Sunday, May 23, 2021

The Harvesting: Garlic

Most of the Garlic Harvest for 2021 (pulled on 5/21/21).  The freeze did take out some of the garlic - and I don't think it was so much the freeze as much as the amount of water that came after.  I don't remember what varieties I still plant - likely Burgundy and Inchellium Red since those were always the ones I thought did the best for me.  I also have some "Walking Garlic" that I've never done anything with, but I'm told it's edible - but it just stays in the ground forevermore.  I also have like 4 more garlics to pull, but they aren't ready yet (since you pull the garlic when each stalk is ready and not necessarily all at once, though most of the time the plants tend to all get pulled around the same time).

The garlic now needs to dry out for a few weeks and then the tops will be removed and they'll be put in the cupboard (and yes, I did bring them inside to dry instead of leaving them out in this "first tropical depression of the year which is causing 4 days of consistent rain).  Around September/October, I'll break apart and plant a few heads to harvest for next year...though maybe it's time for me to try a new variety...

Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Harvesting: It Starts

So, yesterday (5/15) began the harvesting of the Chocolate Sprinkles tomato (55 days per the tag, and probably like 62 days since I planted the plant). The blueberries has some tomatoes getting close... I actually like this tomato more than I thought I would - robust, sweet, will be adding it to my "recommended tomatoes list" especially if it holds up against the root knot nematodes.

Update:  the Blueberries tomato started harvest on 5/18 (65 days from transplant; tag says 85 days - and honestly, I DID pick them very early - just turning red, but still under-ripe), and the Inca Jewels on 5/22 (67 days from transplant; tag says 75 days - and yes, this was also picked very under ripe because I let the other one go until it was perfectly red and forgot to pick it and the opossum got it instead - and once Timmy knows there's tomatoes, Timmy will keep checking for ripe tomatoes which means pulling tomatoes much earlier than I would like just to thwart Timmy).  I just noticed today (5/23) that one of the stripey tomatoes is starting to ripen..I'm not sure which one it is...maybe the Pink Berkeley...

Timmy tomato. The sad part is that I MEANT to pull it the night before and just completely spaced it between taking a shower and making dinner. ::sad face::


Thursday, May 6, 2021


I gotta get this down before I forget - the types, not the story. Duh.  [edited to add tomato descriptions 5/23]

So every spring, Roberta and I go to the Sunshine Community Garden plant sale to get way more tomato plants than either of us could ever need. The first year we went, Roberta was having some bad back pain and I drove over like a gazillion speed bumps looking for a place to park. I opted to drive as fast as I could and just give a "sorry" every time it happened. Another year Roberta bought like 50 plants; it was ludicrous. We've gone when it's been freezing, we've gone when it's been hot, we've even gone when it's been raining. It is tradition that we go. I mean we just HAVE to.

But I digress.

The plant sale is held the first weekend in March, and thus 2020 was the last time we went as it was announced somewhat surprisingly early (like fall) that the sale would not be happening in 2021. I'm not sure why it was called so early (it could have something to do with the company that grew all the plants closed down in 2020). So I knew by probably around Thanksgiving that we were going to have a problem with finding tomato seedlings. And thus, this is how, on Christmas I decided I would give growing tomatoes from seed a go.  I was only ever successful one year prior, and even then, I had done it as an experiment during the summer and then gave the seedlings to a teacher in my neighborhood who used them for her class garden.

But, I pulled out all my seed starting stuff and set up the grow light and started like 5 different kinds and said "welp...let's see how this goes."

It went crazy good - by mid January I was already setting the seedlings outside during the day and bringing them in at night and then of course had to start all over again with hardening off after The Big Freeze. And on the first weekend of March, I drove all the plants down to Roberta's house and was like "happy plant day!"

Then I went home and planted the ones I kept for myself in the garden (on somewheres around March 14 - I have pictures of the yard and I clearly didn't have them in on March 7, but did by the 14).  [ETA 5/22 - Also - apparently I have a thing for buying seeds for stripey tomatoes - I don't know why - it's not like I normally am drawn to them (the black ones, sure, the stripey ones? not so much)]

Tigerella - 60 days - English Heirloom. These unique fruits are noted for their stripes, hence the name. When immature they are a light green with dark green stripes. When mature the stripes alternate between red and a yellow orange. Two inch fruit have a very tangy flavor, yields are very heavy, and quite early.

Blueberries -75 days - A dark bi-colored purple and red cherry variety with a rich, sweet flavor. This purple leafed plant will add a unique touch to the garden. Disease resistant and can grow up to 6′ tall. Perfect for fresh eating, salsas, and salads.

Berkeley Pink Tye-Die - 70 days - Compact plants produce beautiful 8-12 ounce fruit with a very sweet, rich, dark tomato flavor. 10 out of 10 people liked the port wine colored beefsteak with metallic green stripes better than Cherokee Purple in a farmers market taste off.

Black Vernissage - 75 Days - This 2 to 3 ounce saladette variety is very good for fresh eating, salads, drying or making sauces. Healthy, highly adaptable and very productive over a long season. Deep mahogany, striped with green. Like most black tomatoes, the flavor is pleasingly rich, especially tasty in sauces.

Inca Jewels - 75 days - These delicious “Roma” style container tomatoes are bred for extra-heavy yields on space-saving 3 ft. plants. Ideal to grow in large pots or in smaller garden spaces. You’ll have an abundance of plump fruits bursting with juicy flavor, delicious right from the garden or made into rich, thick, homemade sauce. Perfect to eat fresh; make sauce or grill; to put up in jars; or just freeze the tomatoes whole in bags to defrost and make sauce as needed at a later date.

And a store bought "chocolate cherry" from Home Depot.

Chocolate Sprinkles - 55 days - This cherry tomato has it all: good looks, great flavor, heavy yields, and disease resistance. Bite-sized, cherry-type fruits are beautifully colored — red striped with dark green — that explode with rich, robust flavor. This highly productive plant forms its fruit in clusters, and starts bearing early in the season. Support Chocolate Sprinkles Tomato with stakes or sturdy cage at planting time.

I also had started a few habaneros and a scotch bonnet (though I think the scotch bonnet has since disappeared).  I've since started a few cucumbers, melons, and pumpkins - the melon and pumpkin seeds were a decade old and most did not germinate, though the pumpkin seeds did (which was very surprising since they were 11 years old). So now it's all wait and see for what actually produces.  The tomatoes all have at least a few on the plants so I'm hopeful those will at least do well.  I still have a basil seedlings and a ground cherry seedling that I need to plant (once the baby blue eyes can be ripped out)

How it started (3/14/21)

How it's going (5/6/21).

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Rain. Glorious Rain


And lots of it. Thank goodness. We REALLY don't need a repeat of 2011...