A visitor to our new patio umbrella
The FIRST tomato of the season - already eaten
Lower leaves removed on the whole tomato patch
Fesita Hybrid brocolli
July 31st was the first tomato harvest for this season. Sugary was the variety that was ripe and although it was only four fruits its was a great taste of things to come. Most of the tomatoes have nice amounts of fruit set. Some of the plants have reached the top of the stings and later in August those plants will be cut back. The leaves close to the ground were removed today (picture included) for several reason. Even with a heavy straw mulch some leaf spotting will show up on some of the plants so to try to avoid it, I strip the lower leaves off the plants around this time every summer. Any yellowing leaves are always removed and any leaves with blotches or spots are also removed just as a precaution. I will also cull any fruit that has any deformity early in the growing stage so as not to waste plant energy on a fruit that will not be worth eating down the road.
So all the plants were trained up the stings again today and at least the first four to five leaves close to the ground were removed. No tomato plant parts get into the compost they are taken to the city vegetation dump.
Susan cut the grass today, first time in over a month because it has been so dry, so the clippings went to mulch the pole beans which have taken off and are climbing the pole quite nicely now. I like to mulch everything in the garden as this helps with moisture retention. The lettuce bed is producing nice romaine type lettuce and I have another seed flat started with lettuce and mustards for planting out next week. Always try to keep the greens young, tender, and fresh. Corn is available at the farmers markets. In the past I have tried to give space to a corn crop but not only is the plant demanding of my soil, but there is so much vegetation to get rid of after a harvest, that I have decided, like with other crops, to let area farmers grow some of the produce that I like and patronize the markets that have the best produce. I do the same with cabbage, pumpkins, and squash - mostly because of the space they use up in a garden. Maybe when we get the garden enlarged we will have room for some of these but I still think corn is off the list.
Zinnias are blooming and Alpine strawberry's are still to be found. Apples are sizing and later this month the St. Edmond's Russets will be one of the first harvests. One of Susan's favorites. By the way, all the grafts of this spring took. That makes for five kinds of red fleshed apples on the tree. This seasons Pink Pearls are growing nicely.
Last weeks mystery pictures was of potato fruits. Several of the plants have those fruits on them. As they are in the same family as tomatoes the fruits resemble green tomatoes. I will leave a couple to ripen and see what they look like as mature fruits. I harvested a hot pepper called Volcano and the variety is so hot that I could taste it on my hands the next morning! Great name for a hot pepper. The broccoli heads have been cut and so we are hoping for side shoots. We have had steamed onions twice this week and they are really good. Clean the onions, score the ends, microwave with a little water, olive oil, salt and pepper - nice alternative vegetable - try them.