"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Garden Plot Update 2014

Carnival Carrots in raised bed
Lots of photos today of our garden plot.  We went over the weekend and put in some small cans of beer to lure the rolly polly bugs.  It worked, last night we checked and the cans were filled with bugs.  We used cat food cans, tuna cans would work too.  Just buy some cheap beer and fill about 2/3 full and dig in to the soil to level the can with the soil.  We placed them by the Tatsoi and the Lettuces since that is where the bugs seem to be staying.

Anaheim Chili Pepper
Gourmet Beet Blend and Bull's Blood Beets
Purple Heirloom Bush Bean
Cherokee Purple
Chocolate Stripe
Dr. Wyche
Southern Night
San Marzano

San Marzano (second plant)
German Queen
Cocozelle Striped Zucchini (looking sad should be much larger)
Crookneck Summer Squash
Scallop Summer Squash
Ronde de Nice (a round zucchini)
Japanese Eggplant
Heirloom Purple Eggplant
Farmer's Market Blend Lettuce
Lolla Rosa Lettuce (6 plants) also sprouts of pea pods will climb the pole when I harvest the lettuce.
One of 6 Tatsoi plants, I have more seedling to put in once I cut these.
Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans
Snow Peas
Soyu Cucumbers
Speckles in front and Romaine in back
Yellow Pole Beans and a swiss chard I found growing on the grounds and transplanted here.
Red Leaf and Romaine

I have found violets.
April hath come on,
And the cool winds feel softer.

–Nathaniel Parker Willis (1806–67)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Raised Beds and More Garden Updates for 2014

Driveway garden
It has been so long since I updated my blog with photos from our home garden, so this post will be for that.  Our new garden plot is keeping me busy, running back and forth every few days to water.  It was nice to be able to stay home this morning and take a few photos, walk around the yard with coffee cup in hand enjoying all that is blooming and growing. The weather is fantastic today, nice and warm.
This first photo shows the garden we always have along the driveway.  I planted 5 tomatoes here and still have room for more once I pull out the kale and swiss chard. It is just now beginning to bolt so I will harvest what I can and then remove it today.  We have the full moon and I want to plant the rest of the tomatoes this evening before it begins to wane. Remember: don't plant anything on April 20-21. Planting by the Moon


Green Zebra

San Marzano

Cherokee Purple

Black Krim
Lacinato Kale

Giant Mustard

Lacinato Kale, Swiss Chard Onions and more Swiss Ruby Chard

Raised bed in citrus grove with Kale, Swiss Chard, Carrots, Beets, and 4 newly planted tomatoes.  1 of each of Bi-Color Cherry, Brown Cherry, Sun Drop and Green Grape.

This shows our new "L" shaped raised beds.  The left side is planted with Eversweet strawberries, an everbearing plant that is supposed to grow and produce fruit from summer through the fall months.  This is Tony's new project, hopefully the birds will let him have a few. He also planted our strawberry pot with a dozen plants!

The new tomato cages will support 1 of each of Southern Night, Chocolate Stripe, Flame or Hillbilly, Gold Medal, and Goliath. 

Eversweet Strawberries

Loquat fruit
 The loquat grows towards the end of the driveway and is loaded with fruit this year. These should be ready to pick in a couple more weeks; usually in early May.

This is the rose at the end of the driveway.  I bought a seedling of this rose from an old German man about 3-4 years ago. NO kidding this rose was just a foot tall when I planted it and has grown this big in just 4 years.  He couldn't remember the name but told me it was an old variety that he always took cuttings of and grew to sell.  I am so glad that he did!

I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.
Emma Goldman

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tomato Update 2014 List of Tomatoes I am Growing This Year

No photos today, just an update on the varieties of tomatoes I am growing this year.  I didn't get a chance to make my spreadsheet but this will do to keep my blog updated so I can review from year to year.

I have 23 plants between home and the community garden plot we now have.  I am super excited (as usual) at this time of year in anticipation of my tomato harvesting days!

I started all of these plants from seed with the exception of Goliath. That one is a hybrid that I grew last year and really liked it for canning.  It is the only plant that I bought.  I still have 5 Big White Pink Stripe plants, 1 Green Zebra, 1 Gold Medal, 1 Dr. Wyche's, 1 Southern Night, 4 Chocolate Stripe, and 1 Flame/Hillbilly left. We will share what we have left with friends so they won't be wasted.  It is tough to let go of the plants when you have cared for them from seed for so many months.  I know, I am a tomato addict! 

Note: some are planted in our Senior Garden plot and some at our home garden in raised beds and along the driveway

What we are growing this year 2014

Big White Pink Stripe Tomato (1 plant)
95 days to maturity  
Indeterminate: regular leafed, pale-peach colored 4” slicer with pinkish blush on blossom end and peach-cream colored flesh inside. Meaty fruits with tropical flavor similar to melon but slight sweet-tart tang. Low yield, but worth growing for its unique color and flavor. (home garden driveway)

Black Krim (1 plant)
75 days to maturity
Indeterminate:  originally from the Isle of Krim on the Black Sea in the former Soviet union. This rare, and outstanding tomato yields 3-4” slightly flattened dark red mahogany colored beefsteak tomatoes with deep green shoulders. (home garden driveway)

