Friday, August 13

Things I've Learned This Week

When figs look like they're wrinkled and dying...

... they are actually ready to eat, fresh, and delicious:

The best way to show off deep purple elderberries is with an underplanting of something bright and silvery:

Which I need to keep in mind next year when I plant more of these awesome 'Bull's Blood' beets:

Some garden mysteries solve themselves, when you peer under ginormous leaves...

... to find rapidly growing (are there any other kind, really?) zucchini resting on a bed of thyme:

But as soon as one mystery is solved, another appears.  Like when one of the 'Purple Cherokee' tomato plants that I purchased this year turns out to be... some kind of a plum tomato, but which one?

I've also learned that when you grow funky tomatoes, you have to do research on when they should be harvested.  'Green Zebra' and 'Black Krim' can still have greenish "shoulders" when they're ready to harvest, but these 'Great Whites' do not:

And the blossom end will turn yellowish, to give me another clue. But I'm really looking forward to trying their purported sweetness that it's hard to wait for them to be ready!  In fact, it's been such a long vigil for these supposedly tall snapdragons that they gave into fatigue and are now laying down on the job:

Speaking of laying around, some of the more brazen tomatoes--like this 'Big Rainbow--turn their noses up at even the most fun tomato cages I could find (they're bright red!) and prefer to stretch out across the nearby shrubbery instead:

Other veggies need to be watched, too.  Like 'Gretel' and 'Ichiban' Japanese eggplants, whose fruit multiplies at night when you're not watching.  Sort of like gremlins.

At least these types of eggplants stay tender at larger sizes.  And the plants stay compact enough to allow for container growing:

Speaking of containers, I have learned that a watched 'Yellow Doll' watermelon is slow to mature:

While surprise ones that escape your notice are nearly too large to go without support by the time you see them dangling precariously over the edge of the pot:

As far as pots go, a replanting of 'Red Zebra' tomatoes in an easy-dog-access pot is already on my Gardening Assistant's wishlist for 2011.  They are the perfect size to pluck and carry into the browning grass for an evening snack:

My own "Next year..." wishlist starts with more rain to keep the cherry trees from stressing out...

... and includes remembering to plant more kohlrabi, even later in the spring, as long as they'll get enough afternoon shade to make it to harvest size:

It also may involve planting at least one pale rose, like the one that I was surprised (and touched) to see waiting for me after work at the end of this very rough week:

I am amazingly lucky, to have a sweet, thoughtful boyfriend like Steve.  I think I'm going to make him help me pick out that rose--probably a repeat-blooming climber, to be planted near the porch this fall--which will hopefully keep this gorgeous gift* filled with floating blooms for years to come.

* This fascinating blown glass bowl, with its many layers of clear and opaque glass, swirls of blue-black, and sprinklings of silver, was a present from Steve last month to (unconventionally) celebrate a dating anniversary of sorts. It makes me smile every time I see the light streaming through it in the morning, and I continually turn it to display new patterns and views. I still can't believe that I own such a beautiful piece of glass art!


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your garden is so full of rich textures and yummy treats. I didn't realize that watermelon would grow in a container. Interesting. What a delightful boyfriend. I think he is a keeper.

Denise said...

Those slim eggplants are so beautiful. I wouldn't know what to do with a kohlrabi, but I want one too! I'm going to experiment and see if my pup likes tomatoes, since we're overrun with them too. What a sweet surprise, the pale rose in that lovely bowl. Good going, Steve!

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

Thank you for sharing what you have learned in your garden. I keep thinking to myself - Am I so selfish for wanting to spend so much time out in my garden just wandering through it taking it in... Not really I guess (unless there are people that need to come first - like my two little ones). But the things that you can observe and take in make you feel so enlightened. Like you have been let in on a secret and you are that much smarter for it...

chars gardening said...

It's so funny to see your dog eating tomatoes, my dog does the same thing. At first she would look to see if any had fallen and then she got smart and started picking them herself. :)

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Three cheers for thoughtful Steve. You have a wonderful, yummy bunch of veggies to be grateful for, as well. And, thanks for the tips. Here's to a fun weekend. :)

Ewa in the Garden said...

I can see, that you are expert on growing veggies in containers! Lovely!

Stratoz said...

how many days were in this week?

Unknown said...

Greenbow Lisa, most of them won't container-ize very well, but this is 'Yellow Doll' and its fruits only get to be 3-7lbs at maturity. From what I read on the web, if I was going to pot up a watermelon, this was the one to try.

Denise, be careful! You might be starting something bad with your pup... some years, Coco and I vie for the very first ripe tomato! (And the second. And the third... lol.)

Marsha Neal, that sense of fun and discovery is one of the things that I most like about gardening. :)

chars, yup! I usually give her pieces of veggies when I'm cooking, and I noted how much Coco liked the tomatoes. So I gave her a few cherry tomatoes out of the garden, and the rest... is history. lol.

Kate, you're so right. I have a lot to appreciate, indeed. :)

Ewa, thank you!

Stratoz, hahahaha... I guess I blew my usual "learn one new thing each day" goal out of the water this week, didn't I?!?! :-D

Entangled said...

I see what you mean about eggplant growing well for you! If you want a third color of those long skinny ones, Pingtung Long is really beautiful. I haven't posted any pictures of mine yet, but La Gringa did a few years ago:

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