Monday, July 16, 2012

The Garden Goes On

In spite of the current chaos in my home and some smashed parts of the yard outside, the garden is still busy making food. We had just brought in a big pile of veggies on Monday afternoon, before the disaster, and on Tuesday morning I harvested a little more:

If I aim the camera just right, it's hard to tell that a tree fell on the house just a week ago. This part of the garden looks fine. The place where the okra was leveled is hidden behind some other tall plants:

The side yard was completely spared. It definitely looks fine:

Even though we've given away quite a lot of the most recently harvested fresh veggies (we are a little too preoccupied for canning), we still have plenty to work with. Joe managed to pull the dehydrator out of the debris, and after we cleaned it up we've been able to put it to use. The half-gallon jar on the table is full of dried tomato chips:

The melons are the first harvest from this year's round of the great melon de-hybridization project. All the melons in the photo were harvested at "forced slip." For each, the tendril nearest the melon was brownish, corky lines had begun to appear on the outside, and a definite aroma of ripe melon was easy to detect.

The first two we sliced through were both good, but they are not even close to being identical. One was very pale inside, and sweet. The other was green inside and less sweet. The paler one seemed to have more flavor, and it had a smoother texture, too.

When the seeds are dried and ready to package for next year, all that information will be recorded with them. It is likely that the seeds from the greener melon will not ever be planted, but it's hard to know at this point what I will need in the next few years of the project. For now, I am saving seeds from all the melons that seem reasonably tasty.

I've also put some tomato pulp and seeds from this year's Tomato Man's Amish in a cup to ferment a little before separating out the seeds to dry and save for next year.

This all feels a lot like progress.

Hope everyone else's gardens are doing well!


  1. Just read your past two posts. Bless your heart! I am thankful no one - including pets - was seriously hurt by the falling tree. What a miracle indeed. I am glad you are still able to gather some produce from your remaining garden.

    I'm looking at your recently gathered tomatoes. What varieties did you grow this year? Have you ever tried something called Georgia Streak or Arkansas Traveler? Those were my two new experiments this summer. The Georgia Streaks produce very large fruits. Last night I pulled a 1.5 lb. tomato from the vine! They have excellent flavor. The Arkansas Travelers are not fully ripened yet so I've not tasted. They have a lot of fruit on the vine but the tomatoes aren't nearly as large. Seeds for both were ordered from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

    Take care and keep your readers posted on the "recovery" efforts of your home and garden - as you have time!

  2. Barbara,

    I haven't tried Georgia Streak, but I have had good luck with Arkansas Traveler - I just have been growing other varieties in the last few years. The flavor of Arkansas Traveler wasn't as spectacular as some other heirlooms, but it is a reliable producer, which is good to know for anyone looking for an "emergency-backup" tomato for the South.

    This year my tomatoes have been Cherokee Purple, Wuhib, Aker's Plum, Yellow Marble, Jaune Flamee', Rutgers, Costolouto Genovese, Tomato Man's Amish, and Old Ferry Morse Beefsteak.

    The Rutgers had to be pulled out before they were able to set fruit, the Cherokee Purple had a disease problem (but I did get a lot of tomatoes from them), the late-planted Jaune Flamee are already turning yellow (I suspect one of the wilts is at work), and the Costoluto Genovese are not true-to-type. It's been a tough year in the tomato-patch!

    House repairs are coming along slowly, but they are definitely coming along, which is good news. We are looking forward to seeing the house made whole!


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