Friday, June 18, 2010

Garden Tour on June 18, 2010

A lot has changed in the garden since the last tour. Most of the spring vegetables are finished and the summer ones are in various stages of growth.

Let's start with the best looking bed, tomatoes and peppers. Most of the tomato plants are reaching for the tops of their cages. The plant here at the end of the row is Katja, a cool weather adapted variety originally from Sludjanka on the shores of lake Bajkal in Siberia.

Katja has been setting a lot of tomatoes, she started setting fruit just a little bit later than than the other cool weather tomato that I'm growing...

Gigantesque is originally from Ukraine. The tomato shown below was the very first one that I saw this year and it's easily at least 4 inches across already.

There's more to be seen on the other side of the plant. I grew this variety last year and it was the best of the bunch. It wasn't the earliest, Black Sea Man was the earliest but its flavor couldn't hold a candle to the flavor of Gigantesque.

Here's another new tomato in the garden this year, Aunt Ruby's German Cherry, a green cherry tomato that was selected from Aunt Ruby's German Green beefsteak tomatoes. I hope this turns out to be green, the variety is not fully stabilized yet and some turn out to be red.

Here's a glimpse of a few pepper plants. These are the Pimento de Padrons and Poblanos.

In the next bed is the remaining Mammoth Red Rock Cabbage, about half the size of the first cabbage that I harvested (you can see the stump of that plant to the right).

The new Golden Chard plants are doing well and could produce from now until next spring. To the rear and right of the chard is the piracicaba broccoli looking a bit scraggly but still producing a few shoots. I may start a few more plants to produce a harvest this fall and perhaps next winter.

Next to the chard are a few Diamante celery root plants. This year's plants are already doing better than last year's. I was more diligent about thinning the plants early on and have made sure that they are getting enough water. They look like they are already starting to get some plump but still small roots. In the rear you can see the one and only Gigante kohlrabi that I've allowed to grow, it's the brassica with the pale green leaves. And there still a few Pimento de Padron plants back there from last year that I'm giving a chance to produce something, maybe . . .

Next are the remaining beets from my winter sowing, these are Devoy. These took a long time to mature and are now finally ready to harvest, I shouldn't wait much longer. There's a volunteer orach plant to the left. In the back are some new lettuce plants that I'm keeping shaded.

There they are, more Butterhead, and Noga and Cimarron romaines.

The poppies are just about done blooming and the seed pods are getting fat.

The beans are finally growing! There's one trellis with Garafal Oro romano beans, that's the one in front. Then there's three trellises with Petaluma Gold Rush beans, an dry bean from California. And at the far end is one trellis with Turkey Craw beans. I got the Turkey Craw beans in a trade, they are an heirloom from Appalachia and are supposed to be good as both a snap and a shelly bean. Turkey Craw beans are also used to make "leather britches", an old way of preserving the bean harvest where the mature but still green beans are threaded on strings to dry until they are leathery. The dried beans are cooked by simmering them in water with a smoked ham hock or piece of bacon until they are tender.

This bed also has Suyo Long Chinese cucumbers starting at the base of the black tower. Beyond the cucumbers are Da Fiori Zucchini, a variety that is supposed to produce more male blossoms, the best for stuffing.

The final bed is looking like a full on disaster area now.  Most of the garlic has been harvested. There's a few Sicilian Silver plants left that I'm not sure I'm going to have the patience to leave there much longer, the dang things just don't want to make a decent size head of garlic. The Portuguese Dairyman's Kale is sprawling all over the place and is slow slow slow to produce dry seed pods. And off to the far left you can see the powdery mildew blasted foliage of the purple snap peas which I hope will hang in there long enough to produce some viable seeds.

Some kale seed pods are finally starting to dry . . .

I made room in this bed to plant the eggplant.

I'm growing 2 varieties of eggplant this year. One that did really well for me last year was Diamante.  It was productive, tender, tasty and slow to be infested by spider mites or affected by powdery mildew.

The other eggplant is a new variety for me, Malaysian Dark Red, a long actually purplish Asian type.

Outside the gate, remember the mutant squash? The poor thing isn't doing all that well and it's not because the deer got to it.

Here's the culprit caught in a cinch trap.

Dang it, the plant had finally set one squash and now it has hardly any roots left. I can't tell what it might have turned out to be. Danged gophers . . .

