Sunday, August 8, 2010

Blue Ribbon Fair Time

Entries at the Door County Fair / A nice garden display
Yummy Reds - easily worth a blue ribbon
Great potatoes and in the Open Class there were some larger white types.
This was the greatest number of field corn entries in a long time - what a job to judge.
A very nice adult entry for a planter.
One person's flower entries - now that's a competitor.
This is my worst bean crop EVER - weather and critters.
The melons have started to set.
All these peppers are from the 'Earthbox' planters.
This is the blue ribbon fair garlic - huge.
Our garlic harvest of the first bed, there is a second to be dug yet.
Not too bad a size - for planting in October of this year.
Green Grape, not a small grape but nice size for salads.
Country Taste, nice flavor and good for BLT's.
Valencia, a nice yellow.
Grubs Mystery Green - sweet but soft.
Eva Purple Ball, this is really a pink type with good tomato taste.
Our Beakly apple.
These are the Lodi apples from the fair.

The season of the county fair is upon us and I was only able to judge one fair this season. I really enjoy judging Junior Fair face to face as these are the gardeners of the future and helping to develop their skills is most fulfilling. I had some really nice garden products to judge this year. Of all the items some stand out. The young boy with his fresh picked raspberries, the teenager with some of the nicest potatoes I have seen and the young man who was knowledgeable enough to be able to tell me how his Roundup ready corn was developed genetically. In the five years I have been asking entrants how their corn was produced he is the first person to be able to explain that this crop is genetically engineered seed. All three were outstanding entries and they all got an extra Best of Show ribbon for their efforts. Congratulations to them.
More tomatoes have begun to ripen and we have had the first of the Purple Smudge (not that good), Eva Purple Ball which is really pink but good, County Taste which is one for growing next year again, and Grubs as green variety that is soft but flavorful. I have a picture of the Green Grape which is more round than to be expected for a grape and a nice size. The whole patch was pruned today meaning I removed many spotted and dried leaves and opened the plants up to more sun and air flow. We are back in a rainy period and so this season we are getting enough rain that I have not used the rain barrels or the gallon jugs for the tomatoes yet.
The "Earthbox" peppers are doing really good, much better than the garden plants. Most of the peppers we are eating come off those plants. Soon I should be able to get fruits off the garden plants but they are not producing as well as the potted ones. My wife, who is the pepper consumer says the Gypsy are good but not too flavorful so what I have gained in large numbers of fruits I have lost in taste. Sounds like a common situation in production.
The cucumbers are back to producing and we have small melons developing on the trellis plants. That's good because we are still waging battle in the potato plot with mice and voles. The four traps I bought have all disappeared so next batch will have to be anchored in place.
Our youngest son helped to get the old fence out and trench the yard for the new fence that is scheduled for instillation this week - weather permitting. The back yard is to be surrounded by a four foot black vinyl chain link fence that will be buried six inches into the ground. This should discourage critters from the tasty morsels of our garden. As soon as I had taken the old fence down and opened the yard, two rabbits appeared. One even found his way into the garden which I had surrounded with 24 inch chicken wire for the interim. They must have radar.
We had our first fresh apple of the season, an early Heritage variety called Beakly - a 2008 graft and the one that was in last weeks pictures protected by 'footies'. Nice flavor and not soft as some early apples can be. At the fair I saw my first example of Lodi apples. As the picture shows, they are "huge". I will be looking for that scion wood next spring for a new graft. I also dug half of the garlic crop. As the pictures tell we had a good harvest and have enough larger bulbs to roast some. The biggest ones will still be the seed crop for next year. Once again the garlic at the Door County Fair was magnificent - must be the limestone soil or just the gardeners themselves as I again was amazed at the size of the bulbs entered at the fair. I think I will give mine a bit more fertilizer next year to see if that helps as one grower hinted.
One of my favorite stops is the poultry barn at the fair. I just love those chickens and this year the barn was full of crowing roosters. So enjoy the short video and maybe try to visit a county fair this season.
Happy Gardening


  1. Hi Dave....
    I haven't posted much this year but I still follow weekly. My garden is doing great this year (all raised beds, 18 of them) The rabbits don't seem to jump up into them...? (Maybe they suspect a trap!) The cats help also! I've made two batches of pepper & onion relish already plus drying and freezing peppers. I harvested most of my onions this past week, along with shallots (beauties even if they were planted this early spring instead of fall) and have them curing. I didn't get the garlic in last fall and will miss that this winter.
    Two questions...what varieties of garlic do you plant and where do you get it? Where did you get the looks to be weed free!
    Now a silly question...why tomato grafting??? Seems to be more work than profitable results? What is the advantage of a grafted tomato over a standard plant?
    Thanks...have a great week!
    'The Crazy Cat Lady'

  2. Hi CCL,
    Good for you and your onions and shallots - my onions were a flop - too much rain and they rotted so I am without onions this winter!
    The straw was discard from a construction site. I asked permission and was given as much as I could haul away - 8 bales FREE!
    There is a great deal of vegetable grafting going on around the world. Just Google the topic and you will find that Asian markets are heavy into grafted plants because of disease resistance and increased yields. I am going to check out the grafting that is used by Missouri tomato growers because of the increased yields they get on heritage plants. Plus its just a challenge. The five grafted plants in the garden are doing good and I want to do more. Grafted vegetables have been available to English gardeners for the last two years - so make t hat search and see what people are saying. And maybe go to Johnny's Select Seeds web and look at that tomato video that an organic grower has been grafting for over 12 years. Then next spring you try....
    Happy Gardening

  3. More for CCL,
    I forgot your garlic questions. I think I have Bavarian Purple but I am not sure. However, Territorial Seed Co. is my source for hard-neck garlic. I am sure if you check on line you can see what they still have in stock and you could get it before planting time in late Sept or Oct. They have four pages of garlic so you will have fun reading and deciding. Good luck...
    Happy Gardening

  4. My beans did bad this year too. Too many slugs, not the greatest weather. My bush did much better than my pole.
    Loved all the pictures- thanks for sharing!