High Summer Garden

July 30, 2009 at 8:55 pm

It’s been a crazy summer in the garden this year. I decided to plant more than I might should have, and Colorado responded with more rain than we’ve seen in a decade. The result? Truly epic.

The tomatillos are looking really good

Snow Peas
Part of my plan this year was to plant some early season veggies, which I did far too early. By the time May and June came around, we finally had a huge crop of lettuce and cilantro. I also grew a giant pile of unruly snow peas. These plants grew to almost four feet tall (long), but took months to get around to flowering.

I had this problem last year, I had one pea plant that grew and grew and never flowered. Eventually, last year, I went insane and actually PRUNED the plant down to a managable size, and it burst into bloom immediately afterward.

This year, I had 30 unruly pea plants, all growing forever with no blooms, and I didn’t want to put up with their shit. So I hacked them down to size in the second week of June, and they burst forth into huge bloom. They kept growing though, and the ball of pea plants was too dense to harvest or even monitor, plus they looked horrible, so I pulled them all out in frustration at the beginning of July. I may not plant peas again.

Baby tomato plants share a pot with the lettuce

Spring to Summer Transition
As mentioned previously, the lettuce crop was pretty great this year. I have 6 different containers for plants in front of my house, so I got clever this year and tried double use. Once the lettuce was well established, I planted new tomato plants in the center. This actually worked really well. The tomatoes grew nicely in the same pots as the lettuce, until the weather got really warm, and the lettuce started bolting. I pulled out the lettuce and left the tomatoes to take over.

A beautiful blooming bit of the tropics in my front yard!

Kauai Plant!
Three years ago, Mark and I had a beautiful week of vacation on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. I was so in love with the place, that I brought a cutting from one type of flowering bush back with me to Colorado. This litle stick in a pot has been a huge challange to my plant growing skills ever since.

This year, I managed to keep four (4!) leaves on the plant through the winter, so I repotted the little plant and it got very happy. I put it outside for the summer, and it actually grew a bloom! For the last month, my little kauai plant has had the most beautiful, wondeful smelling globe of blooms on it. It takes me back to the islands.

Lots of green tomatos still about

Produce ripening
Much like the peas that never bloomed, I now have four tomato plants covered in green tomatoes, which refuse to ripen. Last summer, I had the same problem, my tomatoes never did get ripe, and in the fall, I pulled out plants covered in little, hard, green tomatoes. I am determined to not let this happen again.

So, I’ve been doing some research to figure out tricks and tips for helping your tomato plants ripen their fruit. The most promising leads are shock and awe. It seems some plants may need a distinct change of some sort to determine it is time to ripen fruit. Some feeling that the summer is getting late. So, to shock them, I have turned my watering way up, and pruned a few branches. The ‘awe’ part follows from the fact that ripening fruit is an energy intensive process. So I re-fertilized the tomatoes and peppers pretty intensely.

In the last week since these changes, I have had two tomatoes start ripening and several of my peppers move from green into the yellow and orange regions! Yey!

But this one has started to ripen! Success!