Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yeah, so 4 cherry tomatoes...

It happens every year. I start the tomatoes early indoors. I baby the seedlings to give them a good headstart. I gradually ease them to the outside world and do everything within my power so that I'll be able to harvest in mid-July, but this is all got TODAY. I'm not really complaining (can't change our higher altitude and cooler temps), I just would like the rest to ripen and ripen fast.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Green and purple mini kiwis next year?

Via Flickr:
Pergola problem solved. At first we weren't going to go with fruiting or flowering vines because of the insect invasion being so close to the house (the pergola is built right next to the south-facing window of the living room), but in the end our appetite for homegrown fruit won out.

These 2 young kiwi vines were purchased from Ingegnoli in Milan. One bears green, smooth-skinned kiwi - Issai - and the other bears purple-skinned fruit. Both are mini kiwis so they are edible straight off the vine.

Hardy kiwi plants

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's mirabelle plum time!

Apricots and mirabelles
Apricot harvest: 1 pound. Plums from a couple weeks ago: 2 pounds too green.

Plums too soon and plums just right. We started picking them a couple of week ago and so far the total amounts to just under 19lbs (8.5 kilos). At first we did the shake-the-tree method, but unripened ones would also fall into the net. So we tried handpicking but that got too tedious since the fruit was ripening day by day. In the end I remembered the mango pickers that we had in Hawaii. Why not one for tiny plums? A small cloth sack was attached to one end of a bamboo pole and with a quick tug, plums were falling easily into a pouch.

Mirabelle plum picker

We love our fruit but this is way too much, and we don't know of anyone nearby that would appreciate this particular plum. I've even gone so far as to throw the bruised ones into the forest for the squirrels.

Mirabelles 2011
Recent harvest, perfectly ripe.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thank Garden It's Friday

Tomato selection 2011

From the look of what's predicted for the next 2 weeks, it appears that we'll be going through a big rainstorm atleast once every 7 days. A storm complete with small hailstones swept through the area a couple days ago, but this time the garden sustained no serious damages. I'm surprised that not even a tomato lost it's grip, seeing how some of the apricots from my neighbor's tree gave way to gravity after being tossed around in the gusts. Not much of a harvest other than almost 5 pounds of mirabelle plums that were picked too early. We figured that shaking the tree would only release the ripe ones, but we ended up with more than half that were still on the tart side and not yet a nice yellow color.

Tying up zuke plants

I did some work today in the garden which included tying the zucchini plants to a stake in order to keep them off the ground (and free up some space). I've seen this done in a few gardens here. The plants look awkward at first but in a day they are spreading their leaves up toward the sun. The image above shows one that has adjusted to its new vertical pattern while the other was just staked upright today. So far no more root damage from mice but I keep seeing new holes so they are still hanging around. It's incredible that they haven't touched the beets. I picked these this morning for part of tonight's roasted veggie dinner.

This is gonna be part of dinner

The plant for this immature Omar's Lebanese tomato was the last to fill out and grow. It now stands at about 7 feet tall and already hitting the hail netting above it. I may just have to lop off the tops, then all energy can go to the developing fruit. A reviewer on Baker Creek Heirloom says that these pink tomatoes resemble small pumpkins???

Omar's Lebanese

I also came upon these two amorous ladybugs this morning. Who needs senseless tv when you can appreciate nature doing its thang.

In the event of an error message, the video can be viewed here:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thunder, lightning and hailstones big as your fist

Thank garden it's Monday because last week was a disaster. On Thursday evening a wicked storm whipped through the lake area, inconveniencing commuters heading home after work (one driver said his car sustained major damage from a large hailstone) and causing a couple of minor landslides. We returned home from grocery shopping to find a small amount of debris on the property, but the worst was losing the young nespola/japanese medlar; it had snapped completely in two right at the base.

I'm thankful that there was no other serious damage and the Friday after plus ensuing weekend was spent clearing up a mess of broken tomato branches and righting the young corn that had blown over. Surprisingly the apricot and japanese pear trees held fast, with only one apricot losing its grip. However, neither of the two are ready to eat because even after that stormy beating, they're both as hard as rocks.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Thank Garden It's Friday

Picking up from where I left off on Monday... Zucchini plant death by mutilation, or should I say root-ilation seems to have stopped, but only after my husband put poison bait down the varmint chute on Tuesday evening (and losing yet another zucchini earlier that morning). So far the remaining bushes have been left alone but then again on Thursday I found my single pattypan squash looking dead and sans roots. I don't know what else to think except I hope that they'll atleast leave the sicilian squash alone?

Red gooseberry

And now, this week's harvest - 7 ounces of red gooseberries (uva spina). I'm glad that nothing - bird, insect or even rodent - got to them, so I'm thinking why not add a few more bushes and eventually there'll be enough to make jam. They keep for several days in the fridge and are great in a fruit salad, but I'm curious to know if they're also good candidates for dehydrating. Everything else is doing fine in the garden, even the two different types of melons I have growing (Collective Farm Woman and Noir des Carmes). My favorite view, however, is across the fence into my neighbor's yard. His apricots are about ready to be harvested while I'm still waiting for ours to turn that beautiful color.

The melon patch

Mirko's apricot tree