Garden Journal 2018 (June) - Welcome To My Greenhouse! This Will Soon Be Tomato Heaven

in #schoolofminnows2 years ago (edited)

I promised to take you on a walk through my greenhouse. It has taken longer than expected, but my tomato jungle simply wouldn’t cooperate...


The Greenhouse

After working with some small, cheap greenhouses last year, I decided I wanted to level up. I was about to purchase a beautiful, but very expensive greenhouse in glass, when a friend of mine offered me something I couldn’t refuse.

Her dad had died, and they needed to sell the house and the land. As a result, they were about to throw away his professional tunnel greenhouse. I could have it, if I wanted... for free. All it needed was a new cover.
You can imagine I was over the moon :0)

So now I have this huge, 8 meters long greenhouse in my backyard.
Because I’ve not recovered from surgery completely, I haven’t been able to fill it up properly - many plants are still in containers - but still it’s like a dream come true.

Click to enlarge picture

Next to the big greenhouse, I also have a smaller one left - one of the cheap ones that managed to survive winter. I’ll show you that one tomorrow.

Let me start the tour...



Up until two years ago, I wasn’t aware that there were more kinds of tomatoes than the simple red ones and the cherry tomatoes you can buy in the supermarket.

A little silly, of course, but in my defense: I’m a real city girl, lol.

This winter, I freaked out and bought myself seeds of like 20 tomato varieties. Fortunately, I realized it’s just the two of us here, so I held back and didn’t sow them all. Nevertheless, I still have 12 plants growing. Better make some room in the freezer to store all the tomatoes we won’t be able to eat immediately. We’ll be making fresh spaghetti sauce all winter long. :0)

My girlfriend did all the planting, since I was not able to. She is a gardening newbie, and planted 5 tomato plants too close to each other. Once the first tomatoes appear, I’ll have to do some serious trimming, lol.

Right now, it’s hard to make a beautiful picture to show you those: it’s just one big mess of tomato plants.

Click to enlarge picture

The varieties you see here are:

  • Banana Leg
  • Heidi
  • Indigo Rose (2x)
  • Garden Peach

In the front of the picture, there’s a beautiful Chocolate Pear tomato. I honestly can’t wait to find out how these will look like... and taste.

On the other side is the only plant I purchased in the store. Ironically, the label just said ‘Tomato’ (Can you imagine??), so I guess I’ll have to wait and see how this one will turn out.

The good thing is that it is the only one that’s already growing tomatoes instead of only flowers. They’re growing at warp speed. I definitely need to start trimming the plant so they will be exposed to the sun a little more.

Click to enlarge picture

In the back of the greenhouse, There are more tomato plants. They are still in containers that are actually too small, but we have enough growing like it is. Most of them are varieties we already have in the ground.

I just can’t bring myself to kill healthy plants, so we keep them there and we’ll see what happens. Most of them - even the small ones - are growing flowers, so maybe it’ll work out in the end.

So in the back we have these varieties:

  • Another Banana Leg
  • Another Indigo Rose
  • Another Garden Peach
  • Gardeners Delight
  • Sweet Baby
  • Pomodori Tigerella
  • And 2 that are simply called ‘Balcony Tomato’

Here you can see them, next to the sweet peppers and some more plants I'l tell you about below.

Click to enlarge picture

There is another Gardeners Delight plant growing in the small greenhouse.

If nothing bad happens (tomato plants are such spoiled drama queens), we’ll be able to open a restaurant with only tomato-based dishes by the end of the summer, lol.


The Sweet Peppers

Just like with the tomatoes, I only found out recently that there are a lot more sweet pepper varieties than the simple green, yellow, red and orange ones you can find in the store.

So I decided not to plant those regular ones. Instead, I went for a couple of varieties that were unknown to me.

Up until now, the Mini Bell Chocolate has already been a great success. It’s the cutest, very small sweet pepper that starts out green, but then gets this beautiful, chocolate brown color. I’m completely in love with this variety.

Click to enlarge picture

The plant itself doesn’t get very big: I harvested the first pepper when the plant was only like 30cm in height. As you can see, it’s also a very productive plant: I had never seen such a truckload of peppers on one plant (last year we had exactly 3 during the entire season).
Still, the plants are not higher than 50cm. Poor thingies, having to carry all that weight.

The other variety I have growing is Purple Beauty. So far, only 2 tiny sweet peppers, but I’m keeping my hopes up.

