Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mid June Chicken Plot Update

The friend of mine who has the chickens (and the plot of land with a rocky garden that I am growing in) told me I could use as much of his garden as I wanted to. Knowing how I could easily over-do it, I chose to only carve out a small portion of the garden for my cucumbers so that I would not have to worry about weeding everything. The yard is plenty big, with several fruit trees.

One of the wonderful things about gardening is that you can decide if you will take advantage of the season you have or not. Over-doing the work of weeding and caring for large amounts of land is not my idea of fun, so I try to keep things simple.

In this rocky plot I have planted three cucumber plants (Northern Pickling, Salt and Pepper and Marketmore), as well as seedlings of the Carosello Spuredda Leccese (a dark cylindrical melon-cucumber). As the same seed from different suppliers and sources can grow drastically different, I decided to try three sources for the plants I am growing to see if I can discover anything new or interesting that I have not grown yet.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Mid-July Fertile Garden Update

Here is a quick update of what is going on in the fertile garden plot allotted to me by a friend of mine.

June 26th, about 2 weeks after sowing seeds.

I have three different kind of carosello growing right next to each other, which I am having to put cloth bags around to ensure that no cross-pollination occurs. The round one is an unknown variety, which looks a lot like a Tondo Barese or a light Mandurian Round. The second is an unknown half long of Barese. The third is a carosello Tarantino. I have at least 2 plants of each type in a very small space, so keeping them separate is currently quite a chore.

June 6th, 3 weeks after sowing

If none of the plants produce anything of special interest to me, I am always happy to eat them. One of the wonderful things about working with the carosello varieties is that, with exception to one variety I grew last year, you can always enjoy mistakes by eating them.

June 16th, 5 weeks after sowing.

I started sprouting some seeds from my friend Giuseppe. The idea is to save a “fluke” carosello variety that has some color traits that we find interesting. We will have to see if there is any consistency in how the fruit turns out. If the fruit coloring is inconsistent, then I may have to isolate some plants for the specific coloring that we are looking for.

White Crab Spiders on Purple Daisies

While in the front yard of my friend's fertile garden, I noticed these little guys just waiting for their next meal. They look like some form of flower crab spider. Enjoy the pictures!

For all those of you who braved the spider pictures, here are some more pictures of the flowers by themselves.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Sam's Garden

Occasionally, as I take a walk around the neighborhood I notice things that pique my gardening interests. One was a beautiful raised garden area that a neighbor had been cultivating for a while. A couple days ago I went to find out more about his garden and learn more about what he is growing and how he does it.

Sam is a retired marine with some time on his hands. So, he decided to do some gardening. Good thing too. He first took me out back to his greenhouse, where he keeps his peppers. His 2-year-old pepper plants were looking pretty good. Though I am a definite wimp in terms of spicy food, I can admire those who grow hot peppers. I believe he said that he has to wear gloves for some of them, including the ghost peppers.

Sam notes that he tries all sort of methods for growing in pots, just to see what works well. He says that he learns a lot online - then goes and tries something to see if it works. A lot of what he had consisted of drip systems, soaker hoses, and pot reservoirs. Many of his pepper plants look better than what is pictured here, so I may have to come back for another snapshot session.

In the front yard he keeps two finger lime trees. They are very productive and he swears by them, because of the amount of vitamin C. They are quite good and do taste a lot like limes, but - in my opinion - better.

The remainder of the garden is pretty standard fare. The zucchini is at the end of its life and is being finished off by powdery mildew. His wife is the big bush bean fan. It seems that the beans are thriving in the morning sun, as are the tomatoes.

I am still amazed at how productive Sam’s tomatoes are, even when only receiving morning sun and having plenty of shade throughout the day. He definitely keeps everything well-watered, as his plants look fantastic.

Although Sam was unsure about the tomato variety in the pot, he was pretty sure that the tomatoes next to the fence were Heritage tomatoes. From looking online, I'm not sure if that refers to a variety with the name Heritage in it or if he was simply referring to some heirloom tomato variety.

All I can think of when looking at these tomatoes is "Tomato Sandwiches!"

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Medium Long of Massafrese

For the most part, my ideal situation for offering seed to others is to ensure that I know exactly what the variety will look like. Experience has taught me that what is pictured on the packet is often different from what actually grows. Case in point is my experience last summer with the Medium Long of Massafrese. I offered these seed for a while, which seem to be the same thing as my friend Giuseppe's Carosello Leccese (Spuredda or Meloncella) Fasciata.

Overall, the fruit looks much like a Tondo Carosello Massafra. In fact, it is just as oval as the splotched Massafrese that I grow. I am still on the lookout for the half-long cylindrical Carosello (C. melo) that exhibits dark skin with light stripes. All the moving that I have done has decreased my germination of this variety to a point at which I no longer offer it. The similarity between it and the Carosello Massafra is so great that it seems like more like a Tondo Massafra than anything else.

Despite some good looking cucumbers, the growth of the plants was incredibly slow. The majority of seed did not sprout and the majority of the plants that sprouted did not make it to maturity. I wanted so much to save the seeds and pass them on to others. However, the plants were so weak that any hope I had to have the fruit grow to maturity was lost when the plant with the most promising fruit suddenly stopped growing and started dying. It didn't help that the germination was poor from this seed company, which told me that their germination was 100%! Sometimes, the only thing a seed-saver can do is eat their carosello.