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Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!!

baskettomato2-6-15Well, things are really starting to take off here at the garden. Plants IN the garden itself have had sort of a rough time of it – lots of rain and the weather has not been very warm or sunny.

And yet – there is something about this time of the year when given half a chance, the plants just…take off. The past two weeks, all we’ve seen on the tomato plants in those baskets has been flowers. Lots of leaves and stem growth too, but just flowers. But patience is a virtue here.

baskettomato6-15 Because when I checked the baskets this morning, thinking we’d have no tomatoes yet because the nights have not been warm enough and we’ve had a lot of rather chilly weather, there these little baby tomatoes were! Now yes, these are cherry tomatoes and bred for growing in containers, but still. This means, with any warm sunny weather at all, we’re going to have red tomatoes before the end of July. (not exactly ‘knee high by 4th of July’ but still) This is HUGE here – we’re used to not seeing red tomatoes of any sort before August. And the basil plants in the baskets are doing really well also – which means that we can start harvesting basil leaves very soon. Great stuff.

Something else that sort of hit me in the head this week is that with all the rain and the chilly weather – plants such as peppers and tomatoes in the garden were really sort of just hunkered down there, not doing much of anything. But the weeds!!! OMG – I had to get out there with my hoe and get some major ‘hoe down’ in that garden, if only so I’d be able to identify what’s in there and where it is. And I realized that my original diagram has gone through some major changes as I’ve transplanted seedlings, moved things around and so on. So, the original diagram is no good now either. diagram I don’t know how you keep records for your garden projects, but I tend to be rather haphazard about it – putting things on the backs of left over envelops and so on. So, after I laid waste to the weeds in the garden and put some space around everything I want in the garden so that they are not having to compete with weeds, I made a new up to date diagram so that I know where everything is. Now, this is no big deal in general, but this year we are growing regular sweet peppers, two different varieties of peppers which are used just for paprika (and I’m going to try to make smoked paprika – stay tuned for that!), and all sorts of hot peppers to make hot pepper sauce for holiday gifts (last year’s holiday gifts were orange and vanilla extract – hope no one is upset that they are getting hot sauce this year). So, it’s pretty important to know where the various sorts of peppers ARE so that I can make sure to have my rubber gloves on when I harvest, clean and process the hot ones. I once grew them before and did not wear gloves when I cut them up. It was a hot day (I think you all know where this is going, right?) and in wiping off the sweat off my forehead…..

In other veggie news, the basket lettuce is just so big it’s starting to jump out of the basket.basketlettuceeat2 So, I took out my scissors, cut a bunch to use for a salad and left the rest. Nothing like lettuce from the garden – but if you wait too long, it starts to get a strong flavor and then bolts to seed. So, as soon as it gets big enough, start using it right away.

So, how is everyone’s garden going at this point? Keeping records? Anyone trialing any veggies new to them? Enjoy your week and eat something GREEN!!

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