Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Garden on July 22

The weather has been grand the last few weeks, warm days and cool, but not too cool nights. Plenty of sun and none of the smoke that plagued us last summer. The garden has been loving it.

That's the tomato and tomatillo bed shown above, with a bit of Profuma di Genova basil in front. This it the first time I've grown my tomatillos in cages, in the past they have been allowed to sprawl. It's much easier growing them in the cages so far, it keeps the fruit away from the sow bugs and takes up much less space.

The downside to growing the purple tomatillos in a cage (above) is that the fruit doesn't get enough sun to turn them purple. I'm sure they will still taste good though.

Here's a "Plaza Latina Giant" tomatillo, the husk is only half full so far. I can't wait to see how big it gets when fully formed! This plant doesn't have as many fruits on it as the purple variety, but the fruit it does have is huge so quantity is not an issue.

And the most mature tomatoes in the patch so far are the Black Sea Man. Anticipation....

The (mostly) pepper and eggplant bed. The white row cover behind is protecting what is left of my edamame plants. I lost more than half of the edamame seedlings to some night time marauder. In that same area I've planted the seedlings for my winter squash (under the protection of 1 gallon plastic water bottles) *sigh* and the replacement cucumber plants *sigh again* (also under protection).

"Donkey Ears" sweet pepper.

"Chilhuacle Negro" baby pepper. These are supposed to be good in mole and chili and also good for drying.

"Marconi Purple" sweet pepper. These will be red when ripe. I've grown the red and yellow varieties of this pepper before, the purple is new in my garden this year.

I've already had two harvests of "Pimento de Padron" peppers. Padrons are picked immature so the plants keep pumping out the peppers all season long. They are absolutely delicious when pan fried in a little olive oil and served warm with a sprinkle of coarse salt. These peppers will convert pepper haters (especially green pepper haters) into pepper lovers. I don't have a photo of any right now because they've been picked and consumed, yum.

"Thai Round Green Petch Parisa" eggplant looking quite happy other than some nibbling on the lower leaves by sow bugs. There's a shot below of the first fruit it has set.

Yeah, the radishes are bolting! Just like they are supposed to. That's a rat-tail radish shown above. They are grown for their tasty seed pods. The pods can be consumed raw, sauteed, pickled... use your imagination.

The "Cocozelle" zucchini monsters. That's just 2 plants shown above, and one of them shown below.

Next to the zucchini are the Cavolo Nero and Portuguese kales, and the Piracicaba broccoli. The Cavolo Nero has been an absolute magnet for cabbage aphids. The chickens have been getting more of it than we have. I spent some time the other day washing the aphids off leaves and now I'm going to finish with some insecticidal soap. The Portugues kale has been less infested and easier to clean so we've been enjoying that. The broccoli hasn't been too badly hit either. On the other side of the kales (to the left and out of view) is what's left of the Senposai. Two of the plants got some kind of rot that effected their cores, so they are gone, another plant is bolting, and I haven't checked on the other remaining plant in a few days....

Here is a closer shot of one of the coreopsis plants that you can see behind the brassicas.

Need to pick some lettuce... And behind you can see the leaves of the "di Jesi" cauliflower. I've harvested the heads and am waiting to harvest the leaves for the chickens.

And one of my favorite greens - Amaranth. I cut one of the big plants back and had the greens sauteed in olive oil with chopped garlic. Delicious, much sweeter than spinach and far easier to grow. It's doesn't seem to be bothered by any pests other than aphids.

The red florence fennel is bolting. It's supposed to form "bulbs" in its second year. In the meantime, the flowers will provide food for beneficial insects.

And here's the reason why I've started replacement cucumber plants. The "Serpent" cucumbers are succumbing to something, probably bacterial wilt. One plant has been removed, two should be removed, the one remaining plant is hanging in there for now. I had old seed for "Palace King" Japanese cucumbers that germinated surprisingly well, so those are getting started in the bed beyond the peppers.

The rest of that bed is in transition. Under cover at the base of the trellises that sported snap and snow peas earlier are seedlings of "Petaluma Goldrush" and "Chaco Canyon" beans. There's one more trellis that I just cleared off that will support "Tarbais" beans. The bush beans are done and will be cleared out soon. There's some seeds of bush filet beans - "Rolande" and "Astrelle" (maybe... very old seeds) - sown in paper pots that will go in this bed.


  1. It all looks wonderful! I especially like to see your unusual varieties of peppers - the Chilhuacle negro and the marconi purple, as we couldn't get any of our seed-grown varieties to grow at all this spring, so we're stuck with the plants we could buy. I'm afraid you won't convert me to Pimento de padron peppers, though. I've eaten them in Spain and they're too hot for me!

