Monday, July 22, 2013

It's tomato time!

Better Bush tomatoes
Sun Sweet cherry tomatoes up front; plum tomatoes in the background
Mid-July and it's tomato time!  Tomatoes are ripening on the vine, and every day I pick a few.  This has been my most successful tomato growing season ever.  I attribute this partly to the varieties that I chose to grow this year and, more importantly, to the good growing conditions as a result of Ray's help in building raised beds and installing irrigation.  I have had zero success with zucchini and pumpkin and pulled the plants early due to mosaic virus and leaf miners that wouldn't quit.  Growing watermelons was another failure.  Homegrown watermelon, zucchini and pumpkins sound like such a fun project, but I doubt I'll be trying that again. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"I'm just a lucky duck..."

Herb garden in the making...
This past weekend, Papa Paz worked in the hot summer heat, amending the poor soil on the hillside at Wienie Dog Hill, to prepare for fall planting and to help me realize my greatest dream: to create a heavenly herb garden.  It's not fall yet and probably a bit too warm to be planting; but, with careful tending and mindful watering, the plants should survive these hot Temecula summer days.  I have studied all the herb books in my library and have researched all kinds of herb varieties.  This a work in progress: planning, picking, and finally planting carefully selected herbs and flowers.  So far, I have put in one of each of the following: Barbeque Rosemary, Coronation Gold yarrow, French lavender, white sage, Echinacea (White Pow Wow), a miniature white rose bush, and a Lamb's Ear plant.  The soil is just perfect, thanks to Ray's good efforts, so now it remains for me to be patient and see how everything grows.  More likely than not, I'll be moving plants around like musical chairs until I find just the right balance.

Balsamic Marinated Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Balsamic Marinated Tomato and Mozzarella Salad
One of the joys of having a kitchen garden is to take fruit, vegetables and herbs, fresh from the garden, and make something delicious to eat.  This summer, my Sun Sweet tomatoes have provided a bountiful harvest of sweet cherry tomatoes.  Yesterday I made this very delicious Balsamic Marinated Tomato and Mozzarella Salad to eat with dinner.  I used cherry tomatoes, basil and a clove of garlic, all grown in my garden.  Yummy delicious! 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Hot summer harvest...

Summer Harvest:  Jalapenos, Better Bush tomatoes, Sun Sweet cherry tomatoes
There are many gaps in my postings, from early spring where I left off, to now.  Here we are, already at mid-summer, in the midst of a hot and humid July.  The plants are not bothered by the humidity, and thrive with mindful watering and care; but for me, the humidity makes me wilt!  My zucchini (there was only one) succumbed early on to some kind of leaf virus, and I had to pull that one.  The Sugar Pie pumpkin plant (again, only one vine) didn't survive past its initial lush beginnings; my greatest disappointment.  I had also planted two Sugar Baby watermelon on the dirt hill and, so far, there is only one good-sized mini melon, almost ready to pick.  If I were to grow these again, I might put a protective covering over the vines to prevent leaf miner damage, and I would also enrich the soil with organic stuff.  But that's a handful of work for such hit and miss results, so I'll have give some thought to what goes into the garden next season.  All that aside, the jalapenos, and New Mexico peppers, as well as the tomatoes, are all thriving and giving fruit.  Besides jalapeno poppers, I'll have to think of what to do with so many jalapenos.  A girl can eat only so much salsa.