Growing food/herbs (tips) [General]

2007 Apr 20
Seeing as we're all food lovers, and summer's coming, some of us might like to grow veggies or herbs. I've opened this forum topic in order for people to post tips and comments about it.

Myself, i'm not very experienced, and being in an apartment i cannot have my own garden. For the past 3 years, i've grown tomatoes and herbs on the balcony.

There's nothing better than picking your own food out of the ground. :)

Share your tips/comments or stories :)

2007 Apr 20
Before I had a yard with a vegetable patch, I had good success with container gardening. As you noticed, tomatoes and herbs work very well in containers. My most successful crop, however, was Mesclun! You sow the seeds of these mixed salad greens in rich fertilized soil and in just 3 weeks you have a tender and delicate harvest. Pull out just the biggest ones and scatter a few more seeds to fill the gap. This way, you always have larger leaves available when you need them. If I remember correctly, I was able to cut them with scissors and the plants would keep on producing new leaves without having to re-seed much. We enjoyed many delicious salads from two 45-cm diameter containers.

2007 Apr 21
I grow mainly brewing-related stuff - large raspberry patch, several other fruit bushes, grapes, and of course hops. Though I don't really use the hops for brewing they are mainly decorative. Though they are now covering a fairly large part of the house that gets lots of direct sunlight, so they act as natural air conditioning in summer. And often I use the fruit for jam instead of brewing.

We also have a small herb garden 3' x 4'. It's easy to grow herbs and then you can dry them out for use during the winter. Just cut them off at the base and tie the stalks together and hang them upside down somewhere indoors. When dry just take off the useful parts and put them in a mason jar. That's a general rule - specifics can vary by herb.

We don't bother with veggies with the market right next door. Though we may do a small one this year since my son is interested in it so it would be a good thing for him to learn.

2007 Apr 21
Only certain herbs will dry well. Of course, no one should EVER dry parsley :)

I found that another method to dry herbs was to put them on a scott towel in the microwave for about 1:35 or a bit more depending on the microwave you have. Then they just crumble. I've done this with mint and it turned out great.

fresh foodie: mesclun uh? i'll have to try that then :) thanks

2007 Apr 23
A great resource for herbs is the Moosewood Kitchen Garden book. About a third of the book is dedicated to recipes and cooking tips (which herbs go with what, which herbs to add at the beginning and which at the end, etc.); a third of the book is dedicated to growing tips (which herbs and veg should be planted close together, etc.); and a third of the book is dedicated to preserving herbs (which herbs should be dried, which should be frozen, how to freeze or dry herbs, etc.). The pesto recipes alone are worth the price. (Cilantro pesto, mmmmmm.) The book also covers vegetables, but until this year, I had been confined to patio gardening so I kind of ignored that part.

Speaking of getting a yard for the first time in my adult life, if I want to plant vegetables in a raised bed in the backyard, what kind of soil should I buy, where should I buy it and how much should I expect to pay to cover about 3' x 3' (to start)?

2007 Apr 25
I grow Rosemary, and Lemongrass in pots all year round. The pots go outside in the summer, and inside in the winter. Nothing like a little impromptu lamb with fresh rosemary at Easter time...mmmm

2007 Apr 25
I love rosemary but it always dies when i try to grow it indoors.

what's the trick?

2007 Apr 26
I was just gonna say the same thing :)

Everytime i've tried growing Rosemary (which smells and tastes great), it dies. And don't even think about transplanting it, it seems so fragile. :)

2007 Apr 26
Hmm... a secret? I can't say that I do anything special, but I can say things that I do that might contribute. The rosemary is large. Maybe 18" tall, and at least as wide, in a very large terra-cotta pot. The rosemary is not young (It's at least 2 years old.. maybe 3). I've tried smaller ones, that were fresh from seed and they could not survive the winter indoors. It grows quite well in summer, and needs a sunny window area in winter. I leave it outside as much as possible in fall and spring. It can take -5 C, but not -10... so I leave it out unless it's going below -5. The new growth gets a little spindly in the winter, but this firms up in spring. As for lemongrass, well that is more of an experiement. It has survived the winter, but I have not really harvested it either.. it doesn't seem to have grown at all! It will go outside soon and I'm hoping it will sprout up. I also keep lavender inside in winter, and used to have a eucalyptus tree I kept inside. This year is the first I didn't have it inside for winter (eucalyptus) and it's also the worst year I've had for cold/flu etc... coincidence? I don't know.

2007 Apr 27
Fresh Foodie,
We want to try to grow some Mesclun on our deck this spring/summer but we have strong afternoon sun. Is that going to fry it? We have the perfect deck for tomatoes, but we are away so much in the summer that they would just go to waste. Any other suggestions of things to grow that like direct afternoon sun?


2007 Apr 27
All you need to do is put a shade cloth awning over the mesclun. After that, it's only high tempertures that will cause your lettuce to bolt. You can get the cloth at Lee Valley.

2007 Apr 27
Shade cloth is a great idea! Aside from that, just make sure their soil doesn't dry out too much... mesclun plants are small and fragile (that's why they taste so tender!).

2007 Apr 27
Thanks Pete and FF - never heard of shade cloth... I love an excuse to go to Lee Valley.

2007 Apr 30
We grow heirloom tomatoes and they are sooo delicious. Orange, purple, 'white', yellow, black...they are so good. I never even used to eat tomatoes until I started growing my own. At the end of the season, I freeze them whole. When I want to use them, I thaw them (the skins come right off) and chop them and toss them in my sauce. I also make oven-dried tomatoes. Wash and dry the tomatoes, cut them in half. Put them on a baking sheet cut side up and leave them in there for about 24 hrs at 200F. I keep them in the fridge and use them all winter.

As for rosemary - mine does well indoors also. It produces lovely lavender coloured flowers around February - they are delicious sprinkled on a salad or some lamb. The secret? LOTS of water. I soak it every other week - put it under the faucet until the water runs out the bottom. It always seems to do well for me.

Another experiment from last summer that did well was the hanging planter - it's called the Topsy Turvy. It's an upside down planter - we hung it on the fence. They get heavy once filled, so need some good support, but picking the fruit was a cinch.

2011 May 13
I will be trying my hand at container gardening on our terrace for the first time this summer, and I appreciate the tips above.

