Monday, April 25, 2011

April showers...

April has been a busy gardening month. When I've been in town, I've been working in the garden planting more seeds and tomato starters. The carrots, lettuce, and swiss chard have all sprouted and the Iris and Columbines have begun to bloom (and they make terrific cut flowers!).

As expected, I've had to spray the hibiscus with soapy water for black aphid control, which seems to have worked well. We’ve received lots of rain (which I’m now tracking on my newly installed rain gauge) which has helped the veggies (and weeds) grow. I need to install a support for the sweet peas and do some more weeding.

I’ve spent two weekends in Knoxville this month and enjoyed the Dogwood Arts trail and local garden centers. The picture above is a peony from one of the Dogwood Arts Festival’s open gardens. Last weekend my mom and I went to Mayo’s and I found two of the heirloom tomato varieties I’ve been looking for; they had a fantastic selection.

So far, the tomatoes I’ve purchased (and planted*) include: Early Girl*, Black Cherry*, Yellow Pear*, Cherokee Purple, and Black Krim. Early Girl is a hybrid red tomato grown for early harvesting (June). Black Cherry is a tiny black/purple tomato that I had success with last year.

Yellow Pear is another cherry tomato variety. I’ve never grown this variety before but I’m eager to taste test, as some tomato eaters prefer yellows. I’ve also never grown Cherokee Purple or Black Krim before, which are both large dark red/burgundy heirloom varieties.

A Roma (for homemade pizzas) and maybe a red beefsteak will round off my tomato acquisitions for the year. I’m also looking to purchase hot and sweet peppers, and more herbs including tarragon, sage, and oregano. The goal: to grow as much of my own produce and herbs as possible.

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