Monday, July 24, 2017

Enough Tomatoes

It is caprese time in my little orto! Thank goodness. I am of the belief that the one thing everyone who gardens should have in their summer garden is tomatoes. Nothing tastes as good as a tomato warm from the sun. I enjoy all the  fruit and vegetables I am able to harvest from my small garden but tomatoes are the thing I relish the most. And they have become one of the hardest things for me to manage. Years ago I had an abundance of garden was apparently teeming with tomatoes. That must have been the beginning of the dark times. Hidden in that long ago post I mentioned that I was wondering about the possibility of root knot nematodes. A possibility that was confirmed soon thereafter. Since then I have solarized the garden one year, cover-cropped with French marigolds one year, planted all susceptible plants in containers, and, for the last 2 years, planted susceptible plants in spots that were dug out to 2x2 foot holes and filled with planting mix. There are also some peppers and tomatoes in containers.  All of these attempts helped but I have not come close to the harvests of the past.

This year I realized something. I don't need to have my garden teem with tomatoes. I just need enough for caprese a few times a week and maybe a few slices for sandwiches.

Which makes it all the more maddening to find tomatoes with bites out of them. It appears that some critter has decided it likes garden ripe tomatoes too. The choices are squirrels, birds, possums, and the disgusting roof rats that like to run on the power lines at dusk. This fix is a little easier. I have begun picking tomatoes that are just short of being what I consider ripe and it appears the critter(s) were planning to wait too because this has mostly worked. I still find some totally green Juliettes lying about half eaten but it has been almost a week without a red tomato being eaten. As gardeners know it is always something. And so, as long as I have enough tomatoes, I will consider it a good summer harvest.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Garden Blogger Bloom Day July 2017

It's been a hot few weeks and the garden is in its usual summer bloom slowdown.
This year I remembered to start some zinnias from seed and plant them out in various spots to try to brighten up the hotter days, some in the pots that have tomatoes and cucumbers in them. This Gulf Fritillary is one of many who hang around for the Passiflora caerulea in the side yard (not so much it seems for the sanguinolenta blooming further below) and it seems to find the zinnias a good addition.

Salvias don't mind the heat, thank goodness, so there are several in bloom and Salvia Big Swing is one of the showiest with its bright blue flowers. This is a favorite also because its blooms continue off and on almost all year in my Zone 9b garden.

If you are a fan of Gardeners' World like I am you may be constantly tempted/teased/tormented by all the lovely dahlias. So, over the years I have tried them, given up on them, and tried them again. California's Central Valley and the English countryside have a few too many climate differences for them to look as lush here as they do there but, be that as it may, I am back in 'try them' mode. Lauren Michelle is one I try almost every time and it has just started blooming this year. 

Here is that Passiflora sanguinolenta...sweet little blooms and a much tidier plant than the caerulea that wants to take over the world. 

Tutti Frutti is a dahlia that several friends around the country tried last year in The Great Dahlia Experiment. It has been very happy here and in Tennessee but apparently not so much in Texas, Oklahoma, New York, Indiana, or Rhode Island. It was chosen as a dahlia that stood a better chance of thriving in varied climates but it appears that was wishful thinking. (Edit: Or maybe not as far off as I seems it is still alive in Kathy's Cold Climate Gardening garden too! In a container!)

My most successful scabiosa is Scabiosa has self seeded in abundance and I love the tall stems that move in any sort of breeze.

Gloxinia violacea is in a small pot and this year I decided it should try summering outside. Its first bloom opened just in time for Bloom Day!

If you would like to see many more blooms from around the world click over to May Dreams Gardens where Carol has links to all sorts of beautiful blooms!