Monthly Archives: August 2012

Tomatoes! (And a Workshop)

Tomatoes! Tomatoes! Tomatoes! I’m awash in fresh tomatoes. Sparkling red jars of canned tomatoes are lined up on the kitchen counter. Thin discs of dried tomatoes fill other jars. And out in the garden, tomato leaves are dropping from disease. All things tomato are center stage in the garden.

Kellog’s Breakfast, strange name but beautiful and delicious

It’s been fun comparing flavors of fresh slices of tomatoes. Brandywine and Belgian Giant, for instance, are both scrumptious, with Belgian Giant being a little more tomato-y. Cherokee Purple is also delicious, this one with a rich, slightly smokey flavor. In addition to my usual favorites, one new variety (for me), Kellog’s Breakfast, will become a regular in my garden. This heirloom has an odd name and a flesh that is at the same time meaty and juicy. The skin of these large fruits …

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Deferred Gratification

UPCOMING WORKSHOPS WITH LEE:

Hawthorne Valley Farm, Ghent, NY, 9/9, http://hawthornevalleyfarm.org/event/grow-fruit-naturally-workshop, Grow Fruit Naturally

Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY, 9/22,  http://www.stonebarnscenter.org/products/backyard-fruit-for-small-gardens.html, Fruits for Small Gardens

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One of the things I like least about gardening is its deferred gratification. I planted a Beurée d’Amanlis pear tree a couple of years ago and don’t expect to sink my teeth into one of its fruits until next year. I planted Indian Summer rudbeckia seeds a couple of weeks ago so that I can enjoy swaths of orange-tinged, yellow blossoms this time next year. Yesterday I transplanted endive seedlings, from seeds sown back in early July, into a garden bed to provide succulent, green leaves for salads, soups, and stews beginning this October.

My mini forest, 15 years old: sugar maple, river birch, buartnut

Not that deferred gratification is all that bad. After …

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Blackberries Galore!

UPCOMING WORKSHOP WITH LEE:
Philadelphia Orchard Project, 8/22, http://www.phillyorchards.org/volunteer/schedule, Fruit Growing Simplified

The following is adapted from my new book GROW FRUIT NATURALLY:
If your fingers aren’t stained after you’ve picked blackberries, you’re not eating them at their very best. And this is the year — my year, at least — for blackberries. Spring weather threw a curve ball that pretty much wiped out my developing apples, hardy kiwifruits, and pears, but blackberries are among a number of other fruits that waited patiently in spring, and whose branches are now bowed to the ground under a heavy load of fruit. An especially heavy load due to a mild winter? abundant rain (to say the least, from hurricane Irene and tropical storm Lee) late last summer? my green thumb? Who knows?
After succumbing to temptation and plucking a few of the first blackberries of the season underripe, I can wait for …

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Upcoming Workshops & Cracking, Red Tomatoes

UPCOMING WORKSHOPS WITH LEE:

NOFA Summer Conference, Amherst, MA, 8/10-12,http://www.nofasummerconference.org, Grow Fruit Naturally, Fruits for Small Spaces, Multidimensional Vegetable Gardening

Philadelphia Orchard Project, 8/22, http://www.phillyorchards.org/volunteer/schedule, Fruit Growing Simplified

Hawthorne Valley Farm, Ghent, NY, 9/9, http://hawthornevalleyfarm.org/event/grow-fruit-naturally-workshop, Grow Fruit Naturally

Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY, 9/22,  http://www.stonebarnscenter.org/products/backyard-fruit-for-small-gardens.html, Fruits for Small Gardens

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Not that I needed explanations, but now I have two more as to why my tomatoes taste so good. A green thumb is not one of them.


Actually, the explanation is not why tomatoes plucked from my vines taste so good but, rather, why the perfect, red orbs — called “tomatoes” — dumped onto supermarket shelves don’t taste so good. For this study, agricultural scientist Harry Klee, at the University of Florida, gathered together a whole lot of heirloom and modern tomato varieties …

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UPDATED WORKSHOP SCHEDULE

Here’s an update of my previously posted workshop schedule:

NOFA Summer Conference, Amherst, MA, 8/10-12, http://www.nofasummerconference.org, Grow Fruit Naturally, Fruits for Small Spaces, Multidimensional Vegetable Gardening

Philadelphia Orchard Project, 8/22, http://www.phillyorchards.org/volunteer/schedule, Fruit Growing Simplified

Hawthorne Valley Farm, Ghent, NY, 9/9, http://hawthornevalleyfarm.org/event/grow-fruit-naturally-workshop, Grow Fruit Naturally

Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY, 9/27,  http://www.stonebarnscenter.org/products/backyard-fruit-for-small-gardens.html, Fruits for Small Gardens

Seedy Visions, Some Hard, Some Eeasy

What a perfect time of year to plant seeds. Yes, seeds! There’s no rush as to timing, with flower seeds, at least; there’s no worry about the soil being warm enough for germination; there’s no need to squeeze seed flats together near sunny windows; and there are plenty of empty seed flats. 

Right now I have seedlings of endive, lettuce, kale, cauliflower, and cabbage growing in seed flats. The seedlings call the flats “home” for a month or more before they’re transplanted into beds now housing early corn, early bush beans, and other vegetables soon to be cleared away. Timing for these plants is critical if they’re going to be ready for harvest during the cool days from late September on into November. Cabbage and cauliflower were sown in early June, endive in early July, and lettuce, for a continued harvest through summer and fall, every …

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UPCOMING WORKSHOPS WITH LEE

Upcoming workshops with Lee Reich:

NOFA Summer Conference, Amherst, MA, 8/10-12, http://www.nofasummerconference.org, Grow Fruit Naturally, Fruits for Small Spaces, Multidimensional Vegetable Gardening

Hawthorne Valley Farm, Ghent, NY, 9/9, http://hawthornevalleyfarm.org/event/grow-fruit-naturally-workshop, Grow Fruit Naturally

Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY, 9/27, http://www.stonebarnscenter.org/fruits-for-small-gardens/, Fruits for Small Gardens