Friday, June 10, 2011

Big June Update: Early Red Tomatoes!

Well, May came and went without taking any pictures in the garden, but I did get up there enough to plant these gorgeous nasturtiums (got them at the Union Sq. green market) and do enough watering to keep things alive. Last Sunday I even got around to weeding, pulling up my spent pea plants and planting some new things in their place.
And here are the earliest red tomatoes I've ever had!! They're not quite ripe, as I like them really dark red, soft and fragrant. But they're almost there! Now if only the weekend would be hot and sunny...
You can see how much the tomato plants have grown. The other 2 are just as big as this one. I set up the automatic watering system on Sunday (June 5th, I know... too late like last year! but at least I had been watering a little). This plant had looked like it was going to die. I was worried that these red tomatoes would be the only ones I'd get because I'd underwatered. But, it looks like the watering system did it's job and I can't even tell it was ever in mortal danger! On the left is one of the white potatoes I planted in April. Seems to be doing well, though I honestly don't know much about growing potatoes so we'll just have to see when it's time to harvest.
Here are the blue potatoes. They suffered a bit down below because I didn't add soil when I should have, but I did add soil on Sunday. So, hopefully I'll have more potatoes than I planted =)
I got around to planting this watermelon seedling on Sunday, which had been growing on my windowsill for a while. I had some trouble with my watermelon seeds getting killed by fungus. On Sunday, I direct sowed a few more seeds in the hope that I can get a couple more plants growing. This one seems to be doing decently, though. I'm sure it's happy to be planted properly in the sunshine and heat we've been having.
I think these are the black beauty zucchini seeds I planted on Sunday.
I think these are the yellow prolific straightneck squash I planted on Sunday. I always mix them up with the zucchini because they look so similar.
This year, I tried something new and sowed some pepper seeds. I had some trouble getting them to start, but eventually got 2 plants, which I planted out on Sunday. One is a chimayo hot pepper plant from seed someone friendly sent me back in 2008. One is a King of the North red bell pepper I bought from seed savers exchange. I also mixed them up and don't know which one this is, but it has one tiny pepper forming! I hope it grows fast, as it was a bit stunted indoors.
Here is a beet plant next to my other pepper plant. We'll see which one is sweet and which is spicy when they grow up =)
This might look like weeds to you, but it's actually asparagus! When I received the asparagus plants in the mail, they looked like a bag of dried roots. The directions say to plant, water and wait. I waited for quite a while and they finally came up out of the soil. They actually looked just the way asparagus looks when you get it at the store, but they were much smaller and thinner. When first planting asparagus, I have read that you should let the plants grow without cutting them to eat for the first 2 seasons. This allows them to "fern out" the way they have here and gather energy to grow more next year. When you buy asparagus at the store, the "spear" is what has grown here and turned into feathery leaves. Who knew?!
On Memorial Day weekend, I went home to Long Island to help my parents in their garden. For my efforts, I got a pot of well established and delicious chinese chives (gao choi). They came out of a garden bed that we reclaimed from an awful amount of ivy. You see how the bottoms of the plants look whitish-purple? Where the plants start growing green is where I had cut them on May 29th!! They've grown a ton in just 13 days. Very strong plants. Chinese people have a saying that goes "strong like gao choi." I can see why.
Those scallions I planted at the end of April also grew like gangbusters. I should chop them and cook something.
Now an update on a few well established plants. These are my Northsky and Chippewa blueberry plants. As large and lush as they have grown, they remain a disappointment and I realize now that it's because there are no bees to pollinate them and they are not self-pollinating. Every year, they get covered in flowers and I have so much hope!! But then my hope is dashed when the flowers are gone and no blueberries form. What to do? Hand pollinate? Or just pull them up and start over with something else? Start a bee hive? Wah.
This Briteblue blueberry plant is much smaller but at least it produces something for me to eat!
These Loch Ness blackberries suffered last week from my lack of watering, but there are still some on the plant. They should ripen up nicely.
This Arapaho blackberry plant did not suffer as badly and is covered in these pretty little fruits. It'll be a while yet before they are large and black and yummy! My summit and anne raspberry plants are growing nice and lush as well, but I probably won't have fruit from them this year. Next year should be plenty!
This lilac I planted in April is doing very nicely =)
Here's a shot of the garden as a whole. Doesn't look as nice from far away! But, things are growing. In the near corner, you can also see a cold frame my father made me this spring. =)
That's a wrap for now!