Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fruits From The Garden

Just a few days and we are into the face of August as most of this year seems to have escaped our grasp. The good news is it appears we have gotten a grip on approximately five months of health issues with which we have wrestled. And better news is we have had family visit, friends have joined us for dinners, and the garden seems to be responding rather nicely to our limited efforts.
yesterday's pick
Organic, heirloom and indeterminate is what you will find in our garden when it comes to tomatoes. They grow on larger vines that produce throughout the growing season, whereas the determinate varieties have a more compact height and produce their fruit at approximately the same time_within a one to two week period.

The tomatoes this year have been as pretty as I can recall. But then we do baby them_growing generally from our saved seeds, using kelp to foster their growth, and paying close attention to our soil by using only compost from our garden and organic fertilizers. No chemicals.

Heirloom lineup
Ashleigh (75-90) Large, somewhat heart-shaped meaty and beautiful red heirloom with great taste. This is a stand-by for us. Nearly a pound.
'Cherokee Purple'
Cherokee Purple (75-90 days) Each year at the top of our list is this Cherokee Indian heirloom, pre-1890 variety that is both delicious and beautiful. Uniquely colored purplish red hue and with dark shoulders, this tomato never disappoints. Up to 1 pound.

Mrs. Maxwell’s Big Italian (75-90) A new variety for us this year and we have yet to analyze. Dark pink beefsteak. 1-2 pounds 

Amish Paste (80-90) Bright red Amish heirloom that is great for sauces, fresh salsa, eating... 8-12 ounce fruits and the second year we have grown this one.

Brandywine (90) Baker Creek Rare Seeds says this is the most popular heirloom vegetable! A favorite of many gardeners, a pink tomato weighing 1 1/2 pound each, so we thought we would give it a go this year. Patiently waiting for the first one to ripen. (not pictured above)

Indigo Rose (about 91 days) deserves a spotlight all its own_ an extraordinary tomato due to its color and the anthocyanin property. Although introduced in 2012 and developed by Oregon State, this is our first year to try the first true purple tomato that was a cross of two heirlooms_ wild species from Chile and the Galapagos Islands. Open pollinated and NON-GMO!

Note: Indigo Rose must be allowed to ripen fully for complete development of sugars and acids. The purple will become a dull purple-brown and the green bottom to red.
'Indigo Rose'
smaller tomatoes
Stupice (55-70 days) A smaller tomato on compact plants and potato leaf foliage, it bears clusters of 2 inch fruits. We love it because it is the first to produce in the garden and great for salads. Additionally, since it hails from the former Czechoslovakia, it produces well in cooler climates. 

Black Cherry (65-75) What can I say? We plant this one every year: beautiful, delicious, great producer, wonderful in salads or simply stand and eat them off the vine. 1 inch in size.

Principe Borghese (70-75) A grape type Italian heirloom that is good for sun drying. The only determinate in our garden and one I would not have purchased but given to us by a neighbor when I babysat his seedlings for several weeks while he went on vacation in February. Grateful for the plant, but indeterminate is my favorite.
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Beans: The last several years we have grown a wonderful stringless heirloom, Lazy Housewife, and never a string on this bountiful and large, great tasting bean. This year we decided to order the Organic stringless Blue Lake pole bean instead from Sustainable Seed Co and added Renee's Garden_ Spanish 'Musica'_ stringless.

Needless to say we were greatly disappointed in our first 2.5 pound harvest from the stringless Blue Lake Pole Beans as they were anything but! I wrote to them, and this was their response: "many beans no matter how "stringless" will develop strings if the plants are stressed by lack of moisture, excessive heat, or poor soil nutrition".

Sometimes my head wants to explode with pat answers and no admission of a possible problem. My reply indicated that we have plenty of moisture here in the Pacific northwest, and this was the first picking. Where would the stress be? (no response).

Just so you know that right next to this row of beans is the Spanish 'Musica' and without one string! The Lazy Housewife beans grown in years past never had strings. And how long have we had a vegetable garden here? Oh, only about 20 years. (Note: We will never order again from Sustainable Seed. Note 2: Renee stands by her seeds.)

lower left: Stringless 'Blue Lake' Pole; upper right: Spanish 'Musica'_grown side by side
From our "stringless" Blue Lake beans
Our cabbage this year was extraordinary_ lots of slaw, cabbage soup, sauerkraut, cabbage rolls... and plenty shared with family and friends. Now we wait until next year.
(Seeds ordered from Baker's Creek_ rareseeds.com)
'Late Flat Dutch' cabbage
 The zucchini 'Black Beauty' has taken over nearly the entire raised bed. 

The Walla Walla onions are about as nice as we recall,
'Walla Walla' sweet onion
and on occasion the compost gives us a gift. This year it happens to be our favorite winter squash, Japanese 'Red Kuri'.
from the compost springs reward
'Red Kuri' winter squash
Who knows what hiccups next years garden will bring, 
but we are thankful it has been good to us this year.

I am linking to Pam's Garden for Garden Tuesday.