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 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 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.