kept the stem safe from snapping or breaking. It also has kept the plant safe from digging into wire or wooden stakes with no give to them that can damage the plant.

Last summer we experienced endless days of strong southern gulf coast winds. One of the varieties of heirlooms we grow is called Roman Stripped. After several days of non stop wind I noticed all of these particular plants begin to wrap the ends of their side shoot stems around the rope support. I've never seen this characteristic in any other variety. It was as though they had little hands hanging onto a swing much like a child would do.


Heirlooms show some amazing qualities to adapt to the environment in which they are grown. They acclimate to the soil in your very own garden as well to the weather conditions. Each new year that you save seed from heirlooms they improve with vigor and health. We should never loose the diversity within our food system. The only way to protect them is by growing them.

Many people prefer to go for quantity, but here we strive for quality. You might not get as many tomatoes using this method, but they will yield a whole lot more quality fruit. Your heirloom tomatoes will be gorgeous!

Happy Gardening!
Pammy

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Beautiful Milk Thistle Silyburn Eburneum

Bloom of Milk Thistle Silyburn Eburneum

Oh, I just couldn't wait to show you this bloom! Earlier this winter I had written an article for Natural Family Today on naturalizing beautiful weeds and natives. The photo I used in the article was when this Milk Thistle was still an infant. Now it is about 4 1/2 ft. tall and nearly 3 ft. wide. I can't believe it!! I knew it was special from the first time I layed eyes on it and have anxiously awaited its crowing glory.

Needless to say, the article didn't get a whole lot of attention. I wasn't surprised since it seems to be a whole new concept for most folks to keep weeds in their gardens. Many people still don't understand that many weeds are so very beneficial for human health as well as for wildlife and diversity. So it is my hope as always, to maybe convince a few more gardeners to perhaps think twice about pulling them up.


As I glanced through the photos I had taken this morning, I thought to myself that it was almost as if heaven was shinning its light down upon this precious plant.

If we were to keep pulling up the Milk Thistle, such as this we could loose one of the most valuable resources in nature to heal the human liver. This plant is edible either fresh or steamed. Also the seeds are said to have a tremendous health impact for problems related to the liver caused by chemicals and toxins. Christopher Hobbs had written a very informative article for the Herb Companion, going into great detail on studies done in Germany on Milk Thistle. He also includes dosages and precautions for using it medically.

I hope to capture some more photos of this amazing plant with some activity surrounding it with our local wildlife. This plant offers much food for butterflies and birds, such as the Gold Finch that enjoys eating its seed. It is said that the Gold Finch also enjoys nesting within the plant. I certainly can see how it could protect the young nest with the sword sharp jagged edges of the leaves.

It is my desire to let this Milk Thistle naturalize with in my garden and so we shall keep you updated on its progress. I also want to welcome you to come and visit our Facebook Page and share with us some of your favorite photos of your beautiful weeds.

Happy Gardening!!
Pammy

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Liebster Blogger Award Goes To TSG


Well Thyme Square Gardens Blog has just recently been awarded with the Liebster Bloggers Award. This is such a fun award for us to win because of its meaning. In German Liebster means dearest, beloved or favorite.

We were awarded with this honor by Sandy Moss from Cedarberrty, who tells us that as part of the tradition it is passed along to 5 bloggers that have motivated and inspired. Sandy is quite the inspiration herself with the way she is able to capture the garden with her amazing photography.

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:
1. Link back to the person who gave it to you and thank them.
2. Post the award to your blog.
3. Give the award to 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers that you appreciate and value.
4. Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have been offered this award.

I gladly pass this award onto the following blogs and give them each 5 stars for the inspiration they have given to me!

 
Gardening With Nature  ~ Dorothy Borders and her timeless photography of her natural native garden *****

In A Jam ~ Sydney Rubin and some very lovely canning techniques and recipes *****

HENSRULE  ~ Dorothy for her love of books, chickens, food, friends *****

Woman In The Garden  ~ Andrea and her most beautiful garden and photography ******

Brown Envelope Seeds  ~ Madeline McKeever all the way from Skibbereen, Ireland growing Irish Organic Vegetable Seeds ***** 

Thank You and Happy Gardening!!
Pammy

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Seed Traders For Future Generations



What better way to help spread diversity than good old fashion seed swapping. But then, not with just any garden seed either. We are trading and passing on heirloom seeds, cuttings, roots and everything organic and non-gmo. By preserving and passing on heirlooms, a wide diversity of seeds and plants will leave more varieties for generations to come.