Now, anyone have any specific recommendations for specific cultivars that work well in containers? Extra points for identifying a source for same! I see some recommendations on line, but there are zillions of proprietary cultivars, and none of them have corresponded to what I have seen locally.

I am especially interested in cultivars for:

Tomatoes (both tiny and large)
Peppers (both sweet and spicy)
Green beans
Cucumbers (smaller ones)
Chard (cultivar doesn't seem to matter much, but has anyone seen this anywhere?)

I am looking for plants, not seeds.

I will grow some lettuce/mesclun, but that does not seem too cultivar-dependent.

Thanks for any help you can provide--this board is such a great resource.


2011 May 13
Container gardening is very easy and productive. Plants get everything they need in a small space, so don't need a large root system. They get air, nutrients and water at optimum amounts all the time (water wicks up from the bottom).

Google "earthbox", then build your own version very cheaply on the same design with a tote box.

Or check out a very good clone of it here:

I have many containers, plus two large raised beds of square foot gardening. I've also taken the subterranean irrigation idea to my square foot garden beds, so I rarely need to water. Google "wicking bed". It's being used in Australia to get good yields in very dry environments.

Herbs actually come out better if they plant is under a bit of stress (like wine from grapes in hot, dry years). If you can find some metal trays or boxes 4" - 6" deep, fill those with mushroom compost (which apparently can be had quite cheaply from a mushroom farm east of the city) and grow your herbs there.

I had the hardest time getting coriander to grow, until I tried using seeds from Chinatown (just a pack of the dried seed pods from the spices section at the Kowloon Market), crack them very gently with a rolling pin (just enough to open the pod) and sprinkle all over the tray. You will get a fine crop of coriander in a few weeks.

Coriander is a very good heavy metal chelator, in addition to tasting great - at least to me - some people have a gene that makes coriander smell and taste like old socks, instead of leamony. My wife can't stand coriander; I'm pretty sure she has the gene.

2011 May 13
If you want to do raised beds and want good soil right away, then use Mel's formula: 1/3 peat (to hold water), 1/3 compost (mix at least 3 different kinds or use mushroom compost), and 1/3 vermiculite (you can get it at co-op at a good price).

It's a bit pricey for the vermiculite, but you only need to buy it the first year, and same with the peat. From then on, the only thing which breaks down over time is the compost, which you replenish by adding a couple of scoops of fresh organic compost, mixed in, every time you replant a square. You will have an optimum growing mix right away, instead of in 10 years. Plus the production density is very high with sfg, and best of all there is little weeding and no tilling.

Now this will work very well, but you may find you need to water and I wanted to improve on square foot gardening by reducing the need for watering. So I went down a foot below grade, put down a plastic membrane and some perforated pipe, and then added mushroom compost to bring it back up to grade. Then I did Mel's mix in a raised bed above that. Water wicks up from the bottom so I almost never need to water. And the above ground part drains well and gets plenty of air.

See this site for more on square foot gardening and Mel's mix:!__top10faq

Some of the easy and productive things you can grow are squash (anything native to North America is very productive) bush beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, pumpkins and some types of melons. Sweet potatoes also yield a lot in a small space, but you have to use black plastic (which heats up the soil) in our area (Zone 5a) to get a good crop. Corn produces too, but you need space. Notice all these plants were domesticated in North America, by the natives, and they yield lots. Actually most of the world's food crops (with the exception of wheat and rice) came from the Americas. The Native Americans were highly advanced plant breeders (and tree breeders - the Amazon rain forest is actually a human artifact - a garden !), and their work has perhaps never been equaled, even by modern science with genetic engineering techniques.

You can grow potatoes in a tire stack. Start out with two tires full of compost and the seed potatoes near the surface of the second tire. Keep adding more tires and more soil (or better yet, straw, or sawdust) as the plant grows taller and taller. The space below where you planted the seed potatoes will nourish the plant. The space above the seeds but below the surface will produce potatoes. You can go 6 tires high (but there has to be a fair amount of green leaf above the top of the stack or nothing will be produced - sunlight and photosynthesis necessary :-), and when you kick them over in the fall you may have 30 lbs of potatoes per stack. If you used straw from the 3rd tire up, the potatoes will be soil free and clean too.

Green peppers are actually a perennial plant and produce the most fruits after the 1st year. So grow them in a large container and bring them into your house in the fall. When you put them out the next year they will be into their most productive period. The containers can get heavy though, plus you need the indoor space for them.


Green beans - dragon tongue (bush beans) or rattlesnake (pole beans)

Peppers - can be easily started from seed if you don't use peat starting pots. Peat is acidic and the peppers don't like it. You will gets lots of plants in just a soil starter.

Squash - patty pan squash is very productive, grown in mushroom compost.

Cucumbers and tomatoes - get starter plants from the garden centers and go with the varieties with the most disease resistance.

I haven't had good luck growing broccoli, etc.. because I don't use insecticide and the caterpillars ate my broccoli; what I did harvest was pretty flavorful though. I submerged it in water for an hour to get the remaining caterpillars off.

2011 May 14
I'm also a big fan of sq ft gardening though only wish I were able to take it as far as Francis has!

2011 May 14
the earth around our neighbourhood is all tainted with scary stuff (gov't gave us a complete breakdown 2 years ago),so all my growing is in containers.

i don't over analyze it, i put dirt in a container and shove in a healthy plant :) tomatoes, beans, herbs, flowers, strawberries. expect some loss, so mix your containers up and buy more than you'll need.

a garden centre will give you great advice and point you in the right direction. i like peter knippels or ritchie's (not loblaws or home depot - those places are fine for buying the plants, but not for giving advice).

remember that certain plants will need staking or support, so plan for that with your container. i have some rubber maid containers, i drilled holes in the bottom and sides, i use tomato spirals, so i prop the bins on bricks and have the spiral go through the container and rest on the ground below. (i prefer large clay pots to plastic, especially for veggies. ikea used to sell really big, round ones for under $20).

for your tomatoes, be sure to read how tall & wide they will grow. i usually stick to the smaller varieties, they produce tons of fruit and don't require heavy support.

plan to water alot, every day at least.

2011 May 14
I collected some earthworms and added them to my largest containers today; no idea if this will work but they seemed happy at first!

2011 May 14
Love Francis' hints...I live out of town (in constance Bay) on a laarge lot but it is totally sand. I garden in raised beds and patio pots.
Tx for the tips!

