Garden updates: too-tall tomatoes, failed squash, thriving herbs and roses

Meant to post this garden update at the beginning of September, and here it is more than halfway through the month…

Here’s what things looked like in July, and here’s what they looked like in May.

Tomatoes: I let them get too tall, so they put more energy into growing stems and leaves than into growing fruit. (Also, I had to do some tricky rigging with twine, once they grew taller than their cages.) The tomatoes they have produced, though, have been good, particularly the yellow cherry tomatoes. The pretty yellow-striped red roma tomatoes were susceptible to blossom end rot, but I put eggshells in the soil for calcium and that seemed to help a little.


Herbs: Doing great! We’ve used the basil on pizza, the chives on salmon, the mint in lemonade, the parsley in chicken salad, the sage in buttered pasta. Yum.

Roses: Also, improbably, doing very well. I’m not sure why I was so doubtful except that (a) they started out as a tiny gift plant in a decorative red pot, and (b) I’ve never grown roses before. Now I’m not sure whether I should bring the pot inside for the winter, or transplant them into the ground and cut them back, or what. Advice is welcome!


Flowers: The peachy-pink verbena (not pictured) is still doing well. The orangey flowers that were doing so well before succumbed to aphids. I gave them a brief second life by spraying them with soapy water and then Neem oil, but ultimately the aphids won the day.

Small snacking bell peppers: One plant produced nothing; the other plant produced exactly one pepper. It spent a long, long time turning from pale yellow-green to red, and then we ate it, and it was delicious.

From Anne’s garden: My cousin Anne gave me a few things from her garden. The honeysuckle vine, sadly, died, but these two little ones are still doing well:

mystery flowers

Squash: The squash died. I don’t know why.

Strawberries: Last year’s plants flowered but never made berries, though the plants look happy and healthy; this year’s plant made a few berries in early June but they either atrophied before ripening, or birds or bugs got to them. Next year I’ll put the nets on as soon as I plant them, or maybe I’ll try one of those strawberry jar pots or hanging baskets.

Purple flower bushes: I planted three of these (two of one kind, one of another) in our little patch of front yard in early August. I was able to make a nice rock border from all the rocks I dug up out of the soil. Allegedly these will survive the winter and bloom again next year.


The major lesson of the summer: make sure the tomato plants don’t get too tall. I’m half expecting a kid named Jack to show up in our backyard and start climbing.


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