Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Puttin' Down Some Roots

Has it really been like seven weeks since my last post? Wow! Turns out that time doesn't just fly when you're having fun, it flies even when you aren't having fun. Don't worry, I'm not going to whine & bore you to death with the details. After all, this isn't about me, it's about The Redneck Garden!

Like most gardens in Nor-Cal, my summer veggies have all but flown the coop. I've been gradually pulling things, making room for winter veggies that I haven't started or purchased yet (right on my usual schedule). The latest to be thinned was the green grape tomato that produced quite well this year, but had finally withered beyond even the cage's ability to support it. Only challenge was, when I tried to pull it from the bucket, it wouldn't let go! I had to take it over to the driveway and turn the bucket upside down to get it out. Check out what I found...

 For starters, from the surface of the soil, to the tip of the stem was over 6 & 1/2 feet! Not bad for a semi-determinate cherry tomato grown in a plastic bucket!

This is after I dumped it out of the bucket, so the top of the pics is actually the bottom of the bucket. I'm not totally surprised at this great root growth, but very pleased with the confirmation that I was doing some things right. 
The main root ball, after knocking most of the dirt off was a solid 10" mass of fibrous roots. I don't know if this is typical or not, being the novice gardener that I am, but for a bucket that was only 11" wide & 12" deep, this seems pretty good to me. Further proof that my custom blended soil had a great balance of air & water porosity and that the beneficial organisms in the soil were thriving and sharing their joy with the plant. The original mix contained greenwaste compost & worm castings, which are both great sources of beneficial biology & natural nutrients. The plant received a few applications of worm compost tea during the summer months, a couple small applications of a commercial organic vegetable fertilizer over the season and were never watered more than twice each week.

And even now it wants me to believe it can still make those tasty green treats I've so enjoyed. Thanks to the Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County & Cynthia Sanberg of Love Apple Farm for the good tips. Hopefully next summer will be just slightly warmer & we'll see a little more production.

Until next time; get out to the garden and stay happy.


  1. Hey Matt! Okay - so what's up with you? Go ahead and whine...we want to know!

    I wanted to give you a heads up that my client's garden (the one who used your Terra Vida soil) is doing SO well she wants to continue with another side in the spring, using...you guessed it....more Terra Vida!

  2. Hi Rebecca! Thanks, but I'm whiny enough already, don't want to run off the few friends I have left.

    Glad your client's garden is kickin' butt. Every plant I remove just has awesome root structure. I guess there really is something to this whole idea of building healthy, biologically active soil. Here's to more Terra Vida Living Soil and more happy gardens!