Click to enlarge picture


Water Melons

Last year was the first year I tried to grow watermelons. The plants didn’t grow that big, and we could harvest only 2 very small melons. But they were tastier than any other I ever had.

So I simply had to try it again. One of two plants is growing so quickly I can hardly keep up helping it climb up its spiral.

So far, it has one fruit growing that is already three times bigger then the ones we harvested last year.

Click to enlarge picture

I didn’t sow the second one myself, just saw it being ignored in the garden center, so I saved it from a horrible death and brought it home. It is not growing as fast as the other one, but it’s only June... the little guy will have plenty of time to catch up.



I don’t have too many out-of-the-ordinary plants growing in the greenhouse, but I do have the cherimoya (Annona cherimola), also known as ‘Custard Apple’.

This plant is native to South-America, and chances are small that it will ever grow fruit in our Western-Europe climate. Still, after reading that the fruit tastes a bit like pineapple, banana and strawberries with whipped cream, I simply had to give it a try.

Click to enlarge picture

According to Wikipedia, Mark Twain called the cherimoya "the most delicious fruit known to men". Who can resist that??

Just like the melon pear, I have to take it outside of the greenhouse when it is too hot, and bring it back inside when the temperature drops. So another spoiled brad :0)

It really needs to be replanted in a bigger container, ánd I just found out I had to bring him a little friend. Apparently you need two of them for pollination. I should have done my homework better.


Paw Paw And Strawberry Tree.

Paw Paws are closely related to the cherimoya, and they have a better chance to succeed here in Belgium.
Unfortunately, the two plants I bought this winter appear to be dead - not a single leaf is growing, so I gave up on those.

A Strawberry Tree was also completely new to me. The fruits are edible, but are not like strawberries at all. From what I’ve read, they’re not even that delicious.

Click to enlarge picture

But the plant blooms in the fall, so I hope it will being a little life and color while every other plant will be dying on me. :0)


Lemon Verbena

My absolute favorite herb (with pineapple sage as a close second).
This is the first year I keep both plants inside the greenhouse, and they are obviously very happy with that.

The leaves are so delicious. Tea, salads, soup,.., they give everything such a wonderful acidic taste. I really love Lemon Verbena.


Sweet Potatoes

Up until last year, I had never really been a big fan of sweet potatoes. But then I discovered they are actually very delicious when prepared by someone who knows what he’s doing, lol.

So last year I planted some, and I was pleasantly surprised to see they grow gorgeous plants. IMO, it is one of the most beautiful plants around.

Let me show you:

Click to enlarge picture

Isn’t that beautiful??



During the week between Christmas and New Year’s eve, the shops here traditionally sell all kinds of tropical fruits. I saved the seeds of all thevones I ate, and tried to sow them later on.

The Carambola (or Starfruit) seeds were the only ones that germinated.

It’s a tropical plant, so I’m not putting my hopes up. It wasn’t looking really good last week, but it looks like it has recovered a bit.

Click to enlarge picture

It will probably take 4 to 5 years before it will grow fruit, and I’m not sure whether it will survive winter here - even if I take it inside.

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the plant’s beauty and the feeling of satisfaction of another successful experiment.

Tomorrow, we'll head over to the small greenhouse, so I can introduce you to one of my other favorites.


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Wow, first things the greenhouse! I'm sure they were happy to be able to give it away to someone who obviously appreciates it and will use it!

You've got piles going on in there too! We had greenhouses on the our farm growing up and grew cucumbers (the long English ones) and several different tomato varieties. There really are so many different types. It'll be fun when you can start comparing them all. You'll need a freezer just for those!

I love sweet potatoes and yams! I bake or cook them exactly like I would a potato though :)

I'd never heard of cherimoya before today, but if the likes of Mark Twain loved them, then it stands to reason that I should too :)

Good luck with the Starfruit. Saving the seeds is something I always think about, after I've eaten and taken out the trash!!

btw, I'm dropping your post in c-squared's discord; hopefully they'll pay you a visit :)

Her dad had always been growing ‘prize tomatoes’ in that greenhouse, so the pressure is on, lol.

I have never seen a cherimoya myself, but since it’s originally from South-America I assume you have a bigger chance on finding one than I do here in Belgium. If you do, let me know if Mark Twain was right.
I think it will take a couple more years before my little plant will start growing fruit. And only if I manage to get my hands on a hubbie for it. :0)

To be honest, I’m really curious about the different flavours of the different tomatoes. Never eaten any other than the regular red ones or cherry tomatoes.
I Really wonder why they don’t sell any other varieties here... maybe I’ll know once I’ve tasted the others, lol.

