This was a fun garden, largely because of the crazy vegetable arbor that spanned the walkway between this garden and the vertical garden! We also had some really nice plants.
‘Super Sweet 100′ Cherry Tomato – Prolific and sweet, the only real complaint about this variety is that the tomatoes tend to get smaller toward the end of the season. Other than that, a great variety!
‘Lunchbox Red’ Snack Pepper – For the first time, one of the snack peppers actually did well! The red variety started producing in mid-summer and kept going steadily until about a month ago when it went crazy! The plants are healthy and the peppers are a nice size.
‘Easter Egg’ Radishes – These colorful mixed radishes are always a reliable winner.
‘Sugar Ann’ Sugar Snap Peas – These are the peas we had in a container at the beginning of the year. They did well…we just wanted more of them!
‘Breen’ and ‘TinTin’ Baby Romaine Lettuces – Both of these did well. I can’t really think of anything spectacular or problematic about either of them. The ‘Breen’ lettuce had that beautiful dark red color earlier this spring.
‘Mokum’ Carrots – This orange variety is a reliable producer and was this year. It was perhaps a little more variable in size than I would like to see, but I’ll blame that on the spring weather.
All the sunflowers – you either like them or you don’t. They all did what sunflowers do!
‘Kaleidoscope Mix’ Carrots – Sometimes the carrot mixes do well and other times not so much. This mix didn’t ever size up very well, but that may have been the early season drought more than anything. They were tucked in the corner and may not have gotten enough water.
‘Emerite’ Pole Bean – The bean grew and didn’t do much of anything until the cool, rainy part of the summer. Then we did get some nice beans, but that stopped once it was hot and dry again. It did better than we sometimes experience with pole beans, but not a lot.
‘Lunchbox Yellow’ Snack Pepper – Unlike the red variety, this one has tiny little peppers and was not nearly as prolific, especially earlier in the summer.
‘Honey Bun’ Cantaloupe – We added this melon on a whim after the lettuce was done, and it performed about like I remembered it from a couple years ago. It didn’t like the wet weather and was constantly under attack from insects. Still, in most years you will get one or two good melons from it.
To Be Determined
All the fall vegetables are still growing, so no definitive answers on those yet!
As of writing this post (Thurs. AM), we haven’t gotten a significant amount of rain in the Demo Garden this week. I know some of you in other parts of the area have gotten more. Here’s hoping that we’ll get some good rain either this afternoon or tomorrow!
Yet again, you can see the gradual decline of the tomatoes. I had a conversation with a garden visitor this week, where I told her that I would rather have ugly tomato plants with great tomatoes than pretty plants and no tomatoes! We are also starting to take a few plants out here and there. One of the trellises is completely empty now!
The fall brassicas garden is growing like crazy, although the caterpillars are still munching like crazy too. Actually, they aren’t as bad at the moment. There is some feeding damage on the new growth, but nothing like it was earlier. And there are still those annoying little white butterflies flitting around. I’ll be happy when I quit seeing them!
You can clearly see the effects of the spider mites on those leaves, but they sure don’t seem to be slowing down the production of these grape tomatoes. After all we harvested on Tuesday, I still got another half gallon of tomatoes today. Yikes! There are also some that I just can’t reach because of the way the tomato cages and vines are intertwined.
This cool looking moth was hanging around the garden this week. I am pretty sure it is a Whitelined Sphinx Moth, which is supposedly the most common sphinx moth in Kansas. Apparently the larvae mostly feeds on weeds. If it lays its eggs on the cabbage, those caterpillars won’t be happy (since we treat for caterpillars), so I hope it was just visiting.
Have a great weekend!
2 small zucchini diced
1 large onion diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 large tomato, diced
2-3 stalks of Swiss chard or other greens
¼ cup low-fat 1% milk
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
4 squash blossoms
1 cherry tomato for garnish
In a deep dish 9” pie pan, layer the zucchini, onion, green pepper and tomato. In a bowl, add the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and garlic. Blend until everything is mixed well. Pour egg mixture over the vegetables. Carefully cut the squash blossoms on one side without cutting through the entire flower. Open flowers and arrange on top of dish in a circular pattern. Add cherry tomato in the center for garnish. Bake at 350˚F, for 50-60 minutes, or until center is set. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting into it. Serve with fresh fruit and crusty whole grain bread.
