Aug. 8. 2003 - - - Eastern Missouri Z 5b
Well we still don't know what caused the plum tomatoes to be so red on
the outside and green on the inside but the situation is improving since
we added trace minerals (Peters experimental) and a few other things---
guessing the problem was some sort of mineral in short supply. The
plants are now growing better (they were somewhat stunted before) and
the tomatoes are ripening better. Not perfect, but a nice improvement.
We took a couple of soil samples to the local extension service and they
say it could be a month before we have them back since we requested a
full, trace-mineral analysis ($30. per sample--- is that reasonable?)
From the other tomato patch at the edge of the woods, I picked three
huge Brandywines this week. All were over 1.5# with the largest
weighing in at 2.5#. There are lots more on the vines that promise to
be just as huge and delicious. The Pink Caspians are splitting while
still green. None of our other 20-some tomato varieties are doing that.
Weird. Ever hear of that? We did have a hornworm invasion but I think
we have that under control now.
My DH said we grew too many tomaotes so, just to show him I can always
use more, I took all twenty pounds sitting on the shelf and made some
marinara sauce today. I'll probably get 2.5 quarts out of it. He will
be shocked at how much it takes for so little sauce. But I really have
more fun putting up other things that are not quite so tomato intensive.
I have forgiven the Raven Zucchinis for their initial bout of all male
flowers. They are putting out splendidly now and we are really enjoying
them. My fav is slicing them in 5/8" planks lengthwise, painting them
with some basil marinade and then grilling them until they are crisp on
the outside. We will definitely plant Ravens again next year.
The Diva cukes are still producing well but starting to yellow in spots
and die back. We have other cukes that will pick up the slack soon
including the pickling cukes. We had only one Armenian so far. So much
for the Armenians.
I forget what kind of black-eyed peas the DH planted ( I will ask him)
but they must have been a pole variety. Some of the vines are as long
as 15 feet (!!) and still growing. I did not even know there were pole
varieties of black-eyed peas. They are just starting to fruit but I
think we are going to put some poles up for them over the weekend
because they are just running all over everything--- up the berry
espaliers and tomato poles and all over the lawn. What a trip.
The eggplants are slow, though we have a few little ones coming along
All the peppers kinda slowed down for a bit with the heat but are now
setting a lot of flowers now for a second rush. All the chiles
(Anaheim, jalapeno, Aruba, Garden Salsa and poblano) seemed to produce
equally well except one banana type pepper that has given very little.
There must be 100 tomatillos on our single fruiting plant (the other is
apparently the pollinator) even after a horrendous hornworm invasion.
But I doubt i'll ever have enough at one time to make a good pure batch
of salsa verde. I will have to mix them with green tomatoes.
Our peppers have way outgrown our four foot stakes so I have taken to
pleaching them for support. I am doing that with the tomatillo as well
since it is well over 6 feet now. Sheesh, it is a big tree-like thing.
The pleaching does seem to be working well in the wind today (very windy
We did blind taste tests on the cherry/pear tomatoes and the Miracle
Sweets came out a clear winner by a long shot. I have been using them
for many things including in pasta and last night I made a little crock
of them (cut in half) in a basil marinade and they are awesome. I just
wish I could find a recipe for preserving them whole and ripe but maybe
that is not possible. There are lots of recipes for preserving them
green. The ripe ones probably won't hold together I guess. It would be
so nice to have something in the winter when all the tomatoes at the
grocery are just crap.
My parsnips are just beautiful. I like to use them for chicken broth
but these are so nice I think we will have to roast them in the grill.
The parsley has done well too and I need to be freezing some in all my
Our first year raspberries seem kinda stunted. Perhaps it is the same
soil problem causing the tomato problem. The blackberries OTOH are
growing by leaps and bounds. Go figure.
And one more thing, our gardens have been abuzz with copious honeybees
(among others) for the last few weeks now in ever-increasing numbers.
They are striped and some have longer bodies than others. Interesting.
Some also seem more aggressive than others but that could be my
imagination. I am betting some nearby farmer has some hives and I am so
happy they found our gardens!
Happy gardening all :)