Tag Archives: tomatoes

Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes

Normally, with my climate, I struggle with anything other than cherry tomatoes. I just don’t get a hot and long enough summer for larger ones to ripen well.

This year, we’ve had nothing BUT heat. It’s been fantastic for the tomatoes…and the squash, too. I’ve given squash away, and even taken two boxes to the local food bank!

But look at what I picked out of the yard this morning – and this is mostly just larger toms. I still need to pick a ton of cherries!

There was a bunch of Black Krims, which I just finished canning.

I experiented with lots of different kinds this year. There were Yellow Pears.

These will part of my garden every year now. I love them.

Yellow Ruffles:

I love the look of these, but sadly, they were not winners flavor-wise with either my mother or myself, so I will not grow them again.

Garden Peach:

These are very interesting, because the outside skin has a completely different texture. Slightly fuzzy, like peaches! I liked these alot, but the vines are not very productive at all for me, so I doubt I’ll plant them again.

Fox Nose:

This one is interesting because I ordered the seeds from someone in Europe. I think it was Bulgaria? They are very solid tomatoes, and not that flavorful, I don’t think. The vines were also very wimpy and looked half-wilted all the time, even when the other plants were flourishing. I won’t grow this again either…cool as I think it looks.

My favorite larger toms were the Black Krim (I have a fondness for black tomatoes) and my trusty Silvery Fir Tree tomato.

In cherries, all were successful. Yellow Pears, Sweet 100, Sungold, Black Cherry, Currant, and Purple Bumblebee were all winners. Sungold will forever have a place in my yard, as will Currant. They others I’ll probably rotate through in different years.

I haven’t been posting pictures of the garden lately, because, quite frankly, it’s not picture worthy. I’m getting tons of food out of it, but it’s been SO dry and hot that I’ve just been letting most things go. I’ve been watering just enough to keep it alive, but not pretty…especially in the flower parts of the yard. If this new heat/no rain thing continues next summer, I’m going to have to start looking at different ways of maintenance. Ollas, perhaps? Has anyone used these successfully?

This week, I went to the local fair. It’s not much of an event, but I usually find at least one thing that made me glad I went. This year, it was the poults. I have a serious love-on for turkeys!

They are always so personable, interested, and friendly. I want some so badly. One day!

And finally, I updated my previous post (Travel Itinerary) because I made a major change. Instead of daytripping to the Cotswolds from Bath, I decided to go to Cardiff, instead. It was tough to choose between the two, but this trip is a constant struggle of: which thing will I regret the most not seeing? This time, Cardiff won, partly because I know I can see what I want in one day easily enough…while the Cotwolds really need a few days.

One thing I’ve already purchased my ticket for is the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff Bay. You all know I am a massive Doctor Who geek, and when I learned that they had re-done the interactive part to focus on Twelve (my second favorite Doctor ever) instead of Eleven (who I have never liked), I had to go.  Plus, the costume exhibit!

Four weeks and two days to go until I begin my adventure in Iceland!

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Quail Love, Tomatoes, and Straw Bales

The tomatoes I started from seed outgrew the grow light.  There just wasn’t room for all of them underneath it, once I transplanted them into larger pots.  Plus, I wanted the light for Ground Cherries, so the tomatoes went into the kitchen window.  And the living room window, since there are so many of them.

This was about a week ago.  Today, I transplanted them again.  Since I didn’t actually have any pots the right size, I went to the dollar store and bought a bunch of plastic Easter pails.

If you’re thinking that they look smaller now than they did then, it’s because each time you transplant tomatoes, you snip off the lower leaves and bury the stem up to top set of leaves.  The buried portion of stem sends out roots, and makes the plant much stronger!

There are still some areas in the front yard vegetable garden that I haven’t had time to build raised beds in.  This means that the soil is still very poor, as I also haven’t had time to put in a bunch of compost.  Since I really, really want to garden those areas this year, I decided to try out Straw Bale Gardening.  I doubt I’ll continue doing it in future years, because straw is not very cheap in my part of the world, but it will be an interesting experiment.  The first step is to “condition” the straw bales, so I’ll be doing that for the next couple of weeks.

At the very least, the straw will turn to compost, and help fill those raised beds!

Today I also finished getting the former quail Bachelor Pad set up in its new location, and moved Peabody and his wives into it.  I built a new nest box for it; basically a box with a roof that raises on hinges that fits inside the quail coop.

Here’s the view looking down into the nest box.

Here’s the view with the nest box roof lowered.

I’m going to put a piece of waterproofing on top to keep the quail (and their food) dry.

Peabody and two of the girls seem to like it.  Mama quail is Not Amused.  She is very shy, and was terrified out of her wits by this move, but she seems to be settling in.  Hopefully she’ll go broody again, but who knows?  Quail are often a mystery.

The babies inside are just two weeks old, and they are nearly entirely feathered out on their bodies.  And they can fly!  It’s not uncommon for one to helicopter straight up out of the brooder when I take the cover off.  They don’t want to escape; they are just full of high spirits, and they love it when I clean their box, because they always get interesting things like dirt to dig in, or buttons to pick at.  They need things to keep them busy and happy, so they won’t develop the habit of picking on each other.

Their legs are also getting insanely long.

I don’t think I ever posted this picture of them at a few days old.  I just reached into the brooder and scooped up a handful!  This was about half of them.

Moving Peabody and his girls out into the their new coop left Loki alone in the old one.  I was going to leave him by himself at first (it’s only a short time until the chicks will be old enough to join him) but he was clearly just too lonely.  Poor guy.  So I ended up temporarily “borrowing” one of Peabody’s girls and putting her in with Loki.

He loves her.  He’s on cloud 9.  It was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen; he started running in front of her, neck outstretched, on his tippy-toes.  It must be a courtship dance?  I’ve never seen either of the other two males do it, though.

She was unimpressed, and even less so when he tried to mate with her…and let’s just say…he needed some serious practice to get the technicalities down!  😉

As soon as he finished, she pecked him around the face a few times to let him know she wouldn’t be putting up with any more behavior like that!  So he went back to his tippy-toe dance again.  Then she got involved in having a dust bath, and he snuck up behind her, and deliberated: did he dare make another attempt?  Would she scorn his attempt if he did?  But oh – she was just so seductive, down there rolling in the dirt!

Success!!!

I wish I’d been able to record this for you.  It was so hysterically cute and funny – especially when he celebrated by performing an especially vigorous tippy-toe dance afterward!

I did go get the camera and record a little bit for you – although he is not showing off the perfect form he previously had in his dance.  I think he was getting a bit tired by this point!