This year we expanded our vegetable and flower garden. The results were quite mixed. We planted 8 kinds of heirloom tomatoes, almost 50 plants. The Brandywine True Black tomatoes started out strong, quickly producing healthy vines and large beautiful fruits by late June. The Fuzzy Peach heirlooms also came along quickly, with numerous yellow peach-size tomatoes. But in July, when the heat, rain and humidity showed up daily, the vines became partly blighted and stopped producing. Then, deer got into the garden and ate many of the remaining tomatoes.
But our other plants remained pest-free and did very well! We were able to produce beautiful beets, beans, corn, zucchini, squash, arugula, lettuce, cucumbers and carrots. Our sunflowers grew as tall as 10′ with multiple blooms, and our zinnias thrived in our sunny garden plot.
To improve next year’s tomato and vegetable garden results, we’re going to the annual Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello on Saturday, September 22nd. It’s a well-attended event, with several thousand gardening and farming fans coming to learn about the best varieties of vegetables and flowers to grow in our area, sustainable farming practices, and the best ways to raise healthy chickens and livestock. Joel Salatin, “America’s most famous farmer,” will speak about the perfect locavore at his reknowned Polyface Farm. And, since Jefferson was so interested in food, wine and beer, there will be several presentations and discussions concerning trends in cuisine, winemaking, craft beers, and southern barbecued meats. We certainly won’t miss those.