Mid June - 45 days in - time for a garden update. And an important anniversary. And a new family member.

 Listing of Cherokee Purple in the 1994 Southern Exposure Seed Exchange catalog...it was introduced the prior year (I no longer have that catalog, sadly)

Listing of Cherokee Purple in the 1994 Southern Exposure Seed Exchange catalog...it was introduced the prior year (I no longer have that catalog, sadly)

Twenty Five years ago, the tomato Cherokee Purple made its appearance on the world stage, available to gardeners for the first time. My friend Jeff McCormack, owner of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange at the time, and recipient of seeds of the variety from me in 1991 (just after I received seeds from J. D. Green of Sevierville TN, grew them and named the variety), decided it was of sufficient uniqueness and quality to carry it in his fine catalog. I love Jeff's phrase "for the adventurous"; it reminds us all that the so-called "black" tomatoes (purple or brown due to the retention of chlorophyll after ripening, deepening the color of the flesh) were essentially unknown back then (the only one being the weird Purple Calabash). Those who were enticed by the description certainly were adventurous. Watching the variety increase yearly in availability and popularity just makes me smile. 

Above are a series of pictures that show the state of my driveway garden in mid June. The garden consists of:

  • Two edges that contain straw bales and self watering containers holding indeterminate or dwarf tomatoes and basil
  • One row of beets, chard, sorrel, variegated water celery and lettuce in large containers come next. I am using those large pots for the stakes that support a row of tomatoes in 5 gallon grow bags that reside just in front of them.
  • Next come three mixed rows with straw bales and grow bags. Up and growing well are numerous dwarf tomatoes, microdwarf tomatoes, basil, bush beans, potatoes, cucumbers and summer squash.
  • Finally come several rows of dwarf tomatoes, eggplants and peppers.

It is certainly more garden than I expected to have. I love the size and diversity, and am pleased thus far with progress.

Going very well so far are the indeterminate tomatoes in straw bales, the basil in between each pair of plants, all of the greens (though the lettuce is coming to an end), the microdwarf and dwarf tomatoes and peppers and eggplants in grow bags, the cucumbers and squash and beans.

Issues to date are a worrying portion of one of my Sun Gold plants in the bales (surgery was carried out and the remaining leaders look good), the dwarfs in the central straw bales (the plants were not in the greatest health when planted and the bale prep was rushes - we shall see), one eggplant that may have a bit of rot on the stem (I took a cutting today to root), and the usual regular removal of lower foliage blemished with early blight and/or septoria lesions. The potatoes in the central location bale are touch and go as well. 

Below is a selection of recent pics that show some of the excitement - and good eating - to come.

Finally - welcome to our new pal, Mikey - arriving on June 10, spotted by Sue on Peak Lab Rescue's website. He is 6 years old, and totally wonderful (and the cats will realize it some day soon, we hope!).

 Mikey!

Mikey!