Last year, I decided to plant tomatoes in a portion of the raised bed. With the irises out of bloom, it gave me a new project to pursue. I personally don't like to eat fresh tomatoes, but my husband does. I've heard it said that tomatoes bought in a store don't compare to home-grown garden tomatoes and there is something oddly empowering about growing your own food, So this year, I continued the tomato-planting tradition.
I like history and have been interested in heirloom plants for awhile. Somehow, I came upon the story of Radiator Charlie and his Mortgage Lifter tomatoes -it's a fascinating and inspiring story. This year I bought 8 Mortgage Lifter (yes, 8) from a local nursery, and three months later, our kitchen has an abundance of Charlie's famous tomato. If you've never heard of Charlie or his tomato, read all out him here:
Even though I don't like the taste of fresh tomatoes, I do love spaghetti and pizza. Using my garden tomatoes, I came up with a recipe for pizza sauce that I hope you will enjoy.
Garden Tomato Pizza Sauce
1 Tbsp. salted butter
1 1/2 cup garden tomatoes (different varieties have different flavors - for this recipe I used my Mortgage Lifters)
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced onion flakes
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
In a small saucepan, saute garlic in butter. Add tomatoes and the other remaining ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Allow the sauce mixture to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let the sauce set for two minutes.
The 2021 Rhizome Sale has ended. Thank you so much to all who purchased rhizomes!
At the end of this season, I will have planted over 20 new iris varieties. I thinned out some of my NOID inventory to make room in the beds. I'll be highlighting some of then new varieties in coming posts. But for this post, I wanted to highlight a collection I recently received. While I was going through and looking at new varieties to add, I came upon the work of Wisconsin hybridizer, Francis Rogers. I loved his work, and was able to connect with his daughters (Rogers passed away in 2020). One of his daughters currently runs his garden and she was kind enough to dig several varieties for me. I can't wait to see them bloom! I'm including links below so that you can see what has been added to my inventory. I'm also including a link with more information on Rogers. Enjoy, and make plans to see all the new varieties at next year's Open House!
Rockin' Rhett (2021 posthumous introduction) - link not yet available
Dancing in the Sun:
Mauna Loa Fire:
Girl in White:
-When I see garden decor in the stores or online, I often see "snail decor". Planters, garden flags...many are adorned with pictures of a cute little snail. When I started growing irises and flowers about 16 years ago, I loved snails. Now...not so much. Snails are not a gardener's best friend. When it comes to snails, slugs, and iris borer, each can pose a threat to your iris garden.
Not long after I put in my garden beds, I noticed that some leaves started to look wet, particularly the middle leaves. When I pulled the leaves apart, they were a slimy mess. I had no idea what was causing the leaf damage, so I cut the leaves down and sprayed the leaves with my special bleach mix (which fixes everything). The spray seemed to fix the problem and the plants seemed fine. But last year, the damage was particularly bad in one of my favorite varieties - Fairy's Prom Dress. It looked like I was going to lose the plant completely. So after doing some research, I went to Lowe's and purchased some Corry's Slug and Snail Killer. After two applications, Fairy's Prom Dress was cured and this year bloomed very well. I highly recommend this, and will likely be purchasing some more this year. (I don't get a commission off any of the products I mention in my posts).
Iris borer is a completely different threat, and one that most iris growers fear. I've seen growers write online how their entire iris beds have been wiped out from iris borer. The key is too keep your beds clean. I'm including some links below on how to identify if you have borer/borer prevention, and how to treat if your beds have a borer infestation.