Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mid-August vegetables

The chili plant and a close-up of the same. I started this one from seed (actually, all shown here are from seed), transferred it outside, and then saw it wither and seemingly die. However, after abandoning it for awhile in the pot, I noticed it had come back to life and transplanted it. It kept going. This plant has been through a lot because I also up-ended the pot it's in when the hose caught on it, and it survived being re-planted a second time from that as well:

Finally, I am seeing some female squash flowers. For quite awhile, I was only getting male flowers and that means no fruit! The third photo is a squash forming above a rhododendron bud. The squash plants have exceeded the space I allotted to them.

Basil around the base of a tomato plant. As always, a long time coming.

Mountain ash berries. The birds like them but I don't think there are many human applications.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tomatoes: the joke isn't funny anymore

The tomatoes won't stop coming. Best of all, most of these are Brandywine. The yellow/orange ones are Old German, and the perfect-looking smaller red ones on top of the pile are one type of hybrid or another.

I was hoping to eat them all fresh, but it is getting a bit overwhelming.

It's a shame to can these because you lose the depth of taste. But, that'll probably be what I'll have to do with many of them. The shelf life on these is short compared to the hybrid ones, which will easily last a week unrefrigerated.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Brandywine tomatoes ripening by the day

My Brandywine tomatoes have started to ripen, which is a good thing because I think they're my favourite of the ones I've tried.

I don't really buy into that idea that locally- or self-grown vegetables always taste better than supermarket ones. My own lettuce does not taste much better than a supermarket one, nor do my green beans. The hybrid tomatoes I grow are about on-par with the quality sweet salad tomatoes you get in clamshells (i.e. Campari). Peas? Not much difference. Pumpkins? Not really.

But the heirloom tomatoes like Brandywine are a different story. They are quite fragile so you don't see them in the supermarkets very much. I did see them at an organic supermarket in Oakville for $5-6/lb, which is obviously pricey and especially so given the weight of them. They are often a bit scabby and have insect holes and folds here and there, but nothing that really gets in the way. The skin is fragile, so it tends to split as the tomato is growing and then heal, causing the scab.

The hybrid tomatoes have much tougher skins and are rarely insect-eaten. They look perfect. They taste fine but aren't all that special.

Anyway, here are the Brandywine tomatoes I picked this morning:

And here is the jungle they came from: