July 22, 2014
Tomato harvest— Dester, Italian Heirloom, Lemon Drop, Cherry Roma
July 17th, 2014
Today’s tomato harvest: One medium sized Italian Heirloom, and a few dozen Lemon Drops and Cherry Romas. Later on I’ll pick some basil and we’ll have a yummy garden-y pasta tonight for dinner.
2014 Garden Update: July 7
We went out of town for a few days, and while we were gone there was a huge thunderstorm with high wind gusts. The tomato plants took a hit. We came back to find half of them had fallen over. The Velvet Red, sadly, broke at the stem and didn’t survive. The others just needed some intense trimming and stabilization. What I should have learned from last year was that the bamboo stakes are not at all strong enough to support the tomatoes once they start producing, especially because the plants tend to get top-heavy. In our next garden, we’ll get really sturdy cages for the tomatoes so this doesn’t happen again.
The first Italian Heirloom is ripening and I couldn’t be more excited! It’s large and heavy, and coming along nicely. The first cluster of Lemon Drops are also ripening and should be ready in a few days. The Cherry Romas are absolutely out of control. This morning, I counted 21 bunches, each with about 9 tomatoes per bunch. I can almost smell the pasta sauce now.
The lettuce has bolted, the leeks have seen better days since being squashed under the fallen-over tomato plants, the chard looks just okay, and the kale is still being eaten by some unseen bug. All my hope lies in the tomatoes at this point.
2014 Garden Update: June 28
The tomato plants are officially huge and have outgrown their supports. We have two large Italian Heirlooms just waiting to blush, and a zillion cherry romas as well. In the third photo, you’ll see the only tomato that has ripened. I hope the rest of them follow in quick order.
Found a few tomatoes today with blossom end rot. It’s the first time I’ve had that problem, and I’m hoping I can go pick up something today that will assist with the calcium absorption. I’m also going to be more diligent about watering now that we’re having so many sunny days.
One of the Gold Medal tomatoes is looking alien-ish.
The lettuce has been providing a tasty harvest every week but it’s showing signs that it’s going to bolt. The spines of the leaves are growing prickly spikes. Not good for salad greens.
The final photo is today’s somewhat small harvest. I barely harvested any chard because it’s not growing very well in the container. The leaves are losing their color and appear nutrient-deficient. Out to find some plant food!
June 7: Baby tomatoes
Top: Cherry Roma. Bottom: Italian Heirloom
June 7 Harvest: Aunt May’s Bibb lettuce and spinach
The lettuce was getting crowded, so I harvested a good amount of it. It’s beautiful but the leaves are quite delicate. The spinach plants all bolted due to the hot temperatures, so this is the last harvest of spinach. We’re having green salads every day this week.
2014 Garden Update: June 6
The plants are huge! The tomatoes are flowering and the cherry tomatoes are beginning to bear baby fruit. I’m sure it will still be a few weeks until we get to harvest any tomatoes, but it’s a very exciting development!
First Harvests: June 1, 2014
It’s been six weeks since planting and the garden is providing us with food! Yesterday, we got quite the harvest of kale, spinach, and chard which went into the blender with banana and berries for breakfast smoothies.
Today, I pulled sixteen watermelon radishes, most of which were plump and ready. When I cook them, I’ll post a photo of what they look like sliced— gorgeous and pink in the middle!
Tonight, we’re going to eat radishes and their greens sauteed in with garlic. Honestly, if you don’t know what to do with something from your garden or CSA box, sauteeing it with garlic is always the answer.
2014 Garden Update: May 25
Thanks to many days of sunshine and rain, the plants have all exploded. The radish patch is getting quite crowded. I pulled one today to see how they were getting along and was pleased that it really looks like a radish! It tastes quite peppery, too. I don’t think I’ll plant radishes again, though. I liked planting carrots because I could use the tops for pesto, but the tops of these radishes are spiky and I don’t think they’re good for anything.*
All of the tomato plants look great, and a few are blooming. I can’t wait to have fresh tomatoes!
My herb containers are not growing herbs, but they do seem to be growing mushrooms.
The Bibb lettuce is absolutely beautiful. I’m going to harvest some, soon, along with some baby chard, kale, and spinach.
*After some Googling, it appears that many people sautee radish greens, stick them in soup, and even make them into pesto! I learn something new every day.
Garden Update 5/17/14
The garden is looking much less like a patch of dirt! The tomato plants are finally comfortable with the temperatures we’re getting these days and they are really taking off. The radishes are enormous. The Bibb lettuce is also starting to look like real lettuce, but a lot of it has been dug up by a possum.
The one kale plant is getting munched on by something, but it seems hardy. The spinach and chard are both quite small still, but they are definitely growing. The chard that I’ve planted in a container hasn’t been touched nearly as much as the seeds I tried to sew in the main bed. Overall, I’m pleased.
2014 Garden Update: May 4th
Everything is coming up, even the teeny tiny sage and basil sprouts. The tomato plants are getting a little more comfortable and finally showing some growth. The radishes are really coming in strong! If nothing else, we’ll have some radishes.
I’m feeling ambivalent about the garden right now. On one hand, I love seeing everything grow. On the other, I know that we’ll be moving out of this apartment in three months when some of the plants are really in their prime. I hope that one of my neighbors will agree to take over the garden when we move out. It would be a shame for everything to go to waste.
4-22-14 Garden progress
The radish and spinach sprouts are coming up nicely. They are both more of a cold-weather plant, so I’m not surprised. The leeks are also thriving. Not pictured, I see little pops of green from the lettuce and chard patches, so they’re also finding their way.
The 8 tomato plants, not so much. I forgot that the past two winters had been so mild, and this one was so harsh. I still have about 15 tomato seedlings indoors that I will take care of for another few weeks and then put into the ground to replace the sad ones I have in the garden. They’re just too cold. I don’t think they will thrive. Oh well, live and learn!
The flowers are also doing well in their new bed.
Yesterday I put in a little flower bed by our ugly concrete stairs. I chose a variety of colors and textures and am excited to see what it looks like when everything grows up and spreads out. It draws the eye away from my still-just-a-dirt-patch veggie garden.
New Recipe: Creamy Ramp Linguine
*Simple yet decadent, the exquisite taste of the ramps makes this dish a perfect spring dinner. Pairs well with a sweet white wine; we had a Gewürztraminer from the finger lakes region.
8 oz whole wheat linguine
1 bunch leeks (10-15 large or 15-20 small), whites and greens separated
2 TB olive oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1/2 cup water
Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)
- Boil a large pot of water for the linguine and cook to al dente.
- Meanwhile, in a nonstick pan, heat the oil over low-medium heat. Add the ramp whites and sauté until tender.
-Add the ramp greens and red pepper flakes and gently cook until the greens are wilted. Add lemon juice and turn off heat.
- Blend the cashews with water, 1/2 tsp salt, and one or two of the cooked ramps until creamy and slightly green. Add to the pan to warm through and toss with pasta.
- Taste for seasoning and serve with Parmesan cheese if desired.