I expect this is the penultimate post on the garden. Though the tomato plants are still full of fruit, and it’s been unseasonably hot this week, I expect that in a few more weeks the garden project will be ready to be put to bed for the winter. The cucumbers are all but gone; my attempts to get rid of the powdery mildew were not successful and the few cucumbers that are growing right now are lightbulb shaped, which I believe has to do with the mildew interfering with the pollination process. I’m mostly bummed about the total lack of winter squash – it bloomed and bloomed but never set fruit.
The tomatoes, on the other hand…talk about beginner’s luck!
We are overrun right now with cherry roma tomatoes, which I have been cutting up and slow roasting with garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper (250 degrees for about 2 hours). It is just as excellent on toast and goat cheese as I’d imagined it would be!
The yellow slices are not lemons, they are my Wapsipinicon Peach tomatoes that are *finally* beginning to ripen. They are small tomatoes, though larger than I expected them to be. I tried roasting one, just to see what would happen; I had my suspicions and indeed, they just kind of fell apart. These tomatoes have a very fine fuzz on them, similar to a peach but much lighter, but the skin itself seems quite thin and the tomatoes themselves feel quite delicate to the touch. I expect that’s why they did not stand up to the roasting process.
The other tomato plant is a “Big Boy” variety that I purchased when I was worried my seedlings were all doomed. Happily these are finally starting to ripen too, and some of them are indeed pretty big. In another day or two I will need to figure out what to do with these:
Meanwhile, the pepper plants that I bought have been a mixed success. I picked one green pepper early on, thinking it was ripe, and found it so bitter that I left the rest of them alone. Two have now turned purple, and two are in the process of turning yellow/orange. I am hoping I can leave them be for a little while longer, but there are at least half a dozen green ones out there that may not ripen in time. We’ll see. Right now, I’m contemplating the yellow tomatoes and purple peppers and wondering if they will make an interesting salsa?
The jury is still out on the watermelon patch. At one point I had about a dozen baby watermelons, but a couple fell off the vine and then I found three of them split wide open. At first I thought an animal had done it, but the splits were too clean and there were no claw marks. Google to the rescue – turns out that too much rain can make watermelons split, particularly the Sugar Baby variety I planted. I’m now down to six small melons, hoping against hope that they will make it another few weeks.
Last but not least are the strawberry plants, which have set runners and seem to be thriving. Supposedly this variety will produce fruit in the fall again, but I see absolutely no signs of that happening. I need to research what needs to be done for the plants to increase the likelihood of them coming back (and fruiting) next year. I’m already thinking about strawberry jam!