torquill: A sweet potato flower (gardening)
Vorlon wins again. I picked the first two today because I didn't want to chance having them split with the watering tomorrow morning; they're perhaps a day away from full ripeness.

More garden news )

So that's the report from the garden here... I'll take a little time this week to tie up the tomatoes again, but otherwise I get to sit back and let the plants do their thing. Yay summer. :)
torquill: A sweet potato flower (gardening)
Yesterday, I hit Navlet's to get starter mix (and some French terragon, mint, and coriander seed while I was at it). I went home, filled two six packs with the starter mix, filled some yogurt cups and a larger pot with potting soil, and pulled out my seed stock.

I put a small sweet potato from last year's harvest in the large pot, and sowed some sage, basil, and coriander in the smaller ones. Then it was on to the tomatoes.

Details and descriptions of the varieties )

I braved the drizzle today and cleared the old plants out of the tomato patch, then weeded a bit more than half of it. Five or six years of diligent weed control has exhausted the seed bank to the point where half the ground is bare to start with, and much of the rest is wild geranium, a not-unpleasant plant I sort of encourage because it chokes out other weeds, yet it's easy to pull and not noxious in any other way. It has a pleasant spicy scent, actually. There's some wild mustard and miner's lettuce, which aren't bad either. This may end up being the easiest weeding year yet. Then comes the digging, though, and the ground is now very soggy...

I have a few volunteer potatoes out there, which I may decide to leave in place and ignore. White potatoes do poorly in my garden, attracting rapacious insect life and demanding far more water than their yield can justify. If I'm going to put out that much water on a starchy tuber (sweet potatoes are drought-tolerant) I'm tempted to try taro instead, which is less likely to get hammered by mites. If the potatoes can survive neglect, though, I won't get in their way.

Plans for an herb garden )
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (bean)
With 24 mature plants (26 counting the small-fruited ones) I'm hauling in 40-50 pounds of tomatoes per week now. Given that I planted for canning, I'm not complaining -- it means that when I'm done giving tomatoes away, I still have piles for preserving, enough to do a batch of sauce or cut tomatoes on any given day. I'm just managing to stay ahead of it, too.

So far, I've made pizza sauce (it tasted wonderful in the pot, I hope oversweetening it was enough to cut the acid I added to the jars), tomato chunks, and the diced/shredded tomatoes we use for casseroles because they're so soft. The last type is never a goal, but sometimes they just end up soft that way, and we have uses for them. Chunks or diced always produce tomato juice, so I have that too. I'm currently waiting on a batch of plain sauce to thicken up on the stove.

Future recipes include a yellow/green sauce (that should be interesting), tomato soup, and tomatoes with celery and pepper, like the seasoned sliced tomatoes we often get. I plan on a lot more tomato chunks and sauce, as they're versatile. Paste is hard, so I may not do that unless it's by baking rather than stove top.

This is the tomato year I've been working toward since 2003... I suspect the jars I put away now will last us for a while. :)
torquill: A sweet potato flower (gardening)
cut for the uninterested )
torquill: A sweet potato flower (gardening)
Tomato hirings and firings )
torquill: A sweet potato flower (gardening)
Jaune Negib: 92 days, average 3" beefsteaks, lemon-yellow when ripe.

The first fruit was considerably smaller, hidden in the foliage... It beat my 7/4 estimate by a few days. I'll make a judgment on flavor and texture later in the season.

Edit, 7/4: Dr. Carolyn Cherry, 65 days, ivory to light yellow.

Unknown determinate: 97 days, average 1.5" round balls, dark orange. I have no idea what this is; I'd call it Jaune Flammé if it weren't a determinate plant.

I got a horribly ugly fruit off of Earl's Faux today, but it had a bad spot; I'll wait for the first unblemished fruit before I calculate DTM.

Edit, 7/6: Noir de Crimee, 99 days, average 2" flattened globes, sort of a muddy red color. I guess this is the "brick red" black, as opposed to the "purple black" varieties I'm used to seeing. The plants still seem pretty unhappy.