2011 May 22
Francis wrote some great info.

My Mom does square foot garden and i just help her put in 4 of them a few weeks ago. She bought some at home depot last year at a good price as sandboxes lol..

vermiculite you can buy economically from Ritchies in large size several feet long bag so you do need space to store them.

I bought some horitbec organic soil from canadian tire for something like $1.70 or 1.80 last year per 25L bag I think for my mom and they are quite good so would recommend. it is good general purpose soil since it has some peat and other stuff in it and quality seems quite high.

I bought her an aerogarden 6+ with seed starting tray a while back and she put it in about 3 weeks ago and the tomatoe seedlings are doing fantastic, far beating the ones she put in regular seed starting tray a few weeks before.

Tomoatoes are good.. had some success with hot peppers but sweet peppers did not do well.

I like the rainbow swiss chard seeds.

If by little cucumber you mean lebanese cukes, my mom bought some OSC seeds for it last year it was no where close to the lebanses cukes you can by...cukes are harder to grow.

For herbs you can buy them in small pots and put them in a container for a mix.

2011 Jul 19
Herbs can be grown indoors and out so the choice of where to plant them is a personal choice. I prefer to grow herbs in my kitchen where I can easily access them during cooking. I used to buy herbs as seedlings from any nursery or garden center.

The most important thing to be considered during seedlings development is to keep the soil moist at all times, especially when grown indoors in containers. I used to add fertilizer to these herbs time to time. Herbs needs lots of sunshine too. just you need need to take care of all these things to get a healthy yield of herbs.

2011 Jul 19
Hi Pamela,

Sometimes herbs develop more intense flavour if the plants is soil is allowed to go dry, putting the plant under stress. Kind of like good wine coming during dry years.

I also like growing unusual stuff . . . why not? since the regular stuff can be bought in the farmers markets.

I grew caigua from seeds I got from Bolivia. This is like a hollow sweet green pepper, but it's on a vigorous climbing vine and you get oh maybe 50 of them per plant each longer than the size of your hand.

I also grew shark fin melon, aka chilacayote, malabar gourd, and a host of other names. Also a very vigorous plant that produces a large melon in the fall. Very nutritious. It can be used as a substitute for shark fin noodles. In South America there make a candied version called "angel's hair". It's tricky to get the melons though because it's day length sensitive and only flowers when daylight is less than 12 hours. Around here this happens near the end of September. The plant is killed by frost. If it's frost free by Halloween you can get some nice ones, if not, it's all for naught.

2011 Jul 19
I found this all very helpful and encouraging. Results so far this summer with my rooftop container gardening: I used ordinary pots (large ones--maybe 20" diameter) because I already had them. Used a potting mix for containers from Ritchie's. Fertilizing using ordinary Miracle Grow. No mulch. Watering daily or more if it is really hot. Lotsa sun up on the roof--that is for sure.

All three kinds of tomatoes (Early Girl, Roma, and Yellow Pear) have gone absolutely crazy...a bumper crop for all three seems certain...the plants are going to be the size of a Christmas tree at this rate--an elaborate staking/support system will be needed as they start to get heavy with fruit. Based on the advice of the kindly lady at Ritchie's, I only planted one plant per large pot...and that worked great.

The huge success was the rainbow Swiss Chard: 8 wee plants in two deep window-boxes have been producing one huge crop per week since mid-June. And it is an attractive plant--not bad to look at while you sit in the hot tub. The tomato plants, on the other hand, are so rangy and wild that they are a bit of an eyesore (in case you care, the Roma's are the most attractive, plant-wise).

Yellow bell peppers haven't really taken off, foliage-wise. But I have three big peppers that should be ready in a couple of weeks, and there are lots of little ones on their way. Expecting about 20 or so in total. Not bad! These might have been more productive if I planted three plants in the pot instead of just one.

Portuguese hot green peppers (Ritchie's) are another big success--zillions of nice, long, grassy-tasting chiles with just enough of a kick. They are mild enough that they are pretty versatile. I have already picked maybe 15 and the plant is heavy with more. I think I will have trouble using them all (though they are a natural combination to saute with some garlic, and the chard, finished with a little Shiaxing wine and oyster sauce.

Big disappointment: Lettuce! Red and green leaf lettuce grows really slowly and keeps bolting, and you can't really harvest it any way other than taking the whole plant and re-sowing. Radicchio is a bit better, but I will only get maybe 5 little heads--not worth the effort. I think it is just too hot up here. Next year, I will try spinach, which you can harvest on an ongoing basis. Any suggestions for success with salad greens on a hot rooftop are welcome!

Herbs are wonderful, as always. Planted a patch of parsley about a foot square--would do about twice that next year as I use it almost daily. Also am at the limit of what my two smallish thyme plants can provide. I am getting more adventuresome with tarragon this year--it is more versatile than I had given it credit for, and a single plant provides an endless supply. lemon balm died over the winter, but it sowed itself liberally everywhere...keep that in mind even if you have it in a container to control its invasive spirit. Last year I planted a rather large rosemary plant (maybe 15 bucks), and I had to keep hacking it back. This year I used a very small one, and it is too small: Next year Goldilocks will select just the right size plant and will get eaten by bears.

Thanks again for all of the encouragement--just what I needed.

2011 Jul 19
Hi Mark,

Try some malabar spinach, especially if you like okra. I don't think it's too late to plant some, even now.

Good advice with the tomato plants (one per pot). Tomatoes like a lot of water though . . . they will drink gallons per day in hot weather like this.

To increase yields in a small space you can prune the suckers.

Some people says tomato cages really work - to confine the plants and apparently also to create electro magnetic fields around the plant that it really likes.

2011 Jul 19
Hadn't heard of the Malabar spinach...thanks for the tip.

And yes, tomato cages have been essential. Even so, the yellow pear plant in particular is overwhelming the cage and is starting to take it down. I am envisioning some engineering with some twine around the base of the pot to reinforce it.

2011 Jul 19
Last year I bought some self watering plastic pots at lee valley that help to keep my herbs in good shape in the hot weather. They really do a great job, and I'm told plastic is better than terra cotta, as it doesn't hold the heat to the same extent, so is gentler on the plants. My best successes in pots have been tarragon, rosemary, arugula, sorrel and basil. Parsley, Cilantro, oregano, have not worked so well for some reason. There is nothing like being able to snip some fresh tarragon for an omelette in the morning.

