April 18, 2012

Telschow Drive-In Theater

It's been in the 70's down here in New Orleans since late January, so we've been enjoying grilling out and gardening for quite a while.  I'm pretty much obsessed with fresh basil, and my little plants are coming in nicely out on the front porch. Ray's working on building me a raised veggie bed in the backyard so I can transplant our veggies & herbs back there when it's time.


Using a seed starter I planted two types of Heirloom tomatoes (Mortgage Lifter & Golden Jubilee), some Green Bell Peppers, Lavender, Sweet Mint and Rosemary. I've grown plenty of herbs before, but this is my first encounter with full-on veggie action. The peppers don't seem so bad, but I'm fully intimidated by those tomatoes. If it weren't for the fact that my piggy little snout is watering for heirloom tomatoes, I wouldn't have attempted it. Because let's face it, I have zero interest in gardening unless it produces some kind of food. Flowers...meh.

So any and all advice is welcome - please help me grow heirloom tomatoes! I'm gonna post my plant's progress on here so you all can see how I'm doing :)  I'm so excited about it! Eating fresh herbs and tomatoes from my very own backyard will be a dream come true. Yum....now I'm thinking of all the burgers and caprese salad I can enjoy with them...

And speaking of grilling out, we decided to take things a step further this weekend. My husband is a big kid in the most adorable sense, and since the weather has been so nice, he decided to try out his new brainchild this weekend: movies in the backyard.

Backyard "Drive In" Theater! 

Ray's been talking about doing this for a while, and it was actually pretty ingenious. We have a big backyard (well, by New Orleans standards) with a very high & sturdy fence. There's also a big gate that swings open because the previous owners owned a boat. Ray's brother owns a projector, so naturally Ray thought we should throw up a white king size sheet on the fence, drive the car in the backyard, and have a Telschow Drive-In Movie Night, lol! Ray's immediate family came over (parents + brother & sister-in-law) and we grilled out and chatted in lawn chairs until it got dark enough to project the movie.

We also bought some tiki torches with mosquito repellant to add ambiance and ward off bugs, which unfortunately didn't work :( I have mosquito bites everywhere, even on the bottoms of my feet! THE BOTTOMS OF MY FEET!!! Curse you mutant swamp mosquitos!!! I shall find you and smote your ruin upon the mountaintop with Deet. And then rename myself Kaelin the White and save humankind from the mechanations of Mordor...er wait...mosquitos.

So for those of you looking for cheap family entertainment this summer, here you go! We plan on revamping our mosquito defenses and trying this again soon for the College Ministry we lead at our church.  We watched Up! this past weekend, but for the college kids we're thinking a fun, summery movie like Jurassic Park, ET, Super 8, or Pirates of the Caribbean. I'm going to try my best to talk them into Heavyweights, but hardly anyone's heard of that movie so it might be an uphill battle.

Also, we went to see one of my favorite bands ever this weekend - The Boxer Rebellion. And they rocked. Don't you just love when a band sounds even better in person? It's a rare and beautiful thing.

The Boxer Rebellion - House of Blues

The Boxer Rebellion 

Here's to GREAT weekends!


Sister, if I can grow tomatoes, with my black thumb and Canadian weather, I am certain that YOU can! And, while our climates may be different, it seems we share the same mutant mosquito issue up here once summer hits. Really, if so many species go extinct by accident, can't someone find a way to take these blood suckers out on purpose??

Have a great one!

I started a raised garden this year. Just did a few tomatoes and peppers last year in pots. Your basil is looking great. My herbs from seeds were a flop (just got basil to grow and it is still tiny) so I bought some transplants instead. Growing tomatoes and peppers from seed is more difficult down here. Think it has something to do with the heat right around the corner. You could cover all bets and buy a couple of transplants too. Worse case, you would have a few more tomatoes eat. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

I was at the House of Blues this weekend, too! Although, of course it was a different one, and I was seeing Spoon. But still, cool! Twinsies!

The drive-in sounds pretty awesome! I vote Jurassic Park, only because I haven't seen it in ages!

And your plants look fun! I had plans to start a little garden, but I don't know if it will happen this year. Good luck!

Oh that looks like so much fun, but I think you need a campfire and 'smores too, just because lol

Living in Alaska, I can only grow tomatoes in the greenhouse. This summer will be our third year. We learn new stuff every year. This year we are buying our plants from the commercial greenhouse in town rather than starting our own. I see you are using those pod trays. I will caution you to cut the netting off before you transplant. We had to dig up all of our plants last summer and remove the nets and the peat pots that I transplanted to. They were chocking off the roots - the roots were actually growing up out of the top. The netting does not break down. Peat pots might break down where you live because it is warmer, but they don't here because it is not warm enough. There is a site on the web called Penny's Tomatoes with lots of good information. Miracle Grow makes a tomato fertilizer that you mix with water. Use of this is not organic if that is important to you. Good luck with your tomatoes and the rest of your garden. If I lived in a warm climate I would definitely have an outdoor garden. People up here use hoop houses with much success.

