The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

What’s Growing: Tomatoes and Little Princes



I have not shared what’s growing with you in a long time for shame of the condition of my Potager! I have not spent enough time and energy on my own garden this year. You think it looked wild before? You should see it now! Yes, that is a giant weed right next to the rustic arbor (above). But really, I still find my sanctuary beautiful, maybe even more so for all its wildness. Purple Perilla, asparagus and horse radish gone wild …


In spite of my neglect I still manage to harvest. Tomatoes are my now favorite food!



I’ve declared Sungold cherry tomatoes a staple for the Potager EVERY year. They are candy.


I love to cook cherry tomatoes down and freeze in half pint mason jars for a winter treat. To learn how I prepare them head on over to They Draw & Cook where I’ve illustrated my favorite recipe entitled “Summer in a Jar”. (It is also the artwork you see under the Artist Kathy Sturr tab.)

What’s for breakfast? A tomato sandwich, of course! You know Vegenaise is just as good, if not better, than regular ol’ mayo. (Yes, I am still on my plant based diet – 9 months – I am not going back to meat and dairy because I find the plant food palette delicious and nutritious! I do not find it limiting at all. I’ll share some of my favorite recipes with you one day.) We eat sprouted bread around here. It has become the norm.  I believe this is a Brandy Wine tomato – grown with sandwiches in mind.


I’ll be making sauce soon, too, to freeze in quart mason jars.


And freezer pesto! (Minus the cheese which I have always done anyway.) I just LOVE the purple basil – wonderful flavor! It looks beautiful with Sungold cherries or in salads or sprinkled over just about anything. It is part of a variety pack, Hudson Valley Seed Library’s Basil Bouquet Art Pack, but next year I am buying it straight. I am dreaming fields of purple basil.


And we’ll even have squash! Now that I’ve cut down the Dill forest, there’s more sun and the squash are growing. I love this little two-toned squash, Zephyr Summer Yellow, from Johnny’s Seeds although I have yet to taste it.


I spent most of yesterday harvesting garlic – yes, harvesting garlic. A little late, but better late than never. Besides, I hear sprouted garlic is the new garlic – higher in antioxidants with more nutritional compounds, although I have yet to venture further and try black garlic. My garlic, fully yellowed and even crispy brown, was growing in here … just to the right of the rustic arbor. Yes, that is Queen Ann’s Lace among the garlic. Yikes.


I didn’t do too bad. Edible (and even sprouted), but I am very glad I ordered some garlic to plant this year. I went with a variety pack from Hudson Valley Seed Library. I am looking forward to trying some new varieties although the German Extra Hardy is my favorite. I needed some new stock I felt, anyway. I have been planting garlic for three? four? years now.


I prepared the bed for the Fall, too – and even reclaimed my path!


The Queen Ann’s Lace is GONE! I like to use grass clippings as mulch in the Potager since we do not treat our lawn with any chemicals. I’ll pile some compost – ready or not – and leaves on here, too, to break down over the Winter. Last year I didn’t prep any of my beds and I am so sorry. I will not skimp again!


My beans are lagging way behind (are you sensing a trend here?). I managed to squeak out not one, but two, Dragon Tongue beans from one plant that lived through the ant farm. I love the colors! They looked so coordinated with Little Prince eggplants from Renee’s Garden, that I photographed them together.


I grow Little Prince in pots in the Potager. I like them because they are perfectly sized for a serving of eggplant – not a whopper of eggplant. I would like to explore the world of eggplants further, though. Do you see that they are resting upon brick? Yes, impenetrable-to-weeds brick pavers that will be laid down in the center path of the Potager by ****fall. (I just couldn’t say that word!)


I love that in gardening, you always get to try again next year. It is never final. It tastes good!


Author: Kathy Sturr

Cultivating art, growing soul, and creating plant-based food in the beautiful 1000 Islands, New York and Cedar Key, Old Florida.

9 thoughts on “What’s Growing: Tomatoes and Little Princes

  1. Despite the wildness I love your potager Kathy. I need to clean up mine soon. My eggplant was in too late to grow as it is just flowering now….such a weird season. And I have to try those cherry tomatoes and the recipe. Here’s to next year as this year is almost done.

    • Here’s to next year Donna! Though I am trying to think of gardening as a year round adventure even up here in North Country. I cannot wait to try starting seeds in my new little greenhouse. I am not sure how to use it over the summer? I burned three of my orchids, and the peppers were doing well but then those flowers needed to be pollinated so the peppers went out into the garden. They are still in pots and things just don’t grow as big and prolific in pots as in my Potager. Anyway it is a good dilemma to have. Eggplants usually are quite late I’ve found but I started Little Prince quite early. I really want to try some other varieties. What kind are you growing?

  2. Your potager is beautiful + to tell you the truth mine was filled with more weeds this year than last…well, to be honest sometimes, I just get overwhelmed and it just gets ahead of me:-) you are not alone. I even left some of the queen annes lace in there because the beneficials liked it, so I let it stay until it died back-lol:-)
    Sun Gold are the best + just like candy. I have not grown them in a few years, sure need to they are the best! I loved your artwork with your recipe-very nice:-)
    I always love your tours because you have such a great eye for putting all your plants in just the right place. Love your food too-YUM!
    Your last comment is what I love best about gardening..there are do overs! And that is the best part:-)

    • Thanks Robbie! I used to let Queen Anne grow but she wanted a whole kingdom so now I weed her out. It’s funny that plants I love like Purple Perilla, Cutleaf Coneflower, Calendula, even Borage can now be considered weed status in my Potager. I can’t tell you how many Cutleafs I dug up! I will save them for our gardening club plant exchange. It’s comforting to know you become overwhelmed because your garden is beautiful and always looks so lush and juicy! I am overwhelmed this year but like anything, I consider it practice. I will again be the gardener at TI Park so next year I hope to achieve a better balance between gardening professionally and personally. A “do over” like you say. With practice I hope to become better at it!

      • and we do with our do overs! Black Eyed Susan has done that in my potager-crazy…but I still love the strays:-)

  3. I enjoyed the photos of your garden! It looks like such a happy place to be.

    Did you build your beautiful rustic arbor? Love it.

    I planted some heirloom tomatoes, don’t know their names as my friend gave me the starts from her greenhouse. I have enjoyed them but my favorite tomatoes were volunteer cherry tomatoes in the pot where i am growing a passionflower vine. I noticed a little tomato start and decided to just let it be. It is absolutely huge and the tomatoes are sweet like candy. The tomato seed probably came from my worm compost bin.

    Thanks for sharing your wild garden.

    • Thank you. A passion vine! How I would love to grow one. I tried to start some seed but grew impatient. I’ll try again come early Spring. I like volunteers. One year I had volunteer gourds grow on the arbor. Yes, I did make it myself. You can read all about it here. I think all gardens are happy places!

  4. vegenaise. Canola and soy make me twitchy, but I see your brand says GM free.

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