2011 Jul 19
Heat around a plant's roots can be a good thing. My cucumbers, squash and potatoes in tires (yes, it's safe) are doing great.

A lot of a plant's nutrients are actually made available by soil bacteria, just like most digestion in our bodies is by gut bacteria. And bacteria pretty much follow the laws of thermodynamics in their viable temperature range - the hotter it is the faster they do their thing - think of a compost pile heating up, or haystacks which can actually reach ignition temperatures.

Earthboxes come with a black plastic mulch option (I think it's just black plastic with stretchy cord in the rim, like a fitted bedsheet), recommended even in the southern USA. And I've seen pics of backyard earth box gardens out in the baking sun of Texas. I bet they drink lots of water though.

There's a lot of wasted space in cities . . . parking lots etc.. but a lot of commercial buildings have flat black asphalt roofs. Perfect for rooftop gardens using "earthboxes". Actually people are growing plants in kiddie wading pools full of compost on rooftops. In Cuba they started doing this after the Soviet Union collapsed and they lost their supply of cheap fuel. Growing vegetables on rooftops in cities saves transportation costs. Many rooftop gardens became quite viable businesses. Cubans got healthier too, be eating less meat and more organically grown vegetables. Rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer dropped significantly.

Also I think putting gardens up there would add shade and reduce air conditioning costs.

p.s. Mark when the weather gets colder you can try kale. It will even grow near zero C.

pp.s. wiki on malabar spinach (get the red kind it's a pretty plant as well as being edible):

2011 Jul 20
Thanks Francis. I was operating under the (possibly incorrect & bad?) advice that terra cotta could heat up too much and also suck moisture from the soil. I also got advice that if you must use pottery, elevating the pots on feet prevents them from getting too hot.

2011 Jul 20
i prefer terra cotta, first it is a more natural material for my edibles to grow in than plastic, it breathes, so i don't get any moldy or overly damp areas and it is warm, which is great early/late in the season when the temperatures start changing at night.

i do have 2 plastic pots that self water which i bought for cheap at ikea (and they are huge).

mark - are you pruning your tomatoes? you should prune off the shoots and that will help keep your tomoatoes in check. you want energy going into growing fruit and not foliage. lots of great online resources for how to prune a tomato plant.

pamela - i have never had any luck growing herbs indoors. ottawa sun isn't strong enough to produce a good plant inside the window. what are you growing that is working so well? i do my growing in the summer and then dry or freeze my herbs to use over the winter.

2011 Jul 20
I've been growing herbs again this year too. I've got a couple sweet basil plants, which seem to be turning kind of yellow these days. must be the heat. i always have a hard time growing small basil plants, they always seem to be skinny and not bushy, even if i pinching off new leaves. i did buy a michael basil plant, and that one was a bit bushy already and it's doing great. i've been pinching off the flowers to make sure the plant concentrates its energy on the leaves. i am also growing parsley and chives, but these two aren't growing very fast either, and haven't been able to harvest much. i kept my catnip plant from last year indoors in the windowsill over the winter and put it back outside and it's doing great. the cats are happy about that.

i've got 4 tomato plants, 3 sweet baby girls and 1 sweet 100, with tomato cages. they are a good size for the balcony where they get full sun. i also have two red and yellow pepper plants, and they are producing quite a bit of fruit however i got greedy and planted two plants in a ~12inch pot, and they seem a bit crowded.

my vegetables plants are producing more than i thought, so next year i'll grow more variety instead. i'll take suggestions for vegetables to grow in containers.

2011 Jul 20
Thanks for the pruning tip, HFF--I hadn't done that (though I do remember seeing my mom do it when I was a kid--strange sort of flashback to have).

Tourist, I am having great luck with Swiss chard in my containers, and it doesn't seem to object to a little crowding. I will definitely plant that again next year. Not sure about your basil problem--I have never had a problem with that at all. Chives, in my experience, take a while to get established. I never seem to get much the first year they are in. And many plants spend their first month or so in the ground focusing on root growth--they sort of seem to be in suspended animation for a while, and they they really take off. I noticed this with the marjoram I planted this year.

2011 Aug 7
Generally I harvest my potatoes in the fall, but my wife suggested we have some "new potatoes" so I kicked over one of my tire stacks.

The potatoes were all smaller than a chicken's egg, with very thin skins. My wife just scraped them with a blade to peel them, tossed they with some oil and herbs and roasted them in the oven.

More consistent texture throughout than a regular potato, more flavor, and less starchy taste. Pretty good I think.

I think I'll harvest my other stacks early too, as I can always buy regular potatoes pretty cheaply in the store.

2011 Aug 12
Tomato cage engineering crisis! One of my plants got so heavy with fruit that it partially collapsed the cage and tipped over the pot. Damage is thankfully minimal, though I worry about further problems. Boy, is it painful to lose some of my precious tomatoes!

Plans for next year: Must find sturdier cages, and must find pots with a wider base (less tippy).

2011 Aug 12

At least you're having fun. A lot of gardening is trial and error, which makes it fun.

BTW, do you know about this yahoo group?

2011 Aug 12
Thanks for the tip, Francis, and for all of the other encouragement. I have been having fun, but I have to admit that I actually WORRY about my plants while I am gone...though the worry is counterbalanced by the joy of having fresh stuff (I go to Europe for a couple of days, and tragedy supervenes...)

Today's harvest: 2 huge yellow peppers, a couple of hot peppers, about 8 yellow pear tomatoes, and a heap of fresh marjoram. All going into a pasta sauce with Italian sausage, more small tomatoes, and goat cheese...

2011 Aug 12

I'm getting a bumper crop of dragon tongue beans myself, though this year I've done very little watering or weeding - my garden is really running wild.

A nice crop of roma tomatoes is also on the way. Along with new potatoes, cucumbers, and patty pan squash. And my son planted some pumpkins that are getting sizeable already too.

My banana peppers have proven too hot even for me; I gave a lot to my brother. No word back on how he likes them though . . .

On some of the gardening forums I've read about people complaining they are "slaves to their beans". Since they have to pick them every three days, they can't go on holidays.

