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Friday, August 28, 2015

Monster huge big harvest (not) 2015

"Monster" "Huge" & "Big" being relative.  In previous years a 'big' harvest ususally meant 20-30# of something.

SpaRRows, on the other hand, gave me its 'big'-est harvest yet yesterday - just a tad over 10#.

In the basket there are a handful of San Marzanos and 3 toms from the mystery plant.   

The middle tray: Bush Goliath toms, a handful mix of blue lake & contender beans, a little cuke from the deck vine and all of the bell peppers that had started to color up.

The end tray is filled with San Marzanos from the deck pots.

There has been a persistent groundhog up by the deck and no amount of persuasion from the air rifle deters him so I thought it best to harvest toms & peppers colored up and bring them into the breezeway to fully ripen.

Dwarf Red Robin
And remember (hmmm, did I even post about this?) how I picked the last of the salad tomatoes (Red Robin) at the end of July, leaving me with the decision to toss the mini-plants, or give them a shot of fertilizer to see if the pea-sized toms left on the plant would develop? (Note tiny pea-sized tom in front of full sized tom to the left.)

Bob Estler's Mtg Lifter
Well it was a good decision to fertilize and keep watering.  All those itty bittys filled up and just 4 weeks later - a bowlful of goodies.

The toms against the fence are starting to ripen - hopefully before the annual late blight ruins everything.  
Fence San Marzano

The Bob Estler Mortgage Lifters (from seeds I saved last year) are HUMONGOUS!  The San Marzanos are also on the large side.

Mystery tomato
And then there is the MYSTERY tomato.  ====>

I'd found what I thought I'd found the very last seed in an envelope sent from a friend in 2009.  I was sure it was a Rose Quartz and since I'd recently re-connected with this friend who said he'd like to get some Rose Quartz seeds for his new garden, I thought it would be fun to grow out the last seed for him.  So I did.  So it sprouted. So I planted it. 

It quickly turned out it was NOT a Rose Quartz.  DANG!  I LOVE Rose Quartz so that means no salad tomatoes for me this year.  (Thank goodness for the Red Robins!) Well, the mystery tomatoes were small-ish at first and dark red when ripe so I assumed it was a REISENTRAUBE because that friend had also sent me seeds of that variety in that original envelope.  Okay, I'd use them in sauce - they had a darker look and heavier flavor.  

Mystery harvest
Well then, as things went on - it was obviously not a Reisentraube either!!  Reisentraube grow in clusters and they are only slightly larger than a Rose Quartz.  Well, boy howdy, these guys are not in clusers but long streamers side-by-side.  And the tomatoes are weighing in over 3-4 oz now.  

I've never grown a tomato like this before.  I have no freaking clue what I'm growing.  Thing is -- I'm really liking them.  So I'm going to have to save some seeds and grow one next year.  If anyone can clue me in on what I've got, sure would appreciate it.  

Meanwhile, the fence cukes are struggling with mosiac but I still get an occasion half-filled cuke for salad.  The deck cuke, free from the smothering embrace of that crappy lemon cuke, has gotten cocky and putting out some new growth.  Gotta love an underdog.  Maybe I'll get a few more of those pint-sized cukes before the mosiac takes the plant.

Speaking of stepping up - the contender & blue lake beans are reblooming.

And look, the onions are actually bulbing up even though they weren't planted out until June.  How about that?

Those 3 med hot block peppers finally took hold.  Wonder if I'll get more than the token 1 fruit/per plant I'm seeing now.
Well, that pretty much takes care of everything.  The back volunteer sqash is doing well with 5 monster fruits turning tan.  Really hoping the groundhog doesn't take a liking to them.  It would be sad to have gotten them past the deer only to lose them so late in the game.

Fingers crossed.

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Volunteer butternuts

It seems that no matter if I do or don't eat any butternuts over winter, I get 1 volunteer plant out of a compost pile.  

This year is no exception.

Except that the plant is exceptional!

Monster huge, rampant spread, seems to laugh at drought even when we've had no rain for almost 3 weeks, it's never even wilted in mid-day.

When I first saw a couple of female buds out in the yard I put a plastic basket of 2 of them to help keep out the deer and/or ground hog.  

Well, within 7 days, one got so big it deformed the basket and eventually shrugged it off completely and is getting huge.

Underneath those leaves in the pile, there are some fantastic fruits in there, one measuring nearly 24" already.  

I'm gonna be swimming in savory roasted butternut soup this winter.  Fingers crossed that some terrible malady/pest gets at these things  before ripe.  

Oh man they are awesome.

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Monday, August 3, 2015

SpaRRows & Fence veg - Early Aug Update

Things have come right along in the past 15 days.  I'm feeling more positive about the whole container garden idea.  I was angsting that the San Marzanos in pots wouldn't produce any fruit, that the SMs against the fence were just all leaves due to the application of Milorganite behind the fence last year (making them HUGE and DARK and leafy).  And I dispaired that since I didn't end up with any pole beans, that the bush beans wouldn't amount to much.

And then there were the 2 deck cukes - the Sweet Success there was a dud of some kind, stunted, cukes spare and only 6" long when ripe.  Then the much-touted lemon cuke grew like topsy, tons of fine, scads of blooms, lots of cukes and THEY WERE AWFUL.  The skin was terribly prickly and the insides were just wall-to-wall seeds.  A taste was just seeds and bitter skin.  A waste of space.  Still, the bees are enjoying the blooms and I'm liking the vines at that end of the deck.

But things are looking up.  You can see in the pics above, that the SMs in pots have really filled in, even showing a blushing fruit this morning.  The Red Robin toms are producing lots of fruit on such dwarf plants.  Good thing.  The "Rose Quartz" planted against the fence has turned out to be NOT rose quartz, but a Reisentraube.  A larger, sparser, muskier tasting fruit I grew back in 2009 when I decided I didn't like the heavier flavor over the brighter, more citrusy flavor of the Rose Quartz.  I toyed with taking down the plant when I figured that out this week, but decided maybe I'll just add those fruits to my San Marzano sauce, perhaps adding a low note to the mix.  

The other fence toms (Mtg Lifter, German Green, San Marzanos) are now filling well with fruit and I hope they can start ripening before the dreaded late blight mostly likely to come.

Under the pic of a bowl of Red Robins is a pic of the Bush Goliath fruit.  Not as large as last year's pot growth, but heartening none-the-less since they are growing in my experimental home-made potting mix.  

I've gotten about 2# of green beans so far - Contenders from the fence and Blue Lake from the in-ground row in SpaRRows.  The 2 pots of Contenders are growing crazy right now, over 2' tall and covered in blooms and bees.  Fingers crossed for a good crop there.

The sweet peppers are not doing well, nor are the 3 med hot block peppers.  The leaves turn yellow and fall.  Others I've spoken with say their peppers aren't doing well either this season.  Que sera sera.

Finally, the chives are outstanding but the 2 pots of onions are all green, no bulbs.  Most likely it's because I didn't get them into the pots until early June instead of April.  Both 'long day' varieties probably suffered.  Still, green onions are really tasty too!

I went through some old posts from 2009,10,11,12 ever 13 and saw that I was getting baskets of ripe tomatoes mid-to-late July.  2009 & 10 were really banner years.  Don't know why toms last year and this are so retarded in that regard.  All I can hope for is I'll get enough for veg stock and tom sauce before blight.  Keep your fingers crossed for me. X

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