Tomato Variety 444 by TAMU

444 Tomato Variety, picture of green fruit

444 Tomato Variety

The 444 tomato variety (also identified as BHN 444)  was bred by horticulturalists at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

This variety has demonstrated strong resistance to Tomato-Spotted Wilt Virus and grows well in the South Texas summer heat.

It is determinate (bush varieties that produce a flush of  tomato fruit and then stops growing) and has been used by commercial producers.

The plants are relatively small (up to 2 feet in any direction) for the volume of tomato fruit. These plants were exposed to 3 light frosts in early May, so the actual size should be larger—but the fruit is still setting, despite the stunted growth! So far, it is meeting all expectations in our garden!

To be continued …



Fight Heat and Disease with ‘TOMATO 444’  accessed online, May 28, 2014 at —- last accessed May 28, 2014.


Multiple Root Carrot

Because of the super moist Fall (combined with limited  time available for gardening), we were unable to work in the garden nearest the house (reserved for carrots, spinach and Fall green beans).

picture of multiple root carrot

Carrot Jan. 20, 2014

Last year, we planted carrots and had so many that some of them stayed in the ground long enough to make seeds that were scattered (by wind) onto the soil.

When carrot plants are not thinned out as young plants, they tend to interfere neighboring carrots’ growth and have odd shapes, or develop multiple roots if there is an excess amount of nitrogen. As a consequence, we’ve seen quite a few “odd” shaped carrots — this one (left) is the oddest so far.

Garden Fresh Broccoli

Picture of broccoli

Broccoli, Jan. 2, 2013

On January 2, 2013, I harvested a small amount of broccoli from the garden (picture to left, top). The cauliflower was still very small on the plants (about the size of a large marble), and the cabbage appeared to be within two weeks of harvesting.

Unfortunately, this will probably be all that we obtain from the “Fall” garden–due to the extreme cold weather we are experiencing now. It was 20 degrees this

Oct 19, 2013 Fall Garden Plants

Oct 19, 2013 Fall Garden Plants

morning (unusual, even for January) and it will be closer to 15 by tomorrow (Tuesday, January 7, 2013) morning.

On October 19, 2013, small broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower plants were transplanted into the garden in October. Four rows were planted (from left to right, picture to left); broccoli (Waltham), cabbage (Copenhagen), cabbage (Early Jersey Wakefield), and cauliflower (Snow Ball). Notice also — the corn plants on the far left of the picture.

The plants are usually transplanted to the garden

Picture of Plants in rows.

Fall Plants, Jan. 2, 2013

around mid-September. Time from planting to harvesting for all the transplanted plants is 75 to 95 days. To avoid the really cold weather (hard freezes) that slow plant growth, we usually plant to begin harvesting around December 1 (75 days before December 1 is about September 15.) This year, however, the excess moisture from late Summer and early Fall left the garden soil too muddy to work until October.

On January 2 (75 days after planting), the plants are nearly mature; broccoli is ready to harvest (see 3rd picture at left). Notice also, the corn plants at the far left—stalks are brown

Broccoli head on Plant

Broccoli head on Plant

from freezing temperatures. Compare the two garden pictures; note the missing plants in the 3rd row, from the left, were not replaced. (The entire garden will be plowed under in the Spring–some time in February when the compost is added.)

Finally, a few pictures of the broccoli growing on the plants ( to left) and a cabbage plant (bottom).

Cabbage Plant, Top View

Cabbage, Top View

Fresh Tomatoes for Winter

tomatoes-Nov 26-2013

tomatoes-Nov 26-2013

Our mild Fall and Winter weather allows for a Fall garden, but it’s often a “gamble” due to sporadic cold snaps — like the one we had for Thanksgiving (with lows in the upper 20’s and highs in the upper 40’s to low 50’s).

This year, due to perfect conditions for growth, the tomato bushes were filled with green tomatoes the day of the first freeze for winter. Continue reading

Green Beans in the Garden

Blooms on green beans October 4, 2013

Green Beans October 4, 2013

Today I found fresh green beans in the garden! Of all the vegetables that grow in the garden, fresh green beans have much better flavor and texture than any that are purchased at the supermarket or at the farmers’ markets.

Once picked, the beans are immediately soaked in water for about 15 minutes, the put in the refrigerator. If not soaked, the beans tend to dry out very quickly in the dry refrigeration air.

When there are too many green beans to consume in a week, they are frozen (blanched, placed on cookie sheets, frozen, then packed into bags for “stick-free” access). The frozen green beans are still better than anything bought, but not as good as when they are freshly picked!

These Contender variety green beans were planted on August 17, 2013, and began blooming on October 4 (picture to left). Today, October 17, 2013, is 60 days since planting (about average for the time it takes to produce green beans). The green beans shown below are not quite ready to pick — center of the picture, towards the bottom, will be picked later today or tomorrow morning — another is visible lower down and farther back in the foliage.  There are enough green beans ready (larger than these, but not shown) to have our first green beans of the Fall today!

Contender green beans 60 days after planting

Contender green beans, October 17, 2013 (60 days)