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 now.
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 day).
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 spare time.
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 :)