Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Veggie Garden Update July 26, 2011

This is my first year growing my own cucumbers and to say that I am surprised how fast they grow from flower to mature fruit is understatement. Because of space restrictions in our garden I have decided to grow them (3 plants) in large container on a trellis.  I also grow peppers (2 kinds), eggplants and tomatoes in containers and all are doing very well. Cukes, however, are huge surprise. I knew that my tomatoes will be super-productive but I didn’t expect cucumbers to be the same. City slicker’s ignorance, I guess J.
Here are pictures taken of same cuke taken over span of 4 days. It doubled in volume every day. Another plant that will be grown next year.

And, of course, with so many cucumbers harvested daily I had to start pickling them. After wading through dozens of recipes on Internet I have decided to use Ferdzy’s recipe for “Dill Pickles by the Jar”  published on her blog Seasonal Ontario Food. Now I have to wait 6 weeks to taste the results. What was interesting how fast the cucumber skin turned khaki green from bright green once I poured hot pickling brine in the jars.

The eggplant seeds I bought were for eggplant Gretel (there is also Hansel J) that is white and elongated. Even though I did pick few I haven’t cooked them yet. I did taste them raw and there are no seeds to speak of and not a trace of bitterness, exactly what I am looking for in eggplants.

I did have one nasty surprise, though: Green part at top of fruit has thorns like cactus but almost invisible and when I touched it, it was almost like an electric shock. Next time I harvest with leather gloves. I’ll cook some with garlic and olive oil and use it as one of the toppings for grilled pizza I will make tonight.

Nasty thorns.

Chinese Yard Long Beans
Yup, they are almost a yard long now and growing like crazy. What a great bean this is! The beans are about the size of pencil and no string, no tough parts, just a nice sweet bean that I eat raw when I pick them.  They are best when briefly stir fried with ginger, garlic and chilies. Also, they are very productive and I will harvest right to the first frost. I did last year

Margherita, which is a paste San Marzano type tomato is finely getting mature and red and I will pick first batch tomorrow. When I bought the seeds I didn’t realize that this hybrid is determinate, meaning that all tomatoes mature at same time. However, as you can see on picture some are ready to harvest and others are completely green. What gives? Is there something between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes? I must have missed something. Oh, well, I’ll be freezing them, I guess and make sauce later as needed.

Mountain Magic tomatoes are doing just fine.
I have three kinds of peppers this year: Green to Red, Sweet Pimento and Red Cubana type peppers whose seeds I collected from Mexican peppers sold in big box store. The flesh was so red and thick that I just had to have the seeds. I grew them last year and they were very good. Not as sweet as original but still very good. Conditions for growing peppers in Mexico and Ontario, Canada are a wee bit different, I think J.
The Green-to-Red were first peppers I harvested about  3 weeks ago and yes, they were red already! Amazing!

Sweet Pimento is just few days from first harvest so no idea about the taste and how thick the flesh is.
Mexican Peppers

Turban Squash
I almost forgot about Turban squash because it is not one of my food crops but Marjo’s pet project that I take care of. It stopped dropping flowers and undeveloped fruits and now I can see decent size squash and a tiny brother/sister. I have noticed that lots of ants were inside some fully opened flowers and that later same flower got sort of choked at stem and then dropped of cleanly like somebody tied a rope around it. Since this was a tobacco field, ants are everywhere in garden! This will be one interesting experiment that Marjo started back in March. We will see when fall comes.

Besides radishes, Daikon and herbs that’s about all I grow this year. Garlic report will be posted next.

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