Summer and tomatoes, what could be better! Give this salad a try, I love making it with some multigrain bread from the day old bread rack. The fresh sweet tomatoes and hearty crunch will make your mouth sing!
Tomato and Crusty Bread Salad (Serves 6)
1-1/2 cups diced ripe tomatoes 1 cup diced green sweet bell peppers 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 2 ounces Spanish or black olives, rinsed and drained 7 large fresh basil leaves or 1 tablespoon dried basil 1-1/2 tablespoons vinegar 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 2-1/2 cups (3 ounces) cubed day-old bread (sourdough, French, or multigrain)
1. Wash your hands and work area.
2. In a large serving bowl, combine tomatoes, sweet peppers, onion, cheese and olives.
3. Wash, dry, and cut basil leaves into strips. Add to mixture.
4. Sprinkle vinegar and black pepper over salad. Mix well.
5. Cover and refrigerate.
6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300˚F.
7. Place cubed bread on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, until slightly crisp, stirring occasionally. Shut off oven.
8. Just before serving, toss bread cubes with salad mixture.
9. Cover and refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.
Nutrition Facts: Serving size—1 cup Calories—100, Total fat—4g Cholesterol—5mg, Sodium—220mg Carbohydrates—13g, Fiber—2g Protein—5g Diabetic exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat
I have two options for this week’s PhotoEssay…I can share all the pretty or interesting things in the garden or I can share all of the pests and bugs and problems we’re starting to see. Any votes?
I’ll be honest that I was leaning towards the pests, bugs, and problems, but then I decided it would get rather lengthy and that I should save that for one or two posts next week. If you want a quick preview: spider mites, caterpillars, squirrels, blight, holey leaves, stinkbugs, and more!
You can see from our Whole Garden picture this week that we mulched the sweet potatoes on Tuesday and that we have a couple sunflowers blooming. You can’t see that the tomatoes are looking increasingly beset by a variety of problems and pests. Oh well. Such is tomato growing in Kansas! We’ll have some great examples for the Tomato Pests & Diseases talk at Tomato Day!
Look at this! We have buckwheat seedlings starting to grow. (Sorry about the poor focus on the seedling. Still learning the new camera. But the soil particles are in great focus!) This is very quick germination, probably aided by the warm temperatures and the nice shower we had yesterday morning. These seedlings are in the Pizza Garden. I haven’t seen any in the other beds yet…Hmm…
Earlier this week I was talking to someone about the tomatoes we had growing in the Demo Garden, and I said that there must be nothing spectacular about the ‘Bella Rosa’ variety because I had to look it up to remember we had it planted. Then I went out to the garden to take a look at the plant. I’m not going to forget about it again, that’s for sure! It has a cluster of 6 or more HUGE tomatoes on it, as well as more set higher up in the plant. It is supposed to have 10 oz fruit, and these are well on their way.
I commented last week about the ‘Limmony’ flowers that were aborting rather than setting, and I was wondering how many tomatoes we would actually get from this plant, since they are supposed to grow into huge tomatoes. Well, I may be changing my tune about that! I looked the plant over this week and again saw the big one shown here, but also found at least a dozen small green tomatoes that were set in the last couple weeks. Twelve beefsteak tomatoes may not be quite as many as you would get from a hybrid, but it is a pretty exemplary showing from an heirloom in my experience! (To put that in perspective, I just counted 17 tomatoes from the hybrid Jetsetter plant, including the 2 we’ve already harvested.)
The squash under the row cover are also growing fast. Our hoops are shorter than sometimes, so I think we are going to have to take the row cover off before the plants have reached the blooming stage and hope the Squash Vine Borers have already found fodder somewhere else this year. I haven’t seen any of the moths flying around in the last couple weeks, so maybe we are safe?
I haven’t really been checking the pepper plants for production because they are often a little bit later than the tomatoes, especially the snack pepper types. I was walking by the Kids Snack Garden on Tuesday morning during our work time and notice a flash of red! We had a couple of peppers ripe. Then yesterday there were a couple more. I haven’t tried any of them yet, but it seems like the ‘Lunchbox’ variety are an improvement over the ‘Yummy’ variety in earliness and production at least. We’ll see how they taste.
Have a great weekend!