I've already found myself lost in love with many varieties shared by some new garden friends. Some of the special seeds and plants have long lost the original name of variety. But for some reason you don't forget the name of that special person that shared them with you. I'm watering and caring for plants with a deeper meaning now. Lilies have become known as Cindy's Lilies. Grown with love from her garden. It's a beautiful thing to share your garden in many more ways than one. I heard a quote once that it is like a living scrapbook for family and friends.



The Glory of the Garden
There's not a pair of legs so thin, there's not a head so thick,
There's not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick.
But it can find some needful job that's crying to be done,
For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.
Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders,
If it's only netting strawberries or killing slugs on borders;
And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,
You will find yourself a partner in the Glory of the Garden.
Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
For the Glory of the Garden, that it may not pass away!
And the Glory of the Garden it shall never pass away!
Rudyard Kipling, 1911, The glory of the Garden

If you love to garden and are interested in helping protect diversity and heirlooms for future generations, We would love to have you join us at Seed Traders For Future Generations.

Whether you are a new gardener just getting started with not much to trade, I'm sure someone would love to help you get started. As well you will find lots of folks willing to help you with tips and tricks for getting your garden growing.

 Happy Gardening!
Pammy

  In Honor of Heirloom Seeds
Behold the lowly heirloom seed
The kind that Grandma sowed
When she had many mouths to feed
And many rows to hoe.
Behold the lowly heirloom seed
It's open pollinated
A remedy for corporate greed
Not copyrighted nor litigated
Behold the lowly heirloom seed
No GM labels here
It's DNA has been codified
By The Heavenly Bio-Engineer.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

TSG Heirloom Tomato Plants Ready For Sale

Delicious!

This is our first year with the little greenhouse and I was able to do up enough extra Heirlooms to sell this season. Last year I had so many requests for them, so I was aiming to please this thyme. 

Although we have experimented with many different varieties over the years, we've managed to narrow it down to the best of the best for our area. All of our heirlooms are from seed saved from the healthiest plants and best tomatoes. The great thing about getting your heirloom plants locally is that the seed is which they have been grown has already been acclimated to your area, climate and soil.

Roman Stripe Sausage Tomato

Several of the tomatoes that we grow are chosen by qualities geared towards cooking. The Roman Stripe is a sausage type of paste tomato that fills the sauce pot quickly because of the meaty flesh. They are full of rich and delicious flavor.that make them great for salsa as well. 

Gilbertie Paste Heirloom Tomato

One of the things that we do is to make sure the seed saved is from the largest fruit. The Gilbertie Paste gave me a little trouble at first because of the inconsistency in fruits size on some of the plants. Some of the plants were packed full more of a roma type, smaller size, while a few others demonstrated long sausage type traits that we were looking for in a paste tomatoes. That is the seed saved from these!! This is a very sweet tasting paste tomato for putting by. Just look how pretty!

Purple Calabash Heirloom

We will never quit growing the Purple Calabash! This is a Southern Tomato!!It holds up to the heat and the drought better than any tomato available. It is not a paste, but the sweetest and juiciest heirloom we grow. It will still continue making tomatoes for you well after all the others are finished. It is a deep purple fleshed heirloom that was brought to the southern plantations by the slaves carried into our regions on huge ships.

The other three varieties that were chosen to grow in our gardens as heavy producers this spring are the German Lunchbox, which is a small juicy tomato that is very hardy. Also for a cherry tomato we have chosen the Riesentraube, and the Homestead as a our great slicer. Of course all of our garden is chemical free and no gmo!

Contact me at the following email if you wish to get your heirloom plants and for more details  on pricing. This is for local residents only and available for only as long as they last.

Contact me at thymesquaregardens@yahoo.com

Happy Gardening!
Pammy