Over at This Garden is Illegal blog Hanna has started posting her 2008 tomato tasting report. Hanna has been doing this for awhile and hers is one of the best tomato tasting on the web. She lives in the suburbs of Cleveland, OH. In her blog she ” waxes on and off about her garden, the flowers, what she wants to do in her yard and how it all fits into her everyday life”, but it’s her tomato tasting report that you will want to check in on regularly. She reviews the really odd varieties that you just don’t hear much about.
She also asks “If you do your own tomato tasting (which I highly recommend), you can either link to it from the comments here or shoot me an email and I will link to it from within this post. The point of this is to create a real review of all the 100s of varieties of tomatoes available. Life is too short to have to rely on seed sellers descriptions (have you ever heard of a bad tomato from them). Share your tomato love with the world.”
I like to train my cucumbers, squash, melons, and other vining vegetables up using bamboo tee-pees. As the vine grows I just keep tucking the foliage into the tee-pee. The fruit develops of the ground and withing easy reach. this is a great method for vegetables grown in containers.
weather map of northern California
Here is the weather service map for northern California. Colorful isn’t it? Those colors are watches and warnings which are for my neck of the woods. They include, excessive heat alert, red flag warning, hazardous weather outlook, and a special weather statement. The smoke from the fires has made working outdoors a chore. Monica and I have to water the plants and keep things going which means working outside in this. Yesterday it was 90 degrees F. at 9:00 am. We are suppose to get to 105 degrees F. today. Relief toward the end of the weekend, or so it’s rumored.
It’s common this time of year to hear people lament that the squash plants they have planted are flowering but not fruiting. What’s happening is that squash plants have both female and male flowers. What this means is the plant must first produce flowers of both sexes so the bees can pollenize the flowers. Once that happens the fruit forms. When squash plants first start flowering they tend to produce flowers of only one sex. So no fertilization occurs, hence no fruit. Sometimes small fruit are set fall right off. This is for the same reason. Lack of pollination.
What’s the solution? Wait, the plant will soon produce flowers of both sex and fruit will be formed. This is one of those times when “patience’ is called for. Of course as we wait for our first vegetables of the season that quality is often abandoned.
This is the second blog for The Golden Gecko Garden Center. Our first blog “The Blogging Nurseryman” has become my way to address issues in the nursery business as well as other odds and ends I want to talk about. That being said we felt that we needed a new blog to discuss with you our reader our ideas about gardens and gardening in northern California. This will be that space. No discussions about the nursery industry here.
To get started lets discuss what I believe is one of the most important practices for planting in the summer in hot climate conditions. Mulching. The placement of bark or other top dressing around the base of the plants for water conservation. Make no doubt, if you plant in the summer, in the full sun a 2 to 3 inch layer of bark or compost will make the difference between life and death for the plants.
A newly planted shrub or tree has been watered on a daily basis at the nursery. When you plant the top of the rootball is at the soil level. When the sun shines down it will dry the top layer of soil out before you can get water to it. Small roots die and the plant goes into stress. The mulch acts as a insulator or “sunblock” for the ground. The sun hits the mulch, and doesn’t dry out the rootball.
I like to add fresh mulch every year to compensate for decomposition and loss. keep the mulch away from the trunk of the plant by a few inches. From there extend the mulch out beyond the outermost branches (dripline).
Here is short video we made on mulching. Enjoy.