And one last stop at the Strawberry bed. The Seascape plants seem to be happy. The 12 plants have been producing about a pound or so of berries a week.

The Mara des Bois plants that started in this bed are setting berries and the first one is ready to pick.

The Mara des Bois plants that were moved from the Rat Depredation Area are still on life support.

That's it for the latest tour. See ya next time!


  1. You're garden is doing amazing! The Gigantesque sure is big! I'm so jealous that you get to grow things all year long!

  2. Michelle, I read your blog like a textbook. So many things that are unknown to me. There is always something new to learn. Of course, those Russian and Ukranian varieties of tomatoes got my attention. I haven't heard about them. Thank you for the tour! Have a great weekend1

  3. Thanks for the tour! Everything is looking so nice and healthy. Your tomatoes are large, wow, they show the nice effect of the plastic covers you used. I didn't this year, since I didn't want to risk it getting too hot in there, and it turned out that it has been cooler than usual. Oh, well...

  4. I really enjoyed the tour - everything looks great, especially the tomatoes which seem very advanced and the plants are so tall. I hadn't heard of green tomatoes before, well only unripe ones, I always thought green tomatoes were poisonous unless they were cooked.

    The strawberries look delicious, but I'm glad we don't have gophers here!

  5. I'm going to have to google 'gopher' as I haven't a clue what they are. Your tomatoes are amazing, mine have only just begun to set fruit!

  6. Whoa, that's a good looking bunch of poppies. You have a nice collection of tomatoes and peppers. Thanks for the tour, your garden is beautiful.

    How long can you harvest piracicaba broccoli? I'll have to start some seeds soon for fall/winter garden, did you overwintered them last year? The red cabbage looks pretty, I always like those flowering cabbages, but they are not edible, I'll have to grow couple red cabbages this fall just to add some color to the greens.

    I'm strawberry envied, I've been trying for 2 years to grow them, both times I grew them in the wrong spots, too windy, too hot etc. I really need to make a dedicated bed among the flowers and shrubs so it can get some kind of wind break and shade, that'll be my next project.

  7. Wow! everything is your garden looks great, and you have so much variety. Inspriring.

  8. meemsync, I am lucky to get to garden year round, although it does mean weeding all year long too . :)


    Tatyana, I am always seeking out new and interesting things to try. The tomatoes are not very common, I'm trying them because they are supposed to do well in cooler weather which I get plenty of.


    Angela, I'm not really sure if the covering helped things along all that much, the tomatoes that set early were on cool climate adapted varieties. The rest of them seem to be right about on schedule.


    chaiselongue, there are a few varieties of tomtoes that stay green when they ripen. Most of them get a bit of a yellow tint to them when they are ripe and my favorite Aunt Ruby's German Green gets a pink blush in its core.

    You are so lucky you don't have gophers!


    Jan, You're going to find out how lucky you are that you've never heard of a gopher. :)


    mac, I've found that the Piracicaba can put out side shoots for at least a couple of months, sometimes longer. I don't get a lot from each plant, but I get enough over the course of a week to make a couple of good servings for 2 people - that's from 4 plants.

    Good luck with your strawberry project!


    Funkbunny, thanks!

  9. Goodness Michelle, when did you plant out your tomatoes. I feel like we all did at the same time yet yours are HUGE. What gives????!!!

  10. Wonderful garden tour (as usual!). :D

    I love the colorful items - golden chard, purple cabbage, etc... something very attractive about deep and brightly hued veggies.

  11. It seems that all plants are very happy in your garden. Except that poor squash, of course.
    I see you have different tomato varieties in one bed. Do you worry about cross-pollination or you don’t save those seeds?
    Last year I was growing all tomato varieties together and now some fruit doesn’t look like they should.

    Mara de Bois strawberries are beautiful.

  12. Maybe I'll have to try Gigantesque next year. Cool weather tomatoes usually do very well here. Sadly the full flavored hot weather ones usually don't. But I'm always on the look out for good tasting varieties for my area.

  13. Your garden is looking great! Makes me wish I had a few more strawberry plants. Wonder if you can eat those poppy seeds? If so, they would be tasty on homemade bread...

  14. vrtlarica, I don't save my tomato seeds so I don't worry about cross pollination.


    Jackie, That variety of poppy is grown for the seeds, so I hope I'll be having plenty of poppy seed bread and . . .


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