Edit, 7/9: harvesting a day or two early, so I'll add a little to the DTMs for:

Vorlon: 103 days, average 3.5" beefsteaks (big this year!), very dark purple with green shoulders.

Brandywine OTV: 103 days, average 3" beefsteaks, light red.

Red Brandywine: 104 days, average 2.5" beefsteak/slicers, rich red. This fruit is about two days early, so it doesn't have the color quite yet, but I'll confirm when it's truly ripe. They're not as flat in shape as usual beefsteaks, but not quite ball-shaped. True to form, they have smooth shoulders.

Edit, 7/13: Earl's Faux: 106 days, average 3" beefsteaks, deep pink. The fruit I pulled off was maybe half that size, but unblemished, and I can see a bunch more blushing now.

Edit, 7/14: Mortgage Lifter, Estler strain: 107 days, average 3" beefsteaks, deep red. This is the older of the two Mortgage Lifters, so we'll see whether Radiator Charlie has a similar DTM in a bit.

Edit, 7/16: Yellow Brandywine: 109 days, average 4" beefsteaks, golden yellow. The older plant seems to have a semi-dwarfed habit, but I think the younger plant may not... time will tell.

Edit, 7/21: I forgot about Dorothy's Green: 112 days, average 2" beefsteaks with ribbed shoulders, greenish-yellow.

Today, Brandywine, Sudduth strain: 114 days, average 3.5" beefsteaks, deep pinkish red. The plants are loaded despite the heat waves we had, and they're as vigorous as ever.

Edit, 7/22: Little Lucky: 115 days, 2x3" plums with nipples, yellowish with indistinct red streaking. This is not the right fruit shape for LL, though it is the right coloring... I got the seeds from a trade and lost the person's name, so heaven only knows. I hope they taste good.

Stump of the World: 83 days, average 3.5" beefsteaks, dusty pink. This one has been very lackluster in both growth and fruit set, not at all what I expected. I may save seed and grow it out again to see whether it gets better.

Edit, 7/28: the second Red Brandy came in today at 89 days; several other varieties in the second set are coloring, so the flood is beginning.

I take back what I said about Stump of the World -- it's got more tomatoes on it than I realized, of hefty stature (3.5-4"). I'll check out the flavor.

Edit, 7:30: Indeterminate Abraham Lincoln (the younger): 75 days, average 2" globes, perfect red. The first one I tried was the blandest tomato I've ever tasted. These are not big enough to be the USDA strain, in fact they're about the size of the ones on the determinate plant; Tatiana's TomatoBase notes that the non-USDA strains all seem to be semi-determinate, small round reds just like the elder plant. The younger is definitely not determinate, and if anything even less tastewise. I guess these will be canning fodder.

Edit, 8/1: Second plants: Jaune Negib, a clone of the older plant, 91 days. Brandywine OTV and Yellow Brandywine, also 91 days, each from seed.

Sara's Galapagos, 91 days; it had trouble as a seedling, which accounts for its late DTM.

Edit, 9/7: I take back what I said about Dorothy's Green; the second plant seems to be much happier, and it's putting out a reasonable number of 3" normal-shaped beefsteaks. The flavor still isn't as good as Aunt Ruby's German Green, but DG does seem to be a decent variety in its own right. I should check the fertility of the soil the other one is growing in, see whether it's deficient in something.
torquill: A sweet potato flower (gardening)
I'm trying out several new varieties this year, and I've got a great growing season (finally), so I thought I'd make some notes. I know I'll be able to find them later if I put them here, and I kept it unlocked in case anyone out there wants my observations. I'll cut-tag all future posts on the topic.

Things are starting to get interesting out there )

There's a ton of green fruit out there, with a few turning that odd translucent green that comes before yellow. I'm still hoping to get fruit by July 4, but we'll certainly have it by July 10. Then comes the flood.

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