Some Stuff N' Stuff

Mostly a garden blog, and the occasional garden-inspired recipe.


First Tomato

Let it be known - the first of my tomatoes this year was picked on July 30th, 2008. It was one of the Golden Jubilees from my brother & dad. Medium size, and a yellow-orange color. I wasn't really sure if it was ripe, initially I thought they would turn red...but then I realized it would only grow to be yellow. I threw it into my cous cous today and never took a photo. There will be plenty of those soon - as I also got my new camera.


Murder by Mother Nature

Mother Nature, why do you hate my tomato plant so?

After a particularly windy and raining night, I walked onto the front porch to check out the few plants that live there. My mouth hung agape as I found my tomato plant broken, stem hanging over, green tomatoes and all. Oh, my poor plant! The thing was hanging by a literal thread, and when I gently touched the stem, it fell off in one piece onto the porch floor. I picked the large green tomato and tossed the stem into the greenery 2 floors below. Left now is a stump in a pot, and a fairly healthy and unharmed basil plant.


Back to the jungle

After a week in the woods, I came back to a mighty harvest of veggies! The African Basil was overflowing with purple flowers 3" high. This little plantling has become a thigh-high shrub with tons of beautiful purple/green leaves. The other two basil plants had lots of large, green leaves to pick off, and the hot peppers were ready in record time. I picked about 15 of those off, with lots of smaller ones left behind to grow. I also carried out an armful of cucumbers and 2 large red onions (which matured in only 60 days).

I collected the basil to make Basil Soba Noodles again and went over to Laura's with Karen for another Garden Dinner Night. We also enjoyed Mint/Raspberry mojitos (after several trips to the garden and store), a squash casserole, a large hunk of meat and sauteed beet greens and chard, and for dessert, a delicious raspberry-rhubarb crisp.

The other gardens look like jungles as well, with squash plants overflowing the plot boundaries and cucumber vines taking over anything vertical. The dill some of the cilantro has gone to seed, so I hope to collect the dry, brown pods if it ever stops thunder-storming (tornado warning in Taunton right now).


Before I leave...

Went to the garden to water it and eat a few community raspberries. Everything seems to be doing well and an onion is ready to be eaten, but I'll let it sit since I'm headed north for the week. This seems a good stage to leave it, since I can't harvest much other than basil - it's mostly just a sit and wait till August.

I also took note of the porch basil & tomato, which are growing a a little faster than the garden ones. The nasturtium is finally flowering, as the leaves lose their luster and perfect dome shape.


End of June/Early July: A Retrospective on Thunder & Lightning

I can't remember the last time we had 2 weeks of daily thunder and lightning storms. I love this sort of weather, mostly because it's exciting, but also because it waters the garden quickly and efficiently - and then goes back to being somewhat sunny and humid - perfect tomato weather!

Today's thunder & lightning show was exceptional at least here in Somerville. The sky darkened rather quickly, and before I could look out the window, the wind whipped up very strong, and soon rain and pea-sized hail fell in a torrent. The rain was horizontal actually, everything went gray and even white at times. It was alot like a microburst of snow we had one day this winter. The whole shebang didn't last long, but one lightning strike was very close, as the flash and thunder were nearly simultaneous...ambulances and firetrucks jumped into action soon after.

I visited the garden and noticed the winds had pushed around the cilantro and my neighbors' squash plants. Other than that, everything seemed pretty normal and well watered. I picked some African basil, and mint from a friend's garden for a meal I'm making with Tony (Soba Pesto Noodles). I went to the Davis farmers market too and bought sugar snap peas, pea pods, Asian scallions, apple mint - all for the dinner, and some raspberries for myself. Mostly a locally grown meal, or the veggies and herbs anyway, w/exception of the meat and noodles.


Goodbye weeds, hello vegetables

Finally, last week, I took a small hand-held rake to the entire garden. The weeds were helpless against the rake, and I laughed somewhat manically as I churned up the rich, black dirt beneath. After about 20 minutes of this nonsense, I piled the refuse into several "extermination piles" about the garden to show any future weeds I meant business.

A week later I've returned, finding only a small amount of weeds who dare test my sanity. I managed to hand-pick these in short order while checking out the finer details of the garden. I'm also finally getting a handle on the super-macro function of my camera, three years into it's purchase.

The romaine lettuce, as phenomenal as it was in both size and taste, is finished. Meanwhile the dill & cilantro has grown up to my chin and have started to flower. The hot pepper plants are small, but one has already produced an immature but 3' long pepper! The African basil is alot like the Thai basil, as it has dwarfed the Italian basil in size and beauty. The cucumbers, which have a stranglehold on the fence & twine, are just starting to produce some small flowers and inch-long fruit. They threated to take over the tomato area, but I foiled their plan & beat them back into submission. I'll have to keep an eye on those time I'll give them a little more room to grow.

Speaking of tomatoes, I decided to to get the twine out and set up a trellis system, stringing the twine between the stakes and boxing in the tomatoes. This should help hold up the tomatoes as they grow, just like tomato cages. All the tomato plants are flowering, some have produced small, pale green fruit, though I've noticed some yellowing of the bottom leaves, which is not happening with the porch tomato. (The basil on the porch is doing great, as are the nastursiums - though no flowers yet).

The onions are coming along, though I expect at least another month of waiting before I can harvest.

Stringed tomatoes

Garden path

Cucumber vines

Baby tomato




Cilantro flowers

Baby Cucumber

Pepper flower