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Sunday, September 12, 2021

Tom, the Plant Guy

 When Tom retired full time from teaching he built himself a greenhouse. He built it over the concrete block wall along the property line and used recycled windows from our then church Sunday School building, which he had been storing for some years for that purpose.

Tom likes to propagate fancy leaf geraniums from cuttings and has collected quite a few varieties. 


It's time to take cuttings. Tom has spent quite a few hours painting, cleaning, and refreshing his greenhouse in the last month. Then he made a new batch of potting soil using his homemade compost. Next he filled all of the recycled nursery pots and made the cuttings. Here you see them all laid out. They need to harden off for 24 hours before planting. Now they are in the pots and the hope is that at least half will make it through the winter. It is not an exact science. 

Tom also likes to start things from seed. He grows all of our tomato plants, plus many to give away. Last year he tried peppers, keeping them in the greenhouse much of the summer. Last year's poblanos were a success so this year he tried out some free seeds for red and yellow peppers. They were all in the greenhouse until mid summer, when it got too hot. 

We have been enjoying vine ripened tomatoes for a long time now. We're running short of ripe ones. I hope more will have a chance to ripen. 
I roast poblanos, dice them and freeze them to add to dishes like shrimp and grits. 

The red and yellow ones are sweet peppers and I am trying to be creative and find uses for them, since we don't enjoy them raw so much. 

Another plant he likes to propagate are hardy cyclamen. From a few that he purchased years back, new plants are popping up all over, starts he has made and planted out, some spring blooming, some fall blooming. 


By October Tom's greenhouse will be filling up with starts from cuttings and over-wintered tender plants. His raised beds will fill up with protected bonsai and volunteer plants he has dug up and potted from around the yard. He doesn't like to throw plants away. My sister's plant sale will again benefit. 

I have to say also that much of the yard maintenance is now being done by Tom, since I am less able than I used to be. He gets all of the heavy work. Almost every day he is outside working on some plant or yard project or another. 

Tom, the plant guy. I'm sure glad I have him. 

14 comments:

  1. How wonderful to have a greenhouse!(... and a Tom) I would love to have a greenhouse, but will be happy to get myself some raised veg Trug planters (I think that's what they're called) to put alongside the fence on the south side for planting next spring. It is the only area where we get sun. My son-in-law has a greenhouse on a few acres in the hill country. He does a little hydroponic gardening as well. I love to see what he's grown.

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  2. It's wonderful that he has a gardening hobby. My poor mom used to lose many plants to my dad's over eager weeding. He couldn't tell one for another and was too stubborn to ask.

    I grew peppers and tomatoes from seed this year for the first time. I didn't have nearly the success you and Tom had but it was still good.

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  3. That is a certainly a productive hobby and adds beauty and health to the world. I am sure it nurtures Tom, body and mind.

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  4. And it's good Tom has the plants for a full time hobby to fill up his retirement years!

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  5. I'm sure Tom is never bored. Neither can I see you as having nothing to do even though you've had to scale back quite a bit.

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  6. Tom is absolutely amazing. I'm still remembering all that bonsai he has. What an awesome greenhouse he constructed from reused windows. That's a whole lot of geranium cuttings he's propagating. He could go into the business.

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  7. Tom always impresses. And yes you are lucky. He could have a hobby of putting puzzles together all day and you just can't eat those:) He keeps you in food and beauty and himself out of mischief.

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  8. Tom had a good crop of peppers. Nothing like food directly from the soil.

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  9. So glad that you have Tom to do the major planting. What a blessing he is!

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  10. When I have a bunch of peppers I do something like this:https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018931-sausage-with-peppers-and-onions and serve with a chunk of good Italian bread. I also chop some up and put them in packages in the freezer for easy adding to casseroles in the winter. Hope this helps.

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  11. What a guy! He certainly has a green thumb:)

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  12. Tom is definitely a green thumb kind of guy. You are indeed fortunate to have such a talented partner. :-)

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  13. You are a lucky lady to have such a great plant guy. And he is a lucky man to have you.

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  14. Bet you are glad to have him. Those tomato and pepper plants are just beautiful! I love the greenhouse Tom built. He is so neat with all his work, all the cuttings. Another of my dreams was to have a pretty little greenhouse built from old windows, but I've been pretty happy with my teeny tiny cheap model. :) Your flowers are still so pretty (your last post). I don't see messy, at all.

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