Tomatoes...they need deep watering, preferably early in the morning before the sun comes out. They also love food, so feed them with some Miracle Gro once/week. :-D Also, watch for bugs...I've had some serious infestations once the summer gets crazy hot. They are some of the hardest vegetables to grow, but worth it!

Just a tip for mint...don't plant them in a raised bed. Those things grow and will take over in your garden. They're best in pots, so they don't go crazy! :-D

Nothing tastes like heirloom tomatoes! Even home grown modern varieties just can't compare. Tomatoes are the one vegetable we grow every year. A few things to keep in mind:
- Water: Tomatoes need consistent water, but it needs to be at the roots, not on the leaves or you might end up with powdery mildew. Insufficient or sporadic watering (as well as lack of calcium) can cause blossom end rot, which is a black spot at the end of the developing fruit. You can add calcium by putting crushed eggshells in the soil. Another trick - poke holes in the bottom third of a gallon milk jug and bury it next to your tomato plant so only the top is visible. Twice a week, just fill up the bottle with warm water. That way you know exactly how much you've watered, and the water goes to the deep roots. Once the fruits begin to ripen, water less often for sweeter fruit.
- Support: Your heirloom tomatoes are indeterminate, which means they will grow and grow and grow. They don't stop unless you stop them by pruning. It is not required, but pinching off suckers that grow between the stem and a branch will strengthen the plant, and pinching the top of stems will stop them from growing and you might get fruit a little earlier. Stake them, cage them, tie 'em to a fence - just don't let them lie on the ground. They need air circulation and it's a lot easier to get to the fruit.
- Temperature: Tomatoes need warmth to ripen, but will stop producing when it reaches 90 degrees.
- Location: Again, because they're indeterminate your varieties are best in the ground rather than in a pot. Don't plant tomatoes (or other related plants) in the same location two years in a row.
- Planting: Tomatoes will send out roots from the stem if it is in the soil. For a sturdy plant, my dad swore by digging a short trench and laying the tomato plant on its side so about a third of the stem was buried. After a few days, the exposed stem turned and grew straight up. More roots means more nutrients and water taken in. I'm in Wisconsin, with cooler soil, so shallow works for me. You might prefer to dig a deep hole rather than a trench.
- Picking: Tomatoes that have started to change color will continue to ripen after they've been picked. Here in Wisconsin that means if a frost is in the forecast, we can pick mostly green tomatoes and they'll still ripen in the windowsill. They taste even better if they ripen on the vine, but a window ripened, homegrown heirloom is still oodles better than anything you'll pick up in a grocery store.
Wow. Brain dump. But I just looove heirloom tomatoes!

I am not an expert on gardening, but I do grow some pretty amazing heirloom tomatoes every year. My only hint is they like warm nights and once the fruit is on the vine, they don't need as much water as when they are in the growing stage. Piecemealquilts has given you excellent advise.

eeeek - that sounds like so much fun (apart from the mosquitoes, which do NOT!). What a fantastic idea :-D

jurassic park jurassic park jurassic park! i have it in my netflix queue because i have been wanting to see it again!

I love growing tomatoes. They do like plenty of feed though and a sunny spot (not that you have trouble with sun I'm thinking!) But our climate is so different that you probably need to ask someone who grows great tomatoes in your neighbourhood for advice. Too much heat and water too soon and they get leggy and don't produce flowers to fruit. You shouldn't need to feed at all until the first fruits have set. You also need to pinch out certain bits to make sure the plants produce nice strong stems that will bear fruit and not just a tonne of branches with leaves (I'd need to ask my mum for the details as I leave that bit to her.)

I'm planting tomatoes for the first time this year as well! My grandfather has been growing tomatoes for years and years very successfully, so I called him up before planting mine. He said to make sure the soil has great drainage and to add a bit of something to make the soil more basic like lime (as in limestone, not fruit! I found a small bag in the lawn section of my hardware store). Depending on how you feel about organic, he also suggested watering with miracle grow every day - he feeds his 6 plants 2 gallons of water every day. His always taste so much better than store bought!

And as a college student (well, a graduate student, but still...), I love jurassic park!

Love the back yard drive in - what a hoot! They can have their $20 bucket of popcorn at the movie theater! By the time you buy tickets, popcorn and drinks you've blown $50. Great idea for low cost entertainment.

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