Monday, January 11, 2016


So you guys were very forgiving when I missed a day of blogging but I wonder how you'd feel if I told you that we're half way through summer here and I still haven't got all of my tomato plants in the ground? 


When we got home from Europe at the end of October I knew how late I was and planted tomatoes obsessively. I planted hundreds of seeds in every weird and wonderful variety that I could find. Tomatoes are one of our staples and I couldn't afford to risk not planting enough to last the year's distance.

So I planted, and watered, and chatted to, and pricked out, and watered, and repotted, and watered, and watered and sang to and eventually planted just over 130 tomato plants in the kitchen garden, in a poly tunnel, behind the poly tunnel and over in the bed near the big wood pile. Each of those plants was planted with a big stake that they were tied to and gradually they flowered and set fruit. Lots of lovely green promises of delicious things to come.

But still I had another 120 or so plants but no space up here to plant them. So I waited, not always so patiently, for some help and finally yesterday I got my dream team!

Farmer Bren worked the gorgeous soil, he lay out the irrigation lines and connected them to water, he helped put up the fences and generally made sure everyone knew what they were doing.

His Dad John helped put up the fences that we're using as trellises.

And he dug every single one of the 78 holes we planted into.

I planted and spoke a secret wish to each tomato as I planted them deep as they'd gotten a bit leggy after their long wait. Then I tucked the top tips behind the fence to hold them up and give them some support. So far this new way of trellising is looking like a winner.

Then Miss Pepper followed behind me with a handful of seaweed and mineral rock dust for each plant.

And then Bren's Mum Rene brought us some icy cold water to drink, collected all the pots and watered all the tomatoes in.

What a team! I am so grateful for the help our families give us. Now that it's just me and Bren working here it's sometimes difficult to get through all the jobs that need doing. Having so many hard working hands on deck is a very big and appreciated blessing indeed.

I'm hoping to get the last 50 plants in in the next day or so and then bring on the tomatoes!!

Thanks to you guys for your cucumber suggestions yesterday, we plan to work our way through them starting with tzatsiki which is being made in the kitchen as I type.

And thanks for sticking with me, who knows where we'll go next.

So how many tomatoes do you plant out of interest? And do you have a fave variety? And when is the latest you've ever planted them?

Love Kate

PS Thanks Farmer Bren for the photos with me in them, feels kinda weird but good too xx


  1. I love this because tomatoes are my very, very favourite things to grow & eat.
    This year I tried going from seeds & didn't have the best of luck. The best plants seem to pop out of the compost heap or the chook pen so then we play the waiting game to see what variety they are. I think my favourites are the Tommy Toes. They are such a great size & the few plants that survived are all fruiting nicely. In the end I think I ended up with just over 60 plants & they've all grown with varying degrees of success. My dream of having enough to keep me going through to next season isn't going to eventuate but it's still really lovely having a big dish of tomatoes sitting on the bench or being able to send my sister home with a bag of them that's been picked from
    The garden.

  2. Lovely photos and team work Kate. I have about 12 tomatoes plants and they are really feeling the 40+ degree days at the moment. My favourite variety has been Amish Paste but this year it doesn't seem particularly happy. This year the basic old Roma's are much stronger and healthier. It changes each season...for me anyway! x

  3. That's a LOT of tomatoes!
    It's wonderful when you have extra helping hands. It feels like an absolute treat when I get a hand in the garden.
    Sadly we're tomatoeless this season, as despite my efforts to control the bacterial wilt, it managed to spread. And our new veggie beds aren't ready to plant into yet (the chooks are still busy working the soil).

  4. I love the team work. We planted around three hundred tomatoes this season, the last ten or so this week. We plant tommy toes and romas as they are most resistant to fruit fly we have found.

  5. Ooh I have a no fail tzatsiki tip! Strain the yoghurt over night, squeeze as much juice out of the grated cucumber before adding it to the yoghurt etc (I know seems criminal but go with it...)and finely grate the garlic....Recipe transmitted from a Chania- born friend and now a family staple! x
    P.S Bren's Dad is an absolute legend.

  6. It's wonderful to see such great family support. It's really hard to eventuate in to your dreams without support, I know that first hand. I love how you whispered as secret wish in to each and every plant.

  7. This year I made a commitment to only plant what I could realistically water - so 5 plants here. My two favourites are Adelaides because my Great Aunt always planted them on her Otway ranges farm, and Grosse Lisse because I love my sister dearly (she's a skinny Liz).

  8. How wonderful to have so many helping hands! The fence method works best I find especially when you plant 100+ as we do also. Last couple of years I (by myself) planted 300 plants in a day just the planting and watering part. Not that I started out wanting that many plants, just get carried away sometimes sowing I plant them deep as well and close together, then mulch with pine straw or hay. Most years we lay off a deep furrow with the tractor and we plant them in that (no holes to dig) then use it like a canal to pump in water from our stream to water. We like a variety of tomatoes, beefy boys (the fave), big beef, Roma,German pink, Indian stripes and a few yellow varieties as well. The latest we've planted probably a month after they should have been out, any later, not enough water to produce well. We grow as much of what we eat as we can, plus we share with family and sell/trade the rest. The local restaurants and grocery stores buy all the summer squash and tomatoes we take. Good luck with a "bumper crop!"

  9. My family are good at coming to the rescue when work hands are needed. We are waiting an icy blast here so talk of tomatoes is exciting. Jo x

  10. What a great team and so many plants! I love your fence system of growing them. My mother swears by talking to plants - hope you have a great crop.

  11. Wow, that puts my two little plants in pots on my Melbourne inner city balcony into the pale! I scrounged two self sown unidentified plants from my sister's garden and have put them in with my rather pot bound geraniums (the only things that seem to thrive in the difficult environment here) They actually have flowers so I am thrilled!
    Great blog by the way.

  12. I love the fence as trellis...a big row of lovely tomatoes will look fantastic and should make picking a lot easier....I only have 8 plants in my small garden but they are struggling a bit in the heat...your farm looks amazing.

  13. Well thanks for making me feel not quite so bad about the 2 trays of pumpkins seedlings still waiting to be planted! I was planning on composting them but perhaps I'll just plant them and hope for the best. It's such a treat to see your blog posts almost every day, I really love reading your blog. Oh and my favourite tomatoes are the rainbow pear mix, the kids eat them like lollies!

  14. I wish I had more room for tomatoes, they are a staple for us too and thus have taken up a good chunk of my minimal garden. I love seeing all that space and life that you have and your beautiful girls are all part of it, blessed in every way. I love it! I dont comment all the time but follow you every time, loving all that you do and love your everyday love...even if you missed one x

  15. Gah! You've planted late and I can see the red globes on mine, in the tangled mess of tomatoes, cucumber and Warrigal greens that I planted in a new bed dug in autumn and, as it turns out, is perfect for each one of these crops. I have been interstate for work and a family crisis has me passing them as I throw water on them out of the grandbub's bathtub and rush around managing washing piles and washing up and wiping down... it's on my must do today, to talk a calm walk around the garden and snip back overgrown tendrils and pick all those red globes.

  16. Don't worry, I couldn't get my tomatoes in earlier in the year due to crazy weather. In the end, I lost the chance but was delighted to find some self-sown plants emerging from the compost and yesterday we enjoyed the intense flavours of deep red grape tomatoes on our salad plates! Nothing beats home-grown and I am thankful to mother nature for her help with tomatoes this year. I use a fence similar to yours in my veggie patch but it isn't as high as yours. I think I need to upgrade mine to your fence's height to keep bunny out of our patch!


Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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