2011 Aug 15
Had my first proper tomatoes from the rooftop container garden: SUCCESS! I had heard stories of people producing lots of tomatoes that were flavourless or had lousy texture, but mine are all excellent: "Early Girls" are firm but still melt in your mouth, with great tomato flavour. Romas are only slightly firmer, but they are still great in a Caprese salad. Yellow Pears are super sweet, juicy, and bursting with tomatoey goodness. I will definitely plant these three varieties again next year, and I will perhaps try an heirloom variety, too.

Has anyone seen heirloom varieties for sale as plants earlier this year? Not sure I want to mess with starting seeds...

2011 Aug 16
Mark - I picked up some heirloom varieties from a vendor at the Carp market in the spring. I don't remember his name right now, but I'll check next time I am out there.

2011 Aug 16
mark - enjoy! my tomatoes have been doing great this year, but it is a race to get them before the squirrels do. there is nothing sadder then finding half eaten tomatoes on my door step.

i've never bought from this person, but every spring she has a sale of her heirloom tomatoes. the price seems great and you could probably work something out with her.

another option is acorn creek. i saw lots of tomato plants for sale at the lansdowne farmer's market from them and other vendors. a lot of very interesting types that you won't find at the store.

2011 Aug 16
Thanks, lovetoeat and HFF. One of the advantages of living on the 24th floor is NO SQUIRRELS. Most of my (minor) attrition has been related to inadequate support of the plants. Lost a few of the Romas to blossom end rot, but that seems to have passed. Still, it is really painful to see big green tomatoes go to waste...sadly not a fan of fried green tomatoes, myself.

2011 Aug 16
mark - for staking tomatoes - lee valley sells tomato spirals. they are really strong. i use 2 per plant (since i am terrible at pruning and end up with 2 strong branches). you need a very deep pot for them. i have used them and drilled a small hole in the bottom of the pot to stabilize. it might be worth a try. another option is the upside down planter, if you have somewhere to hang it from.

does the floor of your balconey get sun? if so, you could grow a lot of different veggies in containers (you can use just about anything as a container).,43319,33282

2011 Aug 28
I sense this thread is ready to turn into the " am I ever going to use up all of the ______ my garden has produced?"

In that spirit, I had way too many spicy red peppers--more than I could ever use, and I found this recipe for Hunanese Salted Chiles.

I have heard these framed as some sort of Universal Condiment, in which case the almost three cups of them I just threw together will come in handy.

Now, as for all of those tomatoes...

2011 Aug 28
Giving away lots to the neighbors . . .

Trying to eat up the zuchinnis, squash, tomatoes, beans and cucumbers.

I'll have to try and make some pepper sauce.

The new potatoes we don't have any trouble consuming ourselves. :-)

2011 Aug 28
my jalapeno's are doing great, but no extras to share. i had a terrible aphid attack early on, but was diligent in attacking back and it really paid off. my tomatoes had a strong yeild at first, but then the plant turned poorly.

i am sure if anyone has too much of a good thing we could organize a give away or swap on here.

2011 Aug 28
HFF, do you pickle your jalapenos?

2011 Aug 29
hot peppers dry really well. i still have a crap load from last year

2011 Aug 29
i don't think jalapenos would dry well. they are too fleshy, like a green pepper. the hot peppers i have dried are very thin skinned.

mark - i've never pickled them. we just tend to eat them like crazy while we have them. i have roasted them and made a spicy puree which i store in the fridge. great for drizzling on soup or pizza.

2011 Aug 29
I have decided that the time has come to remove some of the very immature tomatoes that will never ripen before the season is over.

Does anyone else do this? Is now a good time, or am I too early or too late?



2011 Aug 29
mark - i think there is a tomatoes thread somewhere, but what i do, is pick all the green tomatoes and put them in a paper bag. you need to check them daily and pull out any that have begun turning red. you don't want the ripe ones to over ripen, or create damp spots on your bag (and start mold growth). i've had great success ripening green tomatoes in the fall. my plants are in a very warm spot - full sun, against the house. i won't bring them in for another week or two. depending on your area, if you are worried, just bring them in.

Edit to add:
i found this forum post on ideas for green tomatoes
Forum - Green tomatoes - recipe ideas?

2011 Aug 29

I think too early. We've got another six weeks before any frost. You can prune the weaker branches below the fruit bearing ones, so that more nutrients will reach and help the growing fruit.

p.s. You can also start growing kale for salads now. It will keep growing past the light frosts, and even wet snow, that melts, won't bother it.

2011 Aug 30
I am currently drying and fermenting jalapenos, and both processes are taking a long time. I picked them when they were green and very plump (and therefore full of moisture) and in order to dry hung them on lengths of string in my kitchen window similar to Christmas lights.

As they have ripened, the transition from dark green to a very bright red has been quite impressive...but the true drying is only starting to happen now, and they are still a long way away. The flesh of jalepenos is very thick as HFF mentioned. I am confident it will work, but it may take as long as ten to twelve weeks.

Another way to dry jalapenos I uncovered was making a longitudinal slit along one side of the pepper and leaving them in an extremely low oven overnight. If I am concerned that my peppers aren't drying fast enough or at risk of spoiling before actually drying I may in fact employ this method.

2011 Aug 30
How do you ferment peppers?

2011 Aug 30
Submerge in 4% saltwater solution, skim any scum/molds that accumulate on top. Takes a minimum of three weeks, can be extended indefinitely.

Forum - Hot Sauce Recipes?post_id=38742#post_38742

2011 Sep 2
It's time you faced the facts: You have a Tomato Problem. They are ripening far faster than you can eat them. You're running out of counter space to store them. Friends are starting to avoid you because their counters are also overrun by your "gifts." You are thinking of increasingly questionable ways of getting rid of them: "The lady at the dry cleaners is always very nice...and she looks like a tomato lover..." "I've never actually met the paperboy, who may not even be a boy at all. But heck, tomatoes are full of vitamins..."

Before it is too late...before you lose's time you made...

"Tomato Intervention Pasta"

4 TB butter
1 medium onion, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
5 cups fresh seeded and diced tomatoes from the garden (I used a mixture of Roma, Early Girl, and Yellow Pear)
1/2 cup white wine
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup cream
Sugar to taste

1 lb pasta

Saute onion in butter until golden. Add garlic and saute for a couple of minutes more. Deglaze with white wine. Add tomatoes and cook over medium-high heat until well-reduced--should be rather thick. Add cream and cook down if needed to desired consistency. Season with salt, pepper, and a bit of sugar if needed to balance out the tang of the tomatoes.

