Beaverlodge Tomato

Summer in Northwest is very unpredictable, we never have sunny days in row. Most of the summer days include morning cloud cover and afternoon sunshine with 4-5 days of abundant heat (maybe in 90s). Not so good news for us gardeners who want to grow main crop tomatoes. Here by the time tomato plants grow, bear fruits and begin to ripen – comes September/October and plants are threatened with frost. I see many many people (friends and co-workers) growing tomatoes during summer and end up with baskets of green, unripe tomatoes by frost.

That’s the reason I am growing ‘Ultra-early’ or ‘Cold-Set’ tomatoes. Tomatoes which ripe earliest or set fruit/ripen in relative cold. For main-crop tomatoes, I have never had success with seed started plants, they just never reach maturity before frost hits. I have bought plants from Fred Meyer for main-season. My house sits on cooler side with morning sun exposure so it is extremely important for me to grow tomatoes well suited for my micro-climate.

The very first tomato to ripen this year is Beaverlodge.

“Beaverlodge tomato is bred at the Beaverlodge Research Center in Alberta Canada, these are Sub-Arctic series of tomatoes developed for short season gardening. They are considerably larger than cherry tomatoes and take about a month less than regular tomatoes. The plants are determinate, which means they form compact, bushy plants rather than sprawling ones. That growth habit makes these varieties suitable for container growing.”

Here is pictorial:
 
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It made to the daily harvest yesterday 🙂

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Weekly Update: July, week 4. How can another week go by so fast?

Finally summer has arrived in Seattle and it is staying, we are enjoying beautiful days. Temperatures are staying in 80s, it is just so perfect – not too hot and not too cold, loving it much! Nice weather to my family means lots of outdoor time, hiking, visiting places and that’s the reason garden work is getting neglected.

It’s been long since I have sown anything, my time is just so consumed with weeding and HARVESTING produce. Here are some pictures of my harvests over last 2-3 weeks.

I have not started fall planting yet. OMG – thought just gives me shivers and I exactly know what that means – no broccoli or Brussels sprouts for me this fall. I have to be better next year. I have to make commitment to start fall sowing at least till this weekend.

We have been harvesting and eating lots of berries and fruits from Garden. We picked about 70 Bing cherries, 140+ raspberries (oh so delicious!) and 70+ strawberries. YES! I have won war against slugs, this year I was able to eat strawberries. Thank you SLUGGO! We also employed tacky methods to stop crows from taking cherries before we could, that involved – hanging old napster turbo tax CDs, wind chimes, blackberry thorns and mom’s old saree. I wish I could show you photo (I lost it with camera crash) but you get the idea… Mainly harvests for last 2 weeks were fenugreek (methi), strawberries and random other veggies. Here are more photos of what we have been eating from garden.

We were talking potatoes last week here’s another one that I pulled.DSC_0040

Strawberries, 2 blueberries and bok choy (some slug damage) DSC_0011

More Methi and strawberries 

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1 Salad head (Black Seeded Simpson), Turnips (Purple Top White) and few French Breakfast Radishes. Yes, Northwest can still produce radishes, we are not hot yet.

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Lovely Chard and blueberries

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More fenugreek and strawberries. I am making lots of methi thepalas these days 🙂

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Potatoes

Potato growing experiment is a success! I planted out just 3 potato eyes to check if potatoes can really be grown where I live, turns out – Yes, we can!! From just one potato, I planted 3 eyes, already got 3 big one and 4 tiny taters. Second plant is yet to flower so I am waiting on digging it out. I am sure that next year I am set to double it 🙂 New potatoes had very delicate skin, came out just by rubbing potatoes with hand. They were so yummy, I microwave baked them and sprinkled with rock salt. Potatoes just melted in mouth – no butter required here.

I read that potatoes should only be planted out in Spring, but can I plant them out now? Will they grow? Has anyone tried growing them in summer, maybe this is good new experiment for me.

Geekgardener posted a comment that I am missing my potato harvest photo. Yes, between my camera issues and phone losing all it’s data – I lost lots of photos, glad this one was safe in archive.

