Blog of an aspiring foodie

Tomato update and eggplant learnings

Posted by beer_chris on 23-April-2006

Tomatoes are setting fruit! I'm so excited. We had a good drenching rain in the morning on Thursday this week and I think the plants each grew 4 inches during the clear sunny afternoon. It's amazing what rain can do for a garden. We've had such a crazy drought this year, and with the early heat last week I'm somewhat concerned we're in for a blazer of an early summer – maybe as bad as 1999 – when we hit the hundreds by July 4'th.

In any case, it's still cool enough at night for my plants to set fruit, and now I've got tomatoes on the Old German, Early Girl, Golden Boy (the yellow ones) & Jolly (the cherry tomato). The Old German is an heirloom beefsteak tomato, and has a really wide interface with the stalk and is all wrinkly on the sides. It's pretty cool to see a miniature green version hanging off of the vine!

One of my Old German plants is a little stunted. My garden doesn't get nearly as much sun as I would like now that the two trees which bracket the garden corner (sweet gum in my yard and the willow in my neighbor's yard) have set all their leaves for the season. The light is strong in the mornings and mid-afternoon, but filtered the rest of the day. As the plants get larger I may get to a place where there isn't enough energy for them to set a lot of fruit. In any case, there's not much at all I can do about this, so I'm trying not to worry about it.

On top of the tomato growth, my yard is full of strange plants I've never seen before. Jaime and I have really let our backyard stay 'wild' since we moved in and focused our efforts on the patio gardens. One weekend this summer we're going to clean up the beds, but for now everything is pretty well as it was when the last residents lived here. The wife appeared to do the majority of the cooking – I make this well informed judgment based on meeting her for 10 minutes during our home inspection 15 months ago, and she was asian. The various beds around the house were scattered with some rather interesting plants. In the back was a thick patch of basil, as well as a thriving miniature pepper bush, chiles pequenitos, which are the little – usually ornamental – peppers that are fiery hot and tasty, especially in omelets. The basil has since died away, and the pepper bushes have spread all over the yard. Additionally, there was a really strange plant that has come up both last and this spring. It has wide lobed leaves, has grown into a 1-2 foot tall bush during both seasons, and is covered with spines. The spines/thorns grow out of the stems (like roses), but also grow from the leaves! Each leaf has a half inch spine spaced about every inch popping up out of the 'vein' of the leaf. Initially my mother and I thought this some type of okra, but last season it set no fruit and so I was never able to tell. This year, the little purple flowers are setting some tiny little green and white mottled fruits, and thanks to Google images I've been able to identify the thing as a 'Thai eggplant'. I was unaware of this before my search but apparently all eggplants have spines on the leaves, and this variety is primarily grown for making green Thai curries. The little fruits are still very small (see link below), but soon perhaps I'll have some eggplant to go with my tomatoes.

The garlic, onions and shallots are all doing OK. For the most part I've figured out that I planted much too late. Veggies in the onion family need to be planted when it is still cool, to allow them to establish a good root system ahead of the spring growth/bulb set. I may not get much out of these, but who knows. An interesting resource on growing garlics is here

Growth continues . . .

Cherry tomatoes!

Early Girl

Eggplant bush

Fruit growing


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: