New varieties in veggie garden

Now that the season is over I can review some of the new veggies I tried.

Borlotti beans: The pod of this Italian shelling bean is so beautiful and once I picked them, let them dried and shelled them the actual beans are pinkish/cream-colored with red splashes-more beauty. The variety was ‘Lamon’ which is a vining type. Can’t wait to try them in a pasta e fagioli soup this winter.

 

 

Kalibos Red cabbage: A friend gave me some plants to try. This Eastern European heirloom cabbage has a pointed shape and intense red/purple leaves. They turned out beautiful and I gave my friend the biggest one as I’m not a big cabbage fan and she makes great fermented foods-like Sauerkraut or Kim-chi.

 

 

 

Butternut Rugosa (wrinkled butternut): This variety from Italy is larger than the American Butternut variety. I only got one as powdery mildew eventually took over the plant but can’t wait to eat this. Much more interesting than the regular butternut variety. This one hadn’t turned butternut brown yet.

 

 

Chartreuse Scarlet Runner bean: I grow runner beans for their beautiful flowers although I know we can eat them too. I like this variety because of its chartreuse coloring of the leaves and the scarlet flowers. I love the contrast between the yellow-green foliage and surrounding other greens in the garden (in this case it is next to the strawberry plants.)

 

 

 

Sunset Runner bean: I grew this for the beautiful peach colored flower. The leaves are the normal green of other runner beans. I grew it on my arbor at the entrance to the garden.

 

 

 

Artichokes: I wrote about this in an earlier post but definitely worth mentioning again. Wonderful good size chokes with great flavor on a beautiful plant.  In fact I like the plant as much as the artichokes. Wonderful showstopper in the garden. Another one I didn’t think would harvest in time but they did. See previous post here.

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Here are some successes in the garden from failures

Not everything I do is successful in the veggie garden. So I want to share some of the veggies that failed and successes that followed. The point here is be flexible and don’t give up. If something doesn’t work, try something else.

Failed: Sweet potatoes/Success: watermelon– I planted sweet potato starts just before I left for a fly fishing trip. I got the new drip system in place and planted them and forgot to turn on the drips to that section in my haste. When I came home, all were dead. So I planted a Moon and Star watermelon plant in their place. Didn’t think there would be enough time to get any to ripen but got 4 nice size ones ranging 10-15 lbs. Sweet!

Failed: Giant pumpkins/Success: Charentais melons-I didn’t start my giant pumpkins this year but instead just planted seeds directly in the ground. Wrong! Nothing came up. Learned a lesson there. So I planted Charentais melon plants as I always wanted to grow them. They produced about 10 wonderful melons. Supersweet!

 

 

Garden officially done for 2017

The garden officially finished on the night of October 9. There were a few cool season crops that did fine in the 27°F temperature-mainly beets, carrots, kale, and bok choy but all the warm season crops are done. I think this was early for a first frost. I write it down so I can review the frost date next year.

I did cover the lettuces in the greenhouse with winter weight row cover but it was actually unnecessary as the temperature was above freezing in the greenhouse and they are looking great and loving the cooler weather.

Now that it’s done, I’ll have time to share some gardening experiences and new crops I tried this year. I will be posting in the next few weeks some of the highlights of this year in the garden.

I still have to clean out the garden and put it to bed. AHHH CRUMBA!

But first I think I’ll go flyfishing one last time this year before it really gets cold…

 

Artichokes-you can grow them in Santa Fe!

Lot’s of wonderful surprises this year in the veggie garden. Just for kicks, I transplanted two globe artichoke plants this year in my veggie garden entry way. I was thinking the thistle flowers would be beautiful if it had enough time to grow it here. Artichokes are a perennial in zones 8 and higher but are an annual here in zone 6 and take 90-100 days to mature.

I forgot before it makes ‘flowers’ it has to make the artichoke flower bud, which is the part we eat. To my surprise the plant is thriving. Other than adding extra compost when planting and of course watering, I haven’t had to do anything. It doesn’t seem to have any pests or diseases. Not only is the plant beautiful with it silver spikes but the artichoke buds add wonderful interest and that is before it even gets to the flower stage which is a beautiful purple thistle. Looking at these artichoke buds, I’m not sure they are going to make it to the flower stage. I know what I’m eating for dinner tonight!

