Monthly Archives: August 2009

And the Harvest Continues…

Tomato PickerI think our Tuesday harvests are starting to wind down (slightly!). I don’t think we have quite as many roma tomatoes today as normal, and the cherry tomatoes are clearly on their downward spiral, as they have been for a couple weeks.

The eggplant; however, are still going strong! The plants are definitely producing more eggplant than I care to eat.

Here’s the stats from the Family of 4 Garden today:

2 lbs assorted peppers @$1.59/lb = $3.18Early Sunsation Pepper

2.5 lbs tomatoes @ $2/lb = $5.00

2 bunches Swiss Chard @ $2/bunch = $4.00

1 green/yellow bell pepper = $1.00

Weekly Total = $13.18

Yearly Total = $192.81

Is it Too Wet or Too Dry?

One garden problem that we are seeing a little bit more this year than some other years is Pythium Root Rot. Pythium is a fungus that is ubiquitous in the soil. It only causes a problem when we have saturated soils for long periods of time.

If you remember, we had a very wet, soggy April and May this year when the soils were still fairly cool. That’s ideal weather for Pythium! The fungus grows when the soils are wet and infects the plants, damaging or killing part of the root system. You don’t even notice the problem for weeks, until the weather starts to get hotter. Then the leaves might start to scorch on the edges and possibly die, even if you are keeping the garden well watered. Because of the damage to the root system earlier, the plant can’t take up enough water now to make up for all the moisture being lost to the heat and wind.

It seems kind of crazy…too much water earlier makes it look like you are seeing heat damage later in the season. That just shows how important it is to pay attention to details throughout the gardening season!

Friday PhotoEssay

Things are starting to go down-hill as we reach the middle of August, but I think I still managed to get some great pictures to share with you this week.

Handful of BerriesOur Fall Bearing raspberries (sometimes called Everbearing) are starting to produce well this week. Unfortunately we don’t have enough plants to produce enough berries for a raspberry pie! Well…maybe we would if I stopped snacking on them every time I’m out in the garden. But then, I’m sure the robins would get anything I don’t eat!

GrasshopperWe had a friendly green grasshopper hanging out (hiding?) on the celosia earlier this week. If you want to see something pretty neat, click on the picture to get the full-size photo and check out his googly eyes!

Celosia in bloomThe Celosia is finally starting to bloom. This is just the beginning. These flowers should get much bigger and quite stunning in another couple weeks. I’ll keep you posted.

Radish SeedlingsThe radishes we planted on Tuesday are starting to come up. I love radishes! They are as close to instant gratification as a gardener can get!

Pampas GrassThe Pampas grass that is our entryway windbreak started flowering this week. It is gigantic!

Rosemary FlowersOur huge prostrate rosemary plant is blooming. Rosemary blooms are a relatively uncommon occurrence, so we’re excited to see them.

Have a great weekend!

Pepper Thievery

I just want to put it out there that it really annoys me when people pilfer produce out of our Demonstration garden. I understand when animals munch on our produce – they are animals after all. I hope the people that took the 4 beautiful bell peppers that we’ve been nursing along in the Family of 4 Garden were genuinely hungry. I had been hoping to keep them on the plants until they could turn yellow to see what the quality was. But, I guess that’s not going to happen.

So, 4 peppers @ $1.00 each = $4.00

That puts us at $179.63.

And that puts the end to our yellow pepper experiment. We’ll stick with green peppers from now on.

Cherry Tomatoes: My Picks

The cherry toBowl of Cherriesmatoes are a lot harder to sort through than the roma tomatoes. In some ways, the differences are less distinctive.

The Winners:

Juliet – Need I say more? This red, oblong, hybrid variety is a consistent producer. It is a little bit firmer and tougher than I prefer, but it is a vigorous, productive plant.

Sweet Chelsea – This variety was recommended by one of our Master Gardeners, and it has huge, beautiful red cherry tomatoes. It is a little later to start producing than other varieties, but that isn’t a big deal. It is a high yielding tomato plant.

Sun Gold – Super early and super sweet, the only problem with this variety is that it is prone to cracking as the summer progresses. Luckily, there is a new variety – Sun Sugar – that is the crack-resistant version. This plant has great early yields that are now tapering off. The fruit size also gets smaller as the season continues.

Suncherry – The red version of Sun Gold. It is a nice medium-sized cherry tomato with great early yields, like its cousin. Luckily, it doesn’t seem to crack like Sun Gold.

Chocolate Cherry – I think this was my favorite tomato in the garden this summer. The yields have not been as high as some of the other tomatoes, but the plant has been healthy and vigorous, and the fruit are delicious!

The Losers:

Italian Ice – This Burpee variety was late to start producing, and the plant has succumbed to nematodes. The tomatoes are tough and very mild – to the point of being bland. The yields have not been particularly impressive either.

Ildi – This variety was recommended by a Master Gardener. It was supposed to produce huge clusters of yellow tomatoes. I don’t know if it was just the weather, but the clusters of blossoms usually only set 1 -3 tomatoes, rather than a whole handful. This plant also has been badly affected by the nematodes, so the overall vigor and yield have been poor. Green Grape

Green Grape – This variety doesn’t really belong in the Winners or the Losers category. The fruit have been large and great tasting (slightly more citrusy than most tomatoes), but the yields are low. The plant has been pretty healthy, and there are no other problems to report. I wouldn’t be afraid to plant this one again, just understand that it won’t have the huge yields of most cherry tomatoes.