Wednesday, December 15, 2010
The Season's First Bite
It seems we've made it through the first cold snap(s) okay ... Overall, I had a little bit of leaf burn and some browning, but it wasn't all that bad for the tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, cucumbers, herbs or strawberries. The peppers are another story [draws finger across throat].
But today is good for more reasons than the return of warmer weather. It's always kind of a momentous day when you get to harvest and eat your first fruit of the season. Delayed gratification has never been my thing, so the whole idea of working at something and waiting for three months ... well, let's just say it's not the most natural posture in the world for me.
Today, I finally harvested and ate my first tomatoes of the season, and they were yellow pears. Actually, not only were they my first tomatoes of the season, they were also my first yellow pear tomatoes ever and HOLY CRAP, THESE ARE GOOD! They are juicy and tender, and easily one of the sweetest tomatoes I've ever eaten. It's not hard to picture people eating these things out of a bowl like candy ... they're that sweet. The only problem I can foresee is we won't have enough of them. I enthusiastically recommend these little guys.
I've also started my second planting of the season, and I'm hoping to get them outside in the next week or two. This time around, I'm doing Early Wonder (an early harvest variety, about 55 days from planting to harvest) and I'm doing another round of Brandywines. I've got lots of plans for the Brandywines this go round, but I'll save that for another post. I've been talking to some professional tomato growers, and let's just say my thinking is evolving on certain issues. If anybody is having success with Brandywines, I'd love to hear how you're doing it. So far, I've set one measly tomato on the two Brandywine vines I'm growing. So a quick word to the squirrels, caterpillars and rats: touch that tomato and die. You can have the paste tomatoes, the Big Boys, even the yellow pear and Cherokee purple (which are setting fruit like maniacs). But paws off the Brandywine.
Anyway, my final thought: in the interest of experimenting, I'm going to plant this next round into homemade self-watering containers. I poked around the Intrawebz and found some basic plans for EarthBox-like containers, and honestly, it doesn't look like rocket science. Let's just say the whole principle of the thing isn't too complicated. I think all it will take is a few buckets, a few pieces of PVC, and a drill. I'm on it. I'll post pix and plans when I'm done.
Finally, thanks to everybody who has written me. I'm ridiculously envious of some of the growing set-ups I've seen. We're all dealing with the same thing down here—frequently poor soil with nematodes, cold weather protection, and lots of disease. So it's pretty cool to see all the ways people have figured out how to deal with it.