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August 21, 2007

Hallelujah!

You're looking at the first tomato of the season from our garden (yes, I realize it's late August and most of you have been eating tomatoes for months, but let me have my fun!). We've had a few ripe ones from a plant that came from the nursery, but this is the first one started from seed.

This little fella is a Sungold cherry tomato. Danielle convinced me to put them back on my list after I'd removed them in an attempt to rein in my tomato seed binge, and I'm so glad that she did, they're delicious!

I was doing the dance of joy in the garden this afternoon after spotting this baby. I've been trying unsuccessfully for years to grow them, but we've finally got ourselves an eggplant!! In the past they'd always start flowering just in time for the weather to turn cool. I planted the Fairy Tale variety in previous years, but I went with Dusky this time after reading that it produces well in cooler weather. Our climate makes Vancouver a great place to live (it never gets too hot or too cold), but it can also make it difficult to get heat loving plants to produce. Looks like we've solved that problem as far as eggplant is concerned!

Other recent harvests include these lovely Fortex pole beans. I wasn't able to plant a Three Sisters garden this year, so I planted them at the base of my mom's sunflowers, which seem to make a wonderful support for the beans (although I may have a hard time picking the ones at the top of the vine!).

Debbie, you were asking about how to tell when the lemon cukes are ready. This is a photo of one that sat for too long before I picked it. It's a lovely shade of lemon yellow, but unfortunately it was a little dry and the skin was quite tough.

I picked this one at the same time. It's spiney and doesn't look quite as "lemony" as the first one, but it was much juicier and thinner skinned. I think the key is to pick them when they look not quite ready.

What's everyone else harvesting right now?

14 comments:

Wendy said...

My daughter and her friend found a cantelope that was tiny, but had fallen off the vine. I can't wait to see what's inside it's shell :).

dawn said...

Wow, great pickings. I planted eggplants the last 2 years and got some nice ones for the first time this year. I have a couple that are about 3 inches long. We are leaving for the coast tomorrow afternoon, so I hope they don't freeze while we are gone. I have tons of non ripe tomatoes too that would be lost. The short term forecast doesn't look like frost. I hope it is good for the full 10 days we are gone.

Liz said...

I love Sungolds!!

Some other good eggplants for short seasons are Swallow and Diamond. This is my first year with Diamond (because they didn't have Swallow), and I've gotten about a half dozen so far (Maine isn't exactly "eggplant country ;).

We're knee deep in green beans and zucchini right about now. LOTS of green tomatoes (and it's already dipping into the 40s at night!). But I see LOTS of winter squash doing their thing and that makes me incredibly happy. :)

Michelle Ellis said...

Yay for garden goodness! So glad your getting some tomatoes now.

BTW, my mushroom ravioli turned out not at all. They ended up all sticking together in a giant ball and I had to toss them. The filling was nice and the sauce was quite runny so next time I might make a roux and add the flavors of the sauce to that.

Thanks for sharing the recipe, I need more practice.

Debbie said...

Thanks much for the help Cheryl!! I'm running out to the garden now to check mine again. :)

Lu said...

I have never heard of a lemon cuke, do they taste different? Also, do you have a greenhouse? Or do you start your seedlings under a growlight? I really want to be able to buy heirloom varieties of vegetables next year and I am trying to learn more. Thanks for sharing, as always.

Cheryl said...

Wendy - Ooh, neat - maybe they've discovered a new variety of mini canteloupe!

Dawn - Freeze??!! Are you already getting cold weather up there? I hope holds off while you're away. Have a safe trip!

Liz - Thanks for the names of those other eggplant varieties, I will be checking them out for next year.

Chelee - Oh no, I'm so sorry that they didn't turn out for you (and after all that work)! We boiled ours in batches, and I did toss each batch with a bit of oil to keep them from sticking, but they stuck together a bit.
Did the sauce not reduce down at all? Ours ended up fairly thick (I think the pasta absorbed some of the liquid as it sat). I hope you have better luck with it next time!

Debbie - You're very welcome!

Lu - Lemon cukes taste more or less the same (maybe slightly less bitter) as regular cucumbers. But it really just that they're so darn cute, and I find that's a very important quality to have in a vegetable!

Danielle said...

Oooh, I hope you enjoy the sungolds—they're one of my favorites, and I can't imagine a season of tomatoes without them! Unfortunately, ours just got crushed by all the rain we've had this week after a summer of severe drought. They cracked like you wouldn't believe, poor little things. The next round should be fine, though.

I have a list and photo of our current harvests over on my blog right now: This week's CSA share

Cheryl said...

Lu - I just realized that I didn't answer your whole question the other day, sorry about that.
No, I don't have a greenhouse or grow lights (although I would like to have both!). I usually just set my trays of seedlings in a sunny window, and I take them outside during the day if it's sunny (so they don't get leggy or grow leaning heavily to one side). It's a bit more work, but so far it works!

Lu said...

Oh gee, NP Cheryl! But thanks for the follow up. Great info (as usual).

You don't have to post this comment at all, but I wanted to share with you something that my husband, of all people, told me. He said, you know that shower gel you have that has an exfoliant? If it is not natural (sand, for example) it is synthetic and it goes down the drain and wreaks havoc in the environment, including choking/injuring birds and water life. Sure enough I checked the label on the particular one that I HAD BEEN using and it says: "synthetic wax", which is, of course, the exfoliant beads. Don't know if you want to post about this, but I sure had my eyes opened.

Steffi said...

Congrats to your first tomato!I have no luck with my own tomatoes in my garden.You are really good!

Thicket Dweller said...

I'm just LOVING your blog! Very inspiring! Tell me...do you grow your fruits organically? Do you have problems with your tree fruits and plum curculio? I'm having a heck of a time with my fruit trees! And my small fruits? Well, they'd do fine if the goats didn't keep getting out and EATING THEM DOWN! Argh!

Love the local stuff. I'm trying to do the same, but haven't found apricots, plums or pears yet. :-/ I hope to!

Cheryl said...

Danielle - I do love the Sungolds, thanks again!
I'm sorry to hear that your tomatoes got ruined by the rain, that happened to me a few years ago and it was devastating.

Steffi - Thanks!

Thicket Dweller - Hi, I haven't talked to you in ages, how are you?
Yes, I do grow my fruit trees organically. We don't have plum curculio here, so I've never had to deal with them. This is what my organic gardening book (The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control) says to do about them:
-knock the beetles off the tree over a drop cloth twice a day throughout the season (sounds like a lot of work to me!!)
-clean up dropped fruit every other day
-keep chickens around the base of the trees to eat the dropped fruit.
It also says to apply pyrethrin to the tree when the first scars appear on the fruit (but not before the petals drop or it could kill pollinating insects).
I'm afraid I can't help you with the goats! :D

Cheryl said...

Lu - I didn't get this comment sent to my email address for some reason, so I'm late in responding, sorry about that.
I'd never heard that about exfoliant gels, scary stuff! I don't use them myself, because I'm allergic to almost anything other than plain old soap, but that's definitely something people should know about. Coincidentally, on our holidays I saw some handmade soap at a farmer's market that was basically a large round slice of a loofah sponge embedded with yummy smelling soap. I would have bought one in a heartbeat if I would have been able to use it!!
Thanks for the info!

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