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Tomatomania at Rogers Gardens and Three Cans of Purple Spray Paint

Yes, it’s that time again! Tomatomania at Rogers Gardens. 

You’re probably wondering what three cans of high gloss purple spray paint have to do with Tomatomania and my spring veggie garden. Well, wonder no more, and take a look at my “refurbished” bistro table sitting proudly in the newly-planted spring garden “screen” house. 

Tomatomania is always so much fun! They have hundreds–I’m not kidding–of varieties of tomatoes to choose from.

I loaded my cart with 15 tomato plants and 85 other veggies. I was going to be diggin’ in the dirt!
This year I met Fran and Steve. Fran helped me choose some new varieties of tomatoes and Steve insisted that the best way to tell when your tomatoes need water is to insert a #2 Ticonderoga pencil into the soil and when the tip is dry, it’s time to water. I’m not so sure, Steve!
Meet Chris, from Eco Friendly Lawns. Here he’s installing a new drip system that’s attached to my Irritrol Weather Sensing Irrigation System. Let me explain. Last fall, courtesy of the Laguna Beach County Water District, Chris re-fitted all of my sprinklers with water efficient heads and installed the Irritrol System. 

Now my sprinklers only come on when needed and I only water my plants, not the driveway, street and Honda Element. The best part–after the Irritrol System was installed, I cut my water bill in half!

Here’s what the device looks like. The weather reader, as I call it, is attached to the eave of my front deck. 

And it sends a signal to this panel and the sprinklers only come on when needed. Tomatomania Steve insists on the pencil test. Okay, Steve, here’s the challenge–we’ll have to compare tomatoes in a couple months.

This year I’m using the entire planter on the front deck for all my herbs and lettuces. I only planted three tomatoes here knowing that the friendly critters that feed on Kurt’s avocado next door like to help themselves to my tomatoes.

I can’t believe how big this artichoke got over the winter. It was about 6 inches tall when I planted it last fall. I can’t wait for the artichokes. 

I love adding Ladybugs to the garden. I let this batch loose in the screen house.

Here you can see a few of them on the last of the carrots I planted in the fall.

Here are the potatoes and more of the tomatoes. In the background are the radishes. So far I have a lot of leaves but not many radishes.

Two more tomato cages, lettuce, existing passion fruit vines and the rosemary that doubles as skewers–I’m going to do a blog about that one of these days. 

In the corner are the Brussels Sprouts I planted in the fall–not a sprout to be found. I have never had luck with these, but I refuse to give up. Someone said to be patient and eventually they’ll sprout. We’ll see. I also planted a new variety of peas–green arrow heirloom…

…in addition to my favorites–Oregon Giant Peas. 

Here are the tomatillos. Thanks, Laura, for telling me they need to be planted in pairs!

This side get more sun so most of the 15 tomatoes are here.

This side gets a little less sun. I have the peas, green beans, cucumbers, zucchini and tomatillos here.

Now…about that high gloss Rust-oleum purple spray paint.

The white bistro table I bought last year was chipped and peeling so…down went the drop cloth in the middle of the street in front of my house….

…and in no time I had a really colorful table and chairs–not to mention lots of shouts of approval from passers-by. 

And at the end of the weekend this was how it all came together–via the Panorama photo app on my iPhone.

But I didn’t stop here…stayed tuned to see the new fruit orchard on the hillside!

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