Eggplant

2011 Mid-Season Garden Review

This post is mostly for my own good. I want to keep track of what’s doing well, how long things are taking to grow, and what I should try differently next year. I have 2 areas where I have things growing; the main garden in the yard, and the containers on my deck. Below is a summary of all my plants, what their expected size and maturity rate is, what worked about them and what I need to do next time.

2011 Main Garden

Garden Size: 5’x10′
Fertilizer: 4 bags of compost and Miracle-Gro® Organic Choice® Garden Soil
Plants:

Tomato, Celebrity Hybrid:

Celebrity Hybrid TomatoHeight: 3-4 feet
Spread: 3 feet
Maturity: 72 days
Bloom Season: Mid Spring to Late Summer
Fruit Bearing: Determinate
Sun: Full Sun (6-8 hours)
Notes: Grew huge! Way more than 4 feet tall. Cage was too small and the plant has drooped over the sides of it, though that hasn’t hampered it’s growth any. The fruit is starting to get larger and hopefully will ripen by the end of August. Has absolutely taken over the area where it was planted with the other tomatoes.
Ideas: I may need to prune my tomato plants, according to plantsmart.easybloom.com. They recommend after the flowers have appeared, removing leaves and stems that are growing beneath the flowers to direct the nutrients and energy to the fruit.

Side note: I never knew what “Indeterminate” and “Determinate” meant regarding tomatoes. It turns out, according to Burpee.com, “Indeterminate tomatoes grow and bear fruit prolifically over the entire course of the growing season. Determinate tomatoes grow to maturity and produce a heavy crop of fruit over a few weeks time.”

Tomato, Bonnie Grape:

Height: 2-5 feetBonnie Grape Tomato
Spread: 1.5-4 feet
Maturity: 70 days
Bloom Season: Mid Spring to Late Summer
Fruit Bearing: Indeterminate
Sun: Full Sun (6-8 hours)
Notes: Definitely needs more space. This plant is huge and is thriving in it’s location, even though it’s being crowded on both sides by other tomato plants. Hope to have a ripe harvest by late August / early September.
Ideas: Indeterminate varieties apparently need trellises or some sort of tall caging to encourage upward growth because they keep growing and growing and growing. Pruning is also recommended

Tomato, Early Girl:

Height: 2-5 feetEarly Girl Tomato
Spread: 1.5-4 feet
Maturity: 59 days
Bloom Season: Mid Spring to Late Summer
Fruit Bearing: Indeterminate
Sun: Full Sun (6-8 hours)
Notes: Hasn’t done as well as I’d hoped. Can’t really find a lot of fruit on it, though it should be producing it earlier than the other varieties. Then again, who can tell which tomato plant is which in the tangled mess it has become?
Ideas: Indeterminate varieties apparently need trellises or some sort of tall caging to encourage upward growth because they keep growing and growing and growing. Pruning is also recommended

Bell Pepper:

Height: 1.5-2 feetBell Pepper
Spread: 1 foot
Maturity: 65 days (green) or 85 days (red)
Bloom Season: Early Summer to Late Fall
Sun: Full Sun
Notes: This year it was crowded out by the tomatoes and has been negatively affected by the lack of sunlight and warmth. 1 fruit has grown on it, though.
Ideas: Next time plant farther from other plants and use a floating row cover or row tunnel to keep them warmer

Eggplant:

Height: 18-24 inchesEggplant
Spread: 16 inches
Maturity: 60-90 days
Bloom Season: Early Summer to Late Fall
Sun: Full Sun
Notes: This year, like the bell pepper, it was crowded out by tomatoes and has only started to produce 1 fruit.
Ideas: Next time plant farther from other plants and use a floating row cover or row tunnel to keep them warmer

Carrots:

Height: 2-3 feetCarrots
Spread: inches
Maturity: 70 days
Sun: Partial Shade to Full Sun
Notes: Carrots are doing fine. Haven’t pulled any up to see how they’re doing yet.
Ideas: plant farther from other plants next time, and longer rows. Also, want to try the Kaleidoscope Mix next time.

Peas, Sugar Snap:

Height: 4-6 feet
Spread: 8 inches
Maturity: 70 days
Bloom Season: Early Spring to Late Summer
Sun: Full Sun
Notes: Grew pretty fast inside, but slowed the pace dramatically when they were transplanted. Produced some pods early on but they weren’t very good. Then the heat of summer hit and they stopped growing altogether. The nights are cooler now and growth has taken off! They are at least 4 feet tall at this point.
Ideas: Plant more of them and earlier in the season using floating row covers to keep them warm overnight

Pole Bean, Kentucky Wonder:

Height: 6-9 feet
Spread: 18 inches
Maturity: 65 days
Bloom Season: Early to Late Summer
Sun: Full Sun
Notes: Lesson learned from beans: do better research. I wasn’t expecting them to get so tall! But they grew fast and we’ve had to improvise some taller fencing for them to grow on. No pods yet.
Ideas: These need more space than I gave them, and much larger trellises to grow on.

