Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants in!

tomatoes 05 24 16

All my tomatoes get planted into wall of waters when first transplanting them. Really helps them get a good head start.

So I’m gonna try to catch up on the garden in the next few posts…

All the tomatoes went into the garden in their Wall of Waters on Wednesday, May 24. My friends, Janet, Mernie and Linda plus myself manage to get all of my tomatoes in by 2 pm.  Thank you for your wonderful help! I was 5 tomatoes short, so I went over to Agua Fria Nursery (my favorite nursery) and picked up what I needed the following day and they are now in as well. I have 3 sections in my main garden and now section 1 is filled. One third done! I always espoused we should harden off out tomatoes before setting them out, but I’ve found out that if you put them into Wall of Waters, one doesn’t need to  harden them off. The Wall of Waters, act like a little greenhouse and keep them warm at nite and the winds at away-well worth the money and effort. Once the tomatoes reach the top sometime this month, remove the WOWs. Still have many things to plant but the ‘maters are in!

rhubarb spring

Rhubarb is doing well even with a hail storm we had. Somehow it was sheltered.

My perennials are coming up-rhubarb, raspberries and grapes-yeah! I didn’t have to do anything (except water)! The cabbage is already in as well.

GRAPE VINE ROW COVER

Himrod green seedless grapes grow great here. They are recovering from deer damage

Some deer came by an munched about half the leaves and grape flowers on one grape plant so now they are under row cover and recovering nicely. I pulled it off so you can see the recovery. I hope  we get the grape flowers (that will become grapes) again. The deer have not been back or at least haven’t eaten any more of them.

FUSHIMI PEPPER PLANTED

Fushimi pepper and all peppers planted under fencing material and row covered until they adjust to heat

This week, June 1-4, I transplanted all peppers-the varieties are: Jimmy Nardello (sweet Italian frying pepper), Poblano (mildly hot use for chile rellanos), Fushimi (similar to shishitos only bigger-not hot), Shishito (good frying pepper-not hot) and Corno de Toro (big sweet Italian pepper).  I put epsom salts in bottom of hole to increase flowers and peppers. I also planted all my eggplants-the variety is Fairytale. I love them, they are my favorite-I don’t grow any other. The bigger eggplants take longer to ripen and you only get a few on each plant vs fairytale eggplants are extremely prolific and ripen earlier. Fairytales are small, never bitter, thin-skinned, great sliced in half and sautéed with garlic in oil or on the BBQ-ed on the grill. You can still use them for Eggplant Parmesan, only takes more.

 

Fall harvest season is full blast right now!

Harvest season is full blast right now. Started out with our Home Grown New Mexico ‘Jam On’ class where we made a Strawberry-balsamic jam and a terrific Blueberry jam.

Himrod grapes-yum!

Then the grapes ripened-ate lots and dried some into raisins for later.

bread n butter pickles

The cucumbers ripened so fast I was making lots of pickles. First I made bread and butter pickles, then cornichon pickles and then dill pickles-crock, refrigerator and canned. Must have about 30 jars+ and now the 5 gallon crock is full where I am fermenting some with salt brine. After I was bored with pickles,  I made some sweet pickle relish which I haven’t tasted yet. Will probably make more of that with the giant cucumbers I miss when looking for little ones. So far I’ve made pickles with Jody, Nick and Elodie.

peach jam and raisins

Then I bought 20 lbs of peaches from the Farmer’s Market and Mernie and I made 3 different peach jams.

9tomato sauce-finished in bags

Now the tomatoes are coming in and I’m starting to make the raw tomato sauce that I freeze in gallon plastic freezer bags. Later in November after I recover from harvesting, I will take them out of the freezer and make different pasta sauces like puttenesca, marinara, penne alla vodka and good ole spaghetti sauce.

 

Potatoes dug out just in the nick of time!

Potatoes dug out just in the nick of time!

Soon I will harvest potatoes too.

2013-part of the fall honey harvest

and we will harvest honey from the bee hive.

Of course then there is all I take to the Farmer’s Market that I harvest every week-tomatoes, eggplants, shishito peppers, beans, tomatillos and sometimes rhubarb, kale and chard when I have the room on the tables. Phew! Busy time of year!

The best part of it all is I haven’t bought any vegetables in the store since early July and I’ll have a full pantry for winter when harvest season is done.

Tomato Lady will return to SF Farmer’s Market this Saturday!

first tomatoes

Here are some of my tomatoes of the 2014 season. I’ll be back at the SF Farmer’s Market this Saturday, August 16th from 7-12 noon inside the building. Just look up high (above my booth) for my Tomato Lady sign to find me. I don’t have a ton of tomatoes yet and so they should go pretty quick and then I’ll be out but have many other items to sell like rhubarb, green and purple beans, Shishito peppers, various eggplants including the infamous fairytale eggplant and maybe some Kale. Hopefully next week I will have more!

But if you want tomatoes-come early!

