Look at this beauty! It almost makes me sad to think that it will fade when it bears fruit. As you know, squash blossoms are featured on the select list of edible flowers. I can’t think of a better way to decorate a salad Read more…
Behold today’s tomato yield, the ever so productive plants bless me with WAY more than I can possibly consume. A fellow blogger commented that gardeners should plant tomatoes so they don’t succumb to the tendency to become lethargic in August. It’s canning time, and salad time, and tomato sauce time, and green tomato preserve time. If you’ve already done all of the above more than once and you still have fresh fruit every day, don’t forget some less common tomato uses, like natural skin care. A honey and tomato face mask provides wonderful rejuvenation for oily, tired skin. Mix the pulp of one ripe tomato with a tablespoon of honey and apply it to the face, careful to avoid the eyes and mouth. Leave it on for as long as it feels comfortable, but not more than 15 minutes, then wash away with cold water. The astringent tomato juice minimizes pores, clears blackheads and reduces oil secretions and the soothing qualities of honey feed the skin, making it bright, smooth and supple.
Also, in case you got sunburned during gardening activities, mix tomato pulp with buttermilk and apply it to the burned area to get relief.
Early crop, sort of. It is the first in hopefully a large harvest of cucumbers, although there seem to be a lot of male flowers and not so many fruit bearing ones. Time will tell. In the meantime I am watching with fascination how the springy curlicues grab hold of supports.
Cucumbers yield lots of fruit and will be very refreshing and flavorful if you give them enough water. I know watching veggies bear fruit is not that fascinating for others, but I am completely hooked: the picture above will bring an immediate “Awww, how cute!” to my mind.
If you have limited space, grow them on a trellis. They will be happier and healthier, take up less than two square feet per plant and yield more.
I got a little bit of a late start on this one. It is an old custom for the farmers in Europe to start a dish of wheat grass on Saint Andrew’s day, November 30th. The custom says that if the wheat grows thick and strong until Christmas, there will be a great harvest the following year and prosperity for the household in which it was started.
Old traditions aside, wheat grass is nothing but baby wheat. You can start your own indoors from wheat berries which can be found at any organic food store, and harvest it when it is about 8 inches tall.
Wheat grass juice, best when fresh squeezed, is said to provide great health benefits from increasing red cell count to cleansing the digestive system.
If you plan on making your own wheat grass juice you will need a special juicer that masticates the stems.
Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere, and hay bundles and little scarecrows! In the soft darkness of “Beggar’s Night” little candles glow inside Jack O’Lanterns held by little hands. The tiny princesses and ghouls and cartoon characters and vampires and stuffed fluffy animals and witches and pirates move noisily from one brightly lit house to another, filling little colorful buckets with more candy than anybody, especially someone that little, should really eat. Group by group giggles and grins watching a fire here, an open door there, a group of neighbors enjoying an ad-hoc picnic on the front lawn, faces smiling and mouths chattering.
The pumpkin really belongs on the front porch, but the trip to the pumpkin patch yielded some other interesting fruits of the earth (see left), so I figured I’d keep them together for now.
Trick or Treat!
Peppers, like all vegetables, like a warm, sunny spot (at least 8 hours of full sun exposure) with good loamy soil and plenty of water. These plants were started indoors in February and transplanted to the garden after April 21, the date of last frost in zone 5. Bell Pepper plants will produce about a dozen fruits on a plant during the growing season. As you probably know, green peppers are just red or yellow peppers that are not yet ripened. So, if you want colorful veggies to grace your dinner table, just wait a little longer.
Bell Peppers, especially the red, yellow and orange ones, are high in fiber and excellent sources of vitamins A and C. Eat them raw during the growing season and can some for the winter. Please check out the “Art of Preserves” section this fall for pepper pickling recipes.
Tomatoes are by far the most cultivated edible and they are fruit, not vegetables. There are two ways to categorize tomatoes. First, they can be determinate (shorter, stockier types that don’t need staking, take a shorter time to bear fruit and produce all the yield more or less at the same time; they are good for tomato sauce and canning), and indeterminate (take about 80 days to produce fruit, they are tall and need to be staked, and produce small yields all summer long. They are sweeter and more flavorful and are great eaten raw). The second way to categorize tomatoes is open pollinated( will produce identical offspring with the parents) and hybrid varieties (the flowers do not consistently produce offspring that maintains the parent qualities).
Without further ado, here are some popular, high yield varieties of tomatoes:
Beefsteak (shown here) – Indeterminate, hybrid. The largest tomatoes, some weigh up to a pound. Perfect slicing tomatoes for sandwiches. Very productive.
Gardener’s delight – Indeterminate, open pollinated cherry tomatoes. Small but very sweet fruits. Children love them. Very productive.
Better Boy – Indeterminate, hybrid. Large, very high yield tasty slicing tomatoes.
Sungold – Indeterminate, hybrid. Orange productive and tasty cherry tomatoes.
Brandywine – Indeterminate, open pollinated. Meaty sandwich tomato, tasty and productive.
Early Girl – Indeterminate, hybrid. Very sweet, prone to cracking in the rain.