Right now I am picking tomatoes, eggplant. cukes and bell peppers.
The tomatoes are pitiful but I am getting a few each day. The peppers
are getting up to a good size and thick skin. Will see what is on the
inside soon. The eggplants are the long thin type. Now have 3 so
will probably fix them for supper tonight. The cukes look don't look
very happy. Think I will put a couple of seeds in one of the boxes
and see what happens. I took cuttings from 3 tomato plants, started
rooting them in a glass of water and set them into one of the boxes
yesterday. See what happens.
Actually this is a nice change from the years that I had so many
veggies that I was running like a chicken with my head cut off for
most of the summer trying to get them all put put in some fashion.
Despite this year's late start -- most years, I'm getting tomatoes
by the time I transplanted them this year-- I had pretty good yield from
a new-to-me store bought hybrid indeterminate but it pretty much has
played out and I pruned it for rejuvenation just a couple of days ago.
Also layered a few canes and kept a few cuttings. If I can get them
through August, I'm hopeful of some fall tomatoes without new starts.
Some years, indeterminates last into December. The summer rain, heat,
and constant humidity are hard on tomatoes down here (peninsular FL).
The more heat tolerant heirlooms ("Homestead") started from seed aren't
doing much. The plants appear to be thriving but I don't see any
blossoms yet. I normally have good success with those, as well as, with
"Floradade" but they also "normally" get a much earlier start; we'll
Yellow squash ("yellow crookneck"; "dixie hybrid" straightneck) and
cukes ("marketmore 76") are long gone, but both produced well: Have a
freezer well stocked with baked dishes containing yellow squash as well
as frozen breaded squash ready for pan frying; yum. Too early yet to
plant more of either: Late August or early September is fall planting
time for them and they should last 'til Halloween (most years). No luck
yet with eggplant or bell peppers, although, the japs in the same bed
are producing well. Both are dropping their blossoms. I suspect
excessive water and a nutrient imbalance. Oh, well; will leave them in
place and see if anything eventually happens. At the very least, they're
pretty. An additional bonus is relief from listening to my spouse grouse
about "too many damned eggplants". Unfortunately, the only neighbor who
cooks and with whom I'd share food doesn't eat them.
How big are the boxes? Do you normally grow tomatoes in containers?
Most years, I grow a couple in containers using at least three cubic
feet of garden mix (usually twenty-five gallons "just because"). Never
have rooted tomatoes in water; normally either peg down a cane or just
shove a cutting into the dirt, sometimes under an improvised cloche.
Elsewhere, the okra is producing well, although, the first planting
of field peas has played out and the second still is immature but since
the okra lasts 'til cool weather there still should be time for more
peas 'n okra. Unfortunately neither last season nor, so far, this season
did I make enough peas for the freezer. Next year, I'll have to plant
more, I guess, although there probably still is time to plant more for
The first planting of snapbeans has just about ended its useful
life, although, it seems that every time I decide to pull them, I find
another meal's worth of beanies on them. The second planting is just
coming in well and is covered with tiny beans. I'm cautiously optimistic
about the second planting. However, this time of year, incomplete
pollination along with an uncontrollable population of adult shield bugs
are pretty debilitating. Little point to planting more until late August
and even then the stink bugs are rampant.
We've had so many years of abnormally low rainfall that this year,
with rainfall closer to normal, I've let a (well, "another") French
tarragon and a thyme get too wet and die and the years-old sage and one
oregano are struggling. I suppose I should devise some sort of
semi-permanent shelter for use during the wet season because I obviously
can't rely on my memory.
The boxes are permanent ones, 8' x 3' x 2' They replaced the ones
that I had for years that finally gave up the ghost. I use one for my
perennial herbs and another one for the annuals. I use another one
for early plants. This year it was spinach. Now it is full of beans,
Cannellini and black. They are just beginning to set. Another one us
full of Roma beans. Started a bit later but now blooming. Another
one has the tomato plants I am trying to resurrect and I put 4
cucumber seeds in the last one since the other I set out aren't doing
much. That last box is the one DH is going to use for strawberries.
Maybe we can keep the weeds out and get to them without breaking our
The weather here has been so variable. It was too cold to set out the
tomatoes until the middle of May. They are usually out by the 3 week
of April. Then it rained. Then it was dry. Then it rained again.
The plants never did get deep roots. And not just my plants. The
corn and tobacco also took a beating.
Hopefully next year will be better.
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