Friday, July 27, 2018

Breaking News

After looking for so long, we have found the cylindrical splotched Carosello Tarantino!

For those of you who do not really care about cucumbers, you may question, what does it really matter if my cucumber looks pretty - but for those of us who are passionate about the finest cucumbers - it is monumental to find something like this!

It has been years that I have been searching for something like this. That being said, if this variety cannot get me any closer to my desired Meloncella Faciata (a cylindrical all-dark green variety with light stripes) I will have to publicize the search with prize money until I find it.

All of my thanks does need to go to my friend Giuseppe, who has stuck with me - and trusted me - through all of our hard work and frustrating (and often delicious) failures.

Next door to the two Carosello Tarantino plants is this variety. I'm not quite sure what it is. I received this variety six years ago from Italy. I made sure to hand-pollinate all of the fruit and kept it isolated through an elaborate scheme that I am sure to discuss later. The closest relation to this would be some form of oval Mandurian Round or a Carosello Tondo Tarantino. I really can't tell.

Whatever it is the variety is not stable - meaning the color or another attribute does not remain the same from one plant to another. I harvested a few of its less colorful neighbors to try them out and, based on the flavor, I am highly impressed.

Given that the oval Carosello variety will cross with the Carosello Tarantino, I am diligently removing all of the male blossoms.

Based on the smaller very interesting blossoms of the Carosello Tarantino - which that are oval and elongated - I'm not really sure what to make of this cultivar. If we can stabilize the variety, it would be an incredible addition to the carosello varieties that we (the public) have access to.

Party Time! I'm usually pretty laid back, but given the news I decided to throw a party to celebrate. We're having the friends of my children come over to swim in our pool as well as to enjoy pizza, popsicles and technology. This may all seem quite eccentric, but if you had been working and waiting for years to find something you would celebrate too!

(Notice the Armenian and unknown carosello slices behind the popcorn)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mid July 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!"