Row cover everywhere!

row cover in early summer

My main vegetable garden is basically divided into three sections-Section 1, Section 2 and Section 3-each section being around a 1000 square feet. So as I look at what I call ‘Section 3’, all I see is row cover everywhere! Looks like I laid out my laundry all over the ground but this is temporary. Row cover is used for extending the seasons and for protecting crops.

When I plant new transplants such as eggplants and peppers, I find our winds horrible on them, whipping them around and drying them out-totally stressing the poor little things so I put these mini hoops over them and put row cover on that protecting them from the ferocious winds we’ve had. When I plant seeds, I also cover them with row cover to protect them from the birds and other animals eating the seedlings as the germinate. Birds love bean sprouts, corn sprouts and cucumber sprouts but when I cover them, the birds don’t know what’s going on underneath when they germinate. So the garden looks like hell for a couple of weeks but will save me time and frustration of replanting more seeds later. This year after I planted the corn, bean and cucumber seeds, I put straw around them to help keep the soil moist and since I waited to plant later, an added bonus is the soil is pre-warmed  and the straw will help hold in the moisture when I water.

Cucumbers, corn and potatoes are in!

peppers and eggplants in

Why do I feel so far behind?!

Yesterday I finished putting in my seeds for cucumbers, potatoes (really late there)  and a new corn called ‘glass gem’ yesterday. Then I remind myself it just hailed last week and snowed the week before so perhaps I’m more on schedule than I think this year. All the crops will get row cover over them to protect them from birds eating the seedlings. Out of sight, out of mind.

Today I put in 8 pepper and 8 eggplant transplants and have 8 more of each to plant tomorrow plus squash seeds and Tarabais bean seeds to plant by the weekend.

Sounds easy but after I lightly turn the soil in the bed, add amendments in each hole, put the plant in, make a well around each plant to hold the water around the plant, connect a drip line and wrap it around each plant, put straw around each well and make cages to protect them and lastly put row cover over the cages which I secured using rocks so they won’t blow off. Phew—it all takes time. I get tired just thinking about it!

I am still germinating the gourds under the lights in the house which as soon as they come up and grow their first true leaves I will put out. Oh yea and the beets and carrots have to still go in. Sigh—so much to do! And did I mention I put in my one purple tomatillo plant? Blah. Blah. Blah.

When to plant peppers

 

Here's a shishito pepper that was put out too early and got stunted

Here’s a Shishito pepper that was put out too early and got stunted-never grew anymore

Now that we are past freezes at night, you may think you should put out those pepper plants that you have inside your house. Not so fast! Peppers are heat loving plants (even more so than tomatoes) and our nights are still too cold for them to be put out. I’m holding mine inside for another week or so because if you put them out now they will just sit there and sulk. In fact I’ve had to replant some in years past because they stall out and never recover. I’ll be putting mine out AFTER JUNE 1st and in wall of waters to add some protection with our cold nights. Peppers don’t like temperatures below 60°F at night so for now they can sit and bask in the sun in front of a window. Don’t be in a rush with them or you may have to start over!

 

What unusual vegetable seeds are you trying this year?

seeds

I’m always interested in what unusual seeds people are trying (or have had success with).  So I’m sharing what seeds I will try, where I got them and I hope some of you will do the same. For a complete list of all my crops for 2014 go here.

2014 unusual seeds that I will try:

African Bushel gourd-big round gourds the size of a bushel basket! Suppose to be good to use as containers after they dry out. You know me and giant things!

White Egg gourds-from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange-small egg gourd-looks like white chicken eggs-sounds like fun! Now I can pretend my old girls are still laying!

Tarbais beans-from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds-a pole bean that you dry out and cook for bean stews, soups and cassoulets. More delicate flavor than navy beans. These use to be hard to find in the states but thankfully Baker Heiloom Seeds has carried them for 2 years now.

Eyesines de Galeux-from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds-a salmon warty winter squash that tastes divine. The more ‘worts’ the sweeter it tastes. More worts=more sugar in it.

Sweet Meat-Another great winter squash-so sweet you don’t have to add anything to it to sweeten it. Also a great keeper-I just finished eating our last one in February.

Peredovik sunflower seed– from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange-this is the black oil sunflower seed that your birds eat in bird seed food.

Jimmy Nardello pepper-a red ‘chili’ looking pepper but sweet-from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange-a sweet long red pepper delicious when sautéed.

Bullshorn (Corno Di Toro) pepper-a red ‘chili’ looking pepper but sweet-from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange-another sweet long red pepper delicious when roasted or sautéed.

‘Canoncito’ landrace red hot chili pepper-This one I got from the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market and is a local seed from north of Espanola.

Charentais melon-from Baker Heirloom Seeds-one of the most flavorful melons from France or so they say.

Purple Bumblebee tomatoes-from Baker Heirloom-small purple and green striped larger cherry tomato. Part of the new Artisan tomatoes out this year.

Round Black Spanish radish-from Baker Heirloom Seeds-I got one from our local organic market and it was delicious so I’m gonna try them this year.

Craupadine beets-from Baker Heirloom Seeds-one of the ugliest but sweetest tasting beets ever-from France.