I just came in from checking my garden. Here’s my report, five weeks post-transplant. Overall, things are thriving! I’m amazed at how quickly everything is growing and starting to produce. I picked a ‘Salt and Pepper’ cuke that was delicious—crisp and sweet. There was one that was overripe so I probably could have picked it four or five days ago had I noticed it hiding among the foliage. That would be a month from transplant to harvest!
Tomatoes are growing like gangbusters and all are flowering. Some have tiny fruits. The peppers are just starting to open their buds; eggplants are just forming buds. The eggplant plants are humongous!
I have a couple of lime basil plants. I tasted one today, and I have to say that I don’t “get it.” Why would anyone grow lime basil when they can grow the amazingly pungent and mouth-watering Italian-type basils? I’m not sure what I’m missing, but the lime basil is just boring to me. Can anyone enlighten me? —Nan Sterman, Encinitas, California
It has been a cool summer for us and I have not had much to report. The only red tomatoes so far have been in the greenhouse. Lots of green ones though.
I have had good luck with the lettuces we’re trialing. In fact, they are all still in and producing well. The ‘Sweetie Baby Romaine’ has been very good. Same with the ‘Sea of Red’ looseleaf lettuce. I liked the ‘Okame’ spinach but have others that were slower to bolt, so I probably would not grow it again.
Other stuff is coming on. The ‘Lime Crisp’ cucumber plants out in the garden are just starting to produce, but the one I planted in the greenhouse has been amazing! I like the flavor. Nothing bitter about it. And the color is great.
I have already pickled 4 quarts off the one plant and there are many more cucumbers—it is truly prolific. I used the refrigerator pickle recipe in the August/September issue of Organic Gardening magazine and they turned out really good. As a bonus they are super easy!
It has been a really cool summer. Skies have been mostly overcast. Temperatures have barely topped 70, and then on only a few days. We’ve all been asking each other when November is going to end! The upshot for the garden is that things are coming along slowly. Lots of foliage, but fruits are barely ripening—other than peppers, for some reason.
The peppers are coming along a bit earlier than usual this year. I picked a handful of ‘Gusto Purple’ peppers. They are pretty little things—rich deep purple. I absentmindedly nibbled on one as I harvested some tomatoes and what a surprise! They have a bite!
This year’s zinnia ‘Double Zahara Fire’ is fantastic—fiery orange for sure! Though honestly, nothing compares to ‘Giant Lime’. We grew these back in 2004 and they stay on my top ten list, along with zinnia ‘Magellan Coral’. Those two really rekindled my interest in zinnias.
The ‘Little Potato’ cukes are gone, and I have to say I’m not disappointed. They were ugly, but honestly, there just wasn’t much to them. The ‘Lime Crisp’ on the other hand were really good though produced only a few fruits. I’m gonna seed these again and see what happens.
‘Strawberry Crown’ winter squash are incredible! I’ll take a photo of them because they are too amazing looking to try to describe.
Wow, I think the ‘Little Potato’ cucumber in the previous post looks kinda cool! Unfortunately, no test cukes for me this year. The one I was trialing was weak from our cool and very wet late spring, then devoured by either slugs or bunnies. I replanted with another variety, a long Japanese variety, and planted one outside and one in my greenhouse along with the test watermelon ‘Shiny Boy’. A few days later, I let the chickens out to graze on the property. They found their way into the greenhouse and scratched out the cukes and watermelon! While I felt devastated, my great hopes dashed, I had to laugh since earlier this spring, the chickens’ scratching was welcomed as an attack on weeds. Lesson learned—greenhouse door closed before hen yard door opens!
My garden got planted a little later in the year than usual—early May rather than mid-April. Honestly, I think I may do that again. The plants just took off! It’s been amazing, really. The curcurbits are flowering and producing, the tomatoes are growing bushier every day and starting to flower, the flowers are budding, the peppers are growing tall, and the basil is close to being ready to sample, but not quite yet.
This week, I cut the first ‘Lime Crisp’ cukes, which are delicious! Slender, crisp, slightly sweet. A real winner. I hope it produces well.
I picked the first ‘Little Potato’ cukes tonight and I gotta say, this thing is so ugly that I can’t imagine anyone wanting to plant it other than for its odd appearance. The fruits were not quite ripe—the skin still a bit thick and the flavor not quite developed. I’ll let the next set get larger before picking.
Does anyone still have ‘Delfino’ cilantro coming up in their garden? I have a patch that has reseeded for years now. We still like the feathery texture and slightly mild flavor.
I miss eggplant this year—there are no eggplants among the vegetables we’re trialing—so I think I’ll start some from the past. I still have seed for ‘Opal’ and ‘Twinkle’, two winners in my garden from 2006. I’m teaching a class this coming week on starting plants from seeds so I’ll start those and use them as demonstration.