From september all the way through winter I was obsessed by saving seeds, especially when I managed to get my hands on uncommon fruits and veggies.
The downside is that most of those plants (trees) take years before they grow fruit of their own.
2 years ago, a friend gave me a tiny lemon tree she grew out of the seed of a lemon she purchased in the store. I was so happy with it. But after doing some research I found out that seeds from commercial lemons always grow into big trees, not bushes, and that it can take up to 15 years before they start to grow lemons. And there is no guarantee that they will. And if they do, it’s possible they won’t even be lemons, but some other variety - a twist of nature.
So that’s kind of a long term engagement. Almost like having kids, hahaha (Fortunately, the little lemon tree is quite, doesn’t smell and is happy with a little water every once in a while) ;0)

Thanks for the drop in the C-squared Discord. They did pay me a visit and upvoted and resteemed. All thanks to you.

Did I ever tell you you were awesome? 10 stars, remember 😉😉

Hooray! I'm so glad they stopped by! My pleasure :)

Just like kids, you tend and care for them and have such hopes, and then they end up doing exactly what they want...or maybe exactly what they were intended to do from the beginning :)

I was at the market today and looked for cherimoya, but no go. There's a public market by locals on Sundays; I'm going to check that one out to see if I can find it. I'm very curious now.

And just for the record, you're a 10-star too :)

Blush, blush :0)

I'm impressed that you manage to run the whole garden yourself.
I'm still planting in pots due to no land, but learning as well.

Most veggies and fruits can do good in containers. I even have my root vegetables like yacon, Jerusalem Artichokes and others growing in containers. I don’t think I ever came across something that wouldn’t grow in a container - although large plants need large containers.

The funny - no, ‘frustrating’ is a better word - thing is that I’m not running a single thing in the garden this year.
I’m still recovering from surgery and I can barely do anything. Fortunately, I have a good-hearted girlfriend. She doesn’t really like gardening, but she knows how important it is for me. Seeing all those plants grow really makes me happy. So actually she’s doing all the work, and I’m on the sideline giving instructions. And take loads of pictures, of course :0)

And one of the big benefits of nature is that once you put things in de ground and water them regularly, they do most of the work themselves. They don’t need any help to grow, except for some fertilizer every now and then.

Up until 2.5 years ago, I lived in the middle of a big city. No garden, only a small balcony. It didn’t take long before it was filled with pots with herbs and lettuce and stuff - there wasn’t any room left for us to sit down and relax.
That’s where I learned the basics.
Now I do have a lot of space in both the front-and the backyard, but still everything is in raised beds or in containers. I’m just saying: having to grow in pots or containers does not limit you to grow whatever you want.

If you only have limited space, just look for dwarf or miniature veggies. There are a lot of them these days. Miniature tomato bushes, dwarf cauliflowers, beans, mini carrots... you name it, it exists.
My mini belle chocolate pepper plants are carrying loads of small peppers while the plants are only 30 to 50 cm in height.

This was the first post I came across, but if you do a Google search, I bet you can find many more..,

This post was shared in the Curation Collective Discord community for curators, and upvoted and resteemed by the @c-squared community account after manual review.

Thanks a lot! I feel honoured. Glad you liked it :0)

Amazing setup right there with the greenhouse, we should try to eat organic most of the time. I too picked up a cherimoya fruit from the tree in the backyard. They taste amazing.

Really? I am só jealous right now!! :0)

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Wow, great greenhouse and garden. Looking like a bumper crop this year for you.

Thanks! I hope so...
I actually had to go look up the meaning of ‘bumper crop’. Never heard it before, so yet another thing learned today ;0)

LOL I guess I'm showing my age.

This post has received a 3.97 % upvote from @booster thanks to: @simplymike.

Aren't you the exotic gardener? (Rhetorical question) Growing veggies and fruits found all over the world, and choosing as many unknown bred varieties as possible.

Glad to see your production is boosting.

I guess it is part of my personality: ‘normal’ is boring, lol.
I love garden experiments. I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t have the chance to get more out of the ordinary plants. Last year, half of what was in my garden was unknown to me.
The biggest problem is the climate here in Belgium. There are so many more interesting veggies and fruits to grow, but most of them need a tropical climate. And Belgium may be a lot of things, but being tropical is not one of them.
It’s also hard to get your hands on things that are unknown here. I’ve searched for the cherimoya for months, lol.

Plants like Yacon, Chinese artichokes, tootache plants, chayote, lychee tomatoes etc are hard to come by here. The edible parts are not even sold here.

I was lucky: I discovered a farm nearby that specializes in uncommon and forgotten veggies and fruits. For as far as I know, there’s one other place that does the same. I’m lucky to have them, but still there are things I need to buy abroad.

It’s so exiting to try to grow new stuff that nobody else is growing. The only downside there is is that you don’t have a clue whether you will like it or not. Since you don’t see these special variaties here, there’s no way to know how they taste like.

Last year I tried tomatillos. Beautiful plants, but we both thought they tasted awful. So no tomatillos again this year. NO Kiwano anymore either, lol. The taste of the fruit was not exceptional enough to make up for the millions of tiny thorns. Such a beautiful plant, but it was just plain mean, lol

On the other hand, the Yacon roots -another gamble, because I didn’t know what to expect - were one of the most delicious things I ever tasted. Same goes for the melon pears. So incredibly delicious...

You never win if you don’t gamble...

The curiousity is exciting. I guess I got a little addicted, lol

Fresh food makes mind fresh and good :)
Hi from Estonia :)

What a beautiful garden. :) Thanks for sharing with us! I hope you inspire more people to work on their own gardens in the future! I think the world would be a much better place if a lot more people created their own gardens. :)

True. Not only healthy food (no chemicals allowed in my garden), but also being in touch with the earth, nature. Not to mention the pdychological benefits. In normal life, I’m a terrible controle freak who overthinks everything a thousand times. In the garden, I’m completely relaxed. No rules (except for watering the plants in time), no thoughts - it’s the only place in the world I’m just winging it. No overthinking, just trusting on my intuition. It’s the only place I manage to escape the demons in my head. Way more fun and a lot cheaper than a a shrink ;0)

Wow that is one green post lol! I myself would love me some water melon lol! Looks awesome, how long has it taken you to put all this together?

I built my raised beds last year. The greenhouse is up since the end of April.
I started germinating seeds inside in Februari| March At the end of May, everything went outside. ( to be honest, my girlfriend did all the planting, since I wasn’t able to because of the surgery I had).
Weather conditions have been extremely good this year, so everything is growing faster than ever.

I’m just a newbie gardener. Three summers ago, I started with one square foot garden bed. Last year I expanded because I fell in love with uncommon veggies. This year, I had even bigger plans, but because the recovery from the surgeries I had didn’t go as well as I hoped, I had to settle for less than I hoped.

However, the new big greenhouse provides a lot of new options. Maybe not this year, but I’m already dreaming of being able to go full power again next year, with plenty more uncommon veggies to experiment with :0)

Awesome green house! Very jealous, not of the tomatoes as much, looks like you have a lot of hard pruning to do! Great selection of peppers! I can't believe you have that size water melon already!? When did you transplant out? All in all looks great! I'm enjoying my lettuces and now beans! Btw that garlic spray totally worked, slugs be gone! But now I've got a case of cabbage worms on my "holey" broccoli!

Yes insect net!! Thank you for all of this information! I appreciate it!


This is a great setup and one that I am immediately sending to my wife (@spolitte) who has been wanting something similar for years. For now, after we dabbled with small raised beds for several years we finally just built some giant beds (see here).

Proud member of #steemitblogger @steemitblogger

Very nice project you are working on. I got the feeling that you guys have been bitten by the gardening-bug too.
I started with only one square foot bed three years ago, and it seems I can’t stop. Last year I’ve expanded big time, and this year I would have if it wasn’t for the surgery. I’ll have to postpone for another year, lol.
Good luck, and I hope you will finish the job soon!

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Really quite a nice update on the garden, and then there is all the comments to read also, almost like a second update to the update, very nice read, and nice looking garden.

This post has received a 13.99 % upvote from @boomerang.

Are u like rich or something? 😂......these are some really cool stuff,do maintain them and yes your entire walkthrough was beautiful.

Lol, not rich at all.
The greenhouse was a present. All my raised beds are hand-made. And seeds are not all that expensive.
With a lot of love and care you can come a long way 😉

The plants look good. Those tomatoes and peppers are promising. Yum! I'm interested with the Cherimoya. Googling it looks like a cross between atis and guyabano.

It looks like you have everything in your garden. So great of your friend to give away that greenhouse. It is being put to good use.

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Yes, I’m so grateful for the greenhouse. If you have to go out and buy one, it’ll cost you an arm and a leg.

I should look up atis and guyabano - I have never heard of those. But even then I’ll have to wait a few more years to confirm, because I’ve never saw a cherimoya frruit in real life - let alone tasted one :0)

A brief googling, some say cherimoya and guyabano (soursop) belongs in to the same genus Annona which it basically the same :D

I know the feeling of waiting. We don't grow apples here so we import them. We were able to grow one tree in our yard and it will be years more before we will see fruits and that is if it will survive. But I have eaten apples so I have the upper ground :D

lol. But I bet cherimoya tastes way better than apples :0)

You don't grow apples?? Where are you at, then? (Apple trees are like the most common fruit tree here. I can't even imagine a world without apple trees - lol.)

Last year, a friend gave me a tiny lemon tree grown from a seed from a lemon she bought at the supermarket. I looked it up and it might take 10 to 15 years before it will grow any fruit. And maybe there just won't be any... or it might not even be lemons, lol.
I'm not sure I'll be able to keep it alive for that long :0)

Each fruit has its own qualities to like :D

Yeah, I live in the Philippines. I was able to grow an apple in a pot in my former apartment. I did not take that though when I moved. I wonder what happened to that.

We do have lemons here but they are not juicy. We live in a rocky area so that is one factor affecting the growth of plants and trees in our yard.

Wow @simplymike ! Although I really don't have green fingers myself, I do admire people that have. That's some serious gardening you are showing here.. I may have to learn that too one day, because we desire to have a house with some land (possible here in Hungary) where we can build our own vegetables and fruit too.. But that's for the future lol, for now we live in an apartment ;) But thank you for sharing, always very nice to look at and read ..

Thanks, @annouk.nox.
I’m trying... :0)

I believe anyone can have green fingers. All it took me was one good book and the help of my best friend when it comes to gardening: Mister Google. :0)
There is so much information to be found on the internet that you can hardly go wrong ...

I didn’t know you lived in Hungary... Must be a very beautiful country, from what I hear...

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@simplymike very nice green house it very good think and good feeling! its my green house and indiamy green house.jpg

Wow!! Now that’s what I call a real greenhouse, lol. Looks like you’ve got quite a lot going on there... :0)

Sencillamente impresionante la forma en la que tienes tu jardin lleno de plantas comestibles, ese es el futuro que nos espera " La Sustentabilidad." @simplymike

Wow, that is some amazing fruits and vegetables that you have growing there! I can't believe how big the watermelon looks! It's going to be a great summer harvest for you!

I do hope so. So far it’s the only watermelon of that size, the others are a lot smaller (as in: really, really small, lol).

Lol, it is feeding on the life force of the other melons!

It's probably like a vampire-melon.
Meanwhile, it has doubled in size, while the others are still just as small :0s

Wow, how lucky are you to have that greenhouse for free. By gifting the professional tunnel to you, you continue to make the tunnel useful to grow food in. I bet that makes your friend happy to know dad's tunnel is in good hands :) . I am quite envious of your setup. It looks amazing.

I am Asian and noticed most people who are not Asian don't know they can eat sweet potato leaves. I personally prefer the sweet potato leaves than the sweet potato itself. In Asia, there is a cultivar that will only produce tons of leaves and not tuber.

Love seeing all the different varieties you have on your property. You and your girl friend are doing an amazing job!

lol, I indeed didn't know you could eat the sweet potato leaves. Now you mention it, I think I've read it somewhere before, but it's absolutely not something that is common here, so I forgot again. Ae those only the young leaves, or any leaf? I bet Google will know :0)

Thanks for the kind words.

And you're right, the friend drops by every once in a while, and every time she's amazed by the greenhouse, telling stories about her dad's delicious tomatoes. It's a real win-win :-)

Only the young leaves and don't cut too much at one time. I use it as Summer green. I love it sauteed in a bit of oil and garlic. I am sure you can find all kinds of recipes on Google.

I can’t wait to go out and find more info on it! And try it out, of course.
I’ll let you know how it went :0)

Very nice looking production. Love the abundance in the greenhouse.

Thanks,@liberyworms - it's getting 'worse' every day :0)

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