Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I was told by an Englishman once or maybe a few times, more than a few because it has been drilled in my head!! I am sure he will read this so he knows who he is! Anyway he told me that Americans don’t know what a Tomato is. I have to agree with him on this. What is that pale red thing you buy at the store. It is just a highly breed shell with a tomato looking inside. They have been breed this way so they survive the shipping process but because of this we have sacrificed all taste and texture. Most tomatoes I buy are not only tasteless but they are mealy in texture. So what can we do about this? How about grow our own darn tomatoes and show friends, family, co-workers what a real tomato looks and tastes like.

My ranting has inspired me to build a vegetable garden here at Magnolia Gardens Nursery, plus the 80 degree weather is helping me get moving on this project as well. This is not a property that is best suited for growing vegetables, the ground is highly compacted after much traffic driving over and over it. Also I have a feeling when they built the place they compacted the grounds as well. This is much the same problem home owners will have, especially those in urban areas. This got me thinking that I would start a series in the Blog of the progress of my garden, good or bad I will update everyone. Why is this so interesting? Well mainly because I decided to build it on the parking lot, since most of the property is like a parking lot. I used cinder blocks to build a raised bed, double staked as a single stake was not deep enough at the recommended 12 inches. A double stack gets you at about 16.5 inches which only makes things better since the roots will have nowhere to go once they hit the bottom. I filled the garden with some Nature’s Way mix and I added some Mycorrhizae for good measure and soaked it down and let it sit for about a week. I plan to go organic with this garden, this will be a new adventure as well. Now for the plants, I went to a seminar at Arbor Gate, a local retail garden center, on heirloom gardens, I am glad I got there semi-early because nearly all plants were gone (hopefully a sign of times to come). Next year I will have to plant some seeds of my own so I have better pick, maybe sell some and make some money in the process! Some of the varieties I did get were: Black Pineapple, Green Grape, Creole, Abraham Lincoln, Pittman Valley Plum, Black Cherry, Ghost Cherry and German Johnson. I also got a few peppers, I can’t wait to see the sweet wrinkled old man.
What I think this experiment will do is teach people that you can grow your own and everything will taste so much better. Also that it does not have to be in perfect conditions. Plus in the struggling economy I see this trend only increasing over time. Check back soon for my progress, good or bad...Hopefully good! Good Eats that is (If the blog could play music it would play the theme song for the show Good Eats here, doo doo dooo doo doo doo doo, Good Eats!)


  1. Hi... best of luck with your garden.
    I agree... the poor excuse for tomatoes they sell at the grocery store are worthless. No taste, just look pretty.

    What are you planning to use to stake/support your tomato plants when they are ready? I have tried everything (the metal cages fall overr, and the bamboo/wood stakes rot and arent strong enough. I highly recommend The Tomato Stake.... got them last year and was so easy to use.

    Take a look... and good luck!

  2. Haha! You think 2 degrees in Horticulture will give you the knowledge to grow tomatoes successfully? I wish you the best but know only frustration and failure in my personal quest to grow a good crop of tomatoes in Texas. Maybe it's all that crappy San Antonio weather that sabotages my attempts. The stage I drought restrictions are about to kick in this month so I won't bother with a veggie garden this year. I swear I pour more money into water, compost and pesticides than it's worth. Next time I have that desire I'll just go the local farmers market. Perhaps you'll be more successful since it's at work.

  3. I am bound and determined!!! The soil is resting and I think if I am comfortable with the forecast I will start planting the 4" plants I have. I also bought some seeds from a retail shop by Hort Couture. I had to get the Purple Russian, Green Zebra and I strayed from tomatoes and got a cool French Melon and Lemon Cucumber. Ahh the garden life, I can't wait for the harvest. I checked out the tomato stakes, pretty cool. Maybe I can make my own with some old pvc laying around the nursery. Next I need to look into an organic fertilizer to use.