Anyway - two more videos for you to check out....enjoy! Post any questions or comments!
Things change fast in a garden in the summer time. A few of my (once) perfectly healthy plants are showing signs of Fusarium wilt. But on a lighter note, some color is appearing - today I picked a few dwarfs (Perth Pride, Tasmanian Chocolate), a Rose Quartz cherry tomato, and a few indeterminate varieties - Russian Queen and Yellow Prue. And I am sure that within the next week, more and more varieties will begin to ripen. I love this time of year!
Anyway - two more videos for you to check out....enjoy! Post any questions or comments!
I will post two of these a day.....today will focus on the main veggie garden, as well as the eggplant progress. Enjoy!
After two days of perfect rain (no hail, steady rate, little wind), it looks like I can delay any hose activity until either tonight (depending upon today's temps and humidity) or tomorrow.
A few things.....not surprisingly, heat and humidity = the onset of disease on tomato plants. There simply isn't a way to get through the entire season without losing some plants along the way. I've got a Cherokee Green that is struggling, Yellow Prue has the onset of Fusarium wilt, and one of the BrandyTad F2s and Fruhe Liebe has Fusarium as well....amongst the dwarf varieties, only Dwarf Purple Heart seems to be struggling, and it was sudden - I suspect Bacterial Wilt, but we shall see. A late planting of Orange Minsk Heart never had a chance - I waited too late to transplant it.
So I've been doing some replacement planting and prepping some backups in case I have to pull the plant. I've now added Aunt Ruby's Green, Green Grape and KBX into the mix. As other plants may go down, I will continue to add replacements as long as I can keep them alive - it is amazing that plants that I transplanted into 4 inch pots in March are still hanging in there!
Then there is harvesting - the cucumbers are on the verge of really producing heavily....our first Poona Keera and Diva are just delicious. And the zucchini and summer squash are also preparing their assault on our refrigerator. And, yes, bush beans - with 3 rows producing and another getting ready to, we are buying less and less at our weekly trips to the Farmer's Market. As far as tomatoes, Mexico Midget, Sungold, a few Coyote and Red Robin have been the story to date for cherry tomatoes (soon to be joined by Rose Quartz). We've picked Fruhe Liebe (before its demise - not bad, I'd rate it a 6.5 or 7 on the ten point scale) and Shazka (only one so far, a bit of internal blossom end rot, but a solid 7 for flavor). Two 4 ounce, round fruit from Vzryv await sampling later today.
I just can't believe how quickly eggplant will go from bud to blossom to pickable fruit. The first two to ripen are my own selections from the hybrid Orient Express. A really lovely F4 selection will be named Twilight Lightning (because it is so fast, and quite dark in color) - the even darker, nearly black variety I preliminarily named "Speedy" (also a selection from Orient Express F1) will be renamed Midnight Lightning for next year. And both plants are just loading up! We will have some fruit from a Casper F3 selection and Green Giant within a few days.
We could already pick scads of hot peppers - none at at the ripe color, but they are out there ready to heat up our salsas. The sweet peppers are in the middle of setting fruit, and Orange Bell has a full sized green fruit that will soon turn its deep, glowing orange.
Yesterday was a day for checking on the status of the various stakes supporting the indeterminate tomatoes. I also did quite a lot of pruning, and some topping. It's all about keeping things in some semblance of control! Today will be about completing the staking, tying and pruning activity (well, completing for a week or so....all of these gardening tasks are cyclical and need repeating quite frequently, of course).....as well as seeing if anything needs a blast of dilute Sevin, after the rain. And I need to ensure anything that is ripe is harvested. And there are those pesky big weeds growing in the cucumber/squash area.
Finally, I've started some seeds for Brussels Sprouts. I've decided to turn the back two rows of the garden (used in the spring for beets and lettuce and greens) into late summer/fall Brussels Sprouts and Garlic beds. That means re-digging and weeding and smoothing.
By the way - we've been using a great and easy cooking technique for beets that is now our favorite...grilling! We peel the beets, slice into 1/4 inch thick rounds, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper - grill on medium high for about 10 minutes per side. They stay firm, the sweetness tempers a bit, and they are just addictive. For a real treat, layer them with a bit of goat cheese and sprinkle with toasted walnuts - drizzle with some Balsamic if you like as well.
