Tomatoes 2011

Ahh, Tomatoes!!  Could we ever really produce enough to have extra for selling after we satisfy our appetite for eating them in the garden AND bringing them in for sandwiches AND making tomato sauce AND sharing with our neighbors?!

This year I thought it would happen.  The plants from last year survived the winter by covering the plants with blankets when frost threatened.

Tomato Plants that survived the Winter's three frosty nights!
Tomato Plants in the Early Spring

Only a few tips succumbed to frost-bite and the rest of the plants produced tomatoes VERY early in the season to get us through until the new plants began producing.

Now we are gathering handfuls of large, red tomatoes every day!  There are the two types that I planted ~ an heirloom variety with a funny shape and yummy flavor, and a beefsteak tomato that I got from a friend and saved the seeds from.  There are also some volunteer cherry tomatoes and funny pear-shaped tomatoes that appeared near the neighbor’s fence about 15′ from the main tomato plant garden!

Six days later we are having an abundant harvest of gorgeous heirloom tomatoes! Overcome by processing this abundance, I left a bag of imperfect ones for too many days.  Interestingly, below a smelly pile of soft, moldy tomatoes was a perfect, unmarred tomato!  Is this further proof of the Health of the Host being the most important factor?!

Growing and Propagating Raspberries

Raspberry plant Fall 2010

In fall of 2010 we purchased a raspberry plant from a local nursery.  The longest two canes had leaves with some reddish coloring, but we purchased it anyway to get us started.   Research showed that the red color could be a disease that may cause the need of destroying the plant, but not to be too hasty on making a decision, for it also might not be of any concern.  We planted it into our “magic” compost to see how it would do.

Research also showed that the ideal way to propagate raspberries was to leave the new shoots attached to the mother plant over the winter and separate them out in the Spring.  This allows the extra root system of the mother plant to nourish the new shoots longer before they are set out on their own.  Taking a slim shovel, early in the Spring, cut straight down between the mother plant and the new shoots.   The new shoots have one main feeder root that goes straight down and were also planted into straight compost.

Raspberry Plants Spring 2011

The red leaves of the mother plant were replaced in the Spring by health, new green leaves.  In May, flowers appeared on the two-year old shoots just as they were supposed to, but they never produced more than dried looking flowers.  We gave the plants one more year to see if the healthy soil could help bring fruitfulness to the new two-year old canes we would have.

Raspberries, Summer 2011

Sadly, these Raspberry plants never bore fruit. As soon as the flowers would begin to form fruit they would shrivel and dry up completely.

We purchased new Raspberry starts – this time Royalty Raspberries from Territorial Seed Company. Planted in our compost one of the plants produced the yummiest Raspberries the very first season – just months after planting the bare root starts!

Harvesting Onions & Details on Sun/water

Today, July 1, 2011, I harvested our little (big for us!) plot of onions.  In a 4′ x 8′ space there were 24 pulled at harvest time, about 5 pulled earlier in the season to eat as needed, and three remaining to reproduce for next year.  One of those has begun to form seeds and another looks like it is beginning to produce bulbs underground by splitting into many.

The onions that were planted closest to a two-story building got considerably less sun and it is visible in the size of the bulbs ~ they are MUCH smaller.  Earlier in the season, the shorter daylight exposure slowed the formation of bulbs making the onions look like humungous chives!