Aug 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Here we go again with Weather Gone Wild 2011 version.

First it was snowstorm after snow storm dumping 12" plus every week....now it's the Hurricane from Hell. Never a dull moment here in bucolic New England.

I will admit that we here in the Northeast may know our way around a blizzard, but it has been....what....25 years since the last real Hurricane. That one would have been Gloria, and I would have been all of 18 or 19 at the time and I'm pretty sure I slept through most of it. Well this time around I am a homeowner and there is no way I will be able to sleep through it knowing my roof is at risk. So we have battened down the hatches. The hatches in this case being our lawn furniture, watering cans and other such suburban detritus.

On a happier note...well not happier as it still pertains to high winds whipping away at my garden,but maybe a more garden-like note....I harvested a nice bunch of tomatoes that were just starting to go a shade past blushing to keep them safe from the wind. Also my son helped put all of the dangling squash, pumpkins and melons into little hammocks. So hopefully those will just rock the storm out.

Okay folks....keep your fingers crossed that my roof and garden make it through until Monday.


Aug 9, 2011

What's Happening in the Garden

So ....Summer has been speeding forward at a crazy pace. This is my youngest daughters last real Summer vacation as she is entering her Senior year of high school at the end of the month. What that means is....I am an emotional wreck. I am happy that she is healthy and happy and doing well in school, but at the same time I am sorry to see my last baby so close to being an adult.Oh well, you guys don't come here to listen to me get all mooshy, and frankly this is my happy place so lets get on with the gardening....shall we?!?!?


And another truthfulness....my tomatoes have not been a purveyor of happiness so much this year either. Nope, I have this wilty problem going on. I had it last year to some extent but it seems that this year it is a bit more prevalent( I am moving my tomatoes to a different bed next year). As it stands now, every time I brag that a plant is nice, green , healthy and full of fruit, the next day it has a little wilty head on just one branch. Before you know it the leaves on that branch are turning yellow and dying. Then another branch joins in and before I know it the whole plant looks like drek.The whole shebang takes a couple of weeks, and some of the affected plants are hangimg in there , but it still makes me sad. Then just as I come to terms with my sickly looking plant, the problem moves on to the next plant I am particularly proud of and bragging on. I still get a bunch of beautiful first flush fruits before this starts happening , but I want a second and third flush as well.... although I guess in retrospect I am still pleased with the ones I get, and I shouldn't really complain ...there are people eating nothing but store bought tomatoes after all.

So here are a couple of pictures of what has been ripening in my garden.




Clockwise from Top center:

Blondkopfchen, Black Cherry, Dr.Carolyn, Juliet, Brown Berry


Love those cherry types as no matter how bad the plant looks you still get a huge crop. And since I grow my cherries in pots some of these varieties out grew their pots and are looking way worse for the wear. The varieties that grew the wildest are Juliet and Dr. Carolyn. They look like they are ready to give up the ghost, if they were in the ground they would have done much, much better.

Blondkopfchen is a little sweetie, Black Cherry is very rich and fruity, Dr Carolyn, is sweet and tangy and the skin is amazingly soft and thin, Juliet has a big tomato taste and Brown Berry is earthy and sweet.

Top: Indian Moon, Brandyboy, Guajito(paste shaped red),Lime Green Salad, Marlowe Charleston(large dusty pink),Marglobe(round red)


Sorry the shot is a bit fuzzy. The Lime Green Salad are a surprise as they seem to be tolerant of a lot of abuse. I have them in the garden where they were over shadowed by the huge Brandyboy plants to the point of being completely enclosed(before the Brandyboy got that weird wilty issue and got cut back after the fruit was ripe). I also have them in pots. one is a 2 and a half gallon pot and that plant got knocked over and bent. I stood it up and straightened it out, tied the bendy part to a stick and it is doing splendidly. The other was a plant I potted into a gallon pot hoping to find it a home....I never did ,that one has at least 8 or more fruit on it (don't let them know I told you or they might get the wilty 's) I haven't eaten any yet, but I plan to tomorrow.Will let you know how that works for me as I love green when ripes and can't wait to try this one.

Brandyboy's are definitely good. But not overly exciting. They are like a Brandywine that is taking a rest.They are sweet , tangy good on a sandwich for sure... but not POW.

