Tuesday, June 29, 2021

End of June garden notes

 The marigolds I started from seed to serve as a kind of living mulch have surpassed all my expectations. I never knew marigolds could grow so big and tall and lush. Butterflies seem to love the flowers; I saw another species yesterday and took some pictures.





Planting all these marigolds under and around my tomato plants instead of mulching really seems to have worked out. The only pests I've had to deal with were a few hornworms, which I caught early and picked off before they had a chance to do much damage. A close inspection of every plant every day really pays off. 

I've been weighing the tomatoes as we pick them and keeping a log of their productivity (and taste) for future reference. So far we've harvested 11 Celebrity tomatoes with a combined weight of just over 5 pounds. I knew they would likely be first, and that they would taste okay but without the richness of heirlooms and later varieties. I planted them for earliness and quantity, and so far I've been pleased with them. They still have lots of green unripe fruits coming along. One surprise is that we've already gotten 4 Brandywines totaling 2 pounds. These are the tomatoes I've been most excited about, and for good reason. The flavor is outstanding, rich and fruity and complex. We also tried the first two Red Beefsteak last night. The flavor was so-so, not as rich and complex as the Brandywines but it did have one advantage: thick meaty fruits without very many seeds. If it proves to be productive it might be a good choice for canning in the future. Speaking of canning tomatoes, I have one San Marzano tomato plant which has produced a few of its paste-type fruits, but the plant has been spindly and weak almost from the beginning. I took a cutting from it and have started another one to give it a fair shot, but if the smaller one proves to be as wispy and  unproductive as the first, I won't be growing it again. We're still waiting on ripe tomatoes from German Queen (lots of big beautiful fruits coming), Mr. Stripey (a few fruits are still ripening on it) and Bonnie's Centennial (loaded with big, almost-ripe tomatoes). I'll report back on how they taste later on. Oh, and one other plant is filling up with tomatoes. I bought it as a seedling and it was supposed to be a Husky Cherry Red, but was obviously mislabeled. The clusters of tomatoes on it are much bigger than cherries so I have no idea what it could be, but it is a sturdy, low growing bush. We shall see!

My cucumbers are barely producing anything. I'm not sure why, since there are lots of flowers and the bees love that area of the yard. They're planted beside the cantaloupes which have also been flowering like crazy. We have several small cantaloupes slowly ripening right now--I can't wait to taste one!





The jalapenos are doing really well. I'm leaving most of them unpicked for now so they'll have a chance to turn red. After that I'll be pickling some of them and maybe making salsa with the rest.

Also, some of you may remember that I potted up an ornamental pomegranate into a big concrete planter. Well, it's been blooming up a storm in the past week or two! Too bad the fruits are ornamental. I had lots of blossoms on my regular pomegranate this year, but they all fell out and didn't develop fruit. I'm not sure why--possibly they bloomed too early for pollinators to get at them. That's not the case with this ornamental, though. Not only do we see bees all around it, but yesterday we saw a  hummingbird sipping from one flower after another!


That's most of the news from the garden right now!

32 comments:

  1. You've taken such beautiful pictures, especially those first two with the butterfly. What a wonderful variety of veggies you have growing. Your tomatoes and peppers would sure make a good salsa. We used to have a small garden and grew a variety of peppers including habaneros. Tom would make a great (but very hot) hot sauce from them. Enjoy your bounty!

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    1. Whew! Habaneros are a bit too much for me! 🔥🔥🔥

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  2. Oh this makes me wish I had a green thumb! Unfortunately, mine is purple running into black. My new home (the retirement manse) has a perfect already laid out spot for a small garden. But, SQUIRRELS! They've already destroyed two drip lines looking for water. They'd probably go nuts over veggies.
    Your garden is lovely. The butterflies *sigh*. I got bees.

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    1. It might be a good idea to provide a small source of fresh water for the squirrels. They should ease off the plants if they can get water elsewhere.

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  3. Your garden looks excellent!!! That is quite the marigold garden, And the butterflies love bright colors. I'm currently working on trying to attract hummingbirds for my mothers yard now.

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  4. You have a gorgeous garden and now I am looking for marigolds to plant. I hope mine turn i=out as lovely as yours!

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    1. They were started from seed that I got in a packet at the grocery store on a whim! Easiest flowers EVER.

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  5. Your garden is too wonderful. You've worked hard at it. I do wonder if your butterfly isn't a monarch look alike moth.

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    1. No, it's definitely a butterfly. I looked it up yesterday but I've forgotten the name. I'll check again.

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  6. Girl- you guys have it going on. I'm going to plant more marigolds next year. I'm impressed.

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  7. Magical! Is the "German Queen" tomato named after our mutual friend Meike in Ludwigsburg, Germany? Obviously Bonnie's Centennial is named after Bonnie in Missouri.

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    1. Hahaha! By the way I instantly thought of "our" Bonnie when I read the name of that tomato variety.

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    2. Yes! I shall call that plant "Queen Meike"!

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  8. Thanks for the garden roundup. You've done well.

    Love,
    Janie

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  9. Everything is coming along nicely, and your marigolds are really spectacular!
    I like the names of the tomato varieties, and had no idea that a "German Queen" exists - funnily enough, there has never really been a queen of Germany, but we did have a series of queens (as wives of kings) here in my part of Germany, Baden-Württemberg, in the 1900s.

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    1. There are so many wonderful heirloom tomatoes that were brought here by German immigrants in the early 20th century! Lots of them have "German" in the name: German Queen, German Johnson, Aunt Ruby's German Green, German Head, German Red Strawberry...and the list of other heirlooms with origins in Germany is too long to even begin!

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  10. Oh, your gardens! And I miss hummingbirds. I was surprised to learn they’re a New World bird. Despite a great environment for them here, we don’t have any.

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    1. We only get the Ruby Throats on the East coast but the other side of the country gets several different types!

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  11. Very, very nice. I love marigolds! and all those vegetables! All I've got so far are eggplants and peppers, oh about 3 bushels of peaches.

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    1. I envy you those peaches. I wish I could trade you some tomatoes for some!

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  12. Those marigolds are beautiful, and I would have never known that you started them from seed. Wow...just a packet of seeds. Next summer I will return to planting things. This summer I took a break. The tomatoes got my mouth watering. There's nothing like a home-grown tomato!

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  13. Your garden is really looking good. I've got a Husky Cherry plant with plenty of good size fruit on it. And yes, they are husky! But not yet ripe. Easy to compare with another cherry tomato plant I have called Sweet Million. The fruit are definitely not as large as the Husky, but they have already produced ripe, flavorful tomatoes. Will have to see how long it takes the Husky fruit to ripen. As for marigolds, we have several patches of them that continue to show up each summer even though we haven't planted any new stuff for years. Guess they reseed themselves.

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  14. Wow, those butterflies! Your garden looks very lush and productive!

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  15. You are a careful, thoughtful gardener - keeping a close eye and keeping track of your results. Everything looks terrific! Well done!

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  16. The butterfly looks like a dream! I have only seen one butterfly in two years up here and not nearly as magnificent as the one in your marigolds! Your garden is so wonderful, I bet the soil is lush!

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  18. Gardens and June are a lovely couple.

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