Thursday, July 26, 2007

ANTICIPATION [an-tis-uh-pay-shuhn]

Whatever happened to Miss Lemon Tree, you ask? Well, those blossoms did get pollinated and a cluster of 8 lemons is forming. They sort of look like limes now, but I'm pretty sure this is a lemon tree, and lemons turn yellow when they ripen. I counted up all the baby lemons on her and there are 24. At this point, can't say if they will all stay put until ripening, but I have a good feeling at least a few will. I'll be ecstatic if even one grows to maturity and I get to eat it. I want to make a Shaker Lemon Pie. Having to be purchased and not grown, lemons were somewhat of a luxury for early Shakers. Not wanting to waste even the skin, the entire lemon is used to make this pie. Something about that thrifty sentiment appeals to me as a grower of a highly anticipated fruit.

Left to Right: Lemon Blossoms June 8th, 5/8" fruit forming July 11th, 1 1/4" fruit July 26th.

Speaking of highly anticipated. Guess what I discovered yesterday? The Super Bush Tomato plant finally has blushing fruit! Yup, it's from that cluster I've been watching from the start. I think I should be able to pick it within a week's time. I've already planned what I want to do with it... a BLT sandwich. I've been eating cherry tomatoes regularly now, but it's not quite the same, is it? Actually, I like the big meaty beefsteaks for my BLT's, but these will do just fine.

There was a third fruit blushing further up the plant. It had blossom end rot, also known as BER. BER is a physiological problem and can occur for a variety of reasons, due to environmental conditions that affect the uptake of water and calcium. It cannot be controlled by fungicides or insecticides. Keeping the plant adequately and consistently watered, and having the soil at the proper pH is the best you can do for it. Some tomato varieties are predisposed to it and there's really not much you can do to prevent it, other than growing something else next year. I removed the fruit with BER because it will be inedible and I don't want the plant putting anymore energy into it. I threw it in the woods without thinking. After it left my hand, I realized I could have photographed it to show what BER looks like, but oh well. If it happens again, and I really don't want it to, I will take a photo. But lets just say, it looks like a black mushy spot on the bottom of the tomato. Bacteria and fungus quickly get into the compromised skin and rot the fruit. You'll know it when you see it. Don't fret about it though, it usually only presents itself in the first, and unfortunately most anticipated, fruits. It should clear up on it's own. It cannot spread to other fruits or plants. Just remove those affected fruits and think about it no more.

Super Bush Tomatoes finally turning red. The bottom fruit is that first tomato we looked at back in June.

Remember I showed you that bright purple Aurora pepper? Well, the plants are covered with peppers now. There are a few orange peppers showing. Nothing quite red yet, but soon. I'm going to let this one ripen to red before I try it. The first purple pepper I tried wasn't very hot at all, sort of like a radish. The second one I tried, was much hotter. Hot peppers are supposed to get more flavorful as they ripen, so I'm interested to see how this pepper develops.

Aurora Pepper plant. A prolific producer of small pretty peppers.

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