The first of four big feature stories about backyard veggie gardens I wrote for The Dallas Morning News ran on Friday. It describes the garden of John Spyropoulos. He owns the popular Greenville avenue restaurant John’s Cafe.
Of the four gardens chosen for publication, this one produces the most. John told me at the peak of the season he harvests 40 pounds of tomatoes every few days. Also, I thought the tomatoes and other produce he offered me from his garden tasted the best of those all the gardeners who offered.
So what’s his secret? It was harder than I anticipated to pinpoint what made each garden so successful. Here are a few thoughts…
- High level of time and attention. His routine includes watering every morning around 4 a.m. before he goes to the cafe. Consistency must be good.
- Plant hardy varietals. He buys mostly plain old tomato plants from Home Depot. Celebrity, Porter, the regular heat-loving ones that work better than heirlooms. I am swearing off heirlooms until I have more success with regular tomatoes.
- Bird netting. Yes, he covers his entire garden with it.
- Eggshells. He tills leftover ones from the cafe into the soil twice a year. He goes through around 1,600 eggs a week so there are plenty. I may try to find a place to get some to throw in my pile.
If you have questions about this plot I am happy to answer, just comment!
Be sure to buy a paper next Friday, or just check back at this blog, for a link to the next veggie garden feature. It’s about a side yard garden that has raised beds and rain tanks!