plate of fresh tomatoes

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Earlier this year, I grew a small variety of vegetable garden seedlings in my master bedroom. After they were ready to transplant, I built an L-shaped garden bed and began my first-ever vegetable garden. I was pretty darn excited. And now, I’m sharing some of the first glimpses of a happy, healthy garden!

mix of ripe and green tomatoes on vine

It’s tomatoes. It’s basically a lot, lot of tomatoes.

plate of freshly picked tomatoes

The other veggies are growing in (a few peppers, some spices, cucumbers, and more), and they will be ready to harvest within the next week or so. But the first to ripen by a long shot are the two varieties of tomatoes. We’ve already had so many, we’ve given some to neighbors, friends, and my parents.

jalapeno pepper

Keeping Fresh-Picked Tomatoes Fresh

We pick them at the first sign of red, and allow them to ripen a little more on the kitchen windowsill.

laying out tomatoes on windowsill to ripen

Tomato Varieties

If I remember correctly (K ordered the seeds and he’s the one who actually deserves most of the gardening maintenance credit!), we planted both grape tomatoes and ‘Fourth of July’ hybrids. I’m personally thrilled that we’re seeing such success with the garden. Perhaps it’s the only thing about all of this rain I can be happy with; it has interrupted nearly every other outdoor project as of late, but the garden did just fine all by itself!

green and red tomatoes

Pests

You’ll probably notice that we don’t have a cage around our garden. Yet, the squirrels and other pests haven’t yet been much of an issue. This is one of the more frequent questions I’ve gotten regarding the new garden, so I figured I’d share my overall thoughts on what we might be doing right (I wouldn’t really be able to point to anything we’re doing as a deliberate pest-preventative move, but I’m thinking it’s a combination of several things that just happen to be working out for us):

  • Stella (the long-haired dachshund) loves to chase and dig for all manner of small animals if they come within the fence line. I’m thinking that she’s a big factor in why our yard has been less appealing to these animals who might otherwise come for our food.
  • It’s possible that the scent of her and Charlie’s urine in the yard is a warning. (I’m only thinking this because I’ve heard “predator pee” is something some gardeners use, such as wolf urine, along their property lines.)
  • Both K and I are in the yard almost daily to work on the shed, deck, and other yard-related projects. So, we are there each day to also pull off the ripe tomatoes, correct vines that are trying to reach to the ground, remove any dropped fruits to the compost pile, etc.
  • I’ve been seeing a lot of the ladybugs that I added last year
  • For slugs and other so, K has been using a spray of some kind (I’ll have to double check with him on what it is, but our neighbors didn’t have much success with most of their garden this  year despite a similar setup, so this seems to have made a difference in our results versus theirs).

Plucking tomatoes

freshly picked tomatoes

I tried my first tomatoes from the garden just a few days ago, and they are SO good! For simple posterity’s sake, I uploaded the video clip of me trying them (after a day of working on the shed, so I look like a stinky mess). I don’t have any good recipes to share with them yet, but they are perfect in a tortilla with scrambled eggs in the morning.

Other Veggies

I think the peppers will be next, but the cucumbers are quickly coming in, too!

bell pepper growing in

jalapeno peppers

cucumber flower

baby cucumber growing in

If you have a garden this year, have you harvested anything yet? I’m tempted to DIY my own little harvesting basket soon; carrying it all in one of our shirts at night is easy, but also kind of gross with how sweaty we are with the build projects.

pretty green tomatoes in cluster

Speaking of, here’s a quick glimpse of the new pub shed! Not complete yet of course, but I’ll have more of that for you later this summer. I feel like I’ve been working on this thing forever. But after getting the paper on the roof, it feels like it’s finally drawing to a close. From all the things I’ve been learning, all the second-guessing, all the problem-solving… that is going to be a LONG series to cover, so be prepared for a number of posts in that series once the deck series is finished!

pub shed roof is on

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7 Comments

  1. I learned something! I had no idea that you weren’t supposed to wait for red tomatoes before harvesting! Good to know!
    I have both a perennial garden (rhubarb, garlic, chives, asparagus and oregano) and an annual garden (tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers peas and cauliflower). I’ve harvested the perennial garden already (except the garlic, though I’ve gotten scapes from them so far), but the annuals are showing good growth.
    I’m always so envious of you southerners and your early harvests. I follow another woman from Dallas/Fort Worth and she’s been harvesting for weeks. I can’t grow a pepper to save my life up here in the north! I even got flowers last year after keeping the plant under a cloche all spring, but the pepper never grew…
    This reminds me, I should go out and water…

    1. I don’t necessarily think you HAVE to wait until they are just about to turn red, but that’s what we’ve been doing. Then, they don’t over-ripen when they are sitting on the counter! I haven’t tried fried green tomatoes yet either, but there’s a first time for everything!

      We just pulled some peppers off last night! They aren’t quite the bell-pepper shape, so I hope they still taste ok. And the idea of a perennial garden sounds like a great upgrade to consider for next year… I’ll have to think on that!

      1. I did more reading on the subject and your method is recommended!
        If you do asparagus, try to find someone selling plants with a couple years in them. If you grow from seed, it will be at least 3 years before they produce. If you get root stock it will still be at least 1 year before they produce. I’ve been growing asparagus (of both seed and root stock variety) since 2015 and our yield is still very low. Read up on companion planting with perennials too, because my asparagus HATED their rhubarb neighbours. They’re much happier separated. :)

        1. Woo hoo! Love easy wins! I just came home from the Haven conference and K has a PILE of new tomatoes out on the counter. This year’s garden, even if all we get is tomatoes, I consider it a success!

  2. I just came across your blog, and I’ve been browsing through posts for about an hour. I love it. Your garden looks awesome! My garden is suffering this year:( Hopefully I can turn things around.

    1. Welcome, Sandra! So glad to have you here. The more you click around, the more it helps me keep sharing, so be sure to tell your friends about your favorite new site. ? What specifically is going wrong with the garden? I don’t know much after this first year, but I can always ask the community and see if they have tips… maybe it will lead to a new post about solving common garden problems.

      1. I will tell my friends :) And as for my garden, I’m not quite sure what the reason is, but my plants haven’t been growing! I’ve had success in years past. I think I may have just planted a week or two late.