Thursday, July 24, 2008

Growing Challenge: Zucchini!

The first zucchini is a marvelous thing.

The 50th zucchini is less marvelous. Let us currently rejoice in the first zucchini!
Caitlin and the First Zucchini

Please note that shortly after this image was taken (Tuesday), the zuke was chopped, sauteed in garlic and butter, dressed in minced basil and gratefully eaten by all except for the grinning child you see before you. Proud to have the zuke, proud to hold it, reluctant to eat it. What the heck?!

It was gooood.

Also in the garden, squash plants scrambling everywhere!

Squash abounds.

Acorn squash with flower.

Peek-a-boo spaghetti squash.

I'm looking forward to watching these scrambling vines attempt to take over the world. I'm attempting to redirect them into the pathway and wondering why I planted them in this bed instead of in the other bed that has more room to trail.

Next year!

On the tomato front, we have this:
Wall to wall tomato plants!

Giant beast plants. Let me tell you this, so that you won't make the same mistake: tie your tomatoes! This is what happens when you let them get away from you. They go completely nuts, grow into one another and thwart your efforts to tie them up the 8' tall stakes you put in place for just this very reason! I've been out there on assorted occasions, trimming them back here and there, nipping out the new growth in the crotches (Ooh, that sounds bad, doesn't it?), tying them up and reveling in the massive number of tomatoes visible.

You realize that I'll be playing Hunt for Ripe Tomatoes well into the fall, don't you? There are tomatoes growing in between the plants where I probably can't reach. Ack! I have two rows of tomato plants there! Plus the tomatoes are overwhelming the bell pepper plants planted on the aisle side.

Oh it's gonna be fun to harvest in there! Next year...!

By the way, did I tell you that I have two volunteer tomato plants growing in pots on my deck? Yeah. I've no idea what variety they are (Although I'm willing to guess that one of them is possibly a 'Pop-In' from last year.), but I'll be eating them if they survive!

The easy to harvest Caspian Pink on the corner.

Candy's Old Yellow.

Snow White cherry tomato.

Every day I go out and check to see if anything is ripe. So far, no luck. (Actually...I nipped out there Wednesday (Wrote this on Tuesday) and found my first ripe tomato. It was a Snow White cherry tomato and it was gooooooood. I thought about sharing that one small tomato and then decided against it. I deserved the first tomato! Soon we'll be swimming in 'maters, but not right now.)


This may be one of the few bells I get to try. The others are semi-smothered.
California Wonder bell pepper.

Tomatillos have launched their balloons by the hundreds. In each of these puffy sacks is a tiny green (And purple!) tomatillo. I keep thinking longingly of salsa.
Toma verde tomatillo.

The crazy mixed up bed. Where watermelons fight it out with butternut squash, French beans and Italian basil for supremacy. Who will win this epic battle?

Of course, around here we eat the winners. And the losers. It's good to be at the top of the food chain!
Bean, basil, butternut, melon.

You know, I never did thin out the basil. Seems to be OK so far! Come on tomatoes! I want to make a caprese salad!

Maybe I should make pesto while I wait?

I spy, with my little eye, a baby watermelon! Hopefully there's enough time left in the growing season to plump that sucker up and ripen it. Otherwise I think I'll be looking at some season extending gear.
Watermelon. Could be 'Sugar Baby'. It's a madhouse in there!

The potatoes are trying to hold on but they're being over run by everything else. Next year I'm going to put them into trash bins with holes drilles at the bottom and cover them with mulched leaves.

Next year...!

What have you been nibbling on in your garden?


Missy said...

Haven't eaten much besides cilantro and basil. We had the same issue with the overgrown tomatoes, and have been discussing what to do next year. (Umm tie-up, and maybe one less plant)I have lots of growing green tomatoes but no ripe ones yet. I don't know that my peppers are going to happen. They got overrun by the tomatoes and the plants don't look so hot.

bluejardiniere said...

Your garden is amazing, just amazing. Did you know that you can eat the squash flowers? I just recently saw an article on it in a magazine, Bon Appetit I think.

Anonymous said...

Hatchet, have you had any fried green tomatoes yet? Yummmmmmm.
--Fully Occupied Namz

sara said...

tomato question... if i trim them back (like flowers), will that put the energy into the exsisting buds (like flowers)?

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Missy: my peppers have been overrun, but I keep tying up the tomatoes right over them and they're trying their best. We'll see how it goes!

BJ: I've heard that! Now I just need to find a recipe and get the guts up to rip a few flowers off.

Nama: Nope. I'll wait until the end of season for that since I don't want to fry up my potentials! But I'll keep it in mind when I have to strip the plants at the end of the year.

Sara: Well, depends on how you're going about your trimming. When I trim mine, I'm only taking out the additional growth in the leaf to mainstalk crotch. If you lop off larger sections, you may sunburn your tomatoes. They like a fair amount of leaf cover, if possible.

Instead, you could pinch off the extra growth like I suggested and pinch out some flowers to get the tomatoes you have to ripen. Probably something similar to people who are shooting for largest tomato at the county fair: remove the competition. I'd just hate to remove all the potential tomatoey goodness. The alternative is to be really patient.

Tough but worth it! Remember that last year I didn't have any tomatoes until August, so it may just be a few more weeks before you're inundated. Have you fed them recently?

Melinda said...

Wow, wow, wow! It all looks fabulous - who knew those little baby seedlings would turn into a jungle?! It looks really great. And I've heard there are lots of ways to hide zucchini in things... ; )

I had a tomato tunnel last year. Well, maybe more like a cave. I had to crawl in and turn upside down to pick all of them. Seriously, when I crawled in, all you could see were my shoes! Aint gardening great?

Melinda said...

Oh, just read the comments: my peppers were also overrun by tomatoes last year, but we still ended up eating a fair amount of peppers. I don't know how they survived, since they were in that cave I was just telling you about, but they did, and the peppers ripened.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Melinda: ooh! A tomato tunnel! I don't think I left enough space between the plants to do such a thing, but I'll have to keep that in mind year! I'm hoping the peppers survive, considering there are 12 plants total and 4 different varieties, I really wanted to try them all.

Besides, Caitlin LOVES peppers. I'd be sad just for her sake alone if I inadvertently smothered them all.

Robj98168 said...

Caitlin- Zucchinni is good. You should eat zucchinni. Zuchinni tastes like blow pops!

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