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How does your Garden grow?


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Since the summer is chugging away with lots of heat and humidity (did I mention the heat?), I was curious for an update on Jersey E-gulleters gardens - large and small.

My tomatoes in a word, are hard. Small and hard. Except for one glorious Brandywine tomato plant, everything else is pretty disappointing. The cucumbers are small, too, but I think that's the variety I bought. Basil, rosemary, sage, and green onions are doing well. Even my morning glory's which frame the fence that surrounds my garden are looking straggily. I am not altogether pleased, as my thoughts of salsas, roasted tomatoes, and bruschettas are going down the drain.

Hope youse guys are having better luck.

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We have plenty of larger tomatoes that aren't ready yet, but the cherries are starting to ripen. Plenty of cucumbers, I've been picking them on the small side and started pickling. I only save one or two of the larger for fresh salads, as there will always be another of size for that in a day or two. The herbs are doing well: basil, mint, parsley, thyme, rosemary, tarragon, chives. The peppers are starting to come in: banana, jalapenos & other chilies. The mesclun mix lettuces I started from seed are giving us a continous supply.

Now for the duds... the Brussels Sprouts are huge plants, with no sprouts on them. The cauliflower plants are getting big, no cauliflower buds yet. The zucchini plants are big, with flowers blooming every day and a million buds down there in the center, but no fruit yet. :sad:

I had planted some potato sprout cuttings and those plants look good, how do I know when to dig up potatoes?

I'm watering every morning for 30-60 minutes depending on the weather.

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Rachel

If you got the potatoes in by March first you can start poking around for teeny tasty ones now. Otherwise maybe a month to go.

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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Tomatoes - cherries are ready - regular are just starting to turn

Eggplant - just starting to get big enough to pick

Corn - only 1 ear matured, but the plants do look nice

Cucumbers - have had lots of cucumbers, but the plants are starting to wilt and the cucumbers are yellow, I think we have some sort of bug or fungus

Watermelon - just picked 1 nice watermelon with more on the way

Carrots - growing nicely, don't know how they will turn out

Peppers - green bell - picked a few / red pimento - waited too long to pick and they were mushy on one side.

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I am having bad luck with my tomatoes. I'm growing 2 plants in containers. One grew freakishly tall and is just now showing tiny fruit. the other one has about a half dozen tomatoes that are far from picking.

I"ve moved them to full sun and am giving them the proper food< so that helps>

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All except one of my tomato plants are doing exceptionally well this year. I put a lot of new topsoil down and the tomatoes are huge- the largest I've ever had. The plants are even taller than I am! I've been enjoying the cherries for about a week. Herbs are also exceptional. My only dissappointment are some jalepeno pepper plants that didn't turn out to be jalapenos. Grrr...

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I think this is my third year doing my tomatoes in containers. I figured it would be better off in the long run to put them where the sun was and that meant that containers were the way to go. You really do have to stay on top of them with the water and feedings, though. This year I have just three Yellow Jubilee plants, and if I could get a couple dozen good size tomatoes from each I'll be very happy. They are just starting to turn color now:

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My chiles are a near disaster, though. First the bugs got to them, and then the plants themselves got mostly gobbled up by deer. There are still chiles on them, but they are half size and are turning red already as though the plants can't do any more than they already have.

Aside from the herbs (which are all well established and kicking butt) that is all I really have the space for.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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My three Carmello tomatoe plants are doing better than I've had tomatoes do in several years. I even had enough to give some away along with some basil.

In early August in So. Jersey when the humidity and the temperature are not many degrees apart one of the few enjoyable things to do in my unairconditioned kitchen (I do have a small but powerful ceiling fan) is freezing parsley. Each spring I plant a parsley bed for the swallowtail caterpillars and myself. The front rows for me, the second row we share. When I had Boston Terriers the back row was for me and the front row the caterpillars shared with the dogs. When preparing the bed in the spring I leave a few of the previous years plants so they can grow and go to seed. The first picture is of my parsley bed yesterday after I had picked over a pound of parsley, along with some weeds.

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Then I fill my freshly scrubbed and well-rinsed sink with water and dump all the parsley in, and swish it around a lot and do a preliminary picking over. Weeds go in the garbage along with the really big stems and parsley sprigs that are no good for some reason or another, parsley to freeze goes into the dish drainer on top of wax paper, insects and arachnids go into the plastic cup to the right of the sink for returning to the garden (two very young grasshoppers, one of which had drowned, two spiders, one of which had drowned and a green stinkbug that rescued itself, and is somewhere around the kitchen).

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By the time the preliminary picking over is done I usually have considerably less parsley

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I then go over the parsley to remove all but the smallest stems and any leaves that aren’t worth using. By the time I was done I had 7-¼ oz. of parsley leaves left. In the picture they’re in the bowl of an Oxo Good Grips Salad Spinner. After spinning the parsley, I then spread it out on paper towels on a tray, and leave it to dry a bit, while I take my third or fourth break, to have lunch, or read some more of my current mystery novel, or play with the cat or just sit staring blankly into space. If you try to chop wet parsley in a Cusinart you’ll end up with a mess.

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After chopping the parsley (pulsing is probably the correct term) I ended up with 6 7/8 ounces of parsley in a 3-cup freezer bowl. I rapped the bottom of the bowl frequently on the counter while filling it, to settle it. Packing it in will cause problems when all you want is a couple of tablespoons out of the freezer bowl

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I’m using what’s left of the parsley I froze on 08/03/05 in salmon cakes I’m making today. I won’t be using what I just froze until the plants in the bed are beyond use.

And in less time than it took me to compose this post, I've ensured a supply of parsley through the winter months.

Edited by Arey (log)

"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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The edible garden consists of two hanging pots of parsley and one of basil. In the flower bed are rosemary (first year it has come back from the previous year), oregano (doesn't seem to have grown since it was planted in June), lemon thyme, chives, savory and sage. Two sage plants have died - and I considered them indestructable! The parsley never seems to keep up with usage. We planted six plants in two pots. I've had to buy parsley to meet my cooking needs. The basil always seems to do well and we have more than we need from three plants. The parsley is grown in hanging pots because something ate the plants in the garden.

Does anyone have any ideas to get a bigger parsley crop? Someone told me not to fertilize as that would make the leaves tough with less flavor. Maybe they don't like being cramped? All I know is we never seem to have enough parsley, no matter how many plants we put in each year. I envy Arey's parsley!

KathyM

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I have about 25 tomato plants in the ground and about 25 in containers. Oddly enough, the containers are doing better. I've been picking cherries for a few weeks now, and several earlies (my favorite is Stupice).

Up to now, most of my tomatoes have not been very good, but today I had my first huge, beefsteak (Stump of the World) and it was great!!!!!! I have Cherokee Purples, and other tomatoes of the Brandywine family growing and have yet to taste them. This is my first year growing heirloom tomatoes.

I also have tons of basil and for the life of me, cannot find a way to keep it all winter. I've tried drying, freezing (just plain), freezing in water (ice cube trays) and there is no way that suits me. I'm still trying to find the best way to store it for the winter. Any ideas?

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