Thursday, August 28, 2014

THIS WEEK IN THE GARDEN - AUGUST 28, 2014

We have enjoyed great weather this Summer.  There have been many sunny days with just enough
rain to keep plants healthy.  As a result, it has been a great year for vine crops, especially melons.
There is an old French saying "You can judge a man's garden by his melons".  Needless to say, I
have felt quite inadequate in the past.  I'm walking tall this year.  Melon production has been the
Emerald Gem Melon
best ever.  In addition to the common cantaloupe, I planted EMERALD GEM and AMY melons.
Amy melon on the vine

Tomato season is in full swing.  Yesterday, Catherine and I processed over twenty
pounds of plum tomatoes.  Most of the crop was converted to puree and frozen. This year, I
grew two varieties:  a determinate called MILANO and an old favorite SAN MARZANO.
A basket of plum tomatoes ready for processing

All of the onions are finally harvested and curing.  In their place I am planting WINTER RYE
as a fall crop.  In addition to being good for the soil, the winter rye is essential to the health
of the compost bins.  A layer of winter rye straw helps to allow oxygen into the mix to ensure
that the decomposition process moves forward.

We have survived another busy year of tomato tastings and dinners celebrating the harvest.
This is my favorite time of year, tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes.  People seem to
enjoy learning about and sampling the many different varieties of heirloom tomatoes that I
grow.  We used to cut up the tomatoes ahead of time and serve them on platters.  I now
cut them one by one, explaining where the tomato comes from and why we grow it.  This
format is lots of fun and allows each tomato to shine on it's own.  I get lots of questions
from our guests and the pace of the event allows everyone to relax and saver the moment.
If you grow tomatoes you may want to give it a try.  I will follow up with a post devoted
to this topic soon.
The scene is set for a tomato tasting

My focus is turning to the fall garden.  I have been nurturing seeds of lettuce and cabbage
for fall production.  I have started pulling some vines that are no longer producing; zucchini
cucumber, and cantaloupe.  I started replacement plants about a month ago and have started
transplanting them to the garden.  I will protect them with fabric row cover  now and
plastic tunnels in mid-September. This is the first year that I have made an effort to grow these
crops in the Fall.  I will continue to report on this developing situation.







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