Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Ugly Garden

Hi, stitching friends!

I am a lazy gardener. You can probably tell that from the photo above. As you can see, I don't prune my tomato plants (and I usually forget to fertilize them), but they grow tons of tomatoes anyway. One year we harvested between 200 and 300 pounds of tomatoes in one summer (from three or four plants).

A couple of years ago (the last time I grew tomatoes), all of the tomato plants died, one by one. I bought them from a greenhouse I had never bought from before, so we took a couple of years off from growing tomatoes and I avoided buying from that greenhouse this year.

It was a rocky start to 2019. About half of my plants were frost killed in May and June.

But the weather stabilized and my survivors, well.... flourished! In the photo above, the Early Girl tomato plant in the foreground is as tall as I am (about 5' 7") and weighs so much that it fell over a few days ago. It has a wire cage for support, but the plant got too heavy. Luckily we had a steel post tucked away so my son grabbed the post pounder and put it in the ground, then we tethered the wire cage to the steel post. Poor plant.

I'm getting five to ten red tomatoes every couple of days, which is a perfect pace, but I know that soon I will be overwhelmed with tomatoes. That's a good problem if you ask me.

This Payette variety is brand new for 2019 and was developed here in Idaho. It's a short, stocky plant, ideal for containers, so I have it in my raised bed. It produces tons of tomatoes then stops producing when the weather starts to turn. My plant is a little over a foot tall, but the stem is as thick (if not thicker) as the tall plants, and as you can see, it's already a hard-working producer. Looking forward to getting some ripe tomatoes from this one!

Farm Fresh

Robin in Virginia surprised me with the chart for "Farm Fresh" by Country Cottage Needleworks. I decided it would make the perfect gift for my favorite farmer, Jan. She has a booth at the farmers' market in my hometown, and in my opinion, her booth is the absolute best. She sells such a creative mix of heirloom veggies. Jan introduced me to romanesco (look it up and look at images... you will be amazed), and she grows the best garlic (purple!) I have ever tasted. She sells purple green beans! And her veggies are cheap, too. It must be a labor of love, because I know how much work and expense goes into a garden.

I thought surprising her with this to let her know how much I appreciate her would be a nice thing to do.

Farm Fresh by Country Cottage Needleworks
Stitched on 32-count Flax Belfast linen
with Colour & Cotton and DMC threads

I finished Farm Fresh into a flat-fold with handmade two-tone cording and a rooster charm. I substituted most of the called-for colors with Colour & Cotton threads (Medieval for the planter boxes, Laurel for the leaves and sunflower stems, Egg Yolk for the sunflowers, and Jack-O-Lantern for the carrots).

The pattern as charted had plain cross stitches for the grass beneath the farm stand. I changed that to a double herringbone stitch using DMC 469 and 3347.

I thought the rooster charm from Bohemian Findings on Etsy would be a nice addition.

In keeping with Robin's spirit of giving, I would like to offer the Farm Fresh chart as a giveaway. If you'd like to win it, please be a sidebar follower and answer the following question in your comment: What is your favorite thing to grow? If you don't have a garden, what is your favorite vegetable?

Have a wonderful week, dear friends. I hope summer holds on a little longer for you... not too hot, though!