vegetable gardenToday was the last day of school and the end of my teaching career, and although hugging the kids goodbye was a little bittersweet, I’m ready to move on to the next phase of my life. I’m hoping that next phase includes more time for gardening, but so far this year I haven’t done much more than throw the plants in the ground and try to water them. As I mentioned in the last garden update, it’s been hard to find time for the garden with so many decisions about house renovations, and the huge job of packing up a classroom after 30 years. Luckily some plants are able to flourish on their own, so I thought I’d start this update with a shot of some perennials that grow along the edge of my garden.

With so much going on, this is definitely a scaled-back garden year for me, and I only planted six tomatoes (more than enough, but far less than I usually end up with!) I had photos I took on May 22 that I was planning to use for tonight’s post, but when I looked at them I realized how much the tomatoes had grown, so I quickly shot these pictures just before dusk. There are a lot of weeds in the garden, but happily the tomatoes don’t seem to mind! This is a Brandywine tomato plant, an heirloom variety that bears very large fruit, and by far my favorite tomato for flavor.

Next in my row of tomatoes is the Fourth of July, a medium-sized all-purpose tomato that ripens early in the season.

This Green Zebra tomato is an heirloom variety I haven’t tried before, but it was recommended by someone at the garden center who always seems to like the same tomatoes I do so I have high hopes for it.

Celebrity is the tomato variety I’ve grown the longest, and it seems to do very well in Utah’s climate. This is another medium-sized all-purpose tomato.

Another new-to-me variety is this Pineapple Tomato, an heirloom that produces yellow fruit that are pink inside. Again, recommended at the garden center, and I’m very curious about it.

Finally, this Abe Lincoln Tomato is another heirloom variety I’m trying out this year. I didn’t plant any Roma tomatoes this year, but I’ll buy a few at the farmers market when it’s time to make slow roasted tomatoes.

I’ve already shown most of the herbs that survived the winter, so these four are new herb plants. This is the basil I planted from seed, thriving and badly needing to be thinned. I usually try to thin by digging out some clumps and planting them in spots where the seeds didn’t come up that well. On the left of the photo are two larger basil plants I bought, and the one in the front has already had quite a bit of basil cut off!

None of my parsley came back this year, so I bought Italian Parsley and Curly Parsley plants. They are slow to get established, and although the plant in the front of this photo looks pretty good, most of the parsley plants look rather sickly, like the one in the back of the photo. Hopefully I can nurture them a bit more now that I’ll be home.

Lemon thyme is another new plant this year. I bought this after I loved the silver thyme I grew last year, and I decided you can never have too many types of thyme in your herb garden!

Finally, rosemary is one of my favorite herbs, but it rarely survives the winter in Utah so these are two new plants. They seem to be adjusting to the herb beds pretty well, and I’m thinking I should cook something with rosemary soon!

This is the third garden update for 2009. You can see all the updates in order by clicking the label 2009 Garden Updates.

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