Cook and drain pasta. Mix with sauce.

Garnish with reggianno and parsley, if you like.

2011 Sep 3
Help! For the second year in a row I am getting stem rot on my tomatoes as they ripen. I have two large containers with a couple of plants each and have done nothing differently from three summers ago when I had total success with them. Last year I threw out over 2 dozen ripe tomatoes because of stem rot. I've researched on-line and am told it's either too much or too little water. How on earth do you decide which it is when I'm watering as I've always done?

2011 Sep 3
caperbeach - you have to change and adapt every year. the weather dictates how to treat your plants, not your schedule! i find i get stem rot when over watering. if you can't tell by the finger test, buy a water meter. are your plants in pots? it is very difficult to gauge moisture without a meter.

growing plants is like cooking, sometimes they need a little extra food, sometimes a little less water and sometimes they fail no matter what you do.

you can pick them green and let them ripen if you want too. good luck.

2011 Sep 5
Thank you HFF, I'm taking your advice and am picking them green and will let them ripen off the vine.

2011 Sep 13
With respect to the Hunanese Salted Chiles mentioned above...turned out to be a total bust: Mainly just terrifically salty, and notwithstanding that, one jar developed mold on top. Threw it all away. Blech.

2011 Sep 13
@mark, I'm with Zym, when in doubt, pressure can it.

I had way too many hot banana peppers, and cherry bomb peppers. I found a recipe on youtube for Trinidadian pepper sauce.

Basically I took the stems off, put them in a blender with some chopped garlic, tomatoes, sugar, and salt, added a cup of white vinegar, and blended. That's supposed to be it, but I followed this up by putting the sauce into mason jars and pressure cooking them, tops on but not tightened, for 40 min.

2011 Sep 14
My sister in law gave me some tomato plants this spring. One was charro?
It is a purple tomato regular size.
Some problems with my soil, and I only had 1 tomato on the plant, but it was a delicious tomato.

Will try again next year, I think I have too much nitrogen in the soil as I got a lot of green but not too much fruit.

2012 Jul 9
Time to revive this thread: I planted 10 tomato plants in containers this year, on our 24th floor terrace. Observations so far: Romas are doing great--a little bit of blossom end rot in this variety early in the season (same thing last year), but I have lost maybe 5 little tomatoes to it so far. No biggie. Yellow pears are once again going crazy. Ditto for Early Girls. Others have been less successful: Sweet 100's have produces zillions of blossoms but very little fruit so far, for some reason. I would guess that maybe 5 or 10% of the blossoms have turned into fruit. Lots of flowers still, so I am hopeful. Two zebras (one green, one yellow/red) are a near bust: One has two tomatoes on it, the other none at all--lots of blossoms, but they don't seem to be setting fruit. Brandywine and an unspecified heirloom from a friend seem to be producing few blooms and scant fruit. Growing conditions for all are pretty much identical. Perhaps they are just taking a while getting started.

I bought a couple of Earthbox "self-watering" containers this year, at substantial expense (about 80 bucks a piece from the States, with shipping and taxes). They seem to be doing very well, but they are too tippy for my vigorous plants--I have to get some cinder blocks to weight them down. Tomatoes seem about as happy in those compared to my large pots. I would consider these for another crop--they seem really ideal for tighter spaces, if that is a factor for you.

Last year, the thin wire cages collapsed under the weight of the fruit and vines, so I got some fancy ones from Lee Valley:,33286&ap=1; they are supposed to be specific for containers, but these are a total fail: They are held together with little plastic clips, which are already splitting apart under the weight of the vines, and it is only the middle of July! Plus, they seem prone to tipping over. Anyone have any success with some sort of tomato cage for planters?

Green beans have been a great success, and peppers (hot portugal--great variety, and orange bell) are doing great.

How are your gardens doing?

2012 Jul 9
On the 24th floor? Tomatoes (and most other plants) like (some) bugs. I don't imagine you have many up there. Have you tried manual pollination?

2012 Jul 9
Rizak, we do get bumblebees up here, and they seem, well, busy. We have a flower garden on the other terrace, so that may help--I am thinking of planting a bee attractant crop for the vegetable terrace to see if that helps. We also have plenty of other bugs, not all of which are as welcome as the bees (e.g., ants, aphids. white flies, earwigs, darkling beetles, wasps, hornets, etc.) At least we don't have flies or mosquitoes!

I will, however, give the manual pollination thing a try! Thanks for the helpful tip.

2012 Jul 10
Some of my tomato plants, with green beans in the foreground.

2012 Jul 12
I bought some kale seeds for a bit later in the season (thanks for the tip, Francis). Now: what is the earliest I can plant it? Says 75 days to maturity on the seed pack, which sounds like rubbish---75 days for leaves? If that were true then the season would be short, notwithstanding their cold tolerance. Any advice?

2012 Jul 17
I leared this year not to compact a whole garden into a half a garden lol.... my tomatoes are inhibiting the growth of everything cause they're in the way

2012 Jul 17
I've been trying to grow foods for several years, kinda half-assed attempts... and I decided to give a real go at it.

I have the following in my "potted garden":
Cherry Tomatoes
Med. Tomatoes
Big Tomatoes (no clue what the actual name is)
Super Chilis
Green Peppers

Everything I have was bought from Acorn Creek. I bought some herbs from other vendors, but they've all died... so Acorn Creek is my "go to" farm for gardening, next year :)

Main issue I've encountered: SQUIRRELS!!! Little jerks keep stealing my tomatoes. I've tried the very-kind approach of feeding them peanuts and a bowl of water, several feet from the tomatoes. So far, seems like it's helping - i have a dozen cherry tomatoes that are turning red, and they've managed to remain on the plants (although today/tomorrow is when they'd be stolen).
If the peanuts don't fix the problem, I'm going to upgrade to fox urine. If that doesn't work, I'm upgrading to a scarecrow. If that doesn't work, I'm upgrading to all-out anti-squirrel warfare (maybe put a real fox in my yard)

All in all... main lesson I've learned is that potted plants need a boost of fertilizer every week or so, and that they need about 4x more water than I thought (due to extreme heat and drought)

2012 Jul 17
Bird seed. Nothing distracts squirrels better than bird seed.

2012 Jul 17
put netting over your tomatoe plants. for other pots, put bamboo skewers in, pointing out on an angle in a menacing dagger kind of way :)

Both options kept the squirrels off my tomatoes and were cheap to do.