Tomato Lady now at Santa Fe Farmers Market this Saturday, Sept 9

Hi I returned last Saturday to the Santa Fe Farmers Market with a few boxes. Starting tomorrow (Sat Sept 9), I will be there from 7 am-1 pm throughout the rest of the tomato season. The tomatoes are starting to come in now after a long wait. Don’t wait too long to come to my booth as I will run out before the end of the market. I am located INSIDE THE BUILDING. Just look UP for my ‘Tomato Lady’ sign above my booth. The market people may be moving me around a little inside the building so be sure to look around to see the sign. I have many new great varieties and of course my favorites I bring like Paul Robeson, Purple Cherokee, Sun Gold, Costuluto Genevese, Pink Berkley Tie Dye and more. Over 20 varieties grown this season from all over the world.  And of course I will have some Shishito peppers, and small eggplants as well. This is my last season at the market so be sure to come by and say hi and pick up a few.

Early Blight on Tomato Plants

This tomato plant has severe Early Blight as it has worked its way up the plant

Now that the monsoons are in full blast, tomato fungal diseases are showing up with all the moisture. One of them is Early Blight. It is caused by a fungus called Alternaria solani. Early Blight is a fungal disease that attacks tomato plants starting on the bottom leaves of the plant and works it’s way upwards. The leaves start turning yellow and get blotchy. If left unchecked, it can take over your plant killing it although it won’t die immediately. Where does it come from? It comes from water splashing soil up on the lower leaves, allowing the fungal spores to colonize on the leaves. The culprit is a bad soil fungus (there are good soil fungus as well). That’s why you always see it start on the bottom leaves. Early Blight should not be confused with Late Blight which is prevalent in northeastern United States. We don’t have Late Blight out here in the southwest (at least not yet).

Here is a close up of Early Blight on the leaves

-There are several things you can immediately do to help with this disease if you get this. The first thing you do is trim off the affected branches where the leaves are yellow. Keep trimming up your plant as needed and spray with an organic fungicide like Serenade.

-Disinfect your shears between plants by dipping the shears and your hand in a container of water with about 10% bleach solution. Alcohol also works. Be sure to disinfect your shears between plants because you can spread Early Blight.

-I like Serenade, an organic fungicide which provides protection from a broad spectrum of common fungal and bacterial diseases. It is a biological fungicide, meaning it uses other spores that crowd out the Early Blight spores. Spray it on when the leaves are dry. It is rainproof, non-toxic for bees and other beneficial insects. Respray every 5-7 days. Spray all parts of the plant-both on top and underneath till dripping. Serenade is also good to spray on other vegetables. Spray for powdery mildew on squash, cucumbers and melons and leaf rust on beans. I use it for all my vegetables. Don’t wait till you get the disease—it works best as a preventative but you can control many fungal diseases with Serenade.

-In addition to trimming the affected leaves, trim off any branches or leaves that touch the ground. I never let any leaves or branches touch the ground, trimming them up about 12 or more inches.

-Another option is to stake or tie up any branches that might touch the ground.

Mulch with straw underneath the plant so the soil can’t splash up on plant when it rains or if you water overhead. This is key to help prevent Early Blight on your tomatoes. I do it the minute I plant my tomato plants in the spring and add more straw as the plant spreads till eventually the whole bed is covered with straw. If you didn’t do it this year, you can still add straw now. Besides it’s also great for keeping moisture from evaporating in our hot sun.

-If space allows, rotate susceptible crops every 3 years. Just change where you plant tomatoes every year.

Tomato Tar

I always wonder what is that substance on my hands after working with my tomato plants with my bare hands. My hands turn kinda green and eventually brownish. I wash my hands over and over again and the soapy foam on my hands turn yellow and worse, the towel I use to dry my hands gets green stains.

What is this? It is called ‘tomato tar’ and comes from trichomes on the surface of the tomato plant. Trichomes contain chemicals in the form of essential oils that give tomato plants their smell and repels some insects and has another substance called acylsugars. Alcylsugars are part of the defensive system of the tomato by producing a sort of oil that stops insects from wanting to walk on them. This is exactly what gets on our hands and turns them green or even brown if you leave it on your hands long enough. Getting it off is not easy as I mentioned above but I just read a solution to brown tomato hands that I have to try.

I learned the acylsugars are not water soluble.  Most soaps are alkaline which turns the soap foam yellow and still keep your hands brown. If we wash our hands in a weak solution of white vinegar and water, really wash our hands with it-no soap and then rinse it off and then wash in soap, our hands should turn human color again! Also use paper towels or a designated towel to dry your hands as the soap residue from our laundry can turn the towels green. I prefer a black or dark brown towel so if there are some stains (they don’t come out) at least I can’t see them.

Lastly I’ve had some luck taking a piece of fresh lemon and rub it over my hands squeezing the juice to make sure my hands are wet. I have to wait about 5 minutes and then rinse in water and then use soap and water and that seems to work too. I know lemons become alkaline when we mix them with water and drink it but pure lemon juice is acidic and works on my hands. It’s been a year since I’ve had tomato hands and I know when I get them, it’s just a short time till I’ll be eating those wonderful tomatoes!