TOMATOES – TWO EARLY VARIETIES WE LOVE

TOMATOES – TWO EARLY VARIETIES WE LOVE

The “Main Season” tomato season is almost here, but we have been enjoying two excellent tomatoes that begin to ripen ahead of the other varieties.

The first of these tomatoes is an heirloom  called BLACK KRIM.  This tomato is not going to win prettiest in show, but it’s superior taste  more than makes up for it’s rustic appearance.  Originally grown on the Island of Krim in the Black Sea, seeds began to move all over Europe after the Crimean War in the Nineteenth century.  In the 1990’s, seeds began to migrate to the United States.

BLACK KRIM TOMATO – AN EARLY MAIN SEASON HEIRLOOM TOMATO

We have been growing Black Krim tomatoes off and on for at least fifteen years.  It is reliably two weeks ahead of the rest of the pack.  If you are looking to have a longer tomato season, you may want to consider this old favorite.

The second tomato that we offer for your consideration  is MOMOTARO, a hybrid from Japan.  I know what you are thinking: “Japan? Hybrid?”    Yes, the Japanese love their tomatoes and this variety was bred for taste, not how well it handles being shipped across country.  Momotaro begins to ripen two or three days after Black Krim, so  I put this in the main season early ripening bucket.

The taste is wonderful.  Not quite as acidic as other varieties, Momotaro has a lovely sweet quality with nice depth of flavor.  Most of the fruit is handsome in appearance as well as tasty.  Again, I have been growing this variety periodically for many years and always look forward to adding it to the mix.  I usually purchase seeds for this variety from Territorial Seeds.

MOMOTARO – A JAPANESE HYBRID TOMATO WITH GREAT TASTE

One of the great advantages to gardening is that you get to choose what you grow.  If you are looking for something new, give one or both of these varieties a try.  Next week, I will follow up with a post highlighting the other varieties I am growing this year.

All the best,

Greg Garnache                                                                                                                        gcgarnache@gmail.com

 

 

 

ATTRACTING POLLINATORS TO THE VEGETABLE GARDEN

ATTRACTING POLLINATORS TO THE VEGETABLE GARDEN

Recently, I had a conversation with my friends Bill and Flavia.  They asked me how my vegetable garden was doing and that led to some concern on their part that their vine crops (pumpkins and zucchini specifically) were not producing any fruit.  My first question to them was, “Are you growing any flowers nearby to attract pollinators?”  The answer was “No”.

These are two smart people.  I was a little surprised that they didn’t know that you need to be pro-active in attracting bees and butterflies to your garden.  No pollinators, no squash, no zucchini, no pumpkins, etc.  Every year, I start seeds of cosmos and zinnia to attract bees and butterflies.  In addition, we have a border of lavender just outside the entrance to the vegetable garden.  Honey bees love lavender and so do bumble bees and mason bees.

ZINNIAS AND COSMOS INSIDE THE GARDEN WITH LAVENDER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GATE

We also have lots of flowers planted around the property within proximity to the vegetable garden.  We have daisies, calendula, nasturtiums, tassel flower, cone flower, milk weed, and a population of flowers in my wife’s perennial gardens that I can’t even begin to list.  I don’t know what those flowers are, but they attract pollinators as well.

MORE FLOWERS THAT ATTRACT BEES AND BUTTERFLIES

As a start, I would recommend planting cosmos near your vine crops.  Zinnias also do a good job of attracting bees and butterflies.  This is very important to gardening success and also adds some much needed color to the vegetable garden.  The French take great pride in their vegetable gardens and give flowers, especially varieties that attract pollinators, plenty of space among the vegetables.

A BED OF COSMOS

Bill, Flavia and anyone else reading this post;  I hope that you can find some room for flowers in your vegetable garden.  You will be rewarded.

All the best,

Greg Garnache                                                                                                                         gcgarnache@gmail.com

A DAY WITH GRANDPA IN THE GARDEN

A DAY WITH GRANDPA IN THE GARDEN

My entire family recently spent  the week with us at Greg’s Garden Party.  The grandchildren had a blast playing with their cousins, taking turns riding on the battery powered ATV, going for lawn tractor rides with Grandpa, running under the lawn sprinkler,  and harvesting fruit and vegetables.