Guajito's are another surprise. I haven't eaten these yet either (same date to eat) the surprise is their shape as I was not certain if they were really a paste type or not as very little is to be found of them on the web. They are loaded with fruit and they are most definitely plum/pear shaped.

Indian Moon is gorgeous...and the fruit is pretty decent for a gold type. Mild, yes, but still very flavorful . Really good with a slice of fresh Mozzarella and a drizzle of good Balsamic.

Marlowe Charleston is my favorite of the bunch so far this season. Of course I only had 1 plant survive and so far only 2 fruits....*sigh*. It is a Pink Beefsteak...I thought it was a black when ripe when I sowed the seed,but I quickly found out it is not. It is however a very dusky pink with green shoulders that definitely distinguishes it from the normal pinks I am growing. The flavor is superb and a tad more complex than my normal sweet succulent pinks...more depth. A keeper.

Marglobe is that perfect deep red and lovely round fruit many people crave. Again ,to be eaten tomorrow.


Not pictured is Thessaloniki....that is because it ripened earlier than these(by a few days) and my daughter talked me into sandwiches every day last week featuring those Thessaloniki...and truth be told after eating the first one I could barely keep my eye of the next 2. They are the perfect taste and texture for a perfect Ham and Swiss on a lightly toasted English Muffin. Now sadly, this was one of the only plants to really load up with fruit...and of course it has started to do the wilty dance. I have my fingers crossed that the rest of the fruit will get big enough to save....but am getting more fearful by the day that this isn't going to happen. I did grow two plants, but the second is coming in as an oxheart. It could be Thessaloniki Oxheart....maybe not....we'll see and I will let you know. The Thessaloniki's though,I will grow these again.


More to come when I taste the remaining tomatoes harvested....and then again when the late season tomatoes come in... Jersey Devil,Thessaloniki Oxheart?, Old German, German Red Strawberry and Amish Paste.

Jun 9, 2011

Everybody's In!!

Finally....everybody who is going to be in the garden this year is in the garden.


It had been one nasty bummer of an early season. Just like two years ago, there was the 3 weeks of gray skies, cold night temperatures and rain and/or dampness. But I learned my lesson from Spring 2009 and I didn't try to force my babies to adapt to the nasty wet weather only to end up with weird leaf issues. Nope, I kept my seedlings inside during the nasty weather. Of course they grew to about 2 feet of straggly-ness before the sun finally came out again. But all I can say to that is...oh well, I did what any good plant Mamma would do and I dug extra deep holes , and by that I mean I had my son dig extra deep holes with a post hole digger(who says you only use them once). So now those straggly tomatoes look lovely and everything else is sprouting or has been replaced with seeds that I figure will sprout....eventually.

Oh, by the way . I was out in the garden yesterday....as I promised myself I would try to spend more time in the yard this year and less in the Air Conditioner that I treated the family to after the pool bit the dust last year....sorry getting off track....and while out in the yard I got some nice pictures of how my garden grows.


My Citrus Pot garden





The Little Fruits on One of Them



Some Jimenez Bean Seedlings

Please ignore the weeds they get pulled periodically....and some of those green things are Zucchini...and some of it is even my perennial Sage....but yeah those are weeds there all right.


Some Carrot Seedlings in a Garbage Can


My Garlic Corner....and some Garlic Scapes Growing

Let me tell you what I did with some of those Garlic Scapes. I steamed them whole till they were just tender. Then I quickly cooled them under running cold water. I wrapped each Scape stalk in a thin thin thin slice of Serrano Ham. Then I drizzled them with a few drops each of my fancy, only bring out on special occasions, hide from the family , Gold Cask Balsamic Vinegar. Oh Man....they were so good I can hardly stand that I had to share them with my family. Okay, I shared willingly because I love my family.....don't want anyone getting the wrong impression.


Tomatillos
Eggplant



Things in Pots


Well, that's all for tonight!! I have more, but I want to keep the mystery in our relationship.....

May 11, 2011

Poor Paul Robeson.....

Sad to say, my one little Paul Robeson sprout didn't make it.

Try as it might, the poor little thing just never had it in him. I had fingers and toes crossed, and coaxed him a bit every chance I got, but still no luck. And to think, this was my only Black when ripe tomato for this season ....oh well....what can you do.


I sure am going to miss having those succulent, deep,dark, smoky, wonderful, burgundy colored slices of tomato-y goodness though.....

