Tomatoes Galore!

August and September:  The Roma and Early Girl tomatoes are flourishing! There are three Roma plants in my garden and two early girls, and two Romas in Rex’s. One of Rex’s plants got so full of tomatoes it toppled over, and we’ve been gathering them from the ground ever since. We collect at least two bowl-fulls every week.

I give them away to Uncle Jess and Aunt Anne, to Grandma and Grandpa, and I make the tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad at least once a week. But it’s that time of year when everyone has had their fill, and they ask for them less. So, now I’m cutting them up and putting bags of tomatoes in the freezer for winter soups. Chilli is right around the corner. 

The cherry tomatoes are just plain neglected right now. They’re still producing, but getting tired, and the boys and I have grown a little tired of collecting them. So, they’ll be great compost for the next season of growing.

A Little Harvest Morris Waited For

Morris finally unearthed his carrots this week. We were pleasantly surprised some of them were the size of his dad’s fingers, which is much larger than we’ve ever grown before. We forgot they were there, until one night this week, Morris asked, “Can I pull my carrots now?”

“Oh! Of course!” I responded.

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And, he pulled, and out came about ten, decent-sized orange carrots. I told him they taste very different than carrots from the store…and he hasn’t asked to eat them yet.

We’ve also harvested many jalapeno and chilli red peppers from Morris and Rex. Honestly, we would can some delicious jelly if I had the energy. My energy has moved away from the garden and toward home projects, like painting the front door (red, of course!), adding shades and a curtain in the living room to prepare for the cold weather. 

Still, I can’t quite bring myself to ask the boys to clear our their gardens yet… I’m still holding on.

Final Cucumber Count

These are some of our cucumber numbers from the summer:

July 28 = 35 + 5 = 40

August 3 = 40 + 2 = 42

August 10 = 42 + 3 = 45 (All from Rex)

August 18 = 45 + 3 = 48 (2 from Rex, 1 monster from Morris!)

I have to confess that there might be even more than that, as I sometimes forgot to add them in. And,there were days we picked three and gave them away right away… So, 55 might be a better estimate. At any rate, they paid for themselves, and the boys love to pick them and marvel at their size.

Rex turned out to be the champion in numbers, and Morris championed in length.

Jude was the champion of silly.

Our Garden Spider

A lovely garden spider has made her home in our garden, specifically in my bed by the tomato plants. She started out the size of the end of my pinkie finger, and now, I estimate she’s grown at least five times her size. 

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Garden spiders visited our last garden, mainly our raspberry bushes. You know what you’re looking at by the bright yellow on the body, and the web has a vertical zig-zag pattern right down the center.

This lady is keeping some pests away from our tomatoes and enjoying it! Isn’t she cool?!

Other than her, nothing else has joined our gardens: no praying mantis, and thankfully, no horn-worms this year!

Snacks in the Garden

There are hundreds of ripe cherry tomatoes in the gardens. The boys don’t like to harvest them in one big batch, although I do as they split if they’re too ripe. The boys like to leave them on the vines, at the ready for an afternoon snack, or an after-dinner-snack, or a whenever-they-wander-that-way snack. 

My garden is flourishing, too. After we came home from a weekend get-away to Omaha, I picked 22 early girl and Roma tomatoes! I introduced the boys to the delicacy that is a garden tomato, sprinkling salt and pepper on them or eating them with cottage cheese. Plans for my favorite salsa are in the making, too…

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My Favorite Color is Red

Red! Red is popping up…and hiding everywhere in our gardens! There are dozens of cherry tomatoes free to pick every day now. Some of my larger, Early Girl, tomatoes have been added to the boys’ favorite BLTs. And Morris found one of his chili red peppers ready to pick tonight. Everyone took a tiny bite and then ran for the milk jug to calm their tongues. 

(P.S. Green beans are ready, too!!!)

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Goodbye Zucchini Plant, and Thank You

It’s time to pull out these giants, these givers of large zucchini. And thank you for your fruit.

Morris muscled his out of the garden, and mine came next. 

Our favorite zucchini dish this season was zucchini fries. Panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, and a little salt and pepper. Slice up the zucchini, dip in egg, coat in the crumb concoction. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. Basil mayo is a delicious dipping sauce.

Art in the Enabling Garden

It’s that time of year for Art in the Garden, thanks to Iowa State Master Gardeners. We look forward to it every year! We brought along Rex’s long-time friend Brianna and invited Aunt Anne, Cousins Jojo and Cassie, Aunt Lindsay, Cousins Harper and Calvin. It was a beautiful, cool night.

This year, the artist who makes the woodland creatures had some new additions: snakes! Jude picked out the very largest one, and Rex selected a small, knottier one. Morris picked out a cat with a very long tail, and spent his time painting it black and purple. Very cool, Mo!

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Rex didn’t feel like painting this year, but he did make me a lovely flower arrangement with wild flowers.

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Jude didn’t feel like painting either, but he make a wild flower arrangement and a very cool leaf critter. Check it out!

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The boys were really excited about decorating cookies, but there wasn’t a station for that this year… so, Rex found a comfy bench and read, and Jude goofed with Brianna and Rex.

Morris finished his night with an arrangement with very cool tiger lilies! Thanks, again, Master Gardeners!