Saturday, August 8, 2009

Getting Our Vitamins

They say you should "eat the rainbow," and our garden is helping us complete the task. Today I harvested 1 smallish beefsteak tomato, yellow pear tomatoes, serrano chilies, and 2 early long purple eggplants:
The eggplant plants were started from seed ages ago (February 22, to be exact - but I didn't give them enough bottom heat to start). Having never grown eggplant before, I relied on the advice of The Internet to know when to harvest them. Apparently eggplant, like bell pepper but unlike tomato, can be harvested somewhat early to ensure tenderness. Per The Internet's advice, I pressed the side of these two eggplants, and there was a little give, which gave back, apparently meaning they are good to go. If there is no give, don't pick them yet. If it doesn't give back, proceed straight to the compost pile. Also, it's too late if they are no longer shiny.
So much of gardening is figuring out what works in your zone and your yard, with your level of care and skill. I generally try things twice before moving on. I pulled up a bunch of shallots today that were all TINY, as you see above. I planted these mid-November (advised time for my climate), and supposedly they would be ready in 3-4 months. They all multiplied (I planted one set [clove] every six inches, and each set turned into a small bunch like this), but didn't get big enough to really use. I think I planted them too deep. I'm going to replant the biggest of these later this fall, after drying them for storage.
The watermelon I showed y'all awhile back (the only one we have on our one vine) hasn't gotten much bigger, but has gotten darker in color as it's supposed to. This is a Sugar Baby - can anyone tell me when I should harvest it? I'm confused because the tendril is brown, but the melon is so small...
I was wise enough to only plant one hot pepper plant, and we still have way more hot peppers than we can use!! I'm going to try preserving some as Martha Stewart advises (chopped, seeds and all, layered with coarse salt, and stored in the fridge).
The bell pepper plants (in a separate bed so they won't be hot - hopefully) are huge and finally producing baby peppers.
I have some normal cucumbers growing on a fence, and then I have this monster lemon cucumber plant taking over a whole raised bed:
It has been very drought-tolerant and free of the powdery mildew problem cucumbers often have here. Here is a LC that is ready for harvest:
If you harvest them when they just start to turn yellow, they'll be sweeter and more tender. Yum!


Janet said...

Ginger -- your garden looks great!!Love the rainbow.

NotSoAngryRedHead said...

Some of my fruit and veg have been stunted in the past year due to weirdo weather, me not watering enough, and other stuff. Fruit and veg seem so finicky to me.

Susie said...

Hey Ginger, it looks like your garden has finally decided to produce. How nice.

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

I think veggies look so pretty fresh from the garden. How great that you were able to grow some eggplant. I tried last summer but it was too cool. I bet they would've done great this hot summer.
Isn't it fun to eat them freshly picked?!

Prairie Chicken... said...

I'm growing the same eggplant as you. Mine has just flowered.
Your veg looks great!

Dirt Princess said...

My pawpaw grew all sorts of watermelons. He would say that when the bottom turns yellow its ripe and time to harvest. He was always right, they were always good and sweet. You have such great veggies. I didn't realize ya'll had so much planted.

Lisa Blair said...

Ginger - everything looks wonderful! I could learn a thing or two from you!

Those yellow pear tomatoes look FABULOUS! How do they taste?

The lemon cucumber that you gave me is growing slowly but surely. The vine borers (see today's post on my blog) have not attacked it, thank goodness! They've only gotten to my Jolly Green cucumbers.