Monday, June 17, 2013

My First Tomato Blooms

Here it is a Monday, mid June,  and just in time for summer I notice my first tomato blooms. With almost two inches of rain this last weekend everything is soggy and I am in the house nursing an injured back. Seems I have overdone it and pulled my back and spent most of the weekend watching it rain and lying on a heating pad. Getting around a little better this morning and did a short walk through of the garden. 

The above tomato is an heirloom  Brandywine variety. Already strawed and enjoying this regular rainfall, the stems are thickening nicely and they are putting on new growth and blooms. A sure sign that they are adjusting to their new location since it has only been two weeks since they were transplanted.  I am checking them regularly for signs of fungal diseases that are so common in extremely wet years. 

We have been working on getting straw laid down around all 54 plants and then we will start caging them. Along with these Brandywine plants we are trying a new Oxheart heirloom tomato. They seemed a bit spindly at first compared to the Brandywine but are thickening up now and seem to be catching up  with the other variety.    

Early Jersey Wakefield, my normal cabbage variety for over a decade, are also enjoying these rains and cooler weather. This is the second planting as most of you will remember we lost the first to groundhogs. Hopefully now it is a simple matter of monitoring these for cabbage worm damage and allowing them to size up. This garden was initially remaining too wet with a thick straw cover and we made the decision to pull the straw off and allow the garden to dry out more. It seems in hindsight that it was a good call because the soil has dried considerably and the plants are doing better. 

The broccoli is also doing well now other than some slight rabbit damage which the dogs work on daily. The large puppies have now figured out that chasing rabbits is fun and we could not be more pleased with this new past time.  Sure beats digging holes! We are hoping that the temperatures remain mild to allow these spring crops that are late to continue mature before the heat of summer arrives. Time will tell but we are already making plans for sowing a large fall crop of peas, cabbage, beets and broccoli in case these fizzle in the summer heat. Notice the small weeds in the photo above springing up with the recent rains.   

 The beets are sizing up nicely and we are hoping for a good crop of pickled beets for the pantry. 

For those of you that think my gardens never have weeds...Here's Proof!!!!

As soon as my back recovers this is going to be my first order of business..canning mustard greens. We sure enjoy these canned greens in the winter when greens are scarce. Behind the mustard is a lettuce row and we have been enjoying wilted lettuce salads regularly from the Black Seeded Simpson which is a loose leaf lettuce. We have also been eating wonderful salads from a (new to us) romaine type lettuce called Jericho. The extra loose leaf lettuce goes to the hens who just happen to love it and a hand full to the goats as a treat. The weeds go to the rabbits, chickens and goats who all eat them : )

The straw around the potatoes is probably a good 12 to 18 inches deep now and they are blooming their heads off. They look green and healthy which is a good sign.  

My rainy days are filled with cleaning and cooking now and the days it is dry and not raining I rise before daylight and head to the gardens...hoe in hand. When the rains come regularly so do the weeds and sometimes it is everything we can do to stay ahead of them. Some crops like the mustard I know I will be harvesting soon and what few weeds are remaining will be pulled when we harvest. Therefore I concentrate on the younger plants that still have a long time in the garden and can not compete with too many weeds. The mustard rows, once harvested will then be spread with rabbit manure and worked in with a potato fork and we will make them ready for the next crop. More than likely this will be where some of my fall crops go. 

For now there is work to be done and I will show you some more tomorrow.

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. Lovely. What do you do with fungus, do you use the commercial sprays? I have been fretting about my tomato plants and all this rain as well though as yet Im not seeing anything. Hope your back feels better!

    1. When I plant my tomatoes I add to the hole powdered milk and Epsom salt. Both of these help with the blossom end rot and other fungal issues. Second...I mulch my tomatoes always to prevent soil from splashing on the leaves during rain and transmitting spores to the leaves. Third... one day every week I spray my tomatoes and grapes with a mixture of 1 part milk to three parts water. This helps prevent fungus and molds. I do my roses also!

    2. Very natural! Thank you for the eco friendly tips!

  2. Your beet plants look lovely. I didn't get any in the ground this year, but my farmer that I buy my green beans from called last week and asked if I would be interested in buying about a bushel. I was so grateful he called. I live on a very small suburban lot, so what I can't grow I try to buy from him. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson have been a blessing for our family.

    I planted 14 or 16 tomato plants this year and they are doing well. Some have blooms, some have little tomatoes and some are just growing. I wish my swiss chard would grow, it's only about 2 inches tall. I don't know what's going on. Our weather can't decide if it wants to be in the mid 90's or mid 70's, that could be causing the problems.

    I shared your site with my mother who is 69 yo, just bought her first computer and surfed the web for the first time in her life. She is technologically challenged, but decided she wanted to get into the game. She loves your site and she's amazed at the property you own.

    1. How do you prepare your beets Saukura? We like ours pickled and then we eat them throughout the year in salads.

      Welcome Sakura's Mom : )We are so glad to have you too!

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  4. Wow. Our growing seasons are quite different.

  5. Indeed Maybelline Bakersfield, CA is very different from Northern Missouri. This has to be one of the most demanding climates I have ever gardened in and challenging. Seems as if One day it may be snowing and the next day in the eighties in May. One year it is a drought and the next a flood. Whatever this farm throws at me we always manage to grow and can more than enough to get us through to the next year and beyond. This year we are way behind where we normally are. Most of the spring crops were lost to ground hogs and late snows. Now we are fighting heavy rainfall at regular intervals. But we persist. I have been to CA several times and enjoyed the visits.

  6. Hope you feel better soon! ♥


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