Wednesday, July 28, 2010
My cucumbers are doing brilliantly! I picked two today and had them for lunch, along with some of my grape tomatoes. I'm trying to anticipate when enough of them will be big enough for pickling. At the moment I'm aiming for sometime between Friday and Tuesday (understanding that Weekends Don't Count. I can't get anything done on weekends) for making the first batch of pickles!
My Roma tomatoes are finally starting to turn red - and so far the blossom-end rot is still at a manageable level! I plan on turning these into tomato sauce, so I'm going to experiment with freezing them as they come ripe so that I'll have enough for a big batch I can put up. I figure it's mostly the texture that suffers when you refrigerate/freeze tomatoes, and I'm going to be cooking them anyway, so it may not really make much difference in the long run. Anyone who's tried this and has an opinion please chime in!
In other better news, the Garden Beetle season seems to mostly be over, and my herbs are trying hard to stage a valiant comeback! Of my nine purple basil plants I think I truly lost three of them. The other six look much like this one, so I may yet get pink, basil-scented vinegar this year!
Friday, July 16, 2010
...Eventually :) First cucumber blossom of the season! I admit, I started late. My garden is pretty small, so I had to wait until the peas were done before I could plant cucumbers. The upside is that I was able to direct-seed them instead of starting them indoors, so no transplant shock. Last year's cucumbers were a bust - they got hit with hail and never quite recovered. This year looks much more promising!
My grape tomatoes are finally ripening, so I have more salad fixings. The romas are sizing up nicely, and I finally have one starting to turn red! So far I have not had anywhere near as much trouble with blossom-end rot, but it's still early. I'm keeping my fingers crossed - I want tomato sauce!
On the flip-side- this is all that's left of my purple basil :( They've also gone through my tarragon and my sage. The stevia never really had a chance, it got eaten up when it was so small. They have gone on to my mint and my shiso now - the only plant that's still mosty OK is the oregano. They're even eating my marigolds!
At least I've finally figured out who's doing this - it's these little buggers here -
The Asiatic Garden Beetle. A lot like Japanese beetles, but nocturnal, and not so picky. Apparently they're endemic in New England. They're controlled in much the same way, also. Unfortunately I found out about them too late in the season for nematodes to be any use, and I understand that milky spore is not very effective in the Northeast. At this point traps and handpicking are about the only solution. I'm pretty much giving up the herbs for lost this year :( I'll have to get some nematodes between now and the spring, and with luck I can get this infestation under control within the next year or two!