And....psst! Series of video updates coming - just completed them this morning - lots to see and talk about and share!
I want to keep this really short - first the requests.
To my regular seedling customers - how are things going for you? Anything particularly good - or bad - stories to share? Please email them to me!
To those customers who are growing some of the dwarfs....again, what do you think? How are they growing? Ripe fruit yet? Send an email!
As for the questions - we are thinking of doing another limited run of Tomatopalooza T shirts - definitely in green and blue, and definitely in L and XL. We'd love to know the interest level to help us plan
Finally - this is the possible opportunity....I am having a pretty good season so far (not in terms of harvest yet, but in terms of plant health and fruit set) - thinking of inviting people close by to stop by for a brief look around and chat, chance to ask any questions - at a specific time and date. what is the interest level in that? Email me and let me know!
email is firstname.lastname@example.org
and I am on Twitter as nctomatoman.
...although I'd trade it for a day if nice, steady rain. This is getting silly - I actually can't remember the last time it really rained here (I don't mean a 30 second trickle). Oh well - pretty much everything is now watered. And (broken record time), the tomato plants, due to the extended period of dry foliage, look quite amazing. The amount of fruit set is actually a bit terrifying!
So Sue and I did take a nice bike ride through various local neighborhoods. We are having dinner guests tonight (our daughter and her friends), so I am trying out a blueberry lemon frozen yogurt - which will sit on top of Sue's most excellent Blueberry Betty (well, that's dessert - it is grilled chicken Souvlaki with grilled veggies for the main event, with some grilled beets with goat cheese to start).
Afternoon chores will include moving a few nice cherry tomatoes into bigger pots for a new home on our deck (Coyote and Rose Quartz) - potting up a few tomatoes to replace the empty spots in the extreme prune indeterminate row.....finishing up feeding some things I didn't get to yesterday....that'll do for a lazy Sunday.
So far, the only casualties as far as anything in pots are one of my experimental hot pepper selections (had a virus, and also had a replacement), a Tasmanian Chocolate dwarf that soldiers on only because I want that big fruit to turn color for seeds (some sort of bacterial or fungal wilt - and I have a replacement growing for that one).....Kimberly and Lucinda went down early with Fusarium wilt (replacements are growing)....Orange Strawberry, with Fusarium (replaced by Gold Medal)....Costoluto Genovese with something that took it fast (replacement growing). Fruhe Liebe now has Fusarium Wilt and is growing well separated from the rest until a few fruit ripen.
As far as surprises, the Indian Stripe in the main indeterminate row is clearly not - it is a mystery F1 hybrid. So I have three other Indian Stripe plants growing in hopes that at least one of them will be the real thing. The Islander sweet pepper project is getting interesting, as the various plants are now setting fruit. And we picked our first eggplant today - an Orient Express F3 selection that is just lovely - slender, deep lavender - about 1.5 inches by 10 inches. I just may have to name it Orient Lightning! We continue to pick beans, and now cukes and squash. And as far as ripe tomatoes, we are picking Mexico Midget, Sungold, Coyote, Fruhe Liebe, and Shazka....and the next one ripe will be Vzryv. None of the serious heavy hitters like the Cherokees yet....but soon!
Well, we got rain in North Raleigh - last night for 2.3 minutes. Perhaps about 4,332 drops. Therefore, I water....but the foliage stayed dry and the plants remain healthy!
Just took a look around. Wow.
I know, that's lots of pics...but there's lots to see and talk about!
Row 1: Echinacea growing in a big pot in our backyard, self seeded Cleome, Big Beef F1
Row 2: Bisignano #2, Brandywine, Cherokee chocolate
Row 3: Chipping Sparrow and Goldfinch, Coyote, and Driveway garden
Row 4: Green Giant, and two shots of my various hot pepper project plants in half gallon pots. (I've got nearly 100 of these growing - all derived from TWO peppers I nabbed at an arboretum years ago!)
