City Girl Gone Gardening: Left Louisville for A Week and Look What Happens!

By Jackie Hollenkamp Bentley

Louisville, Ky., – My oh my, what a difference a week makes.

The Bentley Crew has been gone for a week, vacationing along the sunny shores of Florida. 

I had received several weather alerts from Louisville while there, but I blew them off. I was on vacation and Louisville was, literally, a thousand miles away.

All growing nice and neat in their little boxes.
All growing nice and neat in their little boxes.
Beautiful little set of Roma tomatoes.
Beautiful little set of Roma tomatoes I happily discovered before we left last Saturday.

The first picture is what my beds looked like the day before we left. Oh, was I tickled pink that I had a little cluster of Romas emerging! 

Things were progressing quite nicely, in my humble opinion. So, I had my sister-in-law and “adopted” son from across the street lined up everyday to water my precious garden beds and containers. Little did I know the deluge that would hit Louisville while we were gone! I was worried tropical storms would affect us in Florida, Kentucky!  They’re watering duties were nonexistent, so no souvenirs for them! (I kid, they got souvenirs).

But this is what welcomed me when we came home!

What a sight to see Sunday morning.
What a sight to see Sunday morning, especially the last bed to the right of the picture. Nothing had died, and the picture may not show it, but there’s a whole lot more green in those beds!

But, then, upon closer inspection of the bigger bed, I saw something scary.

What a mess of tangled vines. Notice the thin, black stake leaning and the horizontal vine? Yeah, they're not supposed to do that.
What a mess of tangled vines. Notice the thin, black stake leaning and the horizontal vine? Yeah, they’re not supposed to do that.

I’ll admit to a sense of panic when I saw my fallen tomato vines. But I was able to slowly and gently prop them back up as best I could with old tomato cages and ripped up shower curtains. I heard a couple of sickening snaps, however, but I’m hoping they were just leaves.

Once I tied them back up, I noticed I had more green tomatoes emerging from their blooms.


My panic eased into excitement, then to anxiety when I saw this little fella.

The flower is pretty. The tomato? Not so much.
The flower is pretty. The tomato? Not so much.

That’s called blossom-end rot and it sucks. I found a few on my container tomatoes as well, But it’s not a death sentence for the tomato plants. It’s actually caused by a calcium deficiency, typically the result of irregular or over-watering. So I can’t imagine why my tomatoes would get this [insert sacrasm]. Anyways, I just picked those that had black ends and tossed some Epsom Salt on the plants. I’ve read on the internets different opinions on whether Epsom Salt helps that particularly annoyance, but it can’t hurt.  I’ll just now have to keep on eye on the little tomatoes that are still perfectly green.

Now that I had taken care of the tomatoes, it was onto my cucumbers.

They had overtaken my tomatoes and pepper plants so I pulled them out and “trained” them to go over my make-shift trellis. I also gave up on trying to keep them inside the “box” and just moved the vines to also grow in between the beds. My kids will like that because it’ll be less grass to mow, all two feet of it [again, insert sarcasm].


Speaking of peppers, that is what my banana peppers looked like before I left.


This is what they look like today. They are bigger and yellow. Now that is a pretty sight. Those suckers are gonna get picked tomorrow morning!


Then there’s this poor guy. The container apparently doesn’t drain so all the water remained in the pot and drowned the plant.  I took a hammer and nail and poked holes in the bottom of the pot to let the water out. Hopefully, it’ll perk back up. Hopefully.


This also happened. My squash and zucchini plants are producing blooms! Now, does that mean I’ll be able to harvest soon? Not really. I learned the hard way the first time I planted squash. They bloomed, then the blooms disappeared and there were no beautiful green and yellow vegetables to eat. I cried.

Thankfully, the internets explained that they are male blossoms and, without getting things uncomfortable, like human males, they don’t produce fruit. The female blossoms will emerge in all their glory soon, and they are the ones that will result in a harvest. The male blossoms are edible, though, and I would love to say something witty and ornery right now, but my mom and dad do read this blog. 

As for the rest of my containers, except the aforementioned, they, too, just exploded in growth.


After spending wonderful week in Florida, it was nice to come home to overflowing beds and pots, despite some of the pitfalls too much water can create. But, if gardening has taught me anything, you take the good with the bad and pray the good always comes more.