Apr 21, 2011

Tomato Choices 2011

And they're off!!
The list of sprouted and potted up tomato varieties for 2011 is finally in.
It was a rocky start this season as the room that they are started in absolutely refused to heat up(I need new windows throughout the house and I am hoping that will keep our house warm in the Winter)
Then the 3 special colored tomato varieties....orange, black, and green when ripe... I sowed, decided to be duds. So I had to choose 3 more...of which one,the orange, was also a no show.
Those issues were followed by a snafu created by me myself... the tomato that I chose as a replacement black variety, based on a vague blurb on the label on the little plastic envelope the seeds arrived in, is actually a pink one....Plus the green is determinate , which of course is not really a bad thing in the kingdom of tomato-ness. It just goes to show that you need to research your varieties yourself, and not rely on the people you get your seed from to be 100% accurate.

And finally we are on our way and moving along grandly(knock wood)

So here are the varieties that I have decided on for the 2011 season...drum roll please:

Marglobe

Thessaloniki

Brandy Boy

German Red Strawberry

Marlowe Charleston

Old German

Indian Moon

Lime Green Salad


Jersey Devil

Amish Paste

Guajito


Brownberry

Black Cherry

Juliet

Dr.Carolyn

Blondkopfchen

-and-

I don't even like mentioning this one for fear of jinxing the poor thing. I only noticed that it has sprouted this morning. I feared that I would have to count it amongst the failed seeds. But nope . It is trying so hard to live. One proud little lollipop headed tomato sprout. I do so hope it survives and thrives.....

Paul Robeson


My Failed seed varieties were-

Kellogg's Breakfast

Grub's Mystery Green(and I was really looking forward to this one)

Jaune Negib


I know the seed is getting old....but not that old(yet)....oh well you can't win 'em all.


Now on to see who actually makes it into the garden. And after the Winter we just went through I can hardly contain my gardening self!!



Apr 18, 2011

A few garden beauties


Just wanted to check in and show off some of the beauties popping up around my little piece of the Earth!!




I am so happy....these are the gorgeous Hyacinths that my sister gave me for Easter 2 seasons ago. Normally Hyacinths(which happen to be my favorite Spring scent) don't do well for me. Now I know from working in the biz from so many years that the big lush hyacinth blooms we get from our newly planted bulbs have been a tad bit manipulated, but I still see fairly lovely blooms around my 'hood while mine turn to spindly 3 flower sticks by the next year after planting. But these must know they represent ...ahhh Spring fragrance and color...






I planted these bulbs about 3 years ago and they never fail to take my breath away with their pale cream faces.





These are another joyful surprise. Okay, now I know that these teensy little green flowers seem to be insignificant. But to me they mean the world as they are the first flowers ever on my Currant baby bushes!!I received these from a fellow garden enthusiast maybe 5 years ago. They were little twigs and I feared for their lives. I originally planted them in an area that they loathed, and it only took me 3 years to figure that out. So after re-locating them 3 years ago I was thrilled to see them thrive and grow. I was resigned to just enjoy their beautiful foliage....until now...now I have hope for a harvest. Maybe it will be a very small harvest....but a harvest none the least.




Marco popped up in the garden as I was looking around....he is growing rather abundantly.







Bella is a new addition to our garden....she has just started to put down her roots.

Apr 6, 2011

Tomato Time!!

Phew...all of the tomato seedlings that graced my life by sprouting and growing , have been potted up. There were a few disappointments with my special tomato varieties (not that all of the varieties I grow aren't special...) but I will weather that storm.


It seems that somewhere along the line I have acquired too many tomato varieties to actually grow. I set a 7 year age limit on my seed last season as I figured that once I got beyond that point it would be harder for me to get germination. That being said, I have more seed from 2007 than I really can handle....oh well I guess I will have to get better at germinating old seed, or if they fail I will just add them back to my ever expanding wish list.


Next entry....the varieties that sprouted....Yay!!

Mar 10, 2011

Sorry....

I know I have been absent as of late. I promise I haven't forgotten this place....nor my love of a good tomato. This Winter has taken it's toll on me and most of the people around me. I am in the process of sowing my seeds for the upcoming veggies season and will get back here with a list of what is sown after a few things that are going on in my life settle a bit. I would love to hear from anyone who has started their own seeds for the season or has their seed list planned out....I am always interested in what people are growing !!



So hold tight...Summer is coming again, and I will update soon :)