THEO AND VIVI HARVESTING CARROTS

We have pulled carrots and onions, dug for potatoes (their favorite) and picked raspberries.  Needless to say, sharing one of my favorite pastimes with my grandchildren is beyond description.  Teaching them where their food comes from and how much fun it is to be able to pick from your own garden are lessons that I hope will stay with them forever.

My hope is that this exposure will kindle a desire to garden just like Grandpa does.  That would make me very happy.

After the grandchildren had their time in the garden with Grandpa they had the opportunity to help Gram in the kitchen.  Times like these are what life is all about.

HELPING “GRAM” MAKE PESTO

All the best,

Greg Garnache                                                                                                                        gcgarnache@gmail.com

CELERY UPDATE

CELERY UPDATE

Back in February of this year I mentioned in a post that I was growing celery for the first time in ten years and that I was following the advise received from a video by an Asian woman named Regine.  I was so intrigued that I decided to give it a try.    We started seeds back in February  as the germination period is quite long compared to lettuce and cabbage.  Also, the seedlings take a long time to mature enough to set out in the garden.

I followed Regine’s advice and spaced the seedlings approximately 8 inches apart.  We have 16 plants growing in a space that is 3′ x 4′.  Celery is happiest in near swamp conditions, so I have been watering the patch every day, sometimes twice a day.

The results have been excellent.  We harvest individual stocks from each plant and have been harvesting for over a month now.

 

MY TINY BUT VERY PRODUCTIVE CELERY PATCH.  NOTE THE SCREENING TO SIMULATE IDEAL CONDITIONS.

We are growing a variety called “Tango”.  We have been using the celery in stir fries, salad,  mirepoix, and as a salad all by itself.    The celery patch is just beginning to show some signs of playing out due to the heat.  I have already started more seeds for a fall crop.  All in all, a very good success.

Here is the link to the video I mentioned:https://www.asiangarden2table.com/video/how-to-grow-celery-from-seeds%EF%BC%88%E8%A5%BF%E8%8A%B9%EF%BC%89/

Happy gardening,

Greg Garnache                                                                                                                        gcgarnache@gmail.com

THE SECOND SEASON IS HERE

THE SECOND SEASON IS HERE

It is hard to believe, but the second half of the gardening season is happening right now.  It seems that the older I get, the faster the time goes.

My usual indicator is the garlic patch.  We harvest the garlic scapes in June.  When the leaves of the garlic plants start browning in late July, it’s time to pull those suckers.

THE GARLIC PATCH READY TO HARVEST

I typically harvest the plants and give them a few days to dry out.  Then I cut off the stems and roots and polish off the dirt on the garlic heads with a towel.  It is slow work, best done with some good music in the background, a cold beer within reach and the company (and help) of friends and loved ones.

HARVESTED GARLIC DRYING OUT

GARLIC ALL CLEANED UP AND READY TO STORE

Why do I call this the “Second Season”?  Good question.  Harvesting the garlic sets in motion a new round of gardening activity.  Now that the garlic is harvested, it is time to plant the fall carrots in that plot.  Harvesting and replanting will be repeated several more times as the various onion varieties come to harvest.  I will start seeds of red beet and golden beet, many more carrots, and more green onions.

As this is happening, some of my hot weather crops are beginning to bear fruit.  We have recently harvested three zucchini and two eggplants.  In addition, we now have some lovely jalapeno peppers.  The cool weather crops are now giving way to the sexier hot weather crops.  The happiness factor is trending upwards.

A SHOT OF ONE OF MY FRUIT CROP BEDS. ZUCCHINI ON THE LEFT WITH EGGPLANT AND SWEET PEPPERS TO THE RIGHT. INDETERMINATE TOMATOES IN THE REAR.

HERE IS A CLOSEUP SHOT OF THE ZUCCHINI PLANTS.

CHECK OUT THESE BAD BOYS. THE VARIETY IS CALLED “MEATBALL.” EACH CLOCKED IN AT ONE POUND..

So far, it has been a pretty good gardening year.  Here’s hoping the “Second Season” is just as satisfying.

All the best in life and gardening,

Greg Garnache                                                                                                                         gcgarnache@gmail.com