The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

Broccoli or Bust

In the spring, I declared that this would be the last year to plant broccoli. For several summers running, the harvests have been middling at best. If it weren’t for the fact that I’ve grown ginormous heads of the stuff in other gardens, I might think that the poor performance in this yard is all mine.

This year I grew plants from seed. I also tended to the volunteers that cropped up on their own. No luck. The broccoli crop is a bust.

To make matters worse, the summer squash, the winter squash, and the hot peppers are all equally poor performers.

I am a laissez-faire gardener. It’s worked for me in the past. I do not use chemicals, nor do I weed more than necessary. I mulch and water as required. This practice has served me well for more than twenty-five years. Now, however, I’m ready to throw in the “trowel.”

Clearly, my gardening technique is not working in this yard. There is something questionable in the soil, there are too many bugs and not enough natural predators, and the deer are fickle. Last year I had a bumper crop of butternut squash. We just cooked the last of it this week! This year, Bambi and his gang wiped it out. The hot peppers are pitiful. Cold and wet spring weather stunted their growth. I may harvest a half-dozen peppers from four pathetic plants. The zucchini, sown in a new spot of the yard, yielded three smallish fruits, then up and died. Zucchini! The vegetable of mystery gifts and monster harvests!

All is not lost, however. Cherry tomatoes and bell peppers flourish along the south-facing wall of the house. While the rest of the yard shivers during the cool overnight hours, the brick wall radiates heat and the plants soak it up. Below are images of the bounty. Four Sweet Gold cherry tomato plants span the wall. We harvest about a quart of a day.

Can you see Oscar?

Can you see Oscar?

Daily harvest of Sweet Gold

Daily harvest of Sweet Gold

So, while the broccoli may be a bust, we are proud of the tomatoes.

You might say that we are busting with pride.

Double double, you might say.

Or is that Double D?

Double Double

Double Double

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Categories: Gardening

Tags: , , ,

63 replies

  1. I LOVE yellow tomatoes of any size. I think they are the sweetest and the best.

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  2. Ha, X-rated tomatoes. That should get your neighbors talking. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I garden like you (well even less attentive really) so I’m always pleasantly surprised when we get to eat stuff.

    Try growing kale; you can’t kill that stuff. You also can’t eat it but it will impress the neighbours.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. “Bambi and the gang”…so made me laugh. Your tomatoes are beautiful. I pay a huge price for Sweet Gold at the grocery store–they are wonderful. The double D’s….Maggie–only you! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve been blaming my questionable soil for years… But now I think I need to admit that I may, once in a while, just a little… Completely neglect all my plants.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Those tomatoes are fresh in more ways than one. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yellow tomatoes are the only ones I can eat raw because of the acid in them being less than red or green. Beautiful.

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  8. I’m jealous! I, too, am a “laissez faire” gardener (a label I like much better than the “lazy” one that I generally use) and all of my tomatoes dried up and died. I got four peppers from 4 plants! I did fantastic garlic and some good potatoes. My beets look promising.
    I am just thrilled that I live near a really great farm stand!
    Enjoy those fabulous little erogenous tomatoes!

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  9. The tomatoes are beautiful. Our garden is doing well this year. My wife takes the same approach as you, minimal stuff added. She has been adding a mix of compost and cow manure every fall for a couple of years to improve the soil though. Maybe that will help.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I got out of the habit of growing vegies during our ten-year drought. Our supermarket has ‘proper’ tomatoes most of the year – the ones with the right smell – at a reasonable price. I like growing easy stuff like peas and beans and often get a couple of peppers to mature. I keep buying radish seeds, but never plant them. I did plant some tomato seedlings last year (I think it was then) and they were hopeless! Maybe this year. We have a few bunnies about, though.

    I spotted Oscar, after searching the shrubbery. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Maggie, how old is your house? That beautiful brick looks somewhat like our old farmhouse which was built (when, I can’t remember? But really old!) i know, I sound like an idiot. I got excited about the brick ‘cuz it looks old and I love brick houses and I didn’t picture you living in a brick house!

    As for the garden, it’s been an off year for everybody weatherwise so no wonder things haven’t grown normally. We’ve had about 1/3 of our n’hood shrubs & trees die this year. I like yiur laissez-faire approach or even a Doris Day que sera sera. Those double dippers are too cute and all your tomatoes are such a pretty color. What didn’t thrive can be plowed under to feed the soil and if next year’s a bust there’s always the farmes’ market 😀💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1/3 ?? Holy! I’ve been entertaining cynical or paranoid thoughts of ecological warfare. Even Reiner suggested that the number of Japanese Beetles might be the result of a deliberate release.

