Once again the phrase “best laid plans…” comes to mind. Each garden is like New Year’s Day, filled with resolutions - “I will pay more attention to what my plants are telling me”. “I will space my garden out more”. “I will plant less plants so that I can attend to those I do plant more successfully”. And, my favorite broken resolution, “I will sucker my plants, make them simpler to stake, and top them when they reach the top of the stake”. Yeah, right.
I am really not complaining…just poking fun at myself a bit. To tell the truth, this has been a most delightful start to the harvest phase of the 2019 garden season. A friend came by to see it the other day and I told her “the garden will never look better than today - it is downhill from here”. I was correct - tipping plants, lower foliage disease, the effects of extreme heat and humidity are now taking their toll, as the picking commences.
I think of the coming weeks as the “keep it watered and fed, do the best that is possible with keeping the plants tied and upright and healthy, and pick those ripe tomatoes and enjoy” part of the experience. It will all go by way too fast, as the blur of daily watering, weekly feeding, regular harvesting, and eating/cooking/seed saving/preserving make each day seem like a mere few hours. Oh, what fun! And we get to do it anew every year!
A few stats for the 4th of July - every plant growing has excellent fruit set…eggplants are ready to harvest and peppers are right behind them. I’ve picked tomatoes from 28 different plants (there are another 100 or so yet to ripen a tomato), with Taxi, Azoychka, Indian Stripe, Cherokee Purple and a heart shaped pink striped variety from the Scotty family (dwarf tomato project work) as the initial non-cherry tomatoes to ripen. Flavors of nearly everything are just delightful.
Aside from working in the garden, I am getting ready for events at Logan, Acme, the Raleigh History Museum, Duke Garden and Longwood garden - all details are on my speaking page, found here. I am particularly happy with the timing of the local events…it is tomato time and I hope to do some small tastings at each!
I hope those of you on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter are following my #DailyPlant2019 posts in which I feature one tomato, pepper or eggplant type daily. I am @nctomatoman on Twitter and Instagram, and my Facebook author page is craiglehoullier. Follow along and comment freely on what you see!
One more thing to add - it amazes me to think of the time that has gone by since Epic Tomatoes was released (December 2014) - somehow, nearly 5 years have passed. My friends at Storey Publishing shared a bit of data with me on my books that staggered me a bit - there are more than 60,000 copies of Epic Tomatoes in print (it will soon be in a 6th reprinting) - it has hundreds of reviews on Amazon and Good Reads (sincere thanks to those of you who went through the effort of providing a review! It is never too late to do so, and it helps me improve as a writer to receive and read your reviews, so if you have not done so, please share your thoughts). As for Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales, there are nearly 20,000 copies in print and the next reprint will be its 4th. Thanks to you all for your support - it means a lot.