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Had several nice Brandywine tomatoes this year, The Best Flavor!

I have always loved to grow my own veggies. I remember my Dad growing his tomatoes on El Toro Dr. in Bakersfield when I was a little guy. When we moved between my sixth and seventh grade years I was able to get a little plot I could call my own. In hindsight I should have picked a sunnier location because the tomatoes and squash struggled. I grew wonderful radishes but then again who eats them?

During my freshman year in college we lived in Sherman Oaks and drove over the hill to UCLA. We lived with my first wife’s grandmother. She had a wonderful garden patch in the backyard. That is where I found out how tasty Swiss Chard is. Grandma had also raised rabbits for fur and meat during WWII as well as tending her Victory Garden.

Many years later when I remarried I got my hands back into the soil. My wife Kathy wouldn’t eat tomatoes because they had no flavor. Once she tasted the homegrown varieties she was in love with them. Prior to moving to Texas I had a great patch in Bakersfield. We had blackberries, strawberries, tomatoes,, sugar snap peas, asparagus and more. The kids loved to snack on the fresh picked stuff right there in the garden. I miss that Bakersfield patch.

Midland Texas was a real challenge – between the heat, the wind and the very poor soil my successes were slim. My only real success was the peach tree I planted in memory of my Dad. I visit Midland often for work and always drive down the alley to check on the tree. It has become huge.

Now in the Houston  area the challenges are different. Heat is still a bit of a problem, especially this year, but it is made worse by the high humidity. One benefit is the long growing season. I have planted a second round of tomatoes, green beans and squash at the end of this summer. It is kind of a test. I am trying to build the health of the soil with lots of compost from my bins, leaf mulch from the abundant leaf fall every year and trying to break up the clay. I went with raised beds to combat the clay. August of this year, 2011, I really improved the walking working areas around the beds. Looks really nice now.

With the fencing materials salvaged from Hurricane Ike I sequestered the garden from my wife’s line of sight and built two huge side by side compost bins. I have not thrown any grass clippings into the landfill for several years now. My son cuts a neighbor’s grass and I compost all of it too. The Asparagus patch should be my shining star next spring…… if any make it in the house. My wife has found out how sweet freshly picked stalks taste. If it is a small day….. they become garden snacks.

Oh yes, I worm farm now…second season and regularly harvest those wonderful castings.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. promenadeplantings
    Jan 10, 2012 @ 12:43:36

    I’ve just nominated you for an award, I hope you like it. If not feel happy to ignore it!

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    • bishop9396
      Jan 11, 2012 @ 02:43:12

      I am flattered. Thank you very much.
      Bishop

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      Reply

  2. Bonnie Michelle
    Jan 26, 2012 @ 02:30:21

    Thank you for nominating me for the award. And congrats to you! I will soon be asking guidance on composting. I have been trying for ten plus years! Can’t get it right since I’ve moved to the new house seven years ago lol I just keep trying!

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  3. Gloanah Bruce
    Jun 19, 2012 @ 00:49:49

    I LOVE ALL THE PICTURES AND YOUR VERY WITTY COMMENTS. YOU ARE A REAL TALENT (IAM VERY PREJUDICE-HOWEVER) THANKS FOR SHARING ALL THE GOOD STUFF XOXO MOM

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  4. naturaleuphoria
    Nov 13, 2012 @ 01:03:50

    HI there – Thanks for dropping by at my blog. :)

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  5. The Belmont Rooster
    Sep 22, 2013 @ 01:50:15

    Great blog! I enjoyed all the posts I have read so far, but I will be back for more later. Looking forward to more!

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    Reply

  6. The Belmont Rooster
    Nov 18, 2013 @ 18:28:49

    I have just nominated you and your AWESOME blog for the Versatile Blogger Award. Follow this link to see what to do next: http://thebelmontrooster.wordpress.com/2013/11/18/my-versatile-blogger-award/. Congradulations and good luck!

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    • Bishop
      Nov 18, 2013 @ 21:00:53

      Thank you for both the honor and the recognition!

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      Reply

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