  2. Lovely garden. Thanks for the tour. I'd love to hear how the gigantic tomatillo tastes compared to a regular tomatillo once you start eating them.

  3. Man, every time I see a garden overview, I think, "Oh, I want to try that. . . and that, and THAT!" It's almost unfair. The fruit is so beautiful and so much stuff. Aaaaaiiiiieeeeee.

  4. I always get hungry when I read your posts! Sunday I'll go to the farmer's market and then I'll get my squash and lettuce and.. (no Amaranth though)

  5. Your tomatillos look great! This is my first year growing them and they seem pretty difficult to contain. Amaranth, huh? I didn't know it could be grown for the leaves. Might have to try it, since spinach growing didn't work out so well. -Jackie

  6. ***How do you do it?*** I can't imagine how one person could plant and tend so many varieties of vegetables, much less harvest/process/cook it all?! You are a marvel! Sorry about the losses, bugs, marauders and all the other pain in the butt stuff. Seems like you are getting more than they are on the whole, though which is always the goal, right? Love that coreopsis as a nice contrast to all the greenery. Ditto the purple peppers, even if they will turn red, and that amazing little black mini one too. Well, I love it all, even your aphid-ridden dino kale. Wouldn't have known about the aphids if you hadn't mentioned them, it looks spectacular!

  7. Chaiselongue, your experience with the Padron peppers is really interesting - I've found that my home grown padrons aren't spicy unless they get to be old or stressed by drought, disease, pests...

    Thanks Daphne, I will post an update about the qualities of the tomatillos.

    Stefaneener, Aaaaaiiiiieeeeee indeed - I have the same problem - I want to grow it all. I'm really envious of other gardeners' fruit. All I've got is Meyer Lemons and rodent gnawed rasberry plants.

    Town Mouse, Someday you might give amaranth a try - the asian vendors at the market usually have it. It comes in a pretty green & red variety also.

    Jackie, the tomatillos will straggle through everything if you let them - I'm really liking having them in the cages. And any fallen fruit will guarantee volunteers next year. I've got a ton of amaranth seed that I saved if you (or anyone else) would like to try some. It grows very quickly so you could get a crop if you planted sometime soon - it prefers warm weather.

    Karen - You are in serious danger of inflating my gardening ego! I have to admit that at times I feel a bit overwhelmed so far as the garden goes - but that feeling usually passes quickly. And since I'm planting year round there's usually only about 50% or less of the garden actually producing at any one time. Plus I don't have very many other activities to distract me from the garden... you get the drift.

  8. Your garden is looking so good, the kale and courgettes are massive! I would be so excited about the Black Sea Man tomatoes, I love big, purply/black tomatoes and am definitely going to start growing some like this next year - just getting the hang of standard red and yellow ones this year. Can't wait to see how it all progresses!

  9. Fantastic tour of your garden as always! I've never heard of tomatillos - they look strange. I shan't be posting on Mas Sol i Vent anymore, it's all going to be on my other blog.

  10. Some maurader was chewing my Magda squash fruit down to the nubbins, and breaking the plant to get to the fruit! Very disappointing. I stared some more and this time I'll figure out some sort of protection before it gets too big.

  11. Frances, I hope Black Sea Man is a good one, it's the first time I'm growing it. It seems to do well in my climate, so I'm hoping...

    Jan, I'll be checking out your other blog.

    Chuck, the critters are so frustrating. I found 3 of the 5 remaining kohlrabi hollowed out today. The neighbors got an earful, if they were around. Sheese, I was so PO'd. I yanked out the remaining plants and put out 2 rat traps, baited with pieces of kohlrabi.

  12. Love your blog, thank you so much for posting some of the not so great aspects of gardening. I have to remind myself that everyone has issues in their garden.

    I am also growing the Padron, the thin skin is so amazing. Truly a must grow. My two plants are drowning me in peppers, but that is a good thing, I can then grill and freeze them for this "winter."(I live just outside of Watsonville, hence the quotations...)

  13. lolamako, Hi thanks for stopping by a leaving a comment (love those). I've hardly touched on the subject of garden problems... Just lost my romanesco seedlings to a bunny last night *sigh*

    The Padrons are fantastic. I've never tried freezing them - should work, sweet peppers freeze well. Something to remember when the glut begins. Thanks.

  14. Hi, where did you find seeds for the CHilhuacle Negro? How well did they do?

  15. Eric, The seeds came from, but I just took a look there and they seem to be out at the moment. My plants are growing quite well and have lots of pods but none have ripened yet. I haven't even tasted any of the green ones yet.


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