Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The tomatoes are coming! The tomatoes are coming!

Yesterday was the weekly CSA pickup day. The baskets contained beans, peppers, jalapenos, a purple kohlrabi, cherry tomatoes, and even a REAL standard tomato--the first ones to ripen! The picture above is the FIRST tomato I found in the garden. There was just the one, mostly ripe, and our family sliced it up to eat for supper. Yesterday I found about 6 more smaller ones. The heat will really get these guys coming! There are tons of green tomatoes up there, so I'm looking forward to a good harvest.

The rain has me a little concerned, though. It has been very wet and humid here in SE MN. Various fungi are sprouting up in the middle of lawns, in the mulch, and elsewhere. There has been a bit of blight showing up on the tomatoes and the peppers are even showing some leaf drop. The melons and cucumbers are loving it, though. I might have to do a bit of judicious pruning to keep the tomato plants in check and allow them more airflow to try to remove and head off some of the blight. Thankfully, it is not the late blight that is hitting parts of the country. This is the early blight which shows up as spots on the leaves, very common but usually preventable with mulching. The blight spores are in the soil and splash up on the plants during rain. My entire tomato patch is well-mulched, but with the immense rains, it seems that there must have still been some soil splash.

The peppers are not doing as well as they usually do, either. Many of the fruits are getting sun-scald from the lack of leaf cover. This is very frustrating since it means harvesting the peppers before they have a chance to ripen to that beautiful red, orange, or yellow that I love. A couple of the new varieties I planted this year are faring better than the others--Revolution and Flavorburst. Revolution is putting out some huge blocky peppers! Flavorburst are a paler green, almost yellow. As you can see from the photo, some of the peppers are just odd-shaped. These tend to be the New Ace. New Ace are not my favorites, but they usually can be depended upon for plentiful and early yields. They seem to be the worst hit by the sun-scald this year, plus the odd shapes. The kids get a kick out of them, though. 

The planting continues... yesterday I planted a bunch of fall crops--chinese cabbage, pac choi, rutabaga, turnips, and kale. There will be more planting occurring through the next few weeks, too! We had a lot of rain this morning, so that puts a hold on re-working some areas, but second crops of  beans, peas, and lettuce will be going in right away, along with more kohlrabi (hopefully the rabbits don't find them again!), beets, chard, radishes and carrots. The first plantings of most of those are just being getting ready for harvest now, except for the lettuce, which all bolted a few weeks ago. The lettuce can be a finicky germinator in the warm summer, but we'll see what happens. That might have to wait until later in August.

You might have noticed a new addition to the blog--you can now subscribe to receive updates via email! How handy, eh?! Just type in your email addy in the block to the upper right. The FeedBurner service will send you a confirmation email which you need to respond to in order to be signed up. I'm not collecting email addresses, so no worries there! 

Enjoy the heat! Summer is quickly slipping by!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Testing Feedburner--blog posts sent to your email

Test. Test. Test. :-)

I set up a FeedBurner account with hopes that friends/followers who want to get updates via email can do so! Well, let me know if you get this... comment please! To get email updates (daily digest style), just enter your email address in the box at the upper right, under the title pic. It will send you a confirmation email to which you will need to respond. Good luck! Hope this works!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back from vacation... time for garden bounty!

Our family was able to sneak away for a few days in the Northwoods of MN. We got back to find out that our area had some mega-rain, and then we had a doozy of a storm last night with about another inch! I went to the garden this evening, in the cool of the day and did some weeding. The ground is definitely wet, and the weeds are loving it! I couldn't believe what just 5 days can mean to some very vigorous weeds. But the plants that I WANT to grow are also doing great! I think you could probably see growth on the squash if you stood there for 5-10 minutes! Same with the cukes. AND I even found the first full-size tomato tonight. I think it was a Rutger (though not sure, since it was in the cherry tomato row... hmmm, a mystery!) and it was yummy. We sliced it up to have with our chicken dinner. 

The chickens were the last of our 2009 broilers. I just cooked them in the crockpot since I knew our day would be busy with cleanup from our camping trip. And it was... I think we washed 7 loads of laundry today, and still have another 5 or so to go! That's what happens when you take 8 people on a camping trip and it rains... every day... Ah well, it's to be expected "up north."
This week's CSA baskets will contain some cherry tomatoes (if they hurry and ripen), some beans, green onions, peppers, and maybe even an eggplant or two. The heat is good for the tomatoes--they love heat and ripen better when the nights stay above 70. So, they will soon be coming along. The corn is also looking pretty good, although the recent storms have cause a lot of blowdown in the corn patch. Nothing was snapped off, though, so it should be fine even if it doesn't look pretty. Ripe corn is still a ways off, but it will taste OH so good!

Hang in there, CSA members! Things are trying to get ready for you to eat!!! :-)