      The house was listed as 1900, but the historical society has 1885 on file. Cool, eh? Here’s something for you, Sammy – a Pinterest board I put together – images of homes I’ve lived in. You will note the number of red brick houses – I grew up in one and it seems to have been imprinted on my brain.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maggie – it was our very unusual early Nov zero-degree week. Something about the shrubs and trees not being able to complete their normal winterization process before the freeze. Fingers crossed for normal transition season this year!

        Thanks for Pinterest link. Many historic houses in Colorado are brick or stone because of the lack of native trees at the time. Also later n’hoods required brick/stone to reduce risk of loss during wildfires (once everyone planted trees and shrubs!!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • Maggie – your board of houses is so cool! I don’t have photos of many places I lived. Our brick farmhouse would be closest in style to yours at 780 Eighth St East Owen Sound.

        More posting material in houses, land and locales. What a fun peek into your dwellings. Got a favorite?

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        • Hoo boy, what a difficult question to answer! I think the Marsh Line farm house. In part because I had the garden of my dreams.

          As for pictures of you houses, there’s always Google Street view!

          Liked by 1 person

          • My farmhouse has been demolished. But somewhere in a pile are photos – not sure how post-worthy.

            The house I love most was one of my Boulder houses. I love it for its well-designed kitchen and my garden. We had to move but I will always love that one most. Of course it’s not the same to drive by when I go to Boulder but I see it in my heart the way it was when I lived there.

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  12. I’m a Wannabe Gardener. I like the concept of having a garden but I don’t have the consistency or attention span to make it work. So I look yearningly at other’s successes and offer condolensces when their’s fail.

    You might not have the ginormous broccoli heads of prior years, but this year you got Cherry Hooters!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What beautiful yellow tomatoes!! they look very special and much nicer than broccoli!

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  14. “I am a laissez-faire gardener.” That’s okay, Maggie….you can’t be expected to do everything all the time….right now you have your mind on different priorities……how can anyone be expected to concentrate on something like gardening when their house is in the midst of huge transition? Yep, am thinking you’re doing just fine and you deserve a break today! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’d trade my purple sprouting broccoli for tomatoes like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Love those cherry tomatoes…I have a huge crop of the red ones, eat them like candy ! You’re so right though about some of the others…if the zucchini isn’t overwhelming you about now…something might be wrong. So sad, though, to “throw in the trowel”…well played. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, you are correct. The zucchini is/was tucked away in a spot that didn’t get much walk by traffic. No walk by, no watering/weeding/what have you.

      Way back when I was crazy about gardening, I threatened to have a T-shirt made that said, “Have Trowel Will Transplant.” 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Any broccoli I grow might kill me. Just out of revenge. You see, I have a black thumb. When I talk to plants, they throw things at me. So I don’t do broccoli.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m have gardening problems this year, too. I think it’s the fuh-reakishly unstable weather. Just sayin’. My gardening methods are similar to your own. Those tomatoes look spectacular.

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  19. My garden is a complete bust this year. What few vegetables I got were eaten by unknown critters who are undoubtedly vegetarians.
    I’ve taken this as a “sign” that I need to eat more carbohydrates and refined sugar.

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  20. I grew broccoli once – and then never again. Here in the desert, we have to weigh the harvest yield with the water/time necessary to get to that harvest – and the broccoli, with it’s one time harvest of one head of broccoli, just didn’t make the cut. I’d much rather spend my water on zucchini, tomatoes, and (new this year) kale – I got a TON of it from just ½ pack of seeds (and it’s STILL growing).

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    • Hi Jana – I have a similar policy about what to plant in terms of time and yield. IF (and that’s a big if) broccoli does what it supposed to, it will continue to produce smaller but more plentiful side shoots until well after the frost. Though it certainly cannot compete with kale for output and hardiness!

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  21. Yummmm yellow tomatoes are so good- I love pasta sauce with fresh yellow tomatoes…

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  22. This was such a lot of cool comments. I have had cherry tomatoes, zucchinis, peppers, pumpkins and squash. Now, I live in an apt and don’t wish to have a container garden. I passed the gardening tools equally to my 2 grown children who have families.
    My coworkers bring in some of the most delicious tomatoes. I was silly, searching to see if anyone would be suggestive about adding a pickle sized cucumber to the double-D yellow cherry tomatoes. You see how the purple dye on your other post made my mind get a little “warped,” Maggie. 🙂

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  23. Great job on growing them tomatoes! Wacky doubles. Never had any of those yet. Hmm, I’ve never tried orange-y colored cherry tomatoes like those before. Will try if I ever come across ’em at the store.

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