Growing by the Bay

Month: August 2015

Mr. Greenjeans and friends

Friday Harvest

Links for August 28. “Every separation is a link.” — Simone Weil

Early Girl tomatoes

Early Girls

Early Girl tomatoes

Early Girl tomatoes, August 2015

Early Girls are the best performing, most reliable, and best tasting tomatoes I have grown in my current garden. This is a red saladette tomato with smallish fruit that is sweet and tangy. It always bears well for me, which is no small feat in my region.

Pam Peirce (Golden Gate Gardening) recommends ‘Oregon Spring’ and ‘Stupice’ for our area, with its cool (though irregularly so) dry summers. I haven’t tried ‘Oregon Spring,’ but for me ‘Early Girl’ has consistently outperformed ‘Stupice.’

I give mine a little crab meal and worm castings.

Last year we didn’t get any tomatoes at all, because the deer ate the plants down to the ground. This year I put wire fencing around the plants, to the deer’s frustration and my delight. I have learned that physical barriers are the only thing that stop deer — don’t waste your time and money on any other efforts.

tomatoes in deer fence

Early Girl tomatoes inside a deer fence

Kitten Habitat


Dormeuse, amas doré d’ombres et d’abandons … — Paul Valéry
(The sleeper, a golden mass of shadows and abandonments …)

Thanks to the neighborhood cat lady, we have an abundance of more or less free-range felines in our area. One found a cozy place to nap in the Norfolk Pine container (which probably had a nice layer of compost on top). The catnapper was soon joined by a more vigilant sibling.

In the front left is Protasparagus densiflorus ‘Meyeri’ (foxtail asparagus fern). At the right is a handsome speciment of Stipa arundinacea (New Zealand Wind Grass), which does marvelously well in this area, even during the drought. (I recently saw quite a few of these planted along the bay walk in Pacific Grove near Monterey.) Along the fence is true jasmine, and behind the Norfolk Pine (Araucaria heterophylla) in another container is Iochroma coccinea, with its tubular orange flowers.

plant hospital

Changes . . .

When I began this site in 2006 I was interested in documenting some aspects of the San Francisco Bay Area. I had looked at a few printed guidebooks and online sites and found several of the comments and recommendations about the region ludicrous. My main site was, and I decided to make it a little more tightly focused on book publishing. Working in the city and living in the East Bay, it seemed reasonable to spin off regional content into a new site. To shake up stodgy locals I called it Frisco Vista (there is a lot of groupthink in the Bay Area, and most residents would rather be caught worshipping at an altar to Satan than uttering the word Frisco).

For the past several years I have been too absorbed in print projects to give much time to webwork. Besides that, I’m no longer motivated to maintain a broad regional site (as is obvious from a glance at the post dates — an attentive reader might also notice an increasing emphasis on garden themes). I no longer work in the city, and I now spend a lot of time maintaining my garden.

As I also have an interest in photography,  I’m fairly often inspired to photograph some of the garden, and I thought of starting a tumblr devoted to that. Instead, I’ve decided to rework Frisco Vista into Tom’s Garden (unless I can think of a better name). At least for now, I’ll retain the FV domain, but I’ve already begun to change the appearance and structure of the site radically.

Formerly the site looked like this:

old frisco vista blog

Since the site has been in deep hibernation, I’m not going to take it down and work offline but instead will make the changes bit by bit as live updates. (I’m also back adding some posts replicating content from my Facebook account.) Maybe someone will be interested enough to stay tuned and see how things evolve . . .

Some rights reserved 2020 Tom’s Garden. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons (attribution, noncommercial, no derivs: 3.0) License (US), although some of the work this blog incorporates may be separately licensed. Text and images by Thomas Christensen unless otherwise noted. For print permissions or other inquiries please request via