2012 Jul 17
@ mark_ottawa you're good to go with planting kale now - don't wait any longer or you may not have much of a fall crop. I'll be planting a 2nd crop of greens tomorrow I hope - after the heat skidaddles!

I have a problem with coons again this summer - never had a problem here when I had a dog =:o( Trapped 6 or 7 so far this mo., last one this a.m.

Picked my first tomatillo this morning while shooting potato bugs in the tomatillo patch (and drowning their larvae) - can't find any in the tater patch!

Overrun with zucchini & some scalloped summer squash (as well as red squirrels and chippers).

Georgia Crystal garlic is going to be harvested this week - others next wk I think.

2012 Jul 17
I have the answer to your dilemma nonchalant , see my thread titled hillbilly chicken just make sure to feed them a bit of corn to finish them up right. Ha ha ha.

2012 Jul 17
Thanks for the advice, Andy, on the kale. What you are saying makes sense to me. Will need to buy some more pots for said kale...

2012 Jul 23
Talked to my Mom and the hale storm Monday evening knocked out half the growing cherry tomatoes from the tomatoes plants I helped her to plant in June... But most of the Cherokee purples came through unscathed.

She is not sure what damage are done to the other plants till tomorrow.

2012 Jul 24
Once again my Roma tomatoes are being hit with blossom end rot, despite doing all of the right things (not too much fertilizer, dolomite in the soil, consistent watering). Appears as though plum tomatoes in general are much more prone to this than other varieties, which has certainly been my experience--haven't had a problem on any of my other varieties. Has anyone found a paste tomato that is not so finicky?

2012 Jul 24
Try giving your plants a food thats high in calcium, and keep the moisture levels almost constant... not too much, not too little.... it's caused by change in moisture levels and too much heat, not enabling the plant to soak up enough calcium because the root structure isn't quite there... rooting compund and calcium would be my suggestions... My next door neighboor has the same problem, and her plants are about 30 ft away from mine, and I have no issues...

I also periodically water the tomatoes with whey... they love the acidity and it seems to give them a nice boost every time....

2012 Aug 2
Early Girl tomatoes are starting to come in. They are unusually tasty this year--presumably due to all of the sun and heat. The bush variety is just starting to ripen---assuming they are as good as the indeterminate variety, I will keep the seeds as this plant wins the prize for the fruit to foliage ratio. About 60 large tomatoes (so far) on a plant less than a meter high. Perfect for patios--particularly given that they didn't really get full sun.

Blossom end rot on Romas has settled down---lost maybe 30 per plant.

Brandywines (type of beefsteak) not a success--low yield and a lot of deformed fruit. Plus jamais...

Green zebras look are producing about 40 per plant--acceptable--and the fruit are well-formed. Not ripe yet--can't wait to try these.

Other zebra (Tigerella, I think) has low yield and a lot of deformed fruit.

Sweet 100's are coming in and are delicious---will get several hundred of these.

Yellow pear tomatoes continue to be a star performer but boy are they thirsty! Am getting about 10 a day now.

Heirloom variety from a friend is producing enormous amounts of fruit--well over 100 on one plant--but they seem to not be growing much--just keeps making more little green fruit.

Great beans seemed to shut down during the extreme heat, but they are back in production again.

2012 Aug 19
It's time to start sharing your abundance-motivated recipes that help you use up the overproduction of your garden.

The inspiration for this recipe was some green beans that had gotten too big and woody for steaming, some blemished tomatoes, and bell peppers and hot peppers that were going to expire.

Spicy Green Beans with Tomatoes

[Adapted from “An Invitation to Indian Cooking,” by Madhur Jaffrey]

Serves 4 as a main dish

2 pounds of green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 cm pieces

4 TB vegetable oil
1 large onion, minced very fine

2 hot green chiles, minced
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1.5 inch piece of ginger root, minced
1 small bell pepper (any colour, optional)

1 TB ground coriander seed
1 ½ tsp ground cumin

1 ½ pounds fresh tomatoes, pureed (no need to peel or seed)
1 tsp turmeric

2 TB (additional) vegetable oil
¾ tsp black mustard seeds
¾ tsp cumin seeds
2 to 4 dried red chiles (optional, to taste—though personally I like this dish spicy)

Salt to taste (usually about 1½ tsp)

A little lemon juice and/or sugar (to taste)

¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves (optional)

Heat 4 TB oil in a dutch oven or deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and brown until a medium to dark brown. This will take 20 to 30 minutes or so—you will need to watch them, stir them frequently, and gradually decrease the heat to medium-low as they dry out. Better to have them a little underdone than burnt! If they seem a bit too dry, you can add in an extra TB or two of oil.

When the onions are nicely browned, add the minced green chiles, garlic, ginger, and optional bell pepper to the skillet, increase the heat to medium, and sauté for a few minutes until the harsh smell of the garlic is gone. Add the ground coriander and ground cumin and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to keep the spices from burning. If the spices start to stick, add a few tsp of water to loosen them up.

Heat 2 TB vegetable oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. When hot, toss in the whole cumin seed and mustard seeds and cook until the mustard seeds have started to pop and the cumin has darkened—this will take between a few seconds and a minute, depending on how hot the oil is. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the red chiles (if you are using them) and cook for a few more seconds, until they have darkened. Add the green beans and sauté over medium-high heat for about five minutes.

Add green beans, the tomato puree, and turmeric to the pan with the onion mixture and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook uncovered until the mixture has cooked down into a nice gravy consistency then cover and simmer until the beans are well-cooked (will take about 35 minutes in total, including both uncovered and covered periods). Stir in cilantro (reserving a little for garnish, if desired).

Add salt to taste then adjust the sweet/sour balance with sugar and lemon juice if needed. This seems to depend on the tomatoes—sometimes I need both, sometimes just one or the other, sometimes neither. I like it to have a touch of sweetness, balanced by a bit of a tang.

Serve over rice or with naan, puris, etc.

2012 Aug 19
Wild, jumbo shrimp were on sale at the Produce Depot on Carling for 5 bucks a pound (two pounds, please!). I sauted these with garlic, onions, sweet peppers, some dried red chiles, a bay leaf, some smoked paprika, some cherry tomatoes, fresh tarragon, and white wine. Served over quinoa made with shrimp stock (didn't want to waste all of those shells!). Surprisingly tasty for a throw-together meal. And the best part is: I used up some vegetables!

