Monday, July 16, 2007

Harvest a Rainbow

Hard work pays off. 2 lbs of beans (4 kinds), 6 Sungold Cherry tomatoes, 4 Tumbling Tom Red Cherry Tomatoes,
3 Mini Red Bell Peppers, 1 Sweeter Yet Cucumber, & some Blueberries.

If it hasn't been made clear yet, I like color. I like to plant veggies in many colors and enjoy looking at them, as much as eating them. Variety is the spice of life, so whenever possible, I grow more than one type of each vegetable I grow. Who says a tomato has to be red? Certainly not me!

I like to see the veggies as they grow on the plant. As consumers, we are removed from our food and how it grows. All we see is the finished product neatly displayed in masses on supermarket shelves. We forget the work it takes for the farmer to produce it, and the wonder of the workings of nature.

Tumbling Tom Red Cherry Tomato, can be grown by anyone with a hanging basket and a spot of full sun.

Thanks to the advances of modern civilization, we can get any type of produce, any time of year, flown in from around the globe. We lose touch with the natural rhythm of the seasons. The anticipation of a ripe tomato, warmed by the sun, is replaced by the instant gratification of the perfectly red round tomatoes available in the winter, but how do they taste?

Sungold Cherry Tomatoes ripe for picking.

Above you see a picture of Sungold Cherry Tomato. This hybrid tomato is grown by a lot of folks, including people who consider themselves to be heirloom growers (who otherwise don't grow hybrids). It is a well loved tomato. Now I could have cropped this picture differently, showing more of the right and leaving out the not so pretty vinyl garden tape wrapped around the stem. But I wanted to illustrate something really cool about tomatoes. They are very, very resilient. Early in the season, I accidentally broke this branch, about half way through. It was still attached, but hanging by a thread. I wrapped the tape around the wound and the tomato healed itself. I've even known gardeners to use bandaids. I just use the stretchy vinyl tape that I usually have with me to tie things up around the garden and it works for me. This tomato went on to grow beyond that break and seems no worse for wear.

Miniature Red Bell Peppers are ripening before the normal size peppers in my garden.

Miniature Red Bell Peppers are so cute! They don't have as much growing to do as the full sized bell peppers, and have started to ripen earlier. They're my appetizer peppers. My seed source says these are good for stuffing, and using as an hors d'vour. I'll just take their word for it. The largest one in the photo is only about the size of a ping pong ball.

Purple Beauty Pepper turning from green to purple.

Sorry to say, this guy is not ripening. Not even close, but I thought I'd add him to this post because he is changing color. The purple beauty pepper starts out green, then changes to a deep purple, before ripening to red. You can pick it at any time, but for a sweet flavor, wait for the red color to appear. Patience pays off.

Finally, I am issuing a challenge today to anyone who's reading this and not growing anything edible. My challenge is for you to grow something, and eat it. That is all. It's not too late in the season, you can still grow many crops. Just look on the seed packet info for "days to maturity". The fewer days to maturity, the more time you'll have to enjoy it before the frost. We are approximately 90 days away from the anticipated first frost for my area. Don't have enough room? Even lettuce or some herbs can be grown in a pot on a window ledge or patio. What about seeds? They sell them in many grocery stores, garden centers, or discount stores. You get the most for your money growing from seed. For a really easy start, buy seedlings and stick them in a pot with some potting mix. Grow something. I know you want to.

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