Tag Archives: summer vegetable garden

A Good Year For Tomato

Slow To Start But Good At The End

The growing season started late this year because winter seemed to last forever.  Vegetables that need warmer temperatures like tomatoes and peppers grew slowly at the beginning.  I started to germinate the seeds in March but couldn’t put anything in the ground until May.  Once in the ground, they seemed not to want to grow at all so I wasn’t expecting much from these two vegetables this year.  But as soon as the temperature reach 80º F, they grew like grass especially the tomatoes.  I have to tie them up once every couple of days so the stems won’t break.  A few of them are taller than me now.

It turned out to be a great year for tomatoes.  Though it’s hot during the day, it’s much cooler at night.  There have been only a few high humidity days so far.   Hot and dry during the day and cooler at night is good for tomato and chili pepper.  It’s harder for disease to develop on the leaves.  I actually have to cut the leaves off the tomatoes so the fruits can get some sun, ripen faster and get some air flow between plants.  I slowly cut from the bottom up.

I picked some of the small ones (the Ceylon) this week.  Cherry and Grape tomatoes are still green since they are self-sown so they sprouted up much later than the ones I germinated in the house.  The larger ones like Cherokee Purple and Rose have just started to turn.  I can hardly wait to sink my teeth into them over the kitchen sink!

Tomato plants crowded with leaves
Tomato plants crowded with leaves
Ceylon tomato, a medium sized tomato, I grew for the first time this year. Plenty of 1.5 to 2 inches fruits
Ceylon tomato, a medium sized tomato, I grew for the first time this year. Plenty of 1.5 to 2 inches fruits
I have no idea what this one is.  I picked up an organic heirloom tomato from the farmer's market last year and we loved it.  So I kept some seeds.  They are pretty big and look like ribbed pears.
I have no idea what this one is. I picked up an organic heirloom tomato from the farmer’s market last year and we loved it. So I kept some seeds. They are pretty big and look like ribbed pears.
This one grew from seeds of the same tomato above but probably has to fight for food with the asparagus next to it so the fruits are much slimmer.
This one grew from seeds of the same tomato above but probably has to fight for food with the asparagus next to it so the fruits are much slimmer.
These Cherokee purple are too big for their own good. The one in the middle is around 4.5 inch across.  Their weight broke the stem.
These Cherokee purple are too big for their own good. The one in the middle is around 4.5 inch across. Their weight broke the stem.
Another Cherokee purple, our favorite, started to turn.  The stem also bent from the weight.
Another Cherokee purple, our favorite, started to turn. The stem also bent from the weight.

Vegetable Flowers

Edible Beauty

Summer is the time to let some vegetables flower.  Not just for the seeds I can keep to plant next year but for the honeybees as well.  Most of these flowers are edible.  The only one I’m not sure of is the lettuce since I’ve never eaten it.  I do know that lettuce becomes bitter when it gets hotter and it will ooze a milky liquid when the stem is broken.  Even when I collect the seeds, it still oozes a milky liquid so I refrain from trying it.

These flowers also draw air traffic to our vegetable garden.  It’s fun to see a variety of bees and other insects foraging from flower to flower.

Arugula
Arugula
Chinese broccoli
Chinese broccoli
Kale
Kale
Lettuce
Lettuce
Mustard green
Mustard green

There is a remarkable similarity between mustard green and pac choi blossoms.  But note the tip of each petal.

Pac choi
Pac choi
Radish
Radish

 

 

Vegetable Garden

Summer Vegetables

Our vegetable garden this year is very different from last year.  We had a lot of cherry tomatoes last year from seeds that sprouted up in compost I used.  There are not many of them this year as I’ve pulled the sprouts out early before my guilt set in.  I just can’t bring myself to demolish a perfectly good plant.  I didn’t expect the uneven weather we’ve had that caused a lot of the tomato flowers to drop and the fruits to grow very slowly.  Beans, Kale, Broccoli and Swiss Chard are doing well though.  I can’t pick them fast enough.

August is here and the temperature dropping close to 50°F for a few nights has not helped either.  What happened to summer?  I’m debating whether I should sow winter vegetables now or wait until mid-September as usual.

The Swiss Chard is doing fine this summer
The Swiss Chard is doing fine this summer
I have no idea how this Morning glory got here but I let it grow since the flowers are so beautiful. The Bitter melon doesn't seem to mind sharing space on the fence either.
I have no idea how this Morning glory got here but I let it grow since the flowers are so beautiful. The Bitter melon doesn’t seem to mind sharing space on the fence either.
Winged beans in the foreground are just starting to flower. The Italian and Asian long beans in the background have been producing a lot of beans this season.
Winged beans in the foreground are just starting to flower. The Italian and Asian long beans in the background have been producing a lot of beans this season.
The lush Red Asian Long beans and Italian beans are growing faster than I can harvest.
The lush Red Asian Long beans and Italian beans are growing faster than I can harvest.
Sad looking tomatoes.  I had to cut most of their leaves off when black spots started to grow after  raining continuously for a few days.
Sad looking tomatoes. I had to cut most of their leaves off when black spots started to grow after raining continuously for a few days.
Holy basil are doing fine amongst the Kale, Dill and Genoese basil.
Holy basil are doing fine amongst the Kale, Dill and Genoese basil.