Thursday, August 12, 2010

The First Tomato

This afternoon, I was outside with preschooler watering my potted tomato and pepper plants. She was playing on the patio near me and I asked her to come over and see the pepper plants. She asked me if they were red and I told her they aren't yet, but they will be after they grow some more. She exclaimed happily, "I know where there's red!" I didn't really pay attention as she ran off to the other end of the yard. I still didn't pay attention as she came running back, "It's red! It's red!" Until she got closer. What I thought at first was a red strawberry, which the kids are allowed to pick at will, turned out to be the year's first red tomato. Which I had been watching and waiting for, waiting so it could fully ripen in the sun for best flavor. Well there it was, a little red grape tomato being proudly held up to the sun by my little preschool garden helper.

OK, so finder's keepers. After explaining that she must ask from now on before picking any tomatoes, I told her, "Well, you picked it I guess now you should eat it." She did, but later said it made her throat sore. It probably needed a few extra days to sweeten up, but the good news is that the tomato harvest has begun in our little garden!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Snap Peas in August

Oregon Sugar Snap II Peas still producing in August! Yes, it was a cold start this year. I am very glad that I am growing a variety of vegetables. I am especially glad that I started a good amount of peas. We had Wando shelling peas for several weeks and even had enough to freeze a few bags. I tore out the Wando peas last weekend and re-seeded that spot with Siberian Dwarf Kale. I decided to leave the snap peas because they looked like they were still producing. Glad I did because tonight we had a stir-fry with snap peas and Eight Ball zucchini. So, while we are still waiting on the pole beans and cucumbers to catch up from the cold June, at least we still have peas. We also still have lettuce going just August.

The warm weather plants might do OK. I saw a Honey Bunch Grape tomato that looked close to being ripe today. The Oregon Spring tomatoes look great but still green. The Roma tomato doesn't look very good, but I'll take what I can get. I do have a few Gypsy sweet peppers starting to form some nice-sized fruit. Given that we still have a full month of warm weather, and another month at least after that before any frost, and I have hopes for lots of tomatoes and peppers yet this year.

The strawberries are putting on another set almost ready to eat, and the blueberries out back might be ready in a week or so.

Something I have learned this year, is that when a gardening how-to book says that something is a cool weather plant, that does not mean that I should plant it in early spring. So-called cool weather plants are doing a lot better for me in full on summer. The radishes I planted back in March and April were full of trouble, but the set I put out in early July grew just fine with no root maggots and no woodiness to them. The Kale didn't take off until now, and the Kholrabi I started back in April never took off. I am starting to accept that I live in a land where spring is just a warm winter, and summer is a just a dry spring.