Victory Garden Project

The first day of Spring is here and it's time to go Green! The Everything Tomatoes Victory Garden Project is a multi-faceted landscaping / gardening event.

This continuing series will cover the landscaping of a 20' x 30' unused lawn space and gardening plan turning a suburban back yard into an aesthetic and productive Victory Garden.

This soup to nuts project will demonstrate both victories and near disasters in landscaping and gardening.

The project should flow step by step with the Spring / Summer growing season. Whether you're a seasoned garden pro or a newbie looking for guidance in your first garden, this project should be of interest.

Mere landscaping and gardening is never enough. Every story has sub-plots, this one's loaded. Here's a list of additional sub-plots that will appear along the way.


The California Effect

After a trip to California last fall, the inspiration was overwhelming. Our garden design will be based on Tuscan / Napa style gardens seen during the visit.



We found a farm in Sonoma that produced a beautiful variety of heirloom tomatoes that were some of the best tasting tomatoes ever. Was it the California Effect of weather, soil and an Heirloom Specialist, Master Gardener or the genetics of the selected heirlooms?

The selected varieties were seeded in our hotel room in Napa and brought back to Florida to find the answer.

Of course the addition of a couple of Grape vines and an Olive tree round out the California Effect on our Garden.

(Our step by step Fall Wine Country Tomato Tour should be available by late summer)


Tool Time

In addition to everyday garden tools used in our garden, we put a variety of new tools to the test. Were they gimmicks or garden God sends?


Triangle Tomatoes



If successful, this will be the third year of a tomato plant bearing Triangle (three sided) tomatoes. An oddity or a new breed? We'll see.


Worm's and Composting

Instead of our prehistoric wood sided compost pile we are going to put one of those plastic composting worm condo's to the test. Is new always better?


Wild Everglades Tomatoes

A variety found in the wild in the Florida Everglades.

How did they get there? Are they a Native American variety or were they started by a seed falling out of a hunters sandwich? No one is really sure.

One thing is for sure These little tomatoes are hardy, disease resistant, resilient and as tasty as a Big 'Ol Jersey tomato.

How will they do nurtured in designed soil and pinpoint irrigation? Let's find out.

Who knows what other sub-plots will develop along the way?



The Plot

This is the selected 20' X 30' space on the NE corner of the property. The house protects the area from the long Florida afternoon Sun.

The Eastern side fence and Neighbors hedge blocks the early morining Sun, providing intermittent light throughout the day.

The area is bordered on two sides North and East by hedges. The South side is bordered by a swimming pool. Only two items will remain, a Fig tree and an Orchid house ( which will be converted into a Grape Arbor).

This area has been used successively (on a smaller scale) as a Tomato / Vegetable garden in the past, but the last few years have produced dismal results.

The plan is to start totally from scratch.



Proposed Garden Plan

The area will be bordered on Three sides by 3' deep gardens. The center area will have two gardens allowing for both plant and garden cart access.

A tiered three section Herb, Predator plant and Pepper plant area is on the South (pool) side.

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Garden Note When planning your layout and designing the area, the small box style graph paper used above, works great for accurate designs.

This makes planning material purchases more accurate as well. The little hash marks along some sides represent 1' for every 3 boxes, allowing the plan to be broken down as small as 4" meaurements.
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The plot has a sprinkler system for irrigation. The system will be modified for sprinkler as well as an under mulch drip system. There are no faucets in or close to the area.

The next installment will show the area demo and preparation. But,we're not done yet.


Plants

It's the first day of Spring (early December in Florida) and if you haven't completed Seed Selection and started seedlings yet, it's time.

Before getting too in depth it's a good idea to review

Victory Garden Basics,
Planning for Staggering Results

before forging ahead, just to be sure you don't miss anything.

As shown in the photo, it's a good idea to mark all the seedlings. If things get shuffled around remembering which seedling is which can be difficult when the plants haven't popped or are small.

The seed starters in the photo are just some of the varieties we'll be using in our Victory Garden.

We will be keying on Heirloom Tomato plant varieties. No Hybrids. (although it is tempting to throw in a couple of Beefmaster and Jet Stars.

Using Heirloom tomatoes is a very dangerous plan for Florida.

Many Northern Heirlooms have trouble with Florida humidity and pests.


Here is the Victory Garden list of varieties to be seeded.


TOMATOES


California Heirlooms

Yellow - Allegheny Sunset
Red fluted - Costoluto Genovese
Small striped - Red Zebra
Black - Black from Tula?
Early Girls

Brandywine Pink

San Marzano

Wild Everglades

Triangle (attempt)


Herbs

Basil

Chamomile

Cilantro

Cuban Oregano

Echinacea

Lemon Balm

Lobelia

Marjoram

Parsley

Rosemary

Thyme


Predator Attracting Plants
(Note: Many Herbs are attracting plants)

Borage

Cosmos

Marigolds / Calendula (4 varieties)

Morning glory

Nasturtium (2 varieties)

Petunias

Roses (3 varieties)

Zinnia


Fruits and Vegetables

Arugula

Broccoli

cabbage

Carrots

Figs

Garlic

Grapes (2 varieties)

Okra

Onion

Peppers (5 varieties - including Indian Ghost)

Romaine Lettuce


Hopefully this will spark some ideas for additions to your Victory Garden.

Stay tuned for the next installment!

Continue following the Victory Garden Project by using the RSS feed. (Orange Button under Nav bar on the left) The RSS feed will notify you of any changes on this site.

Here's Chapter 1 of the Victory Garden Project.

Chapter 2 of the Victory Garden Project


Harvest time in your Victory Garden will provide a great supply of fresh food. Here are some great recipes