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Got started late and didn’t use any of our heirloom seeds either – just got lazy and went to the nursery and got some Big Boys. The upper garden (of which a small portion of one end is visible behind the wall) has four tomato plants. I use electrical conduit for supports, and until this year used to use netting to train the plants straight up. This year the netting was pretty ratty anyway, so I ripped it out and just put some heavy wire across between the bases of the two supports, then strung thick twine from bottom to top (ran out of white, obviously, hah hah! – orange is the new white). We’ve already got multiple tomatoes per plant and SO far no pests. Wish I could say the same about the collards in one of the 4×6 boxes on the lower level – the white cabbage butterflies are laying all over them!

The chicken wire in the two visible lower boxes is for the four cats next door that loved using the boxes for “personal purposes.” I love cats, but they’re no longer welcome in our yard both because of the garden boxes, as well as the birds we feed – more varieties than ever before this year!!! In fact, I’m adding one additional photo of what showed up in our yard for almost two months – a leucistic sparrow! I’d never heard of such a thing, let alone seen one, yet we were favored to have one – absolutely stunning, even with the naked eye from the house. The attached photo was taken with a 300mm lens however (about 80 feet).

Despite providing insect meals, the collards are growing marvelously this year, and someone taught us how to prepare them to remove almost all the bitterness. Wish I’d know about that long ago, since we already love collards (cut them, wash them, cut them up, put them – still wet – in a freezer bag and freeze them, then cook them the next day – the freezing simulates first frost of the season, and they’re just as mild as you could ever want!). We’ve got one or more Japanese eggplants on each of the plants (right edge of photo), many peppers growing nicely, lots of herbs this year, the four tomato plants (enough for just the two of us, and maybe some give-away later in the summer), and some yellow squash. We’ve got a few other things planned over the next few days, but at least we finally got started. Oh – and the strawberries are coming in nicely since we took them out of the garden this year and moved them to the pots on the wall in the photo.