Monday, July 23, 2012

Tomato Time!

 Ah, there a better and yet more challenging month to garden?

It's been really hot so far, and dry.  Dry, dry, dry.  Garden 104 is a dustbowl if we don't water it regularly.  HOWEVER, this week was a real test and I'm pleased to report it passed with flying colours.

It was a busy week and the jerks at weather network kept promising rain and not delivering, and as a result of circumstance we didn't get to the garden to water it all week.   Seriously, how hard is it to read a weather radar map?

On the way there on Sunday I had visions of 500 sq feet of dead biomass, tumbleweed rolling across the plot like a ghost town.  I was afraid the hot sun and lack of water would have torched it, but lo and behold I think it was actually a good thing as immediately on arrival we were greeted by some perfectly (let me underscore, perfectly) ripened tomatoes.
How jealous is everybody going to be when I have cucumbers in september?
Last year, one challenge we faced was having split tomato skins.  It doesn't affect the tomato, but it doesn't look pretty and I guess makes it more susceptible to rotting on the vine.  We suspected we were overwatering them.  This week I think we might have proved that theory, as the tomatoes were all in perfect condition.

Unfortunately, all the neatly labeled plastic plant sticks have all faded and I can't even tell what varieties I have anymore.  The ones we took this week are a medium sized variety, similar to the kind you get in the grocery store on the vine.  Also, tonnes of cherry tomatoes. Yum.

The other good news was that the cucumber seeds we planted the other week have come up.  This was totally unexpected by me, even though I consider it a minor miracle when *any* seeds sprout, with the hot weather I suspected we wouldn't see them.  This is cucumber experiment #2, we're not trellising and intend to just let them run amok on the ground.  The neighbours cucumbers are looking great still, I'm quite jealous so I'm hoping these come through for us.

Our 3 beets are...I dunno.  I have a feeling it's too hot.  We pulled out all the radishes for this reason, because of a whole row of them, they got really leafy but didn't develop the nice round root.  I suspect the beets will be in a similar situation but we'll see.

Last week, when we pulled out all the potatoes and onions we dumped a lot of worm poop on the ground, to help give the soil *something*.  This week we raked it all over and are trying a slightly different bed shape experiment.

Last year we mounded, this year we dug.  Now, I'm experimenting with using the cultivator to form troughs and planting in the deepest part.

We seeded carrots, parsnips, turnip, and more beets (6th time the charm?).

Experimenting with new trough beds
These are all things that should take some time, and will benefit from the cooler weather in the fall.

Garden neighbour to the right says that you can leave these things in through a frost and that it will really taste good afterwards.

Apparently the cold frost makes the plant put all it's energy into the root, which makes it sweeter and more delicious.

Carrots and parsnips are I think around 100 days, which will put these to be ready around the end of October.  That seems like so far away, and yet we're already 1/2 way through the growing season.
Boo hoo :(

All of the lettuce had been pulled out last week as it really suffered from the extreme heat.  However, I notice that the neighbours lettuce is doing really well so, inspired, I planted three more rows of it.  I found some Frisee seeds leftover and now that we know what to do with them, I'm excited to give it another try.
The new lettuce bed
There is also a leafy variety and a romaine variety in there.

I have mixed feeling on the corn.  Firstly, in the good news department quite a few stalks have ears on them and they are getting bigger every visit.

They are also acting as terrific beanpoles, the beans are winding their way up the stalks.  Our neighbours already have beans, ours are a few weeks behind.

In the not so good news department, quite a few of the ears have all the silk nibbled away by what I suspect are those pesky ear wigs.

I don't know how this is going to affect the corn, I'm not sure if this means it's not going to grow or what.  I'm disappointed, because I didn't anticipate this, being so focused on keeping racoons out.

Anyway, I'm really hoping to have some corn in 2 weeks to take camping so we can grill it.
How can bugs do this much damage?

Be done already!
And lastly, our little watermelon looks to be doing ok!

It's twice the size it was last week and now I'm going to be watching it like a hawk.  I tried to tuck it in behind the brussel sprouts but I'm not sure if it's going to stay out of sight from thieves.

It looks like it is the only melon on this plant so far, so I'm eagerly anticipating it's readiness.

Not a bad haul overall this week, some MASSIVE zucchini's, tomatoes, a few carrots and radishes.  Enough to make some nice salads throughout the week.

Garden hal

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