Monthly Archives: June 2013

Friday PhotoEssay

Whew! It was a pretty hot week here. I’m looking forward to temperatures in the 80s next week. Let’s start out with our weekly overview of the garden.

The front bed still looks pretty bare, but I bet that by a month from now the sweet potatoes will have completely covered the soil. Just for fun, let’s see what the garden looked like at the end of May.

This is one of the pictures I took on May 31st. For one thing, the sky is sure a different color! In a month’s time, the garlic has gone from being the dominant feature of the landscape to being a faded remnant, while the tomatoes have turned into quite a jungle! It’s hard to see from this angle, but the eggplant are also quite a jungle.

Speaking of Eggplant, this is the ‘Orient Charm’ eggplant. I apologize for the horrid sun and shadows in the picture. It was giving me fits this morning. this is the long, Chinese type that has a pink/lavender blush.

The ‘Millionaire’ eggplant is already reaching the stage that I would term “quite prolific.” We harvested one on Tuesday and there’s another one ready today. I think by next Tuesday there will probably be several ready. We are going to need those eggplant recipes! Once we get a few more plants producing, I’ll have a post about harvesting eggplant.

Speaking of harvesting, I picked this small handful of green beans earlier in the week and found about twice this many today. By Tuesday it looks like there will be lots of green beans to pick! The purple ones don’t seem to have started producing yet.

The parsnips have  been looking a little bit strange, and on closer inspection yesterday it appears that they’ve got spider mites. Who knew that parsnips get spider mites? This is why we try new things! Anyway, when I was watering yesterday (we are currently handwatering the parsnips because the garlic in the rest of the bed is in dry-down phase), I turned the water up all the way and blasted them good with a hard stream of water. That is one way to combat spider mites, and the undersides of the leaves look much cleaner today. We’ll probably have to either do that or spray with neem oil for the duration, since they will be growing until fall.

This truss of Golden Honey Bunch tomatoes just keeps growing! (You should compare to the picture in last week’s photoessay!) How many tomatoes do you count on it now? I’m wondering if they are going to ripen as a whole truss or if they will ripen one or two at a time. If the catalog pictures are to be believed, they should ripen as a group.

This is one of our two beds of basil. I love the perfect mounds and the pyramid shape of the plants. The only thing that would make it better is if the Red Large Lettuce Leaf Basils (the one in the middle tier) were as red as they are advertised to be. Oh well, we can’t have everything!

Have a great weekend!

Garlic Cheese Spread

A delicious spread, great on crackers, but even is great rolled up in a chicken breast, tortilla or ready made pizza dough.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

½ cup butter, softened (optional)

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

1 TBSP shallots, minced

1½ teaspoon fresh dill (½ teaspoon dried)

1½ teaspoon fresh basil (½ teaspoon dried)

1½ teaspoon fresh oregano (½ teaspoon dried)

¾ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (¼ teaspoon dried)

¾ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (¼ teaspoon dried)


Mix together all ingredients. Spread on crackers, bagels, or sandwiches. Makes 1¾ cups.


Tomato Update

Our tomatoes are generally looking great this year! After 2 years of tomato heartache and heartbreak (heat one year, herbicide injury and heat the next), we finally have some great looking tomatoes again. We’re starting to see a touch of Early Blight here and there, and there’s also a little bit of residual herbicide damage that is just now showing up. Most of the plants have fruit set and are growing like weeds! We haven’t fertilized at all, other than a little bit of a liquid starter fertilizer at planting and working in some compost this spring.

The ‘Taxi’ tomato plant (orange fruit) is the early leader as far as fruit set. I’m withholding judgement until they ripen without excessive cracking, however.

I’ll be honest that I’m excited about this funky tomato. This is one of two fruit that I’ve seen set on the ‘Limmony’ plant. It is an heirloom that can get up to 1 pound in weight! There will probably only be a few fruit from this plant anyway.

This is the ‘Arkansas Traveler’ tomato, and I’m a little confused so far by the shape of the green tomatoes. It is supposed to be a pink, round tomato at maturity, but the fruit are giving the impression of being a little more oblong. The number of fruit set so far is great for an heirloom.

This is our Chocolate Cherry plant in the Pizza Garden. It has some suspicious looking brown lesions on the stems and some brown, wilting leaves. I rather suspect it looks like Bacterial Canker, which is largely a seedborne disease. I knew I should have kept using the old batch of seeds, rather than buying new ones. A boiling water treatment before planting would also have helped. I’m still waiting for a confirmation on the diagnosis, but there’s a high probability that this plant is going to be removed. Sadness!

That’s just a quick overview of a few of our tomatoes this year. I’ll keep you posted on the poor Chocolate Cherry plant.

Tuesday Garlic & Shallot Harvest

Yup, you get another round of garlic harvests today!

You can see that the color of these two beds has clearly changed from blue-green to brown-grey-green. We are getting close on most of the garlic and shallots! Only a couple more weeks, I think.

We harvested 2 varieties of garlic this morning. The first was the ‘Persian Star’ that I really wanted to do well, but looked pretty insignificant from above-ground. Well, sadly, the below-ground bulbs aren’t much more impressive than the weak-looking tops were. They aren’t as small as I was afraid they might be, but the one bulb on the right here is pretty much as large as they get.

We also harvested the ‘Ferganskij’ garlic, the other variety that had pretty wimpy tops compared to other varieties. The bulbs are pretty small, but I think consistently larger than some of the smaller ‘Persian Star’ bulbs. Definitely not a winner compared to some of the other varieties we’ve already harvested.

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Friday PhotoEssay

Another Friday, another photoessay. Even though we are experiencing more normal summer temperatures, it hasn’t seemed so bad. Maybe because it’s in the 80s and 90s rather than 100s? As long as we don’t have those 100 degree temperatures stretching out as far as the eye can see on the long-range forecast, I’ll be happy.

Here’s the whole garden for this week, but from the other side this time. You get a better feel for how the tomatoes have grown from here. They are huge! There are some really nice green tomatoes set on.

This is a branch of green tomatoes on the ‘Golden Honey Bunch’ grape tomato in the vertical garden. Isn’t that truss of tomatoes neat? It seems to just keep getting longer!

Our bush beans and pole beans are both busily blooming away! This purple flower is from the ‘Emerite’ pole beans. We haven’t had great luck with pole beans in the past, so I really want these to succeed.

It looks like we have a touch of Early Blight starting on a couple of our tomato plants. This was on the ‘Jetsetter’ tomato. We pruned off the affected leaves, but I think we are getting just enough rain that it will keep spreading up the plant. Oh well, these are the trade-offs we make for a cooler, rainier year!

We are getting close to being ready to harvest the shallots, but it is pretty neat to see them growing. They are partially grown out of the ground, so you can get a sense of how big the bulbs are.

We jumped right in and planted some squash seeds in the area where we have been harvesting the garlic from the Pizza Garden. Since it is a small area, we also took the opportunity to try out the barrier method of preventing squash vine borers. I don’t know if it will work, because we had squash in this area last year. They overwinter underground and the moths emerge in the late spring or early summer, usually late May. Then they fly around and lay eggs at the base of the squash plants. Putting the row cover over the plants (in this case seeds) keeps the moths from getting to the plants. If the moths haven’t flown off yet, this method won’t work because I will have trapped them with the plants instead of away from the plants. Since we are planting late, I hope it works. We’ll leave the row cover on until the squash plants either outgrow the hoops or until they start blooming, whatever comes first.

Have a great weekend!