Grit Blogs > The Open Book

My Garden

By Jean Teller, Sr. Assoc. Editor


Tags: garden, pepper, tomato,

Jean TellerFor a first-time garden, my container tomato and pepper plants are growing great. In fact, I’m pretty amazed at how well things have gone.

The first three tomatoes, direct from the vine!The Brandywine tomato plant has already produced 10 beautiful pieces of fruit – and, believe me, I’ve enjoyed every bite! There have to be at least 30 green tomatoes still on the vine, and I’m pretty sure I saw a few more buds appearing just this week. My only problem is that the plant is not producing ripe fruit in a nice orderly fashion – I really don’t like the wait! I’m joking – well, a little bit anyway. It would be really great if the plant would ripen one or two tomatoes each day – I’d be in seventh heaven!

I definitely can’t complain about the quality of fruit. Although I do have a bit of a complaint about the monster plant in my container. I’ve been pruning, and it’s a bit more manageable these days. That wasn’t always the case.

After the tilting incident.One day I came home to find the tomato plant leaning against the table holding the pepper plant. The tomato’s container is an urn design, and the plant decided to put all its efforts into vines on one side, rather than a neat round bush. A slight wind that day caught the mass of growth like a sail, and the plant tilted to the side. It’s actually lucky that the pepper plant and its table were right there to catch the wandering tomato plant. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure the tomato plant would not be looking too good right about now.

One of the re-tying efforts. What a mess!The massive growth has necessitated quite a few re-ties over the summer. I started out with three stakes in a teepee configuration. That didn’t last long. Then the three stakes were untied at the top and replanted straight up and down. That lasted for a bit. The pepper plant about that time decided it needed a stake, and a week or two later, the extra two stakes were planted with the tomato. That makes five stakes and I still need more! I tried a wire cage for a while, but it seemed to be crowding the plant too much, and of course, at this late date, I wasn’t able to place the cage properly without damaging the plant. I’m still looking for more stakes, because the darn tomato just keeps growing!

My first red pepper!The pepper plant had a bit of a problem earlier in the summer – a storm blew off a lot of blossoms. At the time, there were six or seven peppers beginning to form, and I thought I’d have a slew of them by now. Not the case. I’ve been forced to harvest two green peppers – one was knocked off by the tilting tomato plant – which were good. But I wanted red peppers as advertised! Yesterday, I picked the first red pepper. It’s a deep red color, and I have yet to sample its deliciousness. I have every reason to believe it will be as good as the green versions. (It was!)

The plants in early July.

So there you have it, the latest from this neophyte gardener. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving every minute of this experiment (and every bite too!). I do have a confession to make, though. I’m already planning next year’s garden!

jean teller
8/21/2009 10:24:52 AM

Thanks, Cindy! And thanks so much for your encouragement - it helped a lot! I have to admit to a higher level of satisfaction and even pride than I thought I would have for this project. And yes, the taste was/is well worth the effort!


cindy murphy
8/20/2009 7:05:32 PM

Success! Congratulations, Jean! It wasn't that hard after-all, was it? And for such little effort, look at all those rewards you've reaped. Better yet, taste them!