The cherry tomato plants just keep growing in the first garden that James and Kim Alexander have had as a married couple.
Call it the great soil by the side of Indian Creek, where past flooding may have left lots of nutrients in the soil; or the special attention to fertilizing his plants that James does when first putting them in the ground; or maybe that “we prayed over the land,” James said with a laugh. Call it whatever you want, but one thing’s for sure. The Alexanders, both avid gardeners long before they married last year, are enjoying an incredible harvest this year.
They’ve never gardened in the location they are at this year — which is right along the Indian Creek in Nevada on some property where they know the owner. They were given permission to till a large patch of soil last April and make a garden.
Most of the plants came from Brekke’s and were started in pots inside their home before being transferred to the garden. All the plants have seen tremendous success except for the corn and green beans. Those two things were affected by flooding and predators at one end of the large garden. But no one’s crying about those two things, not when everything else is doing so well.
The cherry tomato stakes have had to be extended way past what James originally thought the height would be, and they don’t appear to be finished growing or producing. “They’ll grow as tall as the season is long,” he said. “As long as you stake ‘em up and prune the suckers… We’ve got buckets and buckets and buckets of tomatoes.” Along with the cherry-sized ones, they’ve also planted Roma tomatoes, for 147 tomato plants total.
“We’ve eaten 10 quarts of tomatoes so far,” Kim said. Most have been made into salsa and spaghetti sauce. “We’ve canned about 51 quarts more than that already,” she said. James added, “And we’re not done. We might have 100 quarts (of tomatoes) before we’re done.”
Also doing well are the cucumbers, zucchini — “It’s going crazy,” James said — and potatoes. The couple pulled out three potatoes to show the size — let’s call it big — that they’re getting from this year’s crop.
“We’re probably going to get 150 to 200 pounds of potatoes before we’re done,” James said, “and we only planted four rows of them.”
Peppers, both banana and jalapeno, are coming on strong, and so are pumpkins and watermelon.
The two stay busy canning it all. “We do that every night,” said James, who works during the days running his business, Alexander Masonry. The canning, he added, “will be worth it in the winter when we will have everything we need.” That’s what James loves most about gardening, “watching it grow and eating it.”
Kim said she enjoys most the health benefit of eating food you grow on your own.
The Alexanders admit they love living off the land. In fact, they’ve purchased an acreage near Collins, where they’ll soon move, and they look forward to having a big garden on their own property next year.
It’s tempting, though, they both agree, to continue putting some plants in at the location they’ve had this year, because of the success they’ve had in the spot.
“Who knows, maybe we’ll have a garden at both places,” they said.