Cherokee Purple (2 plants )
90 days to maturity
Indeterminate: regular leafed type. Grown over 100 years ago by the Cherokee Indians, this heirloom variety is from Tennessee.  Plant produces high yields of 6 to 12 oz. purple-dark pink tomatoes.  Tomatoes have a sweet rich flavor and turn dark pink with purplish tint and green shoulders.  A favorite among heirloom growers. (home garden driveway and senior plot)

Chocolate Stripe Tomato (2 plants)
70-80 days to maturity
Indeterminate: regular leafed, one of the most stunningly beautiful tomatoes.  Very rich and earthy flavors, large fruits upwards of 4-6” across weighing as much as a pound.  Smoky red fruits with dark green stripes and rich flavor, it’s a favorite for sandwiches and salads.  Very productive and has a good yield. (1 senior garden and 1 raised beds)

Dr. Wyche’s (1 plant)
80 days to maturity
Indeterminate:  regular leafed type. This heirloom was introduced to Seed Savers Exchange by the late Dr. John Wyche, who at one time owned the Cole Brothers Circus and used the manure of elephants to fertilize his heritage gardens. The 1 lb fruit is solid and smooth; their color is a glowing tangerine-orange that always stands out on the vine. One of the best heirloom orange types, with its smooth texture and tropical, sweet taste. Heavy yields. (senior garden)

 Flame or Hillbilly (1 plant)
70 days to maturity
Indeterminate:  prolific French heirloom that bears in clusters of 6, 1½” round golf ball sized tomatoes that are persimmon-orange colored inside and out. A delicious full-bodied flavor that literally bursts in your mouth, very pretty tomato. Note: this may be Hillbilly in which case it will take 80 - 85 days and is a huge, bi-color heirloom with brilliant yellow color and red marbling. Very large with a rich, sweet flavor. Beautiful when sliced. An heirloom believed to be from West Virginia. (raised beds)

German Queen (1 plant)
75-80 days to maturity
Indeterminate: potato leafed type, very rare, old heirloom German pink (see note) beefsteak tomato that has large, sweet fruits.  Lower in acid and quite meaty, making them perfect for slicing.  Vines will grow tall and bear fruits all summer long.  14-18 oz fruits.  Note: there are two German Queen Tomatoes I found on the internet and this may be the yellow stripe one. (at senior garden).

Gold Medal (1 plant)
80-90 days to maturity
Indeterminate: regular leafed type. Introduced as Ruby gold by John Lewis Childs in 1921.  Ben Quisenberry renamed it Gold Medal in 1976.  Sweet, dark, golden yellow tomato, some reaching over 2 pounds; gourmets delight, meaty gold color flesh with beautiful red steaks running though out.  Very impressive sliced tomato.  Heavy yields. (raised beds)

Goliath (1 plant)
65-85 days to maturity
Indeterminate: Hybrid regular leafed type, beautiful, smooth bright-red, deep oblate beefsteak fruits averaging 10 to 15 oz., to a sweet luscious flavor that lives up to its virtually blemish-free exterior  Goliath hybrid tomatoes have classic shape and flavor with firm, light red fruit that have few seeds. Plan on harvesting 70 or more fruit from each Goliath plant. The indeterminate vines are vigorous, so you will want to stake them or use a tall cage. Tall vigorous plants produce yield after yield, and modern disease resistance.
Resistant to many diseases:  verticillium wilt (V), fusarium races 1 & 2 (FF), nematodes (N), and tobacco mosaic virus (T). (VFFNTASt) this is the only hybrid I am growing, I was so impressed with this one last year that I am growing it again this year. (raised beds)

Green Zebra (1  plant)
80-90 days to maturity
Indeterminate:  regular leafed type, this one was developed in 1985 by tomato breeder Tom Wagner, and this is an unusual green tomato.  2 inch round fruit ripens to a yellow-green gold color with dark green zebra like stripes. The flesh is lime-emerald in color and has a lemon-lime flavor. Even though this tomato is not old it is now categorized as an heirloom tomato by many. (driveway garden)

Ponderosa (2 plants)
86 days to maturity
Indeterminate: regular leafed type.  A meaty pink-red beefsteak introduced by Peter Henderson & Co. in 1891.  Heavy yield, some reaching over 2 pounds, needs adequate support of a tall growing tomato up to 12 feet. Great for canning and freezing. (1 senior garden and 1 driveway)

San Marzano (3 plants)
75-80 days to maturity
Indeterminate: regular leafed type. A large plum tomato with 5-6 oz fruit formed in clusters of 6-8 fruits, very heavy yields on tall 6-plus foot vines.  San Marzano tomatoes have been grown in the Campania region of Italy for centuries.  Provide tall, adequate support for this heavy producer. (2 at senior garden, 1 driveway garden)

Southern Night (2 plants)
84 days to maturity
Indeterminate:  potato leafed type.  A rare, old traditional Russian heirloom with black-shouldered, slightly-flattened, blackish-red fruits. Reputed to be darkest of all when grown in very warm conditions.  Plant produces lots of 12-16 oz., purple-brown beefsteak fruits with some green shoulders. Good disease resistance. (1 raised beds and 1 senior garden)

Rainbow Cherry Tomato Blend (1 of each)
65 days from transplanting. Indeterminate, bushy, tall, climbing cherry tomatoes.
Sundrop = orange, round
Brown Cherry = brown, round
Green Grape = green, oval grape shape
Bicolor Cherry = pink/white striped, round
(all 4 in raised beds)