Lettuce, Black-Seeded Simpson:

Height: 9-15 inches
Spread: 6 inches
Maturity: 45 days
Sun: Partial Shade to Full Sun
Notes: Did not do well in this garden. Definitely stunted by the gargantuan tomatoes growing nearby.
Ideas: It’s included with the Looseleaf blend that grew on the deck. Probably won’t try it separately next year.

Lettuce, Vivian (I think):

Height: 9-15 inches
Spread: 6 inches
Maturity: 70 days
Sun: Partial Shade to Full Sun
Notes: Did not do well in this garden. Definitely stunted by the gargantuan tomatoes growing nearby.
Ideas: Need to give it a lot more sun. I’m thinking about having a special “lettuce only” garden somewhere else in the yard so they are guaranteed not to get crowded out by anything else.

2011 Containers

Fertilizer: None; just run-of-the-mill potting mix. I think the brand was Miracle-Gro®. I also added Perlite to the soil in each container to help keep the soil from compacting and to aid in drainage. I did not put rocks in the bottom of any of them.

Looseleaf Lettuce

Height: 9-15 inchesLettuce, Looseleaf blend
Spread: 6 inches
Maturity: 45-50 days
Sun: Partial Shade to Full Sun
Container Size: Not sure; 12″ wide, I think. I’ll measure it later.
Notes: This blend has been awesome! We’ve been cutting the leaves for salads for a couple months now and it just keeps growing back. Delicious varieties too. Is thriving very well in it’s container on the deck.
Ideas: PLANT MORE OF THIS!! This blend of lettuce is delicious and grows back after cutting it. It grows surprisingly well on the deck. Use a larger planter next time.

Basil, Sweet

Height: 1-2 feetSweet Basil
Spread: 1-1.5 feet
Sun: Full Sun
Container Size: About 36″ long x 5″ wide x 5-6″ deep. The basil is planted between oregano and chives, and also on the other side of the chives at the end.
Notes: Thriving well in the container attached to the deck railing. Have been using the fresh leaves for a couple months and it keeps coming, just like the lettuce. Delicious flavor and aroma!
Ideas: Plant more and plant it in it’s own container, about the size of the one the lettuce is in now. Want enough to make pesto!

Oregano

Height: 1-2.5 feetOregano
Spread: 1-4 feet
Sun: Full Sun
Container Size: About 36″ long x 5″ wide x 5-6″ deep. The oregano is planted on the end next to one of the basil plants.
Notes: Did extremely well initially; grew like crazy and nearly overpowered the basil next to it. Continually had to cut off entire sprigs and use the leaves in whatever we were cooking. Now the nights are cooler and growth has slowed. It’s been trying to produce flowers so we’ve been pinching them off to try and encourage foliage growth.
Ideas: Keep it small; grows like craziness at the beginning of the summer and in the strong heat, but slows down after it starts trying to produce flowers. Dries well. I’d do it the same way next year.

Chives

Height: 12-18 inchesChives
Spread: depends on how much you plant
Sun: Full Sun
Container Size: About 36″ long x 5″ wide x 5-6″ deep. The chives are planted between two basil plants.
Notes: Doing well, but could do better elsewhere I think. We don’t use a whole lot of fresh chives, though, so perhaps keeping the batch small is the way to go. Waste not, want not.
Ideas: These would probably do better in the ground, but having them on the deck is really convenient. I’d do it the same next year.

Morning Glories, Scarlett O’Hara

Height: 8-10 feetMorning Glories, Scarlett O'Hara
Spread: 6 feet
Bloom Duration: 8 weeks
Sun: Full Sun
Container Size: About 15 inches wide, self-watering.
Notes: Shot up like rockets indoors in the seed-starting tray, but faltered when transplanted outside. When the weather got really hot and it rained for about a week straight, then they started to really grow. They still have no blooms on them and are definitely not 8-10 feet high.
Ideas: If they ever bloom I’d love to try them again, but probably not on the deck; I think it’s too shady.

Update:

9/2/11 — I pruned the tomatoes a bit and learned a lot about my plants in the process. For example: My Early Girl tomato plant is basically a vine that, if it were vertical, would probably be about 10 feet tall. As such it has just tangled together with the other plants and created a very difficult space for me to work in. Also, my eggplant was twice as tall as I thought it was AND it has more flowers on it! Can’t wait for more eggplants to grow. I mostly just took out the bottom leaves that weren’t getting any sun or doing any good anyway. Many of them were turning yellow or already dead. I hope I haven’t just killed my tomatoes.

Tomatoes Before Pruning

Tomatoes after pruning, with the spoils
Tomatoes after pruning, with the spoils
Tomatoes, after pruning and all cleaned up
Tomatoes, after pruning and all cleaned up
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