April 22, 2010

Springing Along...

I get ideas of what to post from  friends sometimes. Guess we all do.
 Judy mentioned that she could never kill a snake or even see one in her garden so it got me to thinking about how I managed.  
What made me able to kill a snake and chase others with a garden rake? I think that being single mom raising kids is what did it. I had to stand up to things that I would never, ever have stood up to on my own. But when you have  children   you are their protector, you have to be the hero and there is no time for being girly and scared even though I was absolutely both girly and scared to death! For their sake I had to behave as if I were totally capable and just do things. It is hard because it isn't a woman's nature to take on battles etc. or to kill big creepy crawlies and animals that attack. But, when you are in a situation you never thought you would be in you have to just put away fear for a moment and act as if you had none. It's there though.

I get the Farmer's Almanac and use it for just about everything. It even can tell you good times to cut your hair for growth or to stop growth, good times for surgery to remove tumors and growths, just as for pruning plants. Those who have used it say it really does work. Many doctors are convinced of it too.

This month they have tips on growing tomatoes . Anyone can try though New Jersey tomatoes are considered the finest in the world. It is the acidy sandy soil that does it. Our tomatoes have the richest flavor of all. There is simply no comparison in taste.
But the Almanac does give good tips on growing tomatoes anywhere for maximum yield and ease.

Since the weather has been wonky in many places and not as warm as it might be they suggest the following:

• Plant smaller tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes are foolproof in any climate. They bear fruit in high or low temperatures and rain or drought. Try the ‘Sweet 100’ variety, which is flavorful and disease-resistant.
• Garden in a container! You have more control over growing conditions and enjoy higher yields with a lot less work. Choose light-color pots; black containers will cook tomato roots in the middle of the summer.
• Mulch thickly to avoid cracking; it’s wet weather and fluctuation in soil moisture that causes skins to split.
• Consider raised beds with lots of organic material such as manure and compost. Nutrient-rich soil is the most important factor.
See our Manure Guide.
• Grow in areas that receive a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.
• Start tomatoes at the right time! Set tomatoes out when the soil is 50° F minimum.

I even think you can grow tomatoes indoors in a very sunny window. I have a miniature rose bush growing in my kitchen window now and its bursting out in buds and beauty.
I love the tiny rose bushes you can get in the grocery store and have planted many of them in all colors around the little pond in front.
Right now, the large pond has been pruned back. The big Japanese juniper is whacked down to the base! It was way out of control. The damage to the Scotch Brooms has to be corrected too but its in bloom now.
I will be planting flowering things around the large pond and creating a "beach" around it with stones and sand as I originally had it. I miss that beach and i think the animals do as well.
Snooty old Egret doesn't miss anything he just plops himself down in the pond and tries to graze on my fish! I have caught him eyeing the front pond too whilst perching on a car hood!
Those Egrets are huge by the way . He is going to miss the front pond which is usually crystal clear and affords him easy fishing since I am moving the fish there to the big pond and will only house water lilies and plants in the front pond.

I took some photographs of the ponds today. I am still working on them but I love doing it.

small pond

The edges of the ponds are disguised by plants as they grow.

more of small pond

Big pond

Don't worry, the big pond will have plants around it again soon and a new beach.
My fish like to ham it up for the camera.
It's hard to take a full photo of it unless I am up higher or standing far away. Its not huge but it's not tiny either.


  1. Hi Annie! This was a good Earth Day post. I would love to try NJ tomatoes. I know when I grow my own they are soooo much better than even so-called vine-ripened ones from the store. It's amazing what pass for tomatoes some places- totally hard and tasteless. I don't think you were a blog visitor of mine when we had Dylan but he would eat my tomatoes right off the vine the moment they were ripe. :D

    Sorry about my snippy post about Kate from DWTS. She irked me when she said she thought the fans would keep her on the show yet she behaved so poorly and even her usually patient dance partner Tony walked out on her. She is a drama queen and I though the people who were really trying hard should've lasted longer than she did. I never watched her show so don't really know her but she did npt come off as a very nice person in DWTS.


  2. Hi Annie!
    Good tips and information!

    Because I have only concrete in my small backyard I grow tomatoes in large flower pots every summer with good results. I usually have to water them every morning, and I try to nip the tops to keep them compact, but I get enough fresh tomatoes to keep me happy. I grow herbs and peppers in pots too. There is nothing as good as home grown! :-)

  3. Hi Annie;

    I used to get the Farmer's Almanac every year when we first moved up to the country from the Bronx. I haven't seen one in years. I loved them. I even miss growing tomatoes, peppers and beans.

    Your ponds are lovely. I enjoyed enlarging the photos and seeing your "hammy" fish. LOL!!

    Have a lovely evening my friend.

  4. Hi Annie,
    What a fitting post on Earth Day. I was wondering when you posted about killing a snake? I must of missed that one?? Your NJ tomatoes sound great! I am in love with your ponds. It is so beautiful. You must be on a very large property in NJ?
    Have a wonderful weekend :)
    Hugs, Dru

  5. Your ponds are amazing and great info on tomatoes...LOVE tomatoes! HATE SNAKES...don't know that courage to kill one or even get near one. HATE them!

  6. I miss my Jersey tomatoes. But once at a farmers market I found a vendor who sold tomatoes that tasted like home. As we got to talking about that I find out he used to work at Rutgers in the acricultural area. He said the secret to the taste is to use lots and lots of chicken manure. Must be true cuz this was CA but the maters tasted like home. :)


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