Ripe and still-to-ripen sweet cherry tomatoes
Despite it being hotter than Haiti here in the Houston area, our garden still is spewing forth tomatoes and cucumbers. The fruits of our labor taste great in a salad!
Another ripe cherry tomato
It doesn’t surprise me that the cherry toms are continuing to ripen. However, just when I thought the Early Girls, of which we had picked our share, had stopped growing and were going to just stay green for the rest of the summer, like magic, the final half-dozen of them ripened practically together! They tasted just as good late in the season as early.
Of course, to no one’s surprise, the cucumbers just keep on coming. As I type, there are at least three more cukes ready to be picked.
The birds and the bugs have snatched their share of our tomatoes, but we’ve still harvested way more than last year (which was only a pitiful duo). Gardening is so much more fun when you have something to show for it . . . early and late!
My two baby cukeys
This is a photo story about two baby cucumbers that appeared in my garden a couple weeks ago and grew to be big and strong. When I saw the fuzzy, new growth side by side in our garden on May 22nd, I dubbed them “Cukey 1” and “Cukey 2.” Clever, I know. It’s a curse.
Already getting bigger after two days
Regular reader(s) know that last year we grew a katrillion cucumbers in our garden . . . and pert near nothin’ else. But even though we had cukes growing out our ears, there was one oddity: I never saw one start on the vine. Like they dropped from an oblong alien mothership, full-grown cucumbers would all of a sudden be there in the garden. Pretty weird stuff.
Baby cucumber appears on the vine
So this year I vowed to keep a lookout for the start of those cukes. Once I finally figured out what part of the vine they looked like, it was so much easier! And then I documented their growth. It was fast! Within 12 days those baby cukes in the top photo were ready to be picked.
Four days later
Eight days later
There even was a solo cucumber several feet away growing at the same pace.
Picked and ready to eat
On the twelfth day, I picked the three muscuketeers. And last night, cukey 1 was part of my dinner.
Cukey 1 is ready to eat.
I sliced it up along with an Early Girl and a Roma tomato from the garden. I dipped them into the best baba gannouj ever: Fountain of Health’s brand.
It was one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten! Totally cukelicious and almost totally homegrown. Thanks, cukey 1! Cukey 2 comes up to the plate (along with a couple more of our tomatoes) tonight. Soon the original three muscuketeers only will be a crunchy memory, but I know there will be many more cukes suddenly appearing in our garden before the growing season ends.
Better stock up on baba gannouj!
It’s a jungle out there!
It’s almost been nine weeks since we planted our garden. We’re still battling the weeds, as always, but we’re seeing even more veggies growing among the greenery.
Are the Early Girls late?
We have a bunch of Early Girl tomatoes, which were the first variety to appear in our garden. Supposedly the Late Babes should have ripened by now, but they’re still green as could be. I give them—and the rest of their veggie brethren—a pep talk every morning. So far none have thrown themselves at me.
If all the tomatoes ripen and don’t get pecked at by the pesky birds, we’ll have a boatload for salads and snacks and sharing with our neighbors. IF!
Cute cherry tomatoes
Better Boy tomatoes
It’s not just tomatoes that are busting out all over! We have banana peppers and green peppers almost ready to pick.
But those cucumbers? So far, we’ve had one grow to a smallish size and drop off its vine. It was delicious! Otherwise, it’s a waiting game. We know from last year’s crop of a bazillion cukes that they’ll show up so suddenly, it’s as if they’ve dropped from the sky. We can wait.
Hopefully, the next time I update the garden’s status, we’ll be seeing lots of RED scattered among all that GREEN!
Our garden today
I’m happy to report that our garden is growing—and that includes the vegetables and the weeds! Is the weeding never-ending? Can’t I have a garden that just grows what’s supposed to grow? Could it ever be that easy?
Apparently not for us. But at least we’re finally seeing some of the fruits . . . and veggies . . . of our labours (yes, I’m using the British version, because it makes us sound more serious). Let’s take a walk around the garden to see our bounty so far:
Early Girl tomatoes
It’s no surprise that the most-prolific tomato plant is the Early Girl one—it has seven plump tomatoes, while the rest only have one apiece.
The lonely Roma tomato
A lonesome Better Boy
As you can see, the garden is a great venue for practicing macro (close-up) photography (as usual, I used the Nikon 105mm macro lens on my Nikon D300). Open up that aperture (put it on the smallest number), focus, and snap away! Lots of great bokeh (blurred background) opportunities!
Tiny green peppers
What will they finally be?
Hmmm . . . what veggie will these lovely flowers finally yield? Actually, you need to look to the left of the flower. What’s growing here? A hint . . . we grew a bazillion of them last year. Yep, it’s the mighty cucumber! I can’t wait to see how many we harvest this year. I just hope we have just as many tomatoes for a change. We need to keep all those weeds and pesky birds out of our garden! If anyone has any suggestions, please leave them in the comments. We can use all the help we can get so we don’t get too contrary!
What is the #2 son up to?
Thanks to the torrential rain we had Friday night and most of Saturday (could’ve sworn I saw animals lining up two by two), our vegetable garden was filled with tall plants and an overgrowth of weeds. The Mister had yet to cage the tomato plants; he made that mistake last year, resulting in our harvesting only a couple pitiful tomatoes. But this time we were somewhat smarter, buying the cages at the same time we purchased the plants. Us ahead of the game? Rarely happens, unfortunately. We really have no track record to refer to.
the cagey Mister
So Sunday morning we headed out to the garden to weed and cage. Well, for the Mister to cage, the boys to weed, and me to snap a few pix before helping with the weeding.
The #1 son is NOT a happy camper!
#1 son: “Why do we have to do all this work when we don’t eat the veggies?”
Mean Mom: “Because you live under our roof, that’s why. And it’s your choice to not eat the great food we may be growing (which might only be cucumbers, if we get the same results this year as last). Now keep pulling!”
It was a lot of work, but soon we had most of the weeds pulled, and all the tomato plants caged. It was heartening to see some buds even forming. Could we actually be successful gardeners this year? Meanwhile, in the midst of all the working and the griping (does that ever end while they’re still in the house?), something strange happened. Remember Friday’s post about how the #2 son has turned from my sweet, willing photo model into a crazed celebrity type, shooing away the momarazzo? Suddenly in the middle of the veggie garden, he was transformed—he actually smiled for the camera! Of course, it could have just been an “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” moment, as a plant-based pod took over his body. Either way, it was heartwarming and welcome! Will this be a trend or just an aberration? Stay tuned, photo fans!