Growing Food

What’s in the garden this week?

IMG_3040
Grape Tomatoes

This hasn’t been my best garden year, but it hasn’t been the worst either. I ran late getting it started, because all the Earthboxes on my south table had to get emptied (Thanks, Jake!) & sterilized, then refilled. I’ve had tomato blight for a few years running. One of the disadvantages of my tables is that I can’t effectively do crop rotation, so I periodically have to do a major cleanse. And for some reason, a lot of my seeds didn’t germinate this year, so my beans & a few others are also a bit later than usual. But a gardener with patience will eventually be rewarded! Here’s a sampling of what’s going on in my garden this week:

Tomato Sucker
Grape Tomatoes – sucker

The grape tomatoes are pretty tasty, which is impressive given the recent heat. I’ve been really aggressive about picking off the suckers this year (those little shoots that form at the Y between stems). The variety I’m growing this year, Sweet Hearts Hybrid from Park Seed, is the most aggressive sucker-former I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure I believe the old saw that says they affect production. In my experience, they don’t. But the more of them you leave on, the more foliage you have overall, and the harder it is for the plant to dry off after rainfall or sloppy watering. So this year I’m hoping that keeping control of the suckers will help protect the plants against blight. 

Pie Pumpkin
Small Sugar Pumpkin in Hammock

This pumpkin, one of six this year, is hanging in a hammock I made for it to keep it up off the ground. I chose the variety, Burpee‘s Small Sugar, specifically for pie. I love using fresh pumpkin for pies, it’s so much more flavorful (and less dense & slimy) than canned. Stay tuned for the pumpkin pie post in the Fall. All of my other pumpkin vines have died back already, but this one still has a little green. Within a few days, it’ll get pulled to make room in the box for a late planting of lettuce & kale. 

 

Scarlet Runner Beans
Scarlet Runner Beans

This is the first year in over a decade, maybe two, that I’ve grown Scarlet Runner beans. You can see where they got their name! Unfortunately, for some reason they didn’t want to give me any actual beans. At least they’re pretty! I’ll try again next year. That’s what Winter is for: planning next year’s garden!

 

 

 

 

Huge Cuke
Park’s Sweet Success Cucumber

I’ve been having some amazing cucumbers – this one goes from my fingertips to my elbow. Granted, I’m short & so are my arms, but this is a solid 14″. It’s Park’s Sweet Success. I’ve tried a bazillion varieties, & this is hands-down my favorite. It’s also self-pollinating, so if I have a problem with cucumber beetles & bacterial wilt (like last year), I can put a net over it & not worry about it.

 

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Advantage Green Beans

Every year I try at least one new bush bean; most years, two. And every year, I wonder why I bother with anything other than Park’s Advantage. It’s dependable, takes a while to go to seed, continues to produce over 3 weeks or more, is stringless if you don’t wait until it already has beans in the pod, is tender and yummy. Luckily, I had some left from last year, because they had none for sale this year. I sure hope that’s just a crop failure & I can get more next year!

 

 

Burpee’s Cylindra Beets, some happy cilantro, a ripening bell pepper, and swiss chard:

Cylindra Beets
Cylindra Beets
cilantro
Cilantro
Immature Bell Pepper
Not quite ready bell pepper
Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard

 

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