Did you know tomatoes are the state fruit of Tennessee? They grow wonderfully here. Our peach tree was a big disappointment (again) this year. They all rotted. Our black raspberries and (tiny) strawberries earlier this summer were delicious but this time of the year, it’s all about the tomato. Our area of town even has an annual Tomato Art Festival, which we missed because we were out of town. (Post from 2009.) Bummer.
Between Jason’s tour schedule and our new foster parenting adventure, we kept our garden small this year. We had originally planned on adding two more 4’x8′ beds. I’m very glad we decided to wait until next year for that! We have two tomato plants on one end and strawberry plants on the other. We also had romaine lettuce and arugula before it got too hot.
Incidentally, Tennessee’s state bird, the mockingbird, loves to eat the state fruit. Darn birds. There are still plenty of cherry tomatoes to go around though. And very soon (we started them late) we’ll have ripe beef steak tomatoes. Yum!
I dug up a quick blog post idea since I didn’t have anything prepared for this morning. (Sorry.) This is my new favorite lunch or afternoon snack:
Cheese (I’ve used hot pepper cheese or havarti)
Sweet basil (fresh from our garden…LOVE!)
Tomatoes (also from our garden, mmm…)
Sprinkle of salt & pepper
It’s kind of a quick cross between bruschetta and caprese salad.
It’s hot, hot, hot and humid this July in Nashville. Our echinacea is blooming …
Our zinnia are blooming (liatris and canna lilies in background are done) …
and our crepe myrtle tree is blooming.
The crepe myrtle, banana tree and Japanese flowering plum tree all seem to be having a height competition.
That’s all good and lovely, but sadly, our peach tree is not doing so well. The tree looks fine but all of our peaches got some kind of worm that ate them from the inside out. That and some of them got black spots on the outside. Very disappointing. The last remaining peaches rotted on the tree. We need to do some more research before next year. Does anyone have experience with peach trees?
Then there is our vegetable garden… Our romaine lettuce got too hot and turned bitter. Our pepper plants have been suffering from too much sun and aren’t producing. Our brussel spouts have been eaten up by bugs. Our Better Boy tomato plant looks sickly. (Our Better Boys were bad last year too. Not getting this kind anymore!) Our watermelon plants got too hot in pots and the one and only melon dried up while we were on vacation. Our arugula is m.i.a.
But, it’s not all bad news. Our Beef Steak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and grape tomato plants are doing great! We’re harvesting them faster than we can eat them and they are delicious! (Most of what you see there is the Beef Steak plant.)
I did a little research on the tomato skin splitting. Early on they kept splitting right before they would get ripe. Turns out it’s from not enough water and then a lot of water. Like 2-3 dry days and then a heavy rain. We’ve been watering them for 30-60 minutes a day on a low sprinkler setting now and they’re doing great.
A few weeks ago we had the first “harvest” from our vegetable garden: a handful of tiny, delicious strawberries. This weekend we shared our first small cherry tomato. Isn’t it cute? It was yummy.
The raised vegetable bed with 4 varieties of tomatoes, red peppers, green peppers, brussel sprouts, arugula and romaine.
Baby green pepper:
Better Boy tomato plant:
Looking forward to these in a few weeks! Thanks to our greenhouses, we should have an early crop!
The herb garden:
Yesterday we bought two blueberry bush stems on clearances at Lowes. Not expecting any harvest this year but I’m looking forward to blueberries in the future!
I forgot to snap a picture of the Key Lime tree Jason bought a few days ago. We’re also considering adding some more fruit trees this year to make a mini orchard – maybe pear and fig. I’m so excited to have all these fruits and vegetables right from our own urban backyard!!
One of my favorite things about East Nashville is the annual Tomato Art Fest in historic 5-Points. There are all kinds of activities like a 5K run, red-head contests, tomato beauty pageants, NOLA-style parade, vintage fashion shows, local artisan vendors, burrito eating contests, wine tastings, bloody mary contests, lots of tomato inspired art and like every Nashville festival — tons of live music. I’ll let the photos do most of the talking.
Wonders on Woodland mid-century antiques:
More vintage items for sale out front. I Dream of Weenie in the background. (I love these goofballs.)
Fanny’s House of Music:
The Groove new & used vinyl, CD’s & more: