Posts tagged Home Depot
A Summer of Tomatoes
Luscious Cherry Tomatoes From the Garden

Luscious Cherry Tomatoes From the Garden

It has been a splendid tomato summer! Volunteer cherry tomatoes from last summer's plants joyfully returned without a nudge. I had the sweetest cherry tomatoes from May through July. The best recipes are the simplest. I washed the tomatoes, halved them, tossed them with fresh Basil Temecula Olive Oil, dried basil for further basil flavor layering and extra intense flavor, freshly ground Tellicherry black pepper, and kosher salt. I roasted them in the oven at 400 degrees F. for a half hour. At this point the cherry tomatoes caramelize and are ready to be tossed over my favorite pasta or zucchini-spiraled sauteed pasta. It doesn't get any better than this!

"Dressed to Thrill" Cherry Tomatoes

"Dressed to Thrill" Cherry Tomatoes

In July, the beefy big boys started making an appearance, Cherokee Purple, Lemon Boy, and Renee's Garden Crimson Carmello, a top flavor "French tomato variety renowned for exquisite flavor." I used these tomatoes for summer sandwiches and sumptuous salads.

Cherokee Purple and Renee's Garden Dark Green Raven Zucchini

Cherokee Purple and Renee's Garden Dark Green Raven Zucchini

In August, the Italian San Marzano tomatoes and Inca Jewels Container Roma tomatoes (seeds from Renee's Garden) start ripening. I want to use the roma tomatoes for rich, flavorful tomato sauces. I sliced and froze the roma tomatoes for recipes for my fall upcoming "Lunch in Provence" Cooking Classes.

Jeweled Roma Tomatoes and Italian San Marzano Tomatoes

Jeweled Roma Tomatoes and Italian San Marzano Tomatoes

To have tomatoes all summer long, plant different varieties for different uses. Always plant a few new varieties to experiment with. Although I sent away for tomato seed varieties from Renee's Seeds, Home Depot had a good selection of different tomato seedling varieties such as Cherokee Purple, Indie Rose, and Lemon Boy.

"Life is endlessly delicious," treat yourself, a friend, or loved one to a fall "Lunch in Provence" Cooking Class! For more information, please visit, Cooking Classes.


Herb Garden a la Wine Barrels

Herb Garden a la Wine Barrels This spring I created a small herb garden in a quiet, sunny, protected corner next to my barn using vintage wine barrels. I borrowed this concept, modifying it slightly, from Rosalind Creasy's, Edible Landscaping book. This is a terrific book for incorporating more edibles in your landscaping. Rosalind has a whole chapter on "Designing With Herbs."

An "herb garden a la wine barrels," was multi-dimensional for me. My husband, John, and I make wine, and have access to used wine barrels. We have a functional barn, with a trio of wine barrels already planted with blueberry bushes and strawberries on the right side, why not do something on the left with wine barrels, such as herbs. This particular spot is also close to my kitchen, a must for any herb garden.

I used a trio of half barrels from standard wine barrels, cut in half. You can find these types of barrels for sale at home improvement stores such as Home Depot and Dixieline, nurseries, and garden centers. For my second top row, I used a smaller 15 gallon wine barrel, cut in half and sanded along the edges. All wine barrels need to have spaced holes drilled for adequate drainage. I also placed my bottom wine barrels on top of carefully placed river rocks to save the barrels from rotting in the soil, and allowing further drainage.

Since the barrels are big, it is best to use a sterile filler or upside down one gallon size plastic plant containers. It will save you on filling the entire barrel with soil, mulch, etc. I simply placed my second row, and smaller wine barrels securely on the sides of the base half-barrels, using their weight to stabilize them.

Fill your barrels with clean potting soil, almost to the rim of each barrel. You can add an irrigation system if you like. I chose not to. Select your favorite herbs, and plant. I planted chives, winter savory, curly parsley, Italian parsley, tarragon, sorrel, Italian oregano, sage, cinnamon basil, and Italian basil. Choose herbs that you use frequently in your cooking, and a mixture of annual and perennial herbs. Choose some herbs that have a trailing habit, so as they grow and establish themselves, they will spill over the barrels. As time goes on, you can always switch out herbs for new ones when needed.

Add a layer of mulch on top of your soil, and around your herbs.  Newly planted herbs like to be kept moist initially, and water moderately once established.

Please share if you grow herbs to cook with. Please share how your herb garden is set up and designed.

Wine Box Container Gardening

On the recent tour of this year's Encinitas Garden Festival, one of the private gardens had a beautiful white-picket fence enclosing an immaculate raised bed vegetable garden. Adjacent to the vegetable garden was an open area with a pathway and fruit trees. In addition, there was a fabulous focal point of creative staggered containers, using wine boxes, galvanized tubs, and burlap bags. Something so simple, with a "wow" factor. It is structural, functional, beautiful, clever, and unique all in one. Hats off to this homeowner, and their herb garden.

This is reminiscent of an idea in Rosalind Creasy's new book, Edible Landscaping, where she describes how to stagger and arrange different size half-wine barrels for a perfect container grouping.

Most of these containers can be found in local farm and garden supply stores, such as Grangettos, Home Depot, or even flea markets for the weathered and rusty look. Look around your garage, sheds, utility areas for possible containers you might already have. Wine boxes can be found at wine shops, wineries, and friends who are in wine clubs.

It is still important to create holes for drainage in the case of the galvanzied tubs, and line the wooden wine boxes with heavy plastic, small rocks for drainage, and then your preferred soil. Eventually burlap bags will break down exposed to weather elements, but will hold up through a few seasons. Gardener's burlap is strong, yet very reasonable, coming in ready-sewn bags, or longer sheets of material.

With very little expense, and a lot of creativity, you might be able to create a unique container focal point in your garden, too.

VintageGardenGal Tidbit Thyme...

Attention Chicken Lovers! Spruce up your chicken coop for VintageGardenGal's Annual Chicken Coop Photo Contest. Send in your photos this month to