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August 17, 2006

Finally!

Well, you're looking at it - the very first tomato of the season! (First that is, if you don't count J's cherry tomato from last week). But this is the first of the mid-large sized tomatoes. It's an Ailsa Craig, which is supposed to be an early variety. Considering that it's the middle of August and it already feels like fall's arrived, I'm a little worried about the rest of the nice, plump (but still very green) tomatoes out there. The temperatures have been getting down to 13 degrees at night (55 for those of you south of the border), which makes it nice and comfortable for sleeping, but then it's cloudy until about noon when the clouds finally burn off and the sun comes out. The daytime temperatures are struggling to get above 21 (68) degrees. The corn and onions are looking okay, but my squash have been pathetic this year. I got a few piddly little zucchinis (which is partly due to the fact that I grew Romanesco, which are smaller and lower yielding), and there are a few little Butternuts and one Blue Hubbard out there (which may not have time to mature at this point) but the rest have just been cranking out male flowers like gangbusters and not setting any fruit. What is going on?? In the past I've been overrun with squash despite being under less ideal conditions. I finally managed to get some happy looking eggplant and pepper plants this year, but there's very little chance that they'll amount to anything at this point.
I've been sowing my winter vegetables, hopefully I'll have more luck with those. We typically have cooler summers here, being on the coast (which accounts for having a hard time with peppers, etc.), but our winters are very mild, so I'm hoping for better luck with the cool weather crops. I've planted lots of cabbage, rapini, kale, cold hardy lettuce, overwintering broccoli, and some spinach, so we'll see what happens with those. It's always a race to the finish against the slugs though - I usually try to relocate or redirect the little buggers, but I may have to play hardball from now on as they tend to decimate many of the things I try to start from seed.
Well, off to do some more puttering!

3 comments:

Phelan said...

THANK YOU! I am not alone! I have been freaking out. Luckily I still have 2 more solid months of heat left. FYI if your tomatos have changed to the white color, before the first freeze, pluck them and allow them to ripen inside.

Cheryl said...

I'm happy to know I'm not alone. Two more months of heat, eh? That is lucky! Though it's not that our temperatures drop a lot (it rarely freezes here), but the rain starts, and then we get blight/mud/rot. Two summers ago the rains started in mid-August and didn't stop until spring, but then sometimes it's warm and sunny until October. Oh well, it makes us appreciate them all the more when everything works out.
I see that you've got the same dehydrator as me now. I look forward to seeing lots of photos of it in use!

Phelan said...

Our first ice storm comes about Oct 31st. Sometimes we can keep in the 21's c until late November. Rarely does it rain in August. The great State of Kansas is a semi arid dessert, which is horrible if you want to grow berries.

You are lucky it doesn't freeze. I have not been successful at winter crops because of how solid the ground becomes.

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