Six years ago, Bob and Judy moved to their present house in Denison, just north of Dallas. Though they now have two acres, a pond, and plenty of room to garden, Judy concentrates her gardening energy in raised beds, growing only her favorite vegetables; tomatoes, bell peppers, okra, cucumbers, onions, and carrots. "I love tomatoes", she says, "and particularly like growing the 'Grape', 'Super Fantastic' and 'Sweet 100' varieties." According to Judy, the key to her tomato success is Tomato Ladders. Keeping her old wire cages upright during the Texas summer winds had always been a battle. Tomato Ladders were the perfect solution. "The first year I ordered five ladders to try them out," she says. "The ladders were amazing. They held up in the high winds and kept the tomatoes growing straight up," says Judy. Since the tomatoes grew more vertically, they didn't sprawl as much. "Now I can plant them closer together," says Judy. "This allows me to plant more tomatoes in less space, which also helps the foliage shade the soil, keeping it cool and reducing the amount of watering I have to do."
Judy loves the tomato ladders so much she's ordered five more and is thinking about ordering some for her peppers. "They are effective in the garden, and attractive, too," she says.
Judy says that part of the reason her vegetables, flowers, and trees grow so well is because of the enriched fertilizer she gets from a local store. It's loaded with natural minerals and materials such as greensand, granite sand, cornmeal, dried molasses and wheat bran. It really gives her plants a boost.
Judy likes her yard to look neat and manicured. She cares for all the gardens herself and notices all the details, including the garden hose. "I have a white vinyl hose that just doesn't look very attractive in the garden. "I'm thinking of buying a Coil Hose from Gardener's Supply. It's attractive, and also recoils nicely when I want to keep it out of sight," she says.
The first year her pond was covered in algae. Now she realizes the pond is an ecosystem and everything has to be in balance for it to be healthy. She uses barley pellets to keep the algae away, places goldfish in the pond, and makes sure 85 percent of the water surface is covered in plant foliage in summer. "This way, the pond stays healthy, the fish are happy, and the flowers bloom beautifully, says Judy.
Although Judy's gardening experiences started later in life, she has been a quick learner. Always eager to take on a new challenge, she's having a great time transforming her little piece of the world into an ever more beautiful and abundant garden.
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