Row 5: Mortgage Lifter Mullens, Orange Bell, Orient Express F3
Row 6: Ozark Cherry, hot pepper Bella, Purple Flash and Fish
Row 7: Set of extreme prune indeterminates - seeds from Carolyn Male and Reinhart Kraft , Russian Queen, Sarandipity
Last Row: dwarf Shazka, Speedy, odd tomato Surprise (white when unripe!)
Post a comment if you have any questions!
I enjoy doing my veggie and fruit shopping at the State Farmers Market (Lake Wheeler Road) on Friday mornings.....there is plenty of everything except the large crowds that make shopping (and parking!) a challenge on Saturdays.
Today I was delighted to see a vendor selling Cherokee Purple tomatoes (no, I didn't purchase any - I've got way too many coming!), and one selling what look like (and taste like) Sungold cherry tomatoes. I did purchase some really pretty German Johnson (gasp!) to use in a roasted corn black bean salsa that popped into my head as I shopped.
Blueberries and blackberries are plentiful, beautiful and delicious - I think we've now purchased 3-4 full flats this year (meaning a full freezer of bags of berries). And I was quite excited to see someone with perfectly ripe Ananas muskmelons. Oh yes - and Silver Queen corn (that is what I will roast for my salsa). All in all, a very good haul!
Woke up early - fed the dogs and cat, ground the beans and brewed the coffee. Sue and I had our breakfast on the deck with the flowers in bloom and the birds flocking to the feeders....just the typical mix of cardinals, towhees, goldfinch, house finch, chickadees, titmice, Carolina wrens, brown thrasher, various woodpeckers and ruby throat hummingbird.
First priority as always when it is this hot and dry (no rain for many days) is watering. Despite all of the pots, it doesn't take all that long and gives me a good chance to see how things are doing. There is the back yard and deck, all of the driveway plants, and the big vegetable garden to give good soakings to.
Watering lets me know what sort of things need to be done. Today it was a walk through to pluck off any suspicious looking foliage on the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant (not very much, surprisingly!). Then the eggplant and peppers needed to be tied - I did all of the tomatoes previously in the week. I potted up a Sungold into a 5 gallon pot for a neighbor.
Then I took my hand held recorder and took some time to observe progress on the two pepper projects and the eggplant. Finally, it was time to do some weeding in the big garden....it is clear that each weeding, each time the soil gets moved about, leads to additional seeds finding a good environment in which to germinate. There is a sense of deja vu as I pull weeds that I've pulled several times in the same area! My area of focus today was the rear of the garden, where the chard and remaining beets reside (formerly, the lettuce and greens), and the areas between the squash and cukes.
The heat became a bit too much, so I didn't nearly get through the weeding. My goal there is to get the rear two rows ready for an additional planting of bush beans. I am also pondering using those rows for a planting of garlic this fall. Another seeding of Brussels Sprouts will be done for a late summer set out and hopefully, maturity of a nice crop in the late fall.
Now, showered and pleasantly exhausted, it is back to that book on CD....A Passage to India!
My video update today is in two parts - see below...Focused on tomatoes, but a good overview of everything. First non-cherry ripe tomato will be picked today - Fruhe Liebe....and the second will be a dwarf from my friend Jeff, Shazka. Sweet Peppers and Eggplant are all setting fruit, plants remain 99% healthy......
It was a very hot but productive morning in the garden....got a date with my laptop watching the Red Sox this afternoon (well, after the rain delay ends. Right now, listening to "A Passage to India" on CD with Sue).
If the vid clips below don't yet play, it is because YouTube is still processing them. They should be fine by 3:15 PM or so.
This blog entry will wrap up progress on the developing fruit on the various Dwarf project plants. This one will focus on the Sneezy line and others that I've yet to post.
First row: Emerald Giant 2818 and 3040, and Jade Beauty
Second row: Kelly Green 10-77, Mr Snow 3041, Summertime Green 2817
Last row: Summertime Green 2821,Sweet Sue 08-35 and 3037
Now a few odds and ends....
Top Row: Wherokowhai, Tidy Striped, Shazka
Next: Russian Swirl, Red Robin, Pesty Pink
Last: Lime Green Salad
Best looking, healthiest Red Robin I've grown yet. And Lime Green Salad has an insane number of blossoms - kind of a dwarf version of Rose Quartz Multiflora. We should use it in our Dwarf Project crosses!