Friday, August 19, 2011

In the Garden

Yes indeed, time is flying by and once again it's Friday, one of the last of the summer. Locals say we should expect the growing season to go well into October and that the cool(er) nights should bring on the tomatoes, finally! We've had enough of the tasty orbs to make Pizza Margherita (a simple 'za with fresh tomatoes and basil and a little cheese) and for eating out of hand but not enough to freeze or can; looks like we're in for a busy fall.

On to the international* celebration that is NOH's Garden Life link-up...

Here's this morning's view of the garden from the roof. The last roof view I posted is from July 22, check out the difference.

view from the roof

I know! After all that worrying about the garden even making it through the heat and bugs I'm slightly embarrassed to say it's now... overgrown. Yep. For most of the plants, the heat and lack of ambient moisture have diverted from reproductive activities to stem and leaf growth all the plant's energies. I have NEVER had tomatoes plants this tall with hardly any fruit on them (those are Matt's Wild Cherry tomatoes behind the chard; a little further in on the right are Celebrity tomatoes, subspecies lycopersicon hulkverde**.) The rattlesnake green beans (all the way toward the back, parallel with the back fence) have formed a thick canopy of tangled vines at the top of the trellis that has stretched out and warped the fencing... if those weren't redwood 4x4s I would be worried about the whole structure coming down.

At ground level, it's a jungle in there.

veg convergence: black-eyed peas and shishito peppers (left) meet wild cherries (right)

The first picture gives you an idea of what I have to walk through. The next two pictures are snapped from the west ends of the rows. Embiggen if you would like to see some of the plants mentioned below; otherwise, you get it: it's a 6' high green thicket that leaves pollen and other stains on your clothes.

 between rows 5 & 4
between rows 2 & 1
Picture details: In Row 5 you see black-eyed peas giving way to okra and toward the end, the Goldman's Italian-American paste tomato has colonized the space between the rows. The Goldman has lots of fruit, none of which has ripened, and actually shares Row 4 with Whopper eggplant, basil, and a few green peppers. Row 2 has Serrano peppers, some exuberant Celebrities, Yellow Pear tomatoes, Matt's Cherry tomatoes and ends with that green hulk of a Celebrity; on the right (Row 1) are the chard and squash with another wayward Celebrity in the foreground.

What's that you say? How many different tomatoes did you plant? Glad you asked.

4 Celebrities; 5 Yellow Pear; 3 Matt's Wild Cherry; 4 Goldman's Italian-American; 7 Sioux; 4 Babywine; and 8 Unknown Heirlooms. Most of the seeds came from Terroir Seeds LLC because they had the most interesting varieties and are based in the Southwest (no, I'm not getting paid for this). Ah... you might be asking how on earth I came to have 'unknown heirlooms' in the garden, the answer: my generous MIL shared seeds from a mixed heirloom tomato package from Park Seed. They'll tell you the package contains Aunt Ruby's German Green, Dixie Golden Giant, Black from Tula, Brandywine Red, Big Rainbow, and Cherokee Purple, but they don't label which is which so we both had an unknown selection. One plant I think we can identify based on location (I made a map), and the color and size of the fruit.

could it be a big rainbow that got stuck in the O- range? (in case you forgot: ROYGBIV)

Because some spots in the garden are so overgrown everyday picking turns into a treasure hunt...

yellow pear tomatoes
serrano peppers

beans in tomatoes (see? it's a tiny matt's cherry all the way on the right)

And, of course, no Friday In the Garden is complete without a flower shot.

chive flower

And something to whet your appetite...

grilled elk leftovers sliced thin to go around sauteed shishito peppers
Happy Friday!

Now I'm off to to NOH to see what Tiffany and Carrie are up to in their gardens...

*It's true, Intrepid reader, some people believe this state is another country: "Can you drink the water there?" "Do you use the dollar?" and my current favorite, "Let me transfer you to the international shipping department..." 
** Yes, I made that up.


  1. Yum. We're coming to dinner at your place! :)
    The chive blossom photo is just gorgeous!!

    We only have a couple of different types of tomatoes this year -- will only be eating them fresh I think. Thankfully they're only gradually turning as well. Maybe if we get the aquaponics in the greenhouse set up, we can bring back some of our more fun varieties again.

  2. Come on over! Thanks!

    When growing space is limited ya gotta really think about what you're putting in. Look forward to seeing what you choose for your aquaponics beds... er...bowls? Tubs? Vats? :-)

  3. Coming over from the garden life link-up...

    Your garden looks so lush and vibrant. The chive blossom is so pretty. Matt's wild cherry is one of my favorite cherry tomatoes (did I grow it this year? It has so much flavor and the tiny tomatoes are super cute. Hope you can figure out what your mystery heirloomtomatoes are--heirlooms are so much fun!

    Kateri @

  4. Beautiful pics! Love the chive flower! Your number of tomatoes reminds me of when I planted 24 tomato plants one year and had way too many... it wouldn't have been so bad if I had planted different kinds! I love heirloom tomatoe! Lots of tomatoe sandwiches. Happy Gardening!

  5. That pizza sounds yummy (and is one of our favorites when we eat at Carrabba's Italian Grill)! I agree with this year being a good one for TALL tomato plants (ours are huge!), but with very little fruit on the plants. Go figure! Your garden is beautiful!

  6. Thanks for coming by, Kateri! Matt's are delicious but next year I think one plant will do, it's quite prolific. If there are still some to harvest green before the first hard frost (late Oct here) they will make beautiful pickled tomatoes.

    Thank you Caren! Glad to know I'm not the only one who over-plants! Except I know that in the middle of March, when the seed catalogs are piled by the bedside and the last jar of tomatoes has been eaten, I'll be thinking, "Maybe 40 plants this year..." I just don't learn...

    Hey Carrie! Yep, that 'za says, "Summer!!" for us. Bizarre tomato year, for sure. Thank you!

  7. Is that your garden? I am envious!

    PS Thanks for visiting