Saturday, July 31, 2010

Early Arrival

This is the first ripe tomato of the season and it has ripened a full week earlier than the first tomato did last year. This wasn't expected since the cool weather in Spring lingered longer than usual forcing me to delay putting any plants outside. Its arrival is most welcome. I'm glad to have fresh tomatoes to go with my lettuce, peppers and onions so I can make some flavorful salads.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Beautiful Basil Blossoms

One of the sweet basil plants has started to flower. Maybe I'll have some seeds for next season soon.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sweet Summer Fruit

The melon vines are full of blossoms and will be full of sweet melons soon. At least I hope so. We just had two days of rain so that should help things along.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fresh Summer Squash

The papaya pear squash are the first summer squash to appear this year. But as you can see, Mother Nature isn't always so neat regarding where she places her bounty. Cutting this golden prize from the plant without causing damage is going to be quite a challenge. And did I mention the squash stems are studded with little spikes that really irritate the skin when you brush against them? Ah, the things one must endure for fresh produce.

Friday, July 23, 2010

From The New World To The Global Table

Whether sweet and mild or fiery hot, no matter where they exist in the world today, peppers can trace their origin to the New World and you can thank Columbus' voyages for making them a global phenomena. They require a warm climate and grow at a leisurely pace. In this part of the country that means that if you don't want to wait all summer for them to mature, you start them indoors when there is still snow on the ground outside. I started these in March, but maybe next year I'll get them going in February.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Individually Wrapped For Your Convenience

Just a few weeks after being transplanted into a much larger container, the pineapple tomatillo(ground cherry) plant is starting to bear ripe fruit. And they are quite tasty!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tomatoes By The Bucket

This year I'm trying to grow tomatoes in five gallon pails for the first time. I chose a determinate variety know as Siletz Organic, developed in the Siletz Valley of Oregon. As you can see from the photo, they are coming along quite well so far. Of course, those of you who are familiar with the Southern delicacy of fried green tomatoes may think that they are ready to eat right now!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Tasty Valentine

Every year I try to grow something new. This year I planted lettuce seeds for the first time. This is a rare type of lettuce know as Sweet Valentine. So don't expect to see it in your local grocery store any time soon. Although, if you're lucky, you may see it in a local farmer's market. If you do, give it a try. It's a loose-leaf type with romaine tenderness. And the leaves are a dark red on both sides(hence the name) with the lower part of the leaf a bright green.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ground Cherries

This is the second time I've grown pineapple tomatillos(aka: ground cherries, cape gooseberries). The seeds take a while to germinate but the tasty berries make it well worth the effort. They grow covered by a lantern shaped husk. When ripe, they drop to the ground. And when the husk becomes translucent, they're at their peak flavor, a flavor that's a cross between sweet tomatoes and pineapples. Once extracted from their husks, they may be eaten raw, used in desserts, salads, as a flavoring or in jams and jellies. They can also be dried and eaten like raisins or other dried fruit. So you can keep the taste of summer with you long past harvest season.