>On the next episode of "As the Veggies Ripen"

>It’s time to take a peek back at my veggie garden that I had planted beginning of April. The weather has been very hot- heat index in 100s the last few days so it really changed everything since many tomatoes will stop setting flowers once the heat gets up too high.

The good news is that down here we really have two warm veggie seasons, one spring/summer and one in fall. So if you don’t get tomatoes by the time it gets too hot, you can start your fall tomatoes in July/August and have a whole new crop. I like the trick where you just end a tomato branch down, cover it with dirt and maybe a rock to weigh it down, let it set roots for a few weeks, then cut it apart from the mother plant. Voila, new tomato plant for the fall season.

So here is how things are going with the current crops- I have kept my descriptions from my first entry (in italics) so you can see how things are comparing to the marketing verbiage:

Azoychka Tomato: Recently maimed, now deceased. The top of this tomato plant (but no other plant around it) got snapped off not once, but twice. One day it was there, the next it was gone. It managed to come back after the first massacre, but the second just did it in. Wished I had a chance to try it.
One of the first to ripen in your garden, this lovely lemon yellow 7 to 8 ounce tomato has a delightful sweetness with just a touch of acidity. Ripening in only 70 days from planting out, it has a delightful yet subtle hint of citrus with a rich lingering flavor. This beguiling Russian heirloom has become a favorite of chefs and tomato lovers world wide.

Jetsetter Tomato: No fruit yet. Good growth and flowers. But dang, give me something I can taste!
Produces good yields of very flavorful 8 oz tomatoes. Tomatoes turn red when mature and have a very rich tomato taste. This variety matures very early offering those in the South a great early harvest. Excellent in salads or sandwiches. Disease Resistant: VFFNTA. Indeterminate.

Cupid Tomato: Contributor of my first tomato! I popped it right in my mouth while gardening, I was so delighted to see it. Good growth and lots of flowers. Plus I have about 10 little green tomatoes. I think this will keep growing strong even in hot weather as small tomatoes tend to keep producing in high temps.
Grape Tomato plant, will make you fall in love with its rich flavor, huge yields, and ease of growth! ‘Cupid’ is a very lucky find, and without a doubt the most flavorful grape tomato ever grown!
Huge clusters of bright red fruit that resists cracking and is disease resistant. Natural sugars make Cupid a sweet nutritious snack.

Brandywine Tomato: Very little to brag about on this one. A few flowers but they look like they are just falling off. I see no evidence of fruit yet. I’ll be disappointed if I get nothing from this guy.
Indeterminate, pink fruited, large fruit, oblate shape, some green shoulders, some ribbed shoulders, some cracking, yield can range from how to relatively high, potato leaf, meaty, flavor from insipid to superb.

Yellow Boy Tomato: Two nice big green tomatoes are slowly ripening on this one. I’m looking forward to it. But how long do I have to wait?
(VFN)The first lemon yellow, not golden, tomato variety, and still one of the best. Extremely vigorous plants produce large harvests of attractive fruit that weighs 8 ozs. or more. Flavor is outstanding, mild and sweet yet tangy and definitely not bland. Indeterminate.

Japanese Soyu Cucumber: Soyu is now twining up my trellis very nicely and it has a ton of flowers and I even see some nice baby cukes on it.
This sweet Asian cucumber can be eaten like any traditional Western variety but also popular in soups, raitas and stir-fries. Long-ridged, sweet fruit, 18″ or longer. Can be trellised for longer, straighter fruit.

Homemade Pickles Cucumber: Growing steadily along the ground, flowering nicely. It took these guys a while to really get their growth going.
Arguably the best cucumber available for pickles. Solid and crisp interior-perfect for 1-5″ pickles. Also great for salads.

Scallop (Patty Pan) Blend Squash: I am now steadily getting patty pans from these plants. Taste is excellent, less sweet than yellow straightneck. Very delicate. No bitterness like I experienced in storebought patty pans. All the ones I have gotten so far are green which is the problem with seed blends, since once you pick seeds from the packet and then thin to appropriate numbers, you may end up with a homogenous bunch
Mix contains Early White Bush, Golden Scallop and Bennings Green Tint, all heirloom varieties. Having a slightly spicier, nuttier flavor than other summer squashes, this is a must-have blend for squash lovers.

