Monday, August 25, 2014

Keep A Weather Eye Out

When someone tells you to keep a weather eye out or on something they mean watch it very carefully so you don't end up blindsided by change. That's always good advice when growing anything, but it's especially true about summer squash, cucumbers and other members of the Cucurbita pepo group. Once they start bearing fruit, it takes daily inspection to make sure you don't overlook some tender prize. And If you skip a few days of inspection you may find yourself looking at living baseball bats, because as tender as they are when they're young and small, they easily become tough skinned behemoths in a very short time.

These beauties will escape that fate. They'll make a nice side dish after they are battered and lightly fried.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Long Time Coming

It's not supermarket pretty and it has certainly been a long time in coming. But the first large tomato has finally ripened and will soon be followed by others. The weather certainly hasn't been what it should be. Although there has been sufficient rain, the long stretches of hot weather that tomatoes, melons and other plants love best have been in short supply. Despite the unusual weather, it looks like things will work out well after all. And that suits me just fine!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Plethora Of Lycopersica

Humans in Central and South America had been eating tomatoes since at least 500 B.C., but it took the Spaniards to spread this versatile vegetable to Asia, through the Philippines and to Europe.

A member of the deadly nightshade family of plants, rumors persisted for years in Europe that tomatoes were poisonous. And for some time the plants were grown as nothing more than ornamentation or conversation pieces. Of course, there is always some adventurous soul who will try anything. And once Europeans learned that it was the leaves and not the fruit that was poisonous, they couldn't get enough of this strange, shiny import from the Americas.

This year I have about a dozen small containers planted with Tiny Tom, Tumbling Tom and Peardrop varieties. And as you can see from the photo above, the plants have given an abundant harvest.

Friday, August 8, 2014

A Familiar Friend

The stripped delicata squash plant has started fruiting. I love this variety for its taste, its resistance to powdery mildew and the fact that it keeps well for months after harvesting in dark, cool, dry places like the corner of a garage.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Wait Is Over

I revel in this time of year. The container cherry tomatoes are ripening so fast I can hardly keep up. Fortunately, I know just what to do with them; cherry tomato pizza with homemade pesto and marinara sauce anyone?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

First Time's The Charm

There are thousands of people around the country that are dedicated to producing new varieties of tomatoes that can be grown in containers. My hat is off to those who came up with this variety known as Peardrop. They are tasty, juicy and have a sweetness that is just perfect. I'm definitely going to save some seeds so I can grow these again next season!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Crated Basil

A quartet of lettuce leaf basil plants is doing quite well in this planter made from a re-purposed milk crate and a plastic trash bag. Pesto anyone?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Song Of The Cicadas

Summer is ending. Summer is fleeting. Soon it'll be cold, snowy and sleeting.

The cicadas are out in full force and singing up a storm. And no matter what lyrics one might put to their tune, the chorus would undoubtedly be something like the sentences at the start of this entry. Gardening this year had a later start than usual because it seemed that Mother Nature didn't really want to start spring. Planting in this area was three to four weeks later than usual. But the time of bounty is upon us and the first summer squash is in. I hope my straight neck squash plant lives up to the prolific nature of average summer squash plants, because there isn't much time left before the cool nights return and the autumnal equinox is upon us.