The summer garden is in full production. Cherry tomatoes have been producing for quite awhile now. We’ve done a few taste tests among the 4 varieties of cherry tomatoes, and Yellow Pear is definitely not the winner this year. The favorite seems to be Orange Paruche, but people really like Sungold as well. Both are very sweet, and their taste is similar. The Sweet 100 is more tart, but very flavorful. Yellow Pear has a strange texture, and not a great flavor this year. The plant is struggling as well. Yellow Pear is the variety that’s usually towering over the others and producing huge quantities throughout the summer.
The tomatoes, squash and beans are all growing huge. As usual, I’ve planted everything too close together. It becomes a struggle to walk over and around everything, but I always tend to overdo the density of planting. This year I also have some pumpkins added to the mix. They sprouted/volunteered where I planted other things that look and grow like them (Armenian cucumbers, cantaloupe, squash). I usually pull up any volunteer pumpkins in the garden, and I only let them grow back behind the compost pile. This year they looked too much like the cantaloupe and cucumbers. I didn’t know they were pumpkins until they started producing.
The wire fence is getting much more use than it’s ever gotten before. Everything wants to climb on it this year — scarlet runner beans, poamoho beans, Armenian Cucumbers, cantaloupe. Anywhere I can get things off the ground, I’m stringing pumpkin and tomato vines on it too.
Squash is producing pretty heavily for the past few weeks. I got some with an oval shape. I don’t know if it’s a different variety from the same seed packets, or if they’ve been cross-pollinated with something else nearby.
Squash is one of the “big plants” in the garden. They’re not tall, but the leaves are huge. Always make sure you plant them far enough away from smaller plants. I often have to cut back some of the squash leaves because they’re shading other plants too much.
This is the palm stump that I cut down a few years ago. The inside part began to decompose and sink pretty quickly, forming a perfect pot for small plants. I’ve been using it to grow radishes for a few years. I’ve added more soil as the inside continues to hollow out and sink, so this year I decided to grow a squash plant.
HERE’S SOME GOOD ADVICE ABOUT TRIMMING/CUTTING OFF SQUASH LEAVES: ALWAYS USE HEAVY GLOVES. Squash leaves and vines have tiny thorns all over them, and they’re somewhat irritating to your hands. It’s tempting to try to rip off old leaves with your bare fingers, like you do with other plants.
SOME GOOD ADVICE ABOUT HARVESTING SQUASH: ALWAYS USE A KNIFE OR CLIPPERS. When you try to bend or twist the stems off, it’s easy to tear off the end of the squash or rip the vine.
More on this year’s tomatoes in a future post.