Monday, August 25, 2008

Big Red

This Cherokee Chocolate tomato weighs in at 1.5 lbs! Wow!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Garden feast

Our friends Catherine and John came over for a dinner on a glorious Saturday evening and we prepared a meal almost exclusively from our garden! Okay, we didn't make the pasta or the mozzarella, but we grew just about everything else.
We started with a champagne toast to the newly engaged couple.
And quickly moved on to a caprese salad made with our ripe Cherokee Chocolate heirlooms, fresh mozzarella topped off with our basil and a drizzle of olive oil we brought back from a trip to Tuscany.
For the main course, we served tortellini with our cherry tomatoes and mixed with fresh pesto made from our basil. On the side we had roasted peppers and roasted eggplant with fresh rosemary, also from our garden. A couple of bottles of white wine complemented the meal and we had chocolate chip cookies (we bought them) for desert.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The News Could Not Be Worse!!!!!!

Okay, I haven't been shot, no one died and I've not been diagnosed with an incurable disease. That's the good news.
The bad news? We're losing our garden - that's right - the whole thing. We must kill off all of our plants by August 29th - yes, our seven beautiful tomato plants, our five bell peppers, our two Japanese eggplants and our herb garden - the peppermint and basil, the rosemary and thyme - all of it. August 29th, that's the day that workers will begin resurfacing the facade of our building.
Now, we didn't know that this work was going to take place until a few weeks ago, when we received notice that our maintenance was going up, WAY UP, for a year.
Earlier this week, we saw scaffolding going up on the street level. I was surprised to see this happening so soon. Then today, August 15, we received a letter from our building manager, informing us that our terrace must be cleared by, well you know when.
So, this is a sad situation. The tomatoes, which as anyone reading my blog knows, have been late bloomers this year and are just beginning to turn. The plants are as healthy and strong as they have ever been and I was sure we'd be getting tomatoes right through the October. Now, all we can do it hope the ones that are large enough will ripen in the next couple of weeks.
We'll be cutting back the new growth and any little greenies that can't possibly make it to fully ripened fruit.
It just seems wrong. I just wish I'd gone to that damn tenants meeting in the spring so I would have known ahead of time. Maybe we'd have planted super tomatoes that grow at lightening speed and ripen on command.
Okay, so that's it. I can only hope the rain lets up, we get some good hot sun and what's on the vine turns red and luscious by August 29th...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Better late than never

On Friday night we tasted the first fruits of our tomato labor - the cherries. Mmmm -delicious. They were sweet and the skin wasn't tough like last year's crop. Partly we attribute that to the automatic watering system that keeps the plants moist throughout the day.
So, the long wait for the tomato crop is coming to an end. I see the Donna's ripening and the Charlie's Greens turning a deeper shade. The other heirlooms are holding out, but the signs are good that we'll have Brandywines and Cherokee Chocolates in a couple of weeks!
There's no doubt that the fruit has been slow to ripen this year. And we battled some blossom end rot, so we had to snip off some of the early fruit and sprinkle Hoffman Tomato Food 5-10-10, a phosphorus rich blend of fertilizer, on the soil. But overall, we could have the best crop ever! The plants are as healthy as I've ever seen them. They're already towering over my head! If the weather stays good, looks like we'll have tomatoes through at least October. (Last year a few of the plants were still producing in December!)
Can't wait to make our first Caprese salad. And find some new recipes!