1 Jul 2014

Independence Days: The tiny tomatoes and petite peppers edition

Posted by Teresa Noelle Roberts

Tiny green pepper on vigorous plant in my garden.

Blurry…but it’s a baby pepper.

Green tomatoes developing

Green tomatoes!


Large John Deere brand farm equipment

A herd of Deere outside my home town. The hometown has a population of 30,000  and a college…but we’re still country.

Plus bonus drought and groundhog depredation!

I was away at my mom’s in the Land of Apples and Large Farm Equipment (see above) for the weekend and came back to a mess. A groundhog has taken up residence in our woodpile and decided that my Royal Oakleaf Lettuce is what’s for lunch. It’s been eaten down to the ground, although a few sad leaves remain and from past experience I suspect it will regrow.  Still, it’s upsetting. That lettuce was just about perfect–the rest is either tiny or verging on over the hill–and I was looking forward to having a nice tender salad with last night’s dinner…a salad of Royal Oakleaf, specifically. I guess that’s what we get. We procrastinated putting up the new fence, since liberal applications of cat hair had been keeping varmints away. This is our incentive to finally get the fence up. Sadly, it’s a job that requires more muscle than I have–I’m good, but I’m a bit small to dig twenty post holes–and I hate to push Himself, since he’s crazy busy at work right now, and that means he’s already working hard out in the heat.

And it hasn’t rained in weeks. The garden’s still hanging in there, but I think we lost some of the container plants. (I didn’t remind Himself to water, and since I know the garden is my baby and he’ll forget it if not reminded, this one is totally on me.) This, of course, is when the nozzle on my hose chooses to break. I’ll go get a new one later today, but doesn’t it just figure? I’m not about to water a quarter-acre of garden using buckets!

Still, the garden is doing well, all things considered. I have bouquets all over the house, even if my flower beds aren’t as magnificent as my mom’s. Then again, the beds haven’t been established for thirty years and I’m not paying someone $100 a week or so to keep up with them (Mom, alas, can’t do it herself anymore.) The vegetable garden may be weedy and dry, and I haven’t replanted areas where spring crops have petered out. (Probably won’t until it cools down again. There’s not much point in sowing seeds when it’s over 90 degrees and bone-dry.) But we’re still getting lots of good food.
Now for an Independence Days update:

Plant something: As I said, too hot to plant.

Harvest something: lettuce, arugula, mizuna, snap peas, shelling peas,  broccoli,  dill, basil, oregano, kale

Preserve something: Nothing much, since I was away part of the week and over the weekend, but will do snap pea pickles and freeze some peas tonight. That’ll count for next week, I guess.

Waste not: The usual composting and recycling, and trying to get Mom to recycle.

Want not: Stocked up on rhubarb by Mom’s, since my own plant is so young I didn’t get enough for the freezer. It’s much cheaper there, where it’s not a trendy gourmet item, but that giant plant-monster that takes over the back garden on every older farm and country home. Bought some nuts and other supplies at the Mennonite bulk store en route to Mom’s, and some glorious local NY cheese. (Which also fits in community food systems, I guess.)

Eat the food: Lots of salads and fresh peas. Brought peas and salad greens to Mom’s and actually got her to eat vegetables and enjoy them, not just do eat a few green things because you ought to.

Build community food systems: Shared the wealth of the garden, shopped at farm stands in upstate New York.

Skill up: Played with the camera more. Starting to get good at this, but I’m still having trouble when I zoom in really close. (Like the pepper picture.)



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One Response to “Independence Days: The tiny tomatoes and petite peppers edition”

  1. None of my peppers get much bigger than what you’ve got, Teresa – they get about that big and then start turning red. So I pick ’em while they’re small and toss them in scrambled eggs…I, too am not planting anything where the spring veggies were. The weather is too weird right now – not too hot exactly, just weird. And our soil sucks, but there you go.

    Love your garden updates!


    Christine Ashworth

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