Friday, July 11, 2008

The waiting is the hardest part

The plants are looking so good right now, healthy, with tons of flowers and little tiny globes that will turn into big red tomatoes or nice red and yellow peppers. But we have to wait. Weeks. That's tough.
Take this weekend for example. We're going to visit my Aunt Joan on Long Island. She just loves tomatoes (I have posted one of her recipes in fact.) The watering system is all set, so we don't have to worry about our little plant babies (this is our first trip with the system in place, let's hope it works.) But all we can bring to Aunt Joan is a few Japanese eggplants. The eggplants are producing prolifically, which I appreciately hugely - we've already tried them in a stirfry and they taste delicious.) The Japanese variety is a huge improvement over last year's black beauties - the kind found in supermarkets. They were small and bitter. And a bigger leap over the white organics we tried to grow two years ago.
But nothing beats the home grown tomato for impressing dinner guests or bringing along when visiting. Our heirlooms inspire cries of joy, stares of disbelief and rounds of applause. Friends rarely refuse dinner invitations when our fresh tomatoes are on the menu.
So, we'll wait. And we'll hope that a random thunder storm doesn't whack off too many branches; hope we can ward off leaf blights and bug infestations; hope that this crop is a banner one.
And eventually, in just a few weeks I imagine, we'll get to pull our first tomato off the vine and slice it up. Now that's something to look forward to!

Monday, July 7, 2008

I spy with my little eye - a tiny green tomato

It's been too long since I've posted, but lots has been going on in my garden! First of all, we finally got hot weather and sun (I know, not this weekend) and the plants are taking off! We've got tiny tomatoes on our cherry and our Charlie's Green tomato plants. Our Japanese eggplants are growing like crazy and the pepper plants are busting out. The basil is big and bushy and our mint is growing strong too. The parsley isn't as healthy as I'd like it to be, but I did some pruning today (for our salad) so that might help it get moving.
We also finally got our drip irrigation system in place, so when we get out of town on the weekend, our veggies will be hydrated. No more calling on friends to babysit...
The system works with a timer, a plastic tube that attaches to the outdoor faucet,a bunch of feeder tubes and the adjustable drippers that are inserted into the soil. We got all the parts at The Drip Store, at (Respond to this post if you want details on our order! I'll be happy to help you get set up...)
Now comes the hard part, waiting for the veggies to ripen -- August feels like a long way off! And of course, hoping the plants stay healthy. This year, I'm feeding them Miracle Grow tomato food every week or so to avoid blossom end rot and the other leafy diseases we've been plagued with in past summers, partly due to a lack of soil PH balance. I hope the Miracle Grow will do the trick.