How Does the Garden Grow Now?

July of 2009 is now finally in the rear-view mirror, never to show its ugly, rainy face ever again, thank goodness! So how does the garden look now that it’s August? Pretty darn awesome!

Before The Rain, The Garden

In our last garden update we were excited for potato flowers and garlic scapes. In the 6 weeks since, the garlic and potatoes have been entirely harvested with much success! There appear to be no signs on blight on the potatoes, and the garlic vareities we chose this year are all delicious.

Turkey Burger Deluxe

What beats a side dish of homegrown potatoes and farm share green beans? The garlic is also there, hiding (alongside the volunteer cilantro) in the turkey burger.

The garlic and potato beds are now planted with their secondary crops — beans, carrots and beets. Keep your fingers crossed for the beets and carrots, as we used mushroom compost to replenish the soil levels instead of our tried and true leaf compost. So far the mushroom stuff doesn’t seem as good at draining the inches and inches of rain we’re still getting. As for the beans, we took the Square Foot Gardening approach and plunked down nine plants to a square foot. The bed is a riot of big green bean leaves; I can’t imagine there’s room for all of them in there!

July 18 2009

We’ve taken to calling the “Painted Pony” beans “Lightning Pony” beans because they sprouted from nothing to having leaves overnight after a big summer storm.

When all is said and done this summer will surely be remembered as the Summer We Couldn’t Stop Worrying About Stupid Effing Late Blight. So far — knocks heartily on wood — we think we’ve been spared, and as a result the tomatoes are coming along swimmingly. Our CSA pointed out in their newsletter that they’ve managed to fend of Late Blight partially because the farm itself is isolated from other farms thanks to being surrounded by woods. We’re wondering if we’re benefiting from the same effect. The only neighbors growing tomatoes got theirs from us, and Maple Hoo is also surrounded by protected wooded areas. Normally we’d be all over encouraging all our neighbors to turn their front lawns into veggie paradises, but now we’re thinking we like the street the way it is! Heh.

Morning Tomatoes

The Ramapos are taking their sweet time turning red, but there are zillions on the plants.

Moretons Ripening

The Moretons may not have lived up to their “Fourth of July Tomato” nickname, but as of the last week or so, they’re ripening up a furious pace.

Morning Denuded Tomatoes

The Black Plums had some kind of bacterial problem and we had to cut off pretty much everything that wasn’t a tomato, but we’re hoping they’ll shake it off and get back in the game.

Usually at this time of year, the onions would be entirely harvested, chopped, and in the freezer by now, but thanks to all the rain, the Yellow of Parma onions didn’t start bulbing until very recently. Instead, they’ve been putting all their energy in growing the most ridiculous leaves. The Australian Browns, on the other hand, did exactly what they were meant to do, and have been taken up. They’re phenomenally delicious — once again, all the fretting over starting onions from seed was totally worth it.

Giant Onion

Hey onion, did you ever consider growing… say… an onion?!

So far, though, the big success in this year’s version of The Maple Hoo Garden, is the peppers. (We fully put forth there’s still time for the Ramapos to take over the top dog spot.) After last year’s pepper debacle, I set my expectations low. Very, very low. Which makes what happened last night even sweeter! After a long, productive day of stitching and watching a marathon of “Diagnosis: Murder” (yes, you heard me!), we ordered delivery pizza — sausage and mushroom on one pie, sausage and onions on another. While waiting for dinner to arrive, Schnookie sauteed up our first two harvested peppers. One was a Tolli’s Sweet Italian pepper. It’s not kidding about the sweet; it tasted like candy! The other was a super-spicy Aci Sivri, a long, green Turkish hot pepper (it mellowed a lot after cooking).

Tolli's: The Reddening

We’ve been watching this pepper like hawks, waiting for it to turn completely red. We could wait no more.

August 1 2009

I’m not going to lie — my main motivation for suggesting we plant these was because they seemed very photogenic!

Holy cow, Gentle Reader. Holy. Cow. Putting your own freshly harvested, homegrown heirloom peppers on your delivery pizza? Is mind-blowingly, earth-shatteringly, groin-grabbingly delicious. After her first bite of the be-peppered pizza, Schnookie declared we’re going to plant only peppers next year. Heh. Seriously, we cannot recommend this practice more. Run right out, plant yourself some Tolli’s Sweet and Aci Sivris, and then 80-100 days later, order yourself some pizza. You won’t regret it!

So there you have it. The garden is once again humming along. This afternoon, I read another one of those blog posts that pops up all the time on the interwebs about how much money you save by growing your own veggies, and the inevitable quibbling began about factoring in time, and labor, and blah blah blah. Here’s what I have say to that: you cannot put a price on a slice of delicious NJ pizza topped with peppers plucked from the garden that evening.

Now if only it would stop raining!

August 2 2009

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “How Does the Garden Grow Now?

  1. A week ago, my tomato plants were beautiful. This week they look like your Black Plums. It’s so very sad. I only hope I won’t lose all of my matos. sniff, sniff

  2. Oh noes! Did your tomatoes get the late blight? I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you!

  3. Chaz, I’m so sorry! It’s been such a rough, rough year for tomatoes.

  4. They did get the late blight. I only hope my tomatoes are far enough along that some might turn red…instead of black. They were so beautiful before, it’s like a pet. You work so hard to feed and groom them and now they’re bald.

  5. euge aka zot's sis

    Lovely Garden! I wish my tomatoes would look that good.

    I envy your rain! My tomatoes need to survive in 90-100 weather out here in So Cal.

    btw, hooray for amazing league :)

  6. Hi Euge! I’m so glad you’ve signed up for AmazingLeague (although SuperLeague kicks AmazingLeague’s ass… :P) this year!

    And having tried to grow tomatoes in the Phoenix area, I admire the watering fortitude that goes into growing them in hot, dry places. (Although I wouldn’t have minded a wee bit less rain this summer… :D)

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