August 16, 2017: My first harvest of tomatoes and green beans!
I suppose it's not strictly true that this is the first harvest of the season, since I pulled off the first bell pepper more than a week ago (quite delicious in my meatball sauce, by the way). Plus, I've harvested about two dozen strawberries by now. Still, it was exciting to reap the rewards from two vegetables at the same time. And so many beautiful beans!
Tonight's dinner was a tasty treat!
And so, Mark and I enjoyed fresh green beans with our steaks tonight. We both like frozen and canned green beans, as well, but there's just no comparison with those fresh from the garden. In fact, tonight was the first time Mark had ever eaten fresh beans, and throughout the meal he kept saying over and over, "These are really good!" He has now been introduced to a new gastronomical delight!
August 12: This little tomato ripened before I even noticed.
As for the tomatoes, I was starting to wonder if any of the many green tomatoes on my four tomato bushes were ever going to ripen. Then, last week, I took a branch off one bush and took it to the nursery where I buy my starters and sought their expert advice on why the lower leaves were turning yellow. Three of the employees--including the main go-to guy--all said precisely the same thing: blight, caused by too much moisture. They said I could use an anti-fungal, but probably I just needed to let the earth around the plants dry out. Not an easy task, since we'd been having weeks of non-stop rain, but they predicted that letting them dry out would also inspire my tomatoes to start ripening.
I don't recall this ever being an issue in my second husband's gardens, but then, as I've mentioned before, this has been the wettest monsoon season I can remember having in a very long time. Probably in ten years or more. Luckily, after my visit to the nursery, the weather dried up somewhat and we had about three days of little-to-no rainfall. I didn't water the tomatoes at all, though it made me a little nervous. Sure enough, within two days I had three tomatoes starting to show some color!
Aug 12: Two other, larger tomatoes were blushing like this just four days ago.
Today, both were already ripe. I picked this one and left the other on the vine.
The rainstorms resumed on Friday, accompanied by wild thunderstorms (our neighbor down the street had two trees struck by lightning and their Internet fried), and continued for the next four days, but now we're entering another dry phase. Tonight I went out and watered the rest of the garden, but left the tomatoes alone. I hope more tomatoes will soon start to blush.
There are lots of green beans like these all over my beanstalks.
The green beans have become my favorite garden children. They never give me a moment of worry! I expect to enjoy plenty of fresh green beans over the next two months.
August 12: No cucumbers yet, but they're blooming like crazy.
The cucumbers are still on hold, but I see the little swellings on the female blossoms that foretell future tasty cucumbers. Fingers crossed!
See all the nubs of snipped-off pepper blooms and leaves!
Photo taken this afternoon.
When I visited Christopher's Gardens with my tomato branch last week, I also took in several little clipped-off bell pepper blossoms to show the nursery staff what's been happening, hoping they'd know what kind of pest was doing this to my plants. Unfortunately, they were stumped. Nursery workers kept coming in to have a look at them as other employees told them about my odd problem. One lady called it a "Nancy Drew mystery." There was a lot of head-shaking going on.
In the above photo is the plant from which I harvested the very first bell pepper. It's still alive, but there's not much left. You can see one of its snipped leaves in the background mud. The attacks seem to have focused on that plant for now, which at least has allowed the other two plants a chance to start forming little bell pepper starts.
Today: There will be more bell peppers!
In the end, the nursery folks sold me a can of Sevin-5 dust, an insecticide that's supposed to work on all sorts of insects, since the diatomaceous earth hadn't helped much. Again, the constant rain is a battle, washing away anything I put on the plants, so the clipping of leaves and blooms continues. I'll try the insecticide again tomorrow, now that we're entering another dry period.
Today: Finally, a little bell pepper is growing on the third plant.
Today: Lots of little bell pepper starts, four visible in this picture.
My strawberry plants are getting huge and throwing out runners with new baby plants all over the bed, but the production of berries has slowed way down. I suspected that it might be due to putting so much energy into reproduction (the runners), so I went online to find out. Sure enough, the experts recommend clipping most of the runners and allowing each plant to only send out three. Ten of my twelve plants are reproducing, and nearly all have started six to eight new plants. It's crazy. I guess it's time to do a little bit of cropping...
Today: My strawberries are still going strong and reproducing.