Suburban Pioneers

The Adventures and Misadventures of Homesteading in 21st-Century America

Sarah: A Garden Update August 31, 2013

Folks, it is, in fact, possible to plant too many tomatoes.


I have an inordinate love of tomatoes, especially cherry tomatoes straight off the vine.  I even love the like-nothing-else-in-this-world smell of tomato plants.  I’ve already begun thrusting a leafy tomato plant frond right under Little Bear’s nose and saying, “Smell that?  That’s the smell of summer!”  I figured we couldn’t go wrong planting a lot of little plants–after all, I was sure to accidentally kill at least one or two.


However, when you can see a ripe tomato somewhere in dense tomato thicket but it takes you ten minutes to find said tomatoes, you might have put too many plants in one small space.

our tomato thicket

our tomato thicket

The butternut and cucumber tendrils are so tightly intertwined I’d swear they’re coming out of the same plant.  The squash is wildly proliferating into the tomatoes, while the tomato plants sneak into the basil.  I guess our garden looks a bit like our life right now–all the different demands wildly overgrowing the borders we try to put in place, so lush with blessings we don’t have the time to appreciate and cultivate each one.


I’m just trying to take this last, hot burst of summer one day at a time and not let too many cucumbers rot on the vine!

the squash runneth over

the squash runneth over


Lauren: Strawberries! June 18, 2013

Filed under: Food & Cooking,Gardens & Compost — lkcook20 @ 6:58 pm
Tags: , ,

Our homegrown strawberry

Last spring we built three raised beds and filled them with strawberry plants. This year, we have so enjoyed the “fruits of our labor.” 

Reasons You Should Plant Your Own Strawberries:

1. Homegrown fresh strawberries are SOO delicious. The cardboardy ones at the grocery store cannot even compare to the scrumptious juicy sweetness of a real strawberry.

2. They are low maintenance! If you contain them in a raised bed, they will quickly send out runners and fill the entire bed. They cover it so completely, there is virtually no weeding.

3. Strawberry Shortcake

DSCN17024. No weeding.

5. It’s cheaper than buying them in the store.

6. They are perennials. They will come back year after year. You just have to sit back and wait.

7. It is extremely satisfying to go out to your yard and come back with a bowl full of yummy fruit.

8. You can grow them organically. No pesticides!

9. Did I mention no weeding?

Some Tips: 

1. Plant in early spring in  a spot that will receive plenty of sun.

2. Pinch off the runners during the first year. This will allow the roots to grow nice and strong.

3. Also pinch off the flowers to encourage strong plant growth. It’s tough to make yourself do this, but you’ll thank yourself later!

4. After the growing season, cut down the foliage to once inch and cover with 4 inches of straw. Remove next spring.

5. I recommend the June-bearing variety. We also got the Everbearing kind, but they didn’t do as well as the June ones and the harvest time was about the same.




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