2013 Apr 4

What are other OF planting this year?

2013 Apr 4
I've given up on tomatoes because the critters got all of them last year. I'm thinking of trying some unusual beans or other non-root vegetables. Lots of herbs too.
Any suggestions? I'd like to try some veggies that are a bit unusual and not generally available at farmer's markets.

2013 Apr 4
If you want unusal, my Mom planted some Salify a few years ago but they takes at least 2 years to flower and the root you eat is rather small... I can check if she has any seeds if someone wants some.

If someone want to go a little exotic, I can offer some goji berry cuttings or shoots from my Mom in the spring.. But you need a climber for it since they grow kinds of tall.

My mom missed seedy Saturday since I was out of town that weekend. She did not ask my siblings and my Dad would not drive that far. So I am seeing if other OF want to trade seeds or cuttings.

Pretty sure she has extras of:
* cheery tomato seeds (combination of yellow pear and small red ones) - likely more germinated in her aerogarden than she can plant
* lebanese cucumber seeds
* Coriander seeds
* some other veggies including chinese vegetables like bok choy, ???
* lettuce like spinach and Mesclun, etc.
* need to check if she has extras of Cherokee purple tomatoes seeds.
* not sure how much snow pea seeds she has for peashots and snow peas in spring
* need to check about strawberry spinach too if she has any seeds saved.

2013 Aug 29
Rooftop gardening hits and misses for this year:

Green beans in Earthboxes have been very productive--I used the Blue Lake variety this year, and they have been more productive and easier to contain (no staking) compared to what I used last year. I tried some French beans (little thin ones) but they never seemed to take off--have harvested maybe 50 beans out of 10 plants.

Beets are a huge hit! Almost no effort, nice big unblemished roots with great earthy flavour.

Coriander ... epic fail once again. I tucked it in a cool corner hoping that it would not bolt, but it did so as soon as it warmed up in June. Never again.

Have stuck with Early Girl, Yellow Pear, and Sweet 100's for tomatoes this year after dodgy luck with other varieties. Early Girls remain my best producer: More than 100 medium-sized, nicely formed fruit per plant. A little blossom end rot at the beginning of the season, but I only lost maybe 5 fruit in total. Flavour is super sweet (sometimes I add a touch of lemon juice to round them out), and they are firm to the touch but meltingly soft when cut. Perfect for salads, pasta, sauces, etc. Yellow Pears had a rough start: I let them dry out one day by not watering deeply enough, and it took a couple of weeks for the wilting to fully reverse. As a result, yield is less than last year (but still hundreds and hundreds of tasty little tomatoes all season). Sweet 100's were stunted early on--took me a while to figure out that I had forgotten to put fertilizer in the soil. Once I added some they took off. Yield is very good and the fruit is much bigger but less numerous than last year.

Carrots are...OK. I picked a rainbow mix, that added a lot of variability to the end product that I did not like. I over-fertilized with nitrogen, so the roots are a bit deformed, and they are not as sweet or flavourful as I would like. Also, did not thin carefully enough, which led to some deformation as well. Next year I will plant a single variety of orange carrots, focusing on a short and stout one for my shallower containers.

Zucchini was a bust because the drainage in the pot was poor. Produced maybe 5 fruit all season. Will try that again next year.

2013 Aug 30
Bravo Mark. Hits are good, misses are learning opportunities that you build on from year to year.
I couldn't get through a year without coriander, so I plant it 3 x's - May, mid June, late July or early August, and I always let the first planting bloom and go to seed - collect it as it dries and dry indoors spread in a pan. I can't use it all so some goes to seed in the garden for next year (I have a patch that self seeds every year) and I love chewing on a few seeds when working in the garden in late summer/fall). I suggest planting 1 pot, and a second pot and possibly a third pot over the season. Basil is another plant I seed 2 or 3 times. Green onions as well.
I don't know much about container gardening zucchini - I grow the small yellow ones in my garden and the plants are about 4+ feet wide and get way more than 5 per plant. They really are about the only thing growing in the garden that doesn't taste any better than the supermarket version (but I've had a long-standing thing against zukes and my wife tends to not agree with me on them).

Enjoy what you have and I'm sure you'll be looking forward to more success next year.

2013 Nov 5
Towards the end of the season, the tomatoes get a bit dodgy: More blemishes, some soft spots, etc. The texture sucks (mealy, mushy). They largely taste good, but some have a bit of a funky or even mouldy flavour. I was looking for a way to use up these last sad tomatoes, and I came up with the recipe below, that is basically a butter chicken sauce, more or less. The spiciness covered up the hints of funkiness. Very tasty.

Indian Tomato Bisque

3 TB butter
6 green cardamoms
12 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 TB fresh ginger paste
1 TB fresh garlic paste
2 green chiles, minced
1 L strained tomatoes (I use the KitchenAid food strainer for my stand mixer)
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp red chili powder (or less to taste)
1 tsp kasoori methi, lightly toasted and crumbled
2/3 cup heavy cream
salt to taste
honey or sugar to taste, if needed

Heat butter over medium heat and add whole spices. Cook over medium heat until fragrant and somewhat darkened, about three minutes. Add ginger paste, garlic paste, and minced chiles and cook for a few minutes, until the harsh smell has mellowed. Add tomatoes, chili powder, and garam masala and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add kasoori methi and cream, and then simmer for another five minutes or so. Season to taste with salt and (if needed) a bit of honey or sugar (I usually don't use any sugar if the tomatoes are home grown). I like the slightly chunky nature and am not bothered by whole spices. But you can pass it through a food mill OR use a stick blender and strainer if you want a smoother version. Garnish with cilantro, basil, tarragon, chervil, parsley, or nothing at all. A wee swirl of cream or creme fraiche is a nice touch, too.

If you don't have kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves), GO BUY SOME. Just kidding. It really does add something special to this dish. If you don't have any, you can substitute maybe 1/2 tsp of ground fenugreek seed (add it with the tomatoes though) and perhaps a bit of dill or cilantro.

2013 Nov 14
My father is a gardener he grows cabbage,tomatoes,chilli,Brinjal,Beans in his own garden.Every morning we pick up vegetables from our own garden and cook them.Its worth eating vegetables picked from your own garden.