Brandywine tomatoes

14 May 2007
The Brandywines are growing fast. It's incredible to think that this pair has been in for just eight weeks and the small, firm, green tomatoes are already the size of golf balls, and there are many flowers. If you don't know Brandywine tomatoes, they're an old heirloom variety, supposedly cultivated by the Amish in the 1800s. They have a superb taste, just like those old tomatoes we grew up with, before supermarkets encouraged the growth of tomatoes with cardboard skin and no taste. I am hoping to get about 25 kilos off each of these bushes, enough for a million salads and for some tomato sauce and paste preserved in jars with my trusty old Fowlers Vacola preserving unit.

Over in the earth garden we have crops of lettuce, silverbeet, cucumbers, spinach, turnips, carrots, potatoes, beans, peppers, radishes, onions, garlic, kale, peas and green beans. We've been growing vegetables for about 25 years but in the past few years we've relied on our backyard produce to keep us healthy and alive. It's a totally organic garden which is a real pleasure to work in, and when I'm gathering vegetables and fruit in the late afternoon, there isn't another place on earth I'd rather be.

That gate at the back leads to the chook house. I'll tell you about my girls one day soon.


  1. Dear Rhonda. I'm starting again at the beginning and this is the first blog post I can find. I have enjoyed reading your blog so much for probably the last three years, since I discovered it anyway. You make so much good sense and I want to refresh the subjects that you cover so I plan to work my way through your blog archives over this festive season. So interesting to me as I try to live the simple life.

  2. I'm also starting at the beginning Rhonda. Your book is so wonderful and I'm going to read every blog post and take notes :)

  3. I am starting at the beginning of your blog as I have so much to learn. Thank you so much for all the effort and time that you have put into this blog. I have much to learn. Thank you.

  4. And here is yet another new reader of your blog...Hi Rhonda, what an amazing and inspiring blog you created ! Like many I have started to read from the earliest post I could find after reading some posts first that caught my interest right away. I will be commenting more as I read more the coming time. Thank you for creating this wonderful blog, Rhonda ! :)

  5. I'm another new reader! My friend Kate Singh over at Coffee With Kate was talking about your book, Down To Earth, and I can hardly wait to get my hands on a copy. I have been what I call a 'Thriftologist' for many years, and I am always looking for more ideas on how to live a simple and frugal life.

  6. I am yet another new reader. My best friend and I have been reading your blog and follow you on Instagram. Now we have both ordered your books. :) We tend to encourage each other along our journey. It is hard for me to live as simply as I would like as both my husband and I still work long days outside the home and help take care of our parents. But, we do what we can and Lord willing, I look forward to one day retiring and enjoying a full time life at 3 years and 11 months away, but who's counting? :) Until then (and after), I'll continue to learn. Thank you, Ms. Rhonda!

    Lisa from the United States

    1. Lisa, doing what you can is all you need to do. If you continue learning as the months go by, when you can do more, you'll be ready to go. xx

  7. Thank you for taking us back to the beginning on your 12th anniversary.
    I have a feeling I might get much done today as I dip into your posts.
    Congratulations on such a legacy, so many really interesting (and very useful) posts.

  8. Such a wealth of experience and commonsense you have shared over the years, Rhonda, and it was lovely to read your first post! Now I want to find out more about Brandywine tomatoes!



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