Monthly Archives: July 2014

Tuesday Harvest Report

We had lots of things to pick today after a hot weekend! We also planted a lot of things for fall, with more to come in the upcoming weeks.

Some normal cucumbers, for a change!

A Snake Gourde and a Sambar Cucumber from the Taste of India Garden. No, that bucket doesn’t have kitty litter in it. And in the lower left corner is a pod of the Lingua di Fuoco beans from the Italian garden that I picked to show that they aren’t quite dry yet.

Some pretty heirloom tomatoes! Most of these are Northern Lights with a few cherry tomatoes and Silvery Fir Tree tomatoes.

Some n0t-quite-so-pretty heirlooms. Okay, the pink one isn’t bad. But the three Black Crim are all cracked and the one has been recently chewed on by a caterpillar. Ugh.

Yes, those are carrot tops by the tomatoes. No, I didn’t take a picture of the carrots. I pulled a couple of the ‘Kesar’ red carrots from the India garden because the tops were so tall and I thought I’d check them out. The roots look pretty small yet, so I don’t know if it’s the heat and time of year, the variety, or if it just needs to keep growing.

Friday PhotoEssay – July 25th

Tomato Day is tomorrow! I hope you are planning to attend and enjoy the hot summer weather along with a whole bunch of your closest gardening buddies. In case you missed seeing the flyer, go here.

Here’s a look at the garden this week. You can see the pumpkin on the right side is starting to look a little wilty…I guess the squash vine borers are going to do it in after all. Bah. I hope we will get a couple of ripe pumpkins first!

There is just a tinge of orange starting on some of the pumpkins… But they have quite a ways to go yet. I’m really hoping for some fresh pumpkin!

In case you’ve never seen it, this is what cilantro looks like when you let it go to seed. The seeds, which look to be almost dry, are what we call coriander. You can grind the seeds into the spice OR you could let the seeds drop in place and have a fall planting of cilantro come up. That’s what we’re planning to do.

I just noticed that our new grape vine has one small cluster of grapes on it. Even though we really shouldn’t let it go, at this point I’m inclined to let it be, since the plant has been doing so well and the cluster is pretty small.

The quinoa is starting to show a little color in the seed heads, but it is also starting to show some Swiss Cheesey-ness in the leaves. On close inspection, there appear to be some little larval guys munching on the leaves. They don’t look quite like caterpillars, but maybe either beetle larvae or sawfly larvae? I’m not sure. Perhaps after Tomato Day I’ll take a closer look. In the meantime, it really isn’t a big deal since the seed heads are already forming.

I was hoping to update more on the Curry Leaf this summer, but it really hasn’t done much. It has grown, but it isn’t a huge plant yet, probably because it’s been so cool. The most interesting thing about it is that the cowpeas keep trying to swarm it under with all their tendrils. I think we should have put the cowpeas on a trellis!

Have a great weekend!

Tomato Day is Saturday!

Did you realize that Tomato Day is this Saturday? If you’ve never attended, this is a great year to give it a try! Of course, we welcome back any multi-year attendees as well! 

Tomato Day Flyer FINAL_Page_1

Friday PhotoEssay for July 18th

What a chilly week for mid-July! I’m a little bit sad that Tomato Day isn’t this weekend, because the weather would be gorgeous. Instead we are looking at next weekend, and the forecast looks like it will be almost 100 degrees. Ah well, it wouldn’t be Tomato Day if it wasn’t hot! 

Here’s a look at the garden for this week. The vining things continue to be crazy…except for the plants on the trellis over the walkway. Oh well, at least plants aren’t falling on our heads this way. 

Can you guess what this is? I know that’s a risky proposition in our garden this year. This is the ‘Sambar’ cucumber, which is the cooking cucumber that will be yellow with brown spots when ripe. 

Even though the rain was kind of slow and drizzly and the weather wasn’t too hot, some of the heirlooms are still cracking. This is a ‘Pink Russian 117’ that is just starting to turn but is already showing some cracks. Many heirlooms are prone to cracking due to thin skins. The best way to prevent problematic cracking is to pick the tomatoes as they are just starting to ripen, especially if there has been rain. 

This is the Amana Orange. I’m pleasantly surprised by this variety. I thought for sure it would have the lowest yield and be late producing. It seems to have relatively good fruit set for an heirloom with this size fruit. 

The chickpeas have pods! I haven’t found very many, but they are there. The pods are so small, and I think they will only have one or two peas per pod. I suspect we will have a fairly low yield! 

One of these things is not like the other… Look at that weird cucumber! Oh, wait, it’s not a cucumber. That is a bitter melon or bitter gourd. The variety we are growing is supposed to be harvested at about 8-10″ in length. We picked two on Tuesday and I’m sure there will be more to come. Now to find a recipe…

Have a great weekend! 

Tasting Tomato Varieties

We had one of almost every tomato ripe in the garden this week, which allowed us to taste all of them and compare. Not all of them were perfectly ripe – some were a little over-ripe and others were a little under-ripe, so our opinions could change with more ideal ripeness on some of these varieties. 

Interestingly, the 3 varieties that we didn’t have any to taste were the romas: Opalka, MiRoma, and Golden Fresh Salsa. We’ll have to give them a try later on. 

We tasted Northern Lights, Black Krim, Juliet, Large Red Cherry, Jetstar, Silvery Fir Tree, Pink Russian, and Amana Orange. The red tomatoes: Juliet, LR Cherry, Jetstar, and Silvery Fir Tree were pretty much all under ripe, and they looked pretty pale to me when I cut into them. My eyes might also be really attuned to purple tomatoes, which make everything look pale. 

I’m in love with the Northern Lights tomatoes, just because they are so pretty! I’ve picked several at home, and the largest weighs in at 1 lb 6 oz. The smallest are about 8 oz. The flavor is pretty good, and not too acidic. You will probably have to suffer through several more pictures for the rest of the summer. 

This is the Amana Orange. I thought that it seemed a little under-ripe, but almost everyone liked the flavor. My guess would be that if it was a day or two riper, it would probably be a little less acidic. 

This is Black Krim. It is a darker red/purple/brown tomato that tends to be prone to cracking. The flavor didn’t knock most people’s socks off, although it wasn’t bad. I think this tomato was perhaps a bit over-ripe, which could be part of the problem. 

Obviously Pink Russian. As you can see, the chopped tomato on the plate is much darker than the other one that was harvested on Tuesday. I think the darker one was a bit past ripe, while the just picked one is a bit under. This one got rave reviews for…not tasting very good at all! We’ll have to try another one to see if it was ripeness or variety. It was pretty bland and mealy. Yuck! 

I didn’t get pictures of all the red tomatoes, but I think the general opinion of both the Silvery Fir Tree and Large Red Cherry was that they had mediocre flavor at best. 

Have you harvested any tomatoes yet? How do they taste?