Home Grown

After not one but two unsuccessful vegetable gardens, I’m finally having some luck growing something edible! My past gardens failed because the plants weren’t getting enough sun. So, one day early this spring I sketched hourly thumbnails of our yard to show where the sun was shining. At the end of the day I could see exactly how many hours of sun we were getting and where. Our sunniest area turned out to be right next to the street, where we get roughly five hours of direct sunlight. Six or more hours of sun is considered “full sun” (what vegetables need to grow), but I planted a lone “Sweet 100” cherry tomato plant anyway, just to see what would happen.

My little tomato seedling stretched taller and taller, and bright yellow flowers began unfurling almost overnight.

home grown tomatoes

Before I knew it, rows of little green tomatoes had popped out all over the plant.

home grown tomatoes

Now they are turning red, and the process is painfully slow! Most likely because I’m impatient and check on them multiple times a day.

home grown tomatoes

My first tomato was ready to pick this morning, and it was the most deliciously sweet tomato I have ever tasted. Probably because I grew it myself!

home grown tomatoes

home grown tomatoes

I realize that I’m way too excited about a simple tomato plant doing what tomato plants are supposed to do, but thanks for humoring me. It took a lot of trial and error to get to this point! It seems like gardening is just like anything else—the more I practice the less I suck at it.

We’ve made some big changes to our front yard this year, but I’m waiting until next year to show before and after shots. I want to give the flowers a chance to fill out a bit more. How’s that for a cliffhanger? Next spring I’m going to try to work more vegetable plants into my flower garden, so it will be pretty and practical. We’ll just need to install a fence along the front of our yard to keep passing dogs from peeing all over our dinner!

Speaking of dogs, Mabel is home and getting spoiled rotten. We are so thankful to have her back. The doctors say it will be a month or so before she can start to resume normal activity, but we are happy to baby her until then.


  1. Andrea

    Congrats on your first home-grown tomato! ;) I love gardening myself so I totally understand the frustration if something you’ve planted doesn’t want to grow. Oh and the ‘checking multiple times a day’… yeah… been there, done that. ;D
    Have a nice day!
    xo Andrea

  2. Sarah

    Hurrah! Congratulations!! You’re a *real* gardener!! :)
    I grew a TON of daisy plants from seed this year… and they’re slowly killing me with anticipation. Thus far they’re happy little leafy things. Come ON, flowers!!!

  3. Aubrey

    Oh isn’t it so rewarding? We started a garden on our apartment balcony and the tomatoes have just been trucking away. Each time I get super excited to pick one. It’s produced about 15, as of now. We also ate our very first home grown jalapeno. It’s so beautiful to grow our own, even though it is slow like you said. Yesterday I planted my first avocado seed that I had growing in water. And, like you, all of that was after quite a bit of trial and error. We’re still messing up here and there but I suppose that is the point, to keep on.

  4. Abby Liberty

    I highly recommend the Carrboro Farmers Market Tomato Festival. It is coming up July 13th. We go every year to sample many different kinds of tomatoes, then we buy some of our favorites and save the seeds for planting next year (we start them in pots indoors in February). We have had so much more produce from those seeds than the seeds or plants we buy at the store (Lowes, Harris Teeth, etc.). Plus, tomato tasting with over 70 varieties? Who can resist?

  5. Amanda

    Homegrown food does taste amazing, doesn’t it? Bravo!
    Also, so glad to hear that Mabel is at home and doing well! Yay!

  6. Kimberly D.

    The tomatoes look great and I’m so happy to hear that Mabel is back home! I hope her recovery continues to go well and quick.

  7. April

    Yay gardening! I wish I could grow something, but I’m on the 49F with no good lighting, lol. I will fondly watch your attempts and successes! :P

  8. Maja

    We planted 4 tomatoe plants and I have seen some blossoms. But so far, that’s it. The weather has been so fickle here in Europe, I am fearing for their well-being. So I totally get your joy about those tomatoes! And yay for Mabel being home.

  9. Lisa A

    Congratulations on your tomato plant success!! You will have more cherry tomatoes than you can stand before long. One day a few summers ago I picked 118 cherry tomatoes off one plant!

    I’m also so happy for you that Mabel has returned home and is being properly spoiled! What a lucky little dog!!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      I hope I get that many! You’ve inspired me to keep count. :)

  10. Melissa Irvin

    Congratulations! We decided to do a garden this year – our first – so far, so good! I feel such joy seeing new vegetables form and grow!

  11. Nicole

    I love your posts about your garden :) As soon as I move to a place that allows me to, I’m going to grow a garden of my own! Love seeing this inspiration.


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