July 25th Report

Makings of a Saturday morning fritatta.

We are well into July and time for an updated status report on this year’s garden.

In this weird “Year of the coronavirus pandemic,” one of my main goals was to extend the growing season, especially on the front end. The container garden did not disappoint. We have had a small but continuous supply of tomatoes from the two large plants that I bought. I am picking one at least every other day, usually one every day. There has been an excellent supply of jalapenos from the mature nursery plant, and the bush cucumbers were our first ones. If I had gotten those cucumbers in earlier, we would have had them a lot earlier. Cherry tomatoes have been continuous, but not extremely prolific yet, but they will likely explode in the next week or so.

I picked the first two Champion tomatoes this morning, they were the first from that patch. The rest are coming along very slowly. It looks like the “Lemon Boy” will be the next one to have ripe tomatoes, but they haven’t started to turn yet. With the amount of hot weather that we have had, it is surprising that we haven’t had more tomatoes beginning to ripen. There are a couple of large tomatillos on those plants, but they went in very late, so I don’t expect a harvest until late August. The Roma Tomatoes are doing well but are likely a few weeks away from ripening.

I picked a bunch of zucchini this past week, including one huge one. We’ve had zucchini for a couple of weeks, but there was nothing today. I haven’t had any cocozelle zucchini yet. I picked my second pattypan squash this morning, and half of that went into our frittata. I should probably plant another hill of zucchini for fall since I have space.

The cucumbers are going crazy, and I’ve had enough to give away. I got my first couple of lemon cucumbers this week, and they were as delicious as usual. The plants are loaded with blossoms, and I planted a bunch, so we will be over-supplied with those. The small jalapeno plants have started to yield very well, but just tiny peppers on the hot Hungarian pepper plant.

The shishitos are bearing prolifically, and the Lady Bells exploded, and I have many large peppers on those plants. I tied up all of the peppers last weekend. I picked a large banana pepper this morning, and there are a few melrose and other peppers out there. The small sweet red peppers are about the right size but haven’t started to turn red yet. The okra is bearing well, and I roasted some last weekend and had to throw a few away this week because they got too big, about 4 inches is ideal. The kale is looking very good, and the fennel is tall, but the bulbs are still small, I need to look up the culture of that. Swiss chard is growing okay, also.

I will probably pull up the fava beans. There are a couple of large pods and a few small ones, but they didn’t do well. I was way too hot for them, and they did not germinate well. That will give the Chinese cabbage some more room.

I think i’ll plant some green beans in the front of the cucumber patch, and save teh space in the first bed for fall greens.

The new herb garden is doing amazingly well. We’ve been using a lot of basil and that has kept the blooms off. I probably should throw some basil seed in. The oregano by the deck is dying, both the old and the new. Not sure why.

4th of July Evaluation

Early July Pickings

It’s the 4th of July and time for an early season evaluation of the garden. Overall I am happy with the way the garden went together this year. Almost everything got in on schedule, despite the early sell-out of plants at most of the nurseries.

The only real failure was that none of the Cucamelons germinated. The other germination issue was with the Fava Beans, where the germination was somewhat erratic. The plants that are just starting to bear are widely different in size. Pak Choi and the Arugula immediately bolted even though they went in on April 7. I guess that was too late. The lettuce from seed went in on March 8, including spinach, but the growth was stunted. The lettuce did well, but the spinach bolted early. I planted lettuce plants from Goebbert’s on April 18, and we got our first lettuce from plants and the seeds on May 17. The lettuce is bolting now, but we are still picking edible lettuce. I will probably pull it in the next couple of days as it is starting to get bitter. A cover over the spring greens bed next year might help.

We’ve been getting tomatoes for over a week from the couple of large potted tomato plants that I bought. The large cherry tomato plant I bought has had tomatoes for about a week. The other cherry and grape tomatoes are at various stages. There are a couple of plants with ripe tomatoes. The first garden tomato might be ready tomorrow and that is an Early Girl II. There are two or three tomatoes on that plant, but after I pick them there might not be any more until August. I bought larger Champion and Early GIrl plants but the other plants have caught up. The other plants were all small because of the plant shortage this year. Here are the Heirloom tomatoes that have set fruit already – Mortgage LIfter, Lemon Boy, Cherokee Purple, Early GIrl II, and the Two Champion Plants. I have three variations of Roma Tomatoes, Roma, Roma II, and Roma III, all from Countryside. They were all small plants that went in on June 8. All of the plants have set fruit.

The eggplants look stunted, but one has an eggplant on it. They probably should have been watered more.

The hot peppers are slow, and the Jalapeno plants have some tiny peppers. Of course the large Jalapeno plant I bought has been bearing well. We have had Shishitos for over a week and I’ve picked a couple of the Gypsy peppers. There are some small banana peppers but nothing on the Lady Bell plants yet. There are some nice sized Sweet Cherry Peppers, but I need to wait until those are red.

The okra have small fruits and we might have a few of those in a week or so. The kale really took off and the fennel and Swiss Chard are doing okay. They will likely take off once I clear ou the lettuce and give them more room. The Chinese Cabbage look okay also.

We will soon be inundated with cucumbers. I picked the first summer dance and a couple of bush cucumbers today and the summer dance has a lot more. There is no fruit on the Goebbert’s plants yet. The vines for the Lemon cucumbers are vigorous and just starting to flower.

The Zucchini are slow and probably could have used more water. I’ll probably have zucchini in a few days, and there are some small Peter Pan fruits on those plants. They will get watered today.

The tomatillos are still leggy, but one has a large fruit on it already. Those sat in the tray for a long time before they got planted.

I fertilized all of the potted plants and the herb garden today. The new herb garden is doing extremely well. I’ll hit most of the rest of the garden with fertilizer tomorrow and do some weeding. I’ll also need to tie up the Roma tomatoes before the fruit gets too heavy.