It was a wild week with cool weather to begin, rain on Wednesday, then four days of 90F+sun and heat. I decided to plant my tomatoes on Tuesday, figuring a cool, rainy day on Wednesday would help them settle in before the heat. They were hardened by being out in the sun for days prior to planting and I watered them everyday during the heat wave, so they are doing fine. Three of the tomatoes are grafted onto a special rootstock. I have also planted ungrafted versions of the Big Beef and Juliet tomatoes for comparison.
On the left above is the grafted Big Beef, with the ungrafted transplant I bought from Applefield Farm on the right. The ungrafted plant is stocky and very healthy, the type of plant I look for when purchasing a transplant. The grafted tomato has improved greatly since it was potted after removing it from the shipping carton. Right now I would bet on the ungrafted plant, but we still have the whole growing season ahead.
Again on the left above is the grafted Juliet tomato, with the ungrafted tomato on the right. The grafted plants are tied to a bamboo stake to give some support to the joint of the graft so it is not excessively stressed by all the wind we are getting.
Above is a grafted Cherokee Purple. I am hoping the vigor and disease resistance of the rootstock will give me a healthier plant and more fruit than I usually get from this heirloom. I have planted Cherokee Purple for years now because of its great taste.
On Sunday, which did not reach the extreme heat of the three prior days, I decided to set out the peppers, with rain and moderate weather forecast for the following week. I planted 22 pepper plants, seen below:
On the left of the box are four Aconcagua peppers, an heirloom cubanelle-type from Argentina. I tried growing them last year and failed, so here goes again. Next are two Tiburon Ancho and two Jalapeno. On the right side are four Jimmy Nardello. The row of onions in the back is Copra, with tomatoes behind them.
This box has three Padron and a mystery pepper on the left. I started the peppers in 3/4 inch soil blocks which tend to move around in the tray. I’m hoping the mystery pepper is my missing Padron. To their right in the front square is Red Cherry. The plan was for four of these but I had poor germination. Behind it is an heirloom pepper from Baltimore called Fish that I bought from Jem Mix, which should be fun to try. To their right are four Lipstick peppers. The onions behind the peppers are Red Bull and those are tomatoes along the back row and wrapped around to the right.
The fava beans are getting tall and I placed unfolded wire tomato cages along the sides of the box to keep them from flopping. Even more exciting is they are now flowering and they are pretty heavily loaded with buds. The flowers are white with black spots, which is quite unusual but attractive. So far no aphids, just a spittle bug or two, but I keep watching and waiting for their appearance.
On the harvest front, I cut a lot of salad greens before the hot weather. Below is some nine ounces of spinach I clipped. The spinach survived the heat and now we have a week of cool weather so I am hoping I will get more. I also clipped a large bag of lettuces I didn’t photograph, including my first head of escarole. I thinned out the Buttercrunch lettuce by removing a couple of heads to give it more room. I also noted the need to re-apply the Sluggo, since the slugs have really enjoyed hiding out in the cool of the lettuce bed. The lettuce will have to washed carefully.
To see what other gardeners around the world are doing in their gardens, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, our host for Harvest Monday