Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Teeming With Tomatoes




Just before we left for a visit to the Sweet Granddaughter and her parents I noticed the tomatoes were beginning to ripen. I picked all the ripe (and almost ripe) fruit, made some tomato marmalade before we left, and took the rest with us on our journey. We left some with my dad along the way and ate the rest in San Diego. I'm not sure if they were no longer considered local (!) but there was no gas used in their transport that wasn't going to be used anyway so I think it's a wash at worst and negative energy cost at best. Having been gone six days I was anxious to see what had happened in the garden while we were gone and the Gardener Trainee was in charge. I'm happy to report that the GT passed his test with excellent marks...no plants were sidelined and the tomato plants are once more full of ripening fruit.
This is the reward of the impulsive, greedy, cheapskate gardener. I started seeds in the spring for all the varieties I decided to grow this year. That would be Sweet 100, Sungold, Mule Team, Costoluto Genovese, and San Marzano. Well, and there were the left over Brandywine seeds from last year that I wouldn't have bought again but since they were leftover I really thought I should start some. Then I was at the farmers market and saw beautiful plants ...and having been wondering about the possibility of nematodes in the garden it occurred to me that I should get a good resistant variety to test drive. Which made me get too close to the pretty plants at which point I had to buy a Sausage as well as the nematode defying Big Beef. Not long after that I realized I had not gotten seeds for Early Girl...my 'safety' tomato of choice. So I had to pick one up. Now my tomato plant collection was complete! Until I went to the big open house at UCDavis where they were giving out free starts. And since I was there with my husband and son I made them get in line and came home with another Sweet 100, Celebrity and Shady Lady. So that is the recipe for what would be called too many tomatoes is such a thing were possible. I guess I should feel lucky...so far the Brandywine and Mule Team have not contributed one fruit. But in Davis the tomato season is still young...maybe they'll get in the swing of things and add to the fun. I may need to look for that recipe for oven dried tomatoes that I saw on line!

Driving The Central Valley


Leaving San Diego to drive home we got on I-5 ...or as the southern Californians would say "the 5". I can always tell someone newly arrived from the southern reaches of the state...every freeway begins with "the", I guess to differentiate it from imposters. And where does the "the" fall off? Maybe once you cross the Tehachapis and descend into the valley? I can tell you that the trip through the Tehachapis is cleansing in a different sense. As I said, we got on "the" 5 and headed north. The Pacific Ocean was to our left for a number of miles but soon we encountered heavier traffic and could see the cities crowding together. Passing Disneyland (there's the Matterhorn!) we headed toward the actual city of Los Angeles although it is difficult to say where LA begins and all the rest packed in around it ends. Reaching the beginning of the climb up into the mountains I could feel the mental weight falling off...trying to explain it to The Driver the best I could come up with was "the whole feng shui is awful". Does a freeway or city have feng shui? Anyway, up over the mountains, down the Grapevine and into the valley. This is much better! Everyone can use a little open space. Trying to pay attention to what I've seen too many times to count I decided to get a few photos of common sights on what I call I-5.
This is what miles and miles of the valley look like this time of year. No rain equals desert...dry soil, dry vegetation, tumbleweeds in the making.
Off in the distance you see swaths of green. Irrigated fields up next to desert are the norm here. Fields of cotton, grapes, lots of almonds and tomatoes...all growing here to feed and clothe the nation. Speaking of tomatoes...that truck up on top is one of many loaded with processing tomatoes and heading to canneries. Another common sight, one I see each summer less than a mile from home, is the tomato spill. You see this more often on corners but this spill must have been a truck stopping on the side of the freeway a little too quickly.

As we closed in on the last 200 miles we met up with the 444 mile long California Aqueduct...driving north as water flowed south. I think I'll refrain from commenting on the implications of all that Northern California water heading south...Garden Rant has already explained why they need it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

If You Can't Be With The Garden You Grow...Post The One You're With

It's vacation time and the Davis garden is at the mercy of the Garden Trainee. Hopefully it is blooming and thriving while we're visiting the Sweet Granddaughter in San Diego. So what's blooming in the auxillary garden? The courtyard is green and lush, the result of the warm, humid coastal weather. Its main bloom time is over but even so the little courtyard has some blooms remaining. Blue marguerite has spread in the triangle bed. The red rose that has shared this spot was unceremoniously ripped out today having never managed to keep its leaves from being eaten by the rose sawfly...those lovely little green caterpillars.
Succulents in pots are still blooming ...and the red ivy geranium that covers the garage wall blooms almost nonstop. When my daughter and son-in-law sent photos of the courtyard after purchasing their condo I couldn't identify the red flowered vine, having never seen a 7 foot tall 8 foot wide geranium...it wasn't until we visited that I could tell them what it was.
At the top of the page are white chrysanthemums foolishly blooming as if to say summer is coming to an end. But I don't believe it...summer is still going strong...at least here in San Diego!
Find out what's blooming around the world by checking in with Carol at May Dreams Gardens!