Saturday, July 16, 2011

10 July 2011

So... I got this book Organic Gardening and learned that I'm supposed to be journaling every week to describe conditions and growth patterns.

These were taken on 10 July 2011 and the garden is in lush bloom. We've had at least 4-5 harvests of Zambian greens, and I pulled my first-ever bucket of tomatoes this weekend.

The different varieties of tomatoes each have distinct features -- really, distinct things wrong with them. The western-most ones, which were sold to me as some sort of round yellow heirloom, are actually heart-shaped with green on the top and a pale, dull red color. They taste good -- the first full tomato we ate was one of these. We had it on our cheeseburgers at the pool on Sunday night. (I also tried my first gluten-free hamburger buns -- yulch. They tasted like biscuits, and would be good as biscuits, but I used lettuce for my burger "bun" instead.) The tomato tasted great. Not transcendant great, but really good and fresh. You can see them here in pic number 9 and 14.

The plum tomatoes in the middle taste awful, like mealy mush, and they have some kind of situation where the bottom sort of fries to a flat, brown surface. I'll take a picture of one next week. All the tomatoes are very plentiful. There are tons of green tomatoes on the vines of all types right now.

The yellow cherries in the back/middle were the first to produce and seem to be the first dying. I think they are whatever those one-time producing tomato plants are called. They have each produced about 20 tomatoes and they've been really juicy and delicious.

The red cherries in the front have been the most consistent, the most perfect, and the most delicious. We get a bunch of these every day, and have for the last few weeks. Idris eats them like candy. I picked about 20 this morning and then this evening before we went up for bedtime I picked about 20 more.

Of course I've had to start picking all the fruit really early, before it's truly ready, so the varmints don't come and get it.

The regular old red tomatoes on the far east side are plentiful (in green) but I haven't tasted one yet. We just picked the first one Sunday. They get some kind of dried out cross pattern on the top -- it's like they're too big for their own skin. I'll take a pic of that next week too.

The arugula is very spicy and we stopped eating it a few weeks ago, but I don't really know what to do with it and I can't bring myself to dig it up so I've just left it. It looks pretty.

The Zambian greens are so delicious -- they're Ken's favorite vegetable by far right now. He sautees it up with some oil and garlic and eats it like there's no tomorrow. We've been "sharing" the greens with the caterpillars, which drives Regina crazy. She feels I'm wasting the greens she gave me. But I'm trying to be a good steward, so I'm using a spray of water, molasses, and a couple drops of dish washing liquid. We spray it on whenever we get a chance -- once or twice a day. Io sort of likes doing it, but my spray bottle isn't the greatest so it's sort of a frustrating chore.

This garden takes water, water, water, and I'd like to eventually work out a better watering system that doesn't require so much fresh tap water to be used and hauled. I don't think a rain bucket is going to work because our drains are all the way over on the other side of the building. But I might be able to divert some water or at least just capture a little. Or maybe I'll think about a drip system.

We also want to start composting and haven't dared to get going yet. There's a worm composting seminar on Thursday but it's sort of expensive and I think you have to keep the worms indoors, which wouldn't work in our space.

But the garden itself is great and has been just marvelous.

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