Early Prolific Straightneck Squash: Holy cow, do these guys produce. If I don’t check every day, I suddenly end up with an 8 inch squash. And I really like picking them as babies since I think they are much tastier and tender. Very prolific producer and great taste. I probably get 4-5 every 2 days.
This old favorite open-pollinated squash is still a favorite- best tasting when harvested at 4-7″, the flesh is fine-grained, thick and firm. If left on the vine, will grow so big that it will affect the orbital spin of the earth.

Rosa Bianca Eggplant: MIA. Literally just disappeared. Like a veggie-loving alien just got the plant in its tractor beam and pulled it up into the ship. But good news, after looking for weeks, I found a replacement at Barton Springs nursery and it got planted May 21 so we’ll see if we get a crop.
A gorgeous Italian variety with a delicate, mild flavor, creamy consistency, and no bitterness. Considered one of the best by gourmets and gardeners alike. 4-6 in. long, 4-5 in. diameter.

Additions to garden:

Ichiban Eggplant: Planted in early May as a replacement for the alien-abducted Rosa Bianca I. Has some good growth but no evidence of fruit yet. Long and slender fruits, mild flavor.

Random Cucumber #1 and #2: I found these guys growing in my front lawn. So I hoisted them out and plopped them down into the veggie patch. No idea what variety or if they will produce.

Bell Pepper: Just a straight-forward bell pepper plant. Probably California Bell. Has lots of flowers and I am just starting to see small fruits emerge after flower drop.

Still producing from winter/spring:
Strawberries: Still going. They’ll give up any day now but I still get about 5-6 per week.


10 thoughts on “>On the next episode of "As the Veggies Ripen"

  1. >Everything looks wonderful…even though some things refuse to cooperate! I loved this post and my mouth was watering as I read it! The tomato with the drop of water…excellent!gail

  2. >Beautiful garden! and what a variety of veggies you grow. Don’t give up on Brandywine tomatoes. I had no luck the first year I planted them but tried them again last fall – they are paying off with some really tasty fruit this spring! I garden in the lower Rio Grande Valley – Celebrity is a really reliable (and heat tolerant) tomato that I always plant in my spring/summer garden.

  3. >I just picked my first lemon boys yesterday so I bet yours will ripen soon. They were green one day and ripe the next. And thanks for the tip about rooting new ones. I haven’t tried that.I’m impressed with your squash. Did you do anything special to keep the squash vine borers away? I didn’t even plant any squash this year because of those buggers.

  4. >Oh, and I forgot to mention, my rosa bianca completely disappeared as well. Weird. I bought some Calliopes for the Town Lake garden, and they are doing well. I might consider those in my garden next year.

  5. >Celebrity and Juliet are usually pretty reliable in our garden, but when we saw a Brandywine we had to give it another try, Bonnie – it’s that mystique of heirloom tomatoes thing, I guess! Maybe we’ll both get to taste this famous tomato. Your squash look great – we don’t have room to grow them now, but it’s lovely to pick petite summer squash young and eat them raw. Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  6. >Bonnie – your garden is big and beautiful and everything looks so healthy. Love those squashes – and the strawberry picture is just luscious. I have some tomatoes, but none ripe yet. I am trying bloom set spray … ever tried that? It’s just too hot at night and I can’t wait for the FALL for tomatoes!!!!! Though I didn’t get my heirloom seeds in so I am saving them for the fall planting.

  7. >I want strawberries! It warms up so fast down there! Here, just planting the tomatoes and peppers. Harvesting lettuce for a while and the swiss chard is almost ready! I planted Brandywines last year and got very poor production so this year I substitued Brandy Boy which is supposed to be as tasty but more prolific. I hope you have luck with yours!

  8. >I have a kind of lame question (lame since I used to know the answer). Why the plastic jug around the tomato plant? Is it to help water it, or something else?

  9. >Lori-the “collar of plastic formed by the jug helps prevent cutworm from getting to the plant. You can also make a collar of aluminum foil around the plant. Cutworms just decimate the plant by cutting it off right at the bottom. I lost one plant (before I put the collars on) to cutworm. That was enough for me.

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