We have a neglected raised garden bed in the backyard. It had been part of a sandbox configuration, but for years, it’s been a weed patch and dumping ground.
This year, I really wanted to garden with it because it’s a nice, compact size, and it’s right in my line of sight when I look out over the yard, and I couldn’t deal with the shame! The shame!!
I’m in the frozen hinterland with only a very short growing season, so I watched a dozen or so YouTube videos by MI Gardener.
Since watering was a problem for me (I’ve killed years’ worth of container gardens!), I went with the channel’s trench method of bedding. That’s where you dig a trench and fill it with spongy , water-holding decomposing matter like straw.
I didn’t have straw, so I used an old log that washed up in the lake. It was sodden and stinky – perfect for my purposes! Since it was springtime, I also took advantage of about half a dozen dead fish that washed up in our yard. Stink-o-rama, and a little disturbing, but I was tired of my kids staring at them. And, they were far less stinky six to eight inches under. But enough about that!
I bought a seed packet of beets. (Love beets, hate buying them.) I also wanted watermelon* because my kids love it and I thought it would inspire them to help with the weeding. 😉 So, we all went to the garden store and they chose: watermelon, tomatoes and peppers. (HOT peppers – they like a challenge.) We brought them home, planted them in neat rows, and for exactly three days, the kids fought over who would water them. Then, they moved on with their lives. But everything was okay! Because of the log…
MI Gardener also had a video about how to increase your tomato output. I thought this might be a gimmick, since this guy clearly had a lot more going for his tomatoes than I did. To boil down an 8 minute video, you flick the tomato flowers with your fingers. I did this whenever I saw flowers, thinking it wouldn’t make much difference and BEHOLD! I have a TON of TOMATOES! So many, my beets were completely eclipsed. Alas.
Basically, using only these two tips from that MI Gardener has given me tomatoes beyond my wildest dreams.
I didn’t actually have any dreams of tomatoes to begin with. And now, I have a bajillion. Thanks, MI Gardender!
Next summer – BEETS!
*The watermelon vine died early on. We planted it too early. RIP. I scattered wildflower seeds over its plot.