Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Harvest Monday–29 August 2011 (Goodbye Irene edition)

This post is late, courtesy of tropical storm Irene. Power went out about noon Sunday and was restored about 5 AM Monday, good work by National Grid. Unfortunately, Comcast provides cable here in Bolton and I am still off the air today. Meanwhile, the Verizon landline worked throughout the storm. I don’t think Comcast is going to get my telephone business anytime soon. Then at 4 PM on Monday, National Grid pulled the plug again while I had Live Writer open with this post. Thankfully I had done a Save and didn’t lose anything. Finally at 1:30 on Tuesday we got cable back. So here is the post, and be sure to visit Daphne's Dandelions to see what other gardener's are doing.

On Monday last the harvest was mostly tomatoes. I got a few heirloom tomatoes: two Cherokee Purple (left, below) and two Mr. Stripeys (right).

Cherokee Purple and Mr. Stripey tomatoes

Below is a Mr. Stripey being sliced up for lunch. The flesh is yellow and flecked with just a little pink. The meat is firm and juicy and the seed pockets are very small. This is a superior slicing tomato with excellent taste.
Mr. Stripey tomato, sliced

I also picked an assortment of Jet Star and Roma tomatoes.

Jet Star and Roma tomatoes

I planted radishes late after admiring everyone’s radishes. I had stopped planting them because of cabbage root maggots, but we don’t seem to be bothered by them (yet) in the community garden. This is a White Icicle radish which my father used to grow. We ate them sliced on buttered bread. Also got a few more Sunburst patty pans some beans and two of the mystery tomatoes.

Icicle radish and veggies

On Tuesday I picked some more Jet Star and Roma tomatoes, a couple of cucumbers and some Broccoli shoots. This was supposed to be the last harvest this week because we were travelling on Wednesday.

Tomatoes, cukes and broccoli

We travelled to Elkridge, Maryland on Wednesday to attend a Square Foot Gardening Symposium put on by the Square Foot Gardening Foundation. It was a fun and very informative event and as a result, I am now a Certified Square Foot Gardening Instructor.

Of course, Hurricane Irene intruded on our plans. We were supposed to have a hands-on workshop Saturday morning at the Samaritan Women facility in Baltimore. The SFG Foundation is located in Utah, so the organizers seemed to be a little vague about what conducting an outdoor workshop and BBQ in the middle of a cat 2 hurricane would entail. Eventually, the reality of the situation became apparent and we hurried up and finished on Friday. Luckily, the sun came out Friday afternoon and we were able to visit the Samaritan Women gardens and see the good work they are doing to help dis-advantaged women.
Since I didn’t want to drive overnight in the dark, we stayed another night in Elkridge, which allowed a visit to Gunning’s Seafood to consume a large pile of steamed crabs. We left about 6 AM Saturday morning and had a good run until we got into Connecticut. That’s when the leading bands of rain caught up with us. We had several hours of torrential downpours to drive through. I am just happy we did not have to travel south with the horde of vacationers trying to get home from Maine and New Hampshire. Southbound traffic was backed up from Danbury all the way to Hartford.

Fortunately for us, Irene weakened and tracked to our west. We had a lot or rain but did not get a lot of flooding, and the winds were moderate. We did lose power, but we were expecting that. The Community Garden flooded from the rain, but at least the nearby stream did not overflow and inundate the garden as it did several times in the Spring. Below are some pictures of the garden I took Sunday night about 6:30. The rows in my plot were flooded but with the raised beds my lettuce and pea seedlings were spared. My trellises, now thickly covered with pole beans, were blown over. So I need to make some improvements in how they are fastened to the sides of the boxes.

We parked our Jeep at the high school down the street since we don’t have a garage spot for it and did not want it crushed by a falling tree. The sky was still looking menacing even though Irene was long gone.

Sky after Irene
This is the center aisle of my plot, under water. The middle box on the left has two trellises holding cucumbers and pole beans that were blown over. The brackets holding the pole to the side of the box were bent enough to allow the trellises to be pulled out. How often do you get to test your Rube Goldberg designs in an actual hurricane?

Flooded garden from Irene

I expected to see the tomatoes on the ground but they held up pretty well, considering the soil is saturated and soft. The tops were beaten down, however.

Flooded garden from Irene

Flooded garden from Irene

Everything else was fine. The Brussels sprout on the left in this box will need to be staked.

Blown down Brussels sprouts

Below are some more views of the Bolton Community Garden. I was particularly impressed by the scene in the last photo: an 8 foot high sunflower, erect and unbowed by Irene. You can sort of imagine it was making a gesture to the weather gods.

Flooded garden from Irene

Flooded garden from Irene

Flooded garden from Irene

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