Saving Seeds from Successes

I finally figured out which tomatoes were the volunteers that kept popping up all over the garden.

There are three different tomatoes growing in the tomato bed:  The beefsteaks that I grew from seed, the volunteers that grew from the compost that I started my seeds in, and the ones I bought when it looked like my tomato plants that I grew from seeds were stunted and were just really strange looking.  They got to about 10 inches and a lot of them had curled leaves, but once the weather warmed up they were okay.  They are all doing fine and still flowering.

The beefsteaks are obvious… 09-05-08 (9)

And then we have these…08-12-08 (2)

And then we there are  these…08-30-08 (7) 08-30-08 (5)  which are my favorite by the way.  Not only because they look so pretty, but they taste the best.  I like the single-serving size.

I was going through my old pictures from last year and ran across this one… Grape Tomato_Summer 2007 

This is the only tomato variety I planted last year.  Notice how this one has only one stem with tomatoes growing and the ones from this year have branched to give you so many more tomatoes?  Maybe going through the compost super charged the seed and made it super productive. 

I’ve saved the seeds from the largest beefsteak and from some of the cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, not sure which variety they are.

I bought a really large water melon from the store and saved some of its seeds. 

And I’m not above buying the really big green peppers from the grocery store to save the seeds either which I intend to do this year because although I am getting lots of bell peppers from my plants, they just aren’t that big.08-02-08 (2)

I’ve been collecting seeds from my canna plants too.  08-27-08 (16) 09-05-08 (10)

I’ve read they will bloom the first year from seed.  The first summer here really late in the year a canna just appeared near the evergreen trees.  I’m pretty sure it was a seed left in the ground because if it was from a piece of root, which I doubt it would have survived our winter, it would have started growing earlier in the year.  With me watering as much as I did (that and the water that came into my yard from my neighbor’s sprinkler) the shell must have finally got soft enough to let the seed start growing. 

From my own yard I’ll have seeds from …

  • Tomatoes (beefsteak and cherry/grape)
  • Canna
  • Hibiscus (if it forms seed pods)

From the neighborhood grocery store …

  • Watermelon
  • Muskmelon (they get bigger than cantaloupe)
  • Bell Pepper

It’s said that when you save seeds from your own plants that did well, you’re ahead of the game a little because you already know how that plant will do in your climate.  So, save your seeds, save some money, and get a double bonus of satisfaction by planting seeds you helped create.

Happy Gardening!!!


Plethora of Plentiful Planters

I recently found a cantaloupe growing in one of my self-watering containers, so I figure I’ll talk about the things I’m growing in containers instead of the ground.  The yard is pretty small and I’ve got something growing in just about every plantable  spot in the yard, so I use pots to increase my growing space.

08-13-08 (3) This cantaloupe is about the size of a softball and it’s the only cantaloupe to actually set fruit.. so far.  I was picking up around the yard and discovered it.

I have a couple of cantaloupe plants growing in the ground.  08-17-08 Lots of blooms, no cantaloupes that will grow bigger than a M&M.

Here’s the self-watering container (to be referred to as SWC) that the cantaloupe is growing in.  08-13-08 (4)And because this is my first year with the self-watering containers, I’m still experimenting with what will grow how well in the SWCs and I’m mixing a little this with a little that.

My neighbor’s friend gave me a few okra plants and I put two of them in here back on July 10 with the cantaloupe.08-17-08 (2)Okra plants are really pretty.  There’s actually one okra pod just to the right of the stem.  I swear I didn’t see a flower before this one.  The other okra plants I put in the ground are only 5 or 6 inches tall.  They’re also being shaded by other plants.

This is my first SWC that I started in early May.  05-31-08 (7) It’s got a monster cherry tomato, a sweet potato plant, and two varieties of watermelon.  (I gave the corn to my mother-in law because I couldn’t find a spot for it).  I’ve got a 6-foot tall stake the cherry tomato is tied to.  Once it outgrew that, I tied a string from the end of the stake to the house and am training in along the string now. 

Here’s how it’s doing today.  08-02-08 (44)

Only one of each variety of watermelon have actually set fruit.  The sugar baby is the one with the panty hose sling and the other is a full-sized watermelon.DSCN1508 DSCN1507I really don’t expect them to get much bigger because both vines are starting to shrivel up.

I gave my mother-in-law some watermelon plants too. Hers are in the ground and doing much better than mine.  This is her largest one.  DSCN1459

A month ago I planted this one with cucumbers,07-14-08 (12) and today it looks like this.DSCN1504It’s even got its first cuke on it.DSCN1510 

Here are the bell peppers growing in planters on the steps.  That was then… 06-30-08 (13)

… and this is now.DSCN1512 The container peppers are giving the in-ground peppers a run for their money in terms of size, and I’ll definitely plant them in containers in the future.  I think it helped a lot to keep the containers covered.  I’ve read that peppers like green mulch, and maybe that helped too.  I think this pot size is 10 inches, so I’d try larger pots to hopefully get bigger peppers.

I tried potatoes in a container too back in May.  That was then …05-31-08

…and this now.  08-13-08 (9)I had some leftover seed potatoes after I planted in the raised beds, so I tried this. I snuck a peek in here and haven’t seen one potato so far.

In the raised bed, I’m trying an adulterated version of a dedicated potato bin for potatoes that I saw on the GardenWeb web site that I’ve adapted to my raised bed.  06-30-08 (11) People have gotten mixed results, but for this one I’m not going to touch it until the plants naturally die back.  I’ll either be very, very happy with the potatoes or very, very disappointed.

A friend gave me some peanuts.  I started a few of those in a pot.08-13-08 (8) I have no idea how this will turn out, especially since I never put any more dirt in the pot.

And lastly, this bush.  04-20-08 I wanted to make room for some raspberry plants.  And since I wasn’t crazy about this bush (or the fact that I didn’t get anything to eat from it), I decided to dig it up and get rid of it.07-14-08 (11) After I dug it up, I had it leaning against a bench and thought, hmmm, that looks kind of nice there, so I decided to try to save them.  That was mid July… 08-02-08 (17) … and they’re still looking good.  No leaf loss at all.

And lastly (for real this time), the raspberries.  I acquired some raspberry plants from a couple of generous fellow gardeners.08-02-08 (20) 08-02-08 (21) With any luck I’ll have raspberries next year since raspberries fruit on second year canes.

I didn’t plant them in the ground because I want to see what will happen with them in the containers first.

That’s it for now.  (Did I hear you say finally?)

Happy Gardening!!!

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