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Back after gardening break

Towards end of June it starts to get really busy at work and lasts well into first few weeks of July. It is that time of the year, although I had decided to spend some time with garden every day, it did not happen. This time really coincides with start of fall gardening, fertilizing summer veggies but it goes on backburner. Well, things have now eased up and finally I can concentrate more on home front and garden too.

On from 5th July we are blessed with sunnier days and warmer temperatures, garden is loving every bit of the sunshine. I managed lot of gardening work yesterday, cleaning up garden – raking, weeding, deadheading old flower stalks. I transplanted pepper/eggplant/karela that have been indoors so far. Something has been chewing up on squash, I already lost 7 seedlings so I moved remaining Squash to other location. By now, I should be getting baby zukes but this damage is giving me a month of late start.

Last week was all about picking berries and fruit. I have a 4 year old Bing Cherry tree out in the yard, crows in my neighborhood wait impatiently to pick cherries from this tree. After loosing quite a bit semi-ripe cherries couple weeks back, I decorated the tree with old reflective CDs, wind chimes, blackberry thorns to scare crows away. Crows didn’t budge so I had to cover few branches with soft cloth (my mom’s old saree), that did the trick and I was able to pick sweet, succulent cherries. I got 3 raspberry canes from a friend last year, one broke during windstorm last year, 2 of the remaining canes came loaded this year. I got abundant berries from just these 2 canes – about 150. Canes that bore fruit this year will die down this year but raspberry sends out baby plants so I’ll have few more canes next year. I already spot 4-5 new canes but I’ll have to do some rearranging and placing for next year’s.
June bearing Strawberries are giving me fruits now – in July. Me and girls went with big basket yesterday and got big basketful. Generous sprinkling of sluggo last week really helped with slugs attack, at least I am eating strawberries this year vs last year I was picking leftovers from slugs.

Over last couple weeks, I have picked generous amount of chard, bok choy, sping onions and big bunches of turnips. First potatoes were also picked. Here are some photos:

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I am already very late on fall planting, I have to fire up this week and get cranking ….

Weekly Update: week 27, more sowing and berries galore

Start to the summer is surely bringing sunnier days to western Washington. Days are in high 60s and nights are staying above 50s, days are longer. This all translates into end of spring veggies, many of then are dying, bolting or yellowing. Summer vegetables are not growing big yet due to lack of real heat. Sun is out there but mostly hidden behind cloud covers. This weather is predicted to last first few days into July.
About a month back, my FIL built few vegetables beds using untreated cedar wood. two of these beds sit in shaded part of the garden, these receive mild morning sun till about 2 pm. I started out this bed with Rapini, lettuce, turnip and Spinach – all cool loving crops. Although it’s not hot yet here, spinach and rapini bolted and is pulled last weekend. This bed was poorly planted and underutilized since it’s built, now it is planned and planted for summer months – again with cool loving plants. Here’s how how it is planted:
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Berries are ready, almost ready, maybe in about 1-2 weeks. Raspberries were earliest, these sit in sunniest spot. I picked very first raspberry on June 17th, they have been ripening steadily over last 2 weeks. I pick about 10 almost every 3 days from just 3 canes. I cannot wait for next year when these 3 canes have produced some more baby plants which will bear fruit next year. Strawberries are getting plump, they are still green though. last year most of strawberries were attacked by slugs – this year I have sprinkled generous sluggo around strawberries and protected them with copper barrier on one side. Let’s see how that goes 🙂 I got 2 small blueberry plants alongside north fence, these berries will ripen soon.

Harvest continues – I picked Mustard which was ready to bolt, used it in mustard-bean curry on Sunday. Raspberries are flowing in. My biggest surprise and excitement came from real potatoes this week. Back in April when I came back from India, I saw 2 supermarket bought potatoes sprouted in pantry. Instead of tossing in trash, I cut ‘eyes’ and buried them out. Fast forward 3 months – Potato plant had flowered, 3 days back I buried my fingers down in soil and felt a good size potato. I could not wait any longer and dug out the plant – I got 3 good size potatoes and there were several tiny ones forming (I’ll wait a little longer next time). I have one more potato plant that isn’t flowering yet.

Sorry, no photos for the week. Camera is acting funny and refuses to take any pictures. Happy Gardening!