Not much to report

Today it’s supposed to thunderstorm. I wasn’t sure whether or not to spray, but I did it anyway just in case the storms miss us. The tomatoes and beans are looking very good! I picked 5 unripe tomatoes and accidentally knocked a green one off in the process. Oops. I figured they better come inside or they’d split in the rain. The thinned tomatoes look fine, and I think one is putting on blossoms. I pulled up the farthest Roma since it is spent. The other Roma will go out before the end of the week. One of the Brandywines does not look too good either. It may be compost after this week. I am pretty confident that this week’s…

Continue Reading

Hi ho cherry-oh

I was getting a backlog of cherry tomatoes, so I decided to use them up making The Pioneer Woman’s Tomato Tart. I went to Del’s today to get some of his gold cherry tomatoes for the color, he sent me home with a metric crap ton of tomatoes. I think I have at least a gallon. I also cleaned 21 paste tomatoes plus 4 other ripe slicers and made sauce the traditional way in a sauce pan. I cleaned the tomatoes and decided to try and save the juice for the first time. With no effort beyond just putting the gel and seeds in a strainer, I ended up with 2 cups of fresh juice. With a little salt, it…

Continue Reading

Teeny tiny veg

Maybe it’s middle age settling in on me, but oh, how I love to watch the vegetables form! From blossom to mini-me to the awkward teen phase to fully mature fruit — I just love it! Today I picked some lima beans at the baby stage so I could make succotash, and for carried away looking at how the plants go from blossom to little bud to miniature bean to baby beans to ripe. I was out in the morning so the light filtered through the bean pods from the east. It was like a little ultrasound — I could see the little beans forming and decide if I wanted to pick them or let them mature a little longer.…

Continue Reading

Bring your tomato to lunch day

After my doctor appointment (take vitamins for the nerve issues, begin physical therapy), we left to head out the Korean Spa. I spent a few minutes in the garden checking on everything just before we left. I brace myself every day, but there was no pest damage today. I left the tomatoes to vine ripen for another few hours. I may pick them tonight when we get home. I put more fertilizer on the hay bales and then wetted then down. Phew — what a funk. They are definitely rotting. I picked up carrot seeds at Lowe’s yesterday. One is a rainbow mix and the other is an improved Nantes. We also got sterile seed starting mix so I can…

Continue Reading

RIP Better Boy

That Better Boy shriveled up and was looking even worse today, so I picked off the 5 green tomatoes it sported and pulled it up. The roots were in good shape, so the foliar disease seems to be what killed it. I had hoped to be able to save it, but I just wasn’t able to. I lost two of the three Better Boys I planted this year to disease. Also today I looked at my squash — the original squash has rotted on the end. I noticed it seemed to have stopped growing, but I didn’t think it would rot. I guess it was the dampness from the thunder storms this week and the fact that the squash was…

Continue Reading

Too many tomatoes

Roasted Tomato Sauce – when you have too many tomatoes

My dad’s tomato production is out of control: It’s his best year ever for tomatoes, and he doesn’t know what to do with the harvest. I mentioned that I made some roasted tomato sauce in an earlier post. Yesterday I made some more and took a few pictures of what I did so that my dad could follow along and make his own. Step one: Cut up the Vegetables I used an onion, two green green and one yellow bell pepper, and a mix of paste, slicer, and cherry tomatoes from my garden. The slicer tomatoes are cut into about sixths. Aren’t they beautiful? Step two: Spritz with olive oil and add garlic, salt, and pepper So technically, the picture…

Continue Reading

Blackberry mystery

I keep reading that blackberries don’t produce fruit on their floricanes (second season growth) and so you should cut all that off every year because they won’t produce fruit on those canes again. But how do you explain this? I want to start more blackberry plants. Jared loves them and it’d be nice to have enough to freeze some next year. I think I will leave the canes alone again and also start some new plants by layering and from cuttings. I looked over the plants today, planning to get some cuttings, but I think I will wait a week or so for more canes to come up, top them, and then use whatever I cut off to make cuttings.…

Continue Reading

Houston, we have a problem

Well, today is the first day I know I can’t possibly use up all the ripe tomatoes I have. Almost all of the tomatoes I picked yesterday or this weekend ripened overnight: It’s raining lightly but steadily today, so I can’t really do much in the garden. I did go ahead and stake up the two thinned tomato plants and suckered them. I pulled some dead leaves that had blown off the beans during the night and some dead branches of the tomato plants. If the weather is better tomorrow I will prune back the tomatoes even harder — the Celebrity looks good but it may not have time to put on fruit again. We’ll see. I tied up the…

Continue Reading

Days to Maturity

One of the most interesting things about gardening is how freakishly accurate “days to maturity” is for plants. I have beans and squash that are about to come in this week just about to the day on the seed package. As the mother of a proto-adult male, I’m thinking wistfully that it’d be nice if he came with a days to maturity date. And I’m wondering if I’ve hit mine…..

My Brandywines bring all the boys to the yard

What is with the Brandywines??? For real, little critters! What is the deal? You creep into my garden, ignore the riper cherry tomatoes Romas and Early Girls, and go straight for the Brandywine. I mean I’m glad you’re leaving the Cherokee Purples alone, but for real, what is the attraction to Brandywine? It’s like crack for critters or something. It’s partially my fault — I forgot to turn the sprinkler back on Saturday after I was in the garden, so it wasn’t working. Plus a storm knocked off the camera while we were swimming at Cara’s new pool yesterday, and we didn’t notice. I had turned off most of the garden notifications in my overconfidence that we had taken care…

Continue Reading

Cooking the harvest

Many of the tomatoes that I pulled to keep away from the groundhog have ripened, and so I decided I better cook or preserve some. Today I roasted the ripe tomatoes to make my first roasted tomato sauce — so EASY!! I also made up the syrup for the blackberry ice cream and froze several tomatoes whole to make sauce at the end of the season. I have more tomatoes coming along than I realized. Today they are looking so straggly! But I looked back at nctomatoman’s pictures from his garden, and his look much the same as mine. I’ve got to stop comparing my garden to those who only grow hybrids and who can do it in straight compost…

Continue Reading

How much pruning is too much?

I did some more watching of Craig LeHoullier, and I kept reading that he gets rid of all damaged leaves from his plants. I looked at some of his pictures from his blog, and his plants are looking just a straggly as mine. It was such a relief! It’s not me — it’s just how tomatoes are! Last week I didn’t spray after the big rainfall as I should have, and I did very little removal of diseased leaves. This week I made up for it and cleared most everything I could. I pruned one Celebrity back so hard (every leaf set was damaged) that I left just one branch of unblemished leaves at the top of the plant. I…

Continue Reading