Sep 26, 2009

Those Freakin' Squirrels!!

You just cannot imagine how freaked out, ticked off and totally spittin' fire I am at the moment. Oh how I hate squirrels!! I know there are probably plenty of folks out there that see that cute little furry face and bushy , bushy tail and think to themselves that I am some sort of monster. Well go ahead and think it, but if I had my way those fluffy four footed demons would be exiled to some oak infested island.

I had 5 or 6 beautiful 'Olena Ukrainians' out on a plant that was the black sheep plant of my tomato family. That one volunteer plant, stuck in a 5 gallon bucket, still managed to grow several 3/4 pound to 1 pound size and up beautiful tomatoes in abundance.I have eaten two...only two.... and they were glorious, and I was waiting on those 5-6 to ripen (there are about 6 more little ones, but I think it may be too late for them ). Yesterday I had the inkling that they would be at the breaker stage, but since there was no rain forecast I put off picking them, as I would really love to get a tomato that has almost completely ripened outside instead of in my kitchen. But I digress.
Well I get home from visiting my mother today, and had a feeling that I should go out and check on my volunteer pumpkins and squash ....just to make sure. Well they were fine. Then I figure ,heck while I am out here let me take a peak into the back yard....first thing I see is my largest , most perfect 'Olena Ukrainian' half eaten and so very sad looking. I look further up the plant and what do I see....every tomato that had gone beyond breaker stage had at least a 1/4 of it eaten. They couldn't just finish one and be full . No they had to sample all of them...oh wait, I lie, not all of them, no the ones that had split open and are probably going to rot on my counter, those they left.
Thank You very much.

Sep 22, 2009

Autumnal Equinox

Well here we are again. The first day of Fall. Now, normally I look desperately forward to the first days of Autumn. Usually those days herald a change from the blistering heat and drenching humidity of August and still uncomfortably hot and humid days of early September. They are something I dream about as I watch the garden crisp.
This year is different. This year the Summer was painfully slow in arriving. Damp and dreary June, followed by a cool and blight filled July, made for a slow vegetable season. True, I have been slowly harvesting tomatoes, and the zukes were tasty even though they were bug plagued and not all that prolific, and cukes were plentiful enough for eating and pickling. Not the heat inspired Vegetable bonanza I am accustomed to, but not too shabby either.

Tomatoes are still coming in , but they are trickling in, not tumbling in. That is the first real Autumn sign for me. The next signal will be when I sit down with my gardening notebooks and write down my final thoughts on this years tomatoes. The 'Tomatoes on Parade' posting is usually my Summer Swan Song. And it is coming soon.

But until then I intend to thoroughly enjoy the fruits of my Summer....even if it is quickly fading.

Stay tuned for the 'Tomatoes on Parade' posting

Sep 8, 2009

Volunteer Plants Really Step it Up in the Garden

The volunteers went crazy this year.

I am usually the one sitting in front of my monitor totally green with envy when all you good folks talk about rogue tomatoes and masses of mint and tomatillos taking over. I am jealous because in a normal year I have NO surprises. Nope , not a one.

This year is a different story. While I have been stripping dead leaves and branches off my poor blighted tomatoes. Hoping and praying that he fruit will be usable...and reminding myself that it isn't my fault and there is always next season. The volunteers have been chugging along. Warming me to the cockles of my heart. Please don't ask me what a cockle is though.....

My bowling ball sized pumpkin. It has been orange for about a month now...I am in complete love with this squash. It went thru hell and high water to survive...we cracked the vine , squirrels attacked it...we split the vine a second time...and yet here it is proud and orange just hardening off waiting to be part of my Halloween display. Then ultimately giving itself over to the Thanksgiving table in pie form. What a trooper! To think...I didn't even plant this.
Hard to see here, but those are wonderful 'Olena Ukrainian' Tomatoes. The fruits are growing huge this year. From the two fruit I have eaten from this one plant so far, they are 100% tastier than last season, when I actually planted them. Very juicy and silken and traditionally tomato in flavor with a hint of sweet...oh yum. There are still about a dozen or so tomatoes on the one plant I kept...and they are doing pretty well blight far(knock wood)Plus I had about 40 or 50 seedlings that I was able to give away. Got to love those tomato volunteers.

Even harder to see here is a lonely 'Sun Sugar' Tomato growing in amongst the cucumbers and Sweet Peppers. I guess when I was adding kitchen scraps to this newly made , haphazard lasagna garden, the seeds went in. They are not nearly as prolific as the plant I grew last year, but who cares it grew all on it's own so even one little cherry is putting me up a notch on the harvest scale.

A squash vine growing out of the compost...I believe it is a pumpkin(don't mind the powdery mildew, rain happens). I cant be sure though because the one little fruit in the end that may or may not have been pollinated is kind of Pumpkin shaped but until it gets a chance to grow a bit more I wont know for sure...unless of course it is part of the larger vine behind it ...then it is most definitely a pumpkin as there is a fruit on that about grapefruit size and one about plum size at the moment( I am crossing my fingers that they make it before a hard frost.)

Another squash growing out of the compost pile. I am almost sure this one is going to be a 'Delicata'. I bought a few of those last season so it is very probable that a seed or two made it into the pile. That oblong white fruit in the center of the picture is about 5 inches long.There is another fruit on the vine that is not quite as far along but is at least 6 inches long and a little thicker. I love 'Delicatas' so I am hoping that this is what they are...Mmmmm....roasted squash with brown sugar and cloves ....Mmmmmmm.

All in all, it has been a frustrating year in some aspects, but highly rewarding none the less. Well....that's gardening for you.