Thursday, July 28, 2011

Black Cherry

First taste of the Black Cherry tomatoes. Pretty good, the Mrs. liked them. I picked them a little green, the danged squirrels have me paranoid. Picked a bunch yesterday, then more today, we're getting a steady stream of Golden Suns.

Fistful of tomatoes
Black Cherry
The leek transplants are starting to stand upright. And we've got a ping pong ball sized bell pepper.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Some of the Tomatoes Coming In

The first Gold Nugget tomatoes ripened. They were good, but not as good as Sun Gold. The same bright orange color. Perhaps a bit larger.

Gold Nugget
Also had the first Cherokee Purple today. Well, squirrels had the first, we had the second. And even that had a nibble out of it. But it was delicious. Here are some up and coming Cherokee Purples, still a bit rare...

Cherokee Purple
They're ugly, but tasty. So far this year we've had maybe 40-60 Sun Gold and maybe 6-8 Tigerella. More Sun Gold coming every day.

Sun Gold
We tried a pattypan style Bennings Green Tint summer squash. It was not as good as regular zucchini. But decent, and interesting shape / color.

Bennings Green Tint Squash

Will wrap up this post with green beans, basil, and a baby jalapeno.

Green Beans
Sweet Basil

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Squirrels At It Again

So I had a whole long winter to plan for squirrel attacks. So what did I do? Nothing. I guess it was partly wishful thinking, maybe they only went after the tomatoes last year because of the heat/rain/who knows what. Well, they've started sampling again. Took a few bites out of some nice ripe Tigerellas, but the straw that broke the camel's back was when they took a big chuck out of an almost ripe Cherokee Purple. Like a big one. And the first one, I might add. So I pondered what to do for a bit. My last year's plan was to build a moveable, modular super cage out of pvc pipe and chicken wire. That would have been pretty cool. But alas, I didn't do it. So I slapped up a crude, crude, very crude fence around them again using leftovers from last years tomato fence. But instead of making it big, solid and ugly, I made it flimsy and ugly. I half suspect it will collapse on the tomatoes before the season is over. And I don't have a good way of accessing the tomatoes. That's gonna be an annoying problem.

SO. Here's my to do list for next year.

  • Build an awesome chicken wire tomato cage with a door over two of the long raised beds.
  • Cover the beds with a load of composted cow manure early in the spring before planting.
  • Bone meal, fertilizer, and egg shells in the tomato holes to combat blossom end rot.
  • Plant seedlings early in the basement so the plants are ready to go once we're past the last frost date.
  • Get pepper seeds from a catalog, not a pepper - we had really poor germination with peppers.
  • Floating row covers for zucchini. Or something. Use the new zucchini rampicante, hopefully that will survive the borers.
  • Build a solid trellis for the peas. They died not long after falling over this year.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Garlic Bonanza

Hauled in the garlic harvest. The bulbs are smaller than I recall, but this should last us through until next year if it keeps well.

Garlic harvest
Got some baby leeks from a neighbor. Planted them out, we'll see how they do.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Home Alone

Left the plantation on its own for a few days, was not looking forward to what I'd see when I got back. I figured everything would be shrivelled. The bucket tomatoes were somewhat less than happy, but I'm sure they'll be perked up tomorrow. A couple zucchini plants have collapsed, I think due to squash borers, I'll have to check it out more carefully tomorrow. And some creature has eaten most of my bucket eggplant. I suspect it's the groundhog.

Dead or alive
Did get a nice little harvest, though.

The harvest
The tigerella tomato was really nice.

Looks like the cukes will be nice and steady.

Cuke trio
And a photo of the poor eggplant.

Turkish Orange

Monday, July 11, 2011

Turkish Orange is now Green

Here's the dill - it flowered and now there's a preposterous amount of dill seed. One of the flowers -

Dill seed
The basil is looking pretty good. I planted a whole bed of it that's struggling, but most of the basil I planted in buckets with the tomatoes is doing very well. They are supposed to be companion plants, but they're doing so much better. I suspect that they like the semi-shade the tomatoes provide in this scorching weather. And I admittedly am a little better at watering the basil in the tomato buckets.

Bucket basil
The tomatoes are coming along nicely. We've harvested (and consumed) 9 or 10 Sungold already. They're a pleasant bright orange and taste great. Tigerella is also just starting to color up. Also got a photo of a nice sized Brandywine.

The Turkish Orange Eggplant in the 5 gallon pail is flourishing.  I moved it to a shadier spot. Also, and I think this helped a lot, I mulched with grass clippings. Checked them out online, when they're ripe the look a lot like tomatoes. Right now they're tiny, but there a a bunch of them.

Turkish Orange Eggplant
Finally, a friend in the fight against bad bugs.

Baby Mantis

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Eggplant Emergence

The Pingtung Long eggplant is starting to, well, elongate. Based on my last experience with eggplant (something like 4 measly eggplant from 5 plants) I wasn't optimistic. But these guys are already way ahead of the last attempt. Here's one of them:

Pingtung Long Eggplant
Yes, I need to weed a bit...

The purple basil the Mrs. planted is looking great.

Purple Basil
And a shot of the pattypan summer squash Bennings Green Tint.

Bennings Green Tint
Everything else is doing ok. Something (I assume deer) got at some of the zucchini and pumpkins I planted outside the fence on the back side. I didn't think they ate that stuff. Well, as a safety measure I draped some chicken wire over them. I'll use some of the old boards from last year's tomato prison to make a crude protective structure this weekend.

Monday, July 4, 2011

First zucchini, first borer

Harvested the first zucchini today. Weighed in at 1 lb. There are three more ready to go in the next day or two as well. And our Bennings Green Tint turns out to be a pattypan type. Hmmm, did we know that when we ordered the seed? Looks nice, anyway.

Also saw the first confirmed squash borer fly. Tried to kill it but missed. I suppose it's only a matter of time before these zucchini are done in. Damned borers. Although have taken a step towards beating them - we have a second generation of zucchini started up, they're a few inches tall right now. Also purchased some zucchino rampicante seeds. They have a tough solid stem that the borers can't get into. I guess we'll put that to the test. Apparently if you leave the squash on the vine too long, the skin gets too tough and they end up like a winter squash, so will have to give that a try.

The tomatoes are looking good. No squirrel intervention yet. I'll probably do nothing to protect the tomatoes until after the squirrels do their damage. Here are some of the tigerellas, they look pretty sweet.