We have been away for a glorious 2 weeks of sun, sand, sailing, hiking, playing, splashing and NO TV or INTERNET in beautiful Cape Breton!! Other than Wifi in the odd restaurant and the radio, we have been unplugged and oblivious.
And we loved it. Even the kids – we borrowed 2 extra kids to keep ours entertained and they didn’t even seem to notice how disconnected we were in the “stiff tents” that we lovingly escape to with our extended family every summer. For the first time in a long time, we all came home sun kissed, rested and fulfilled.
Thankfully while we were away, my mother came over to tend the garden, picking what was ready and diligently keeping our weight records for us – I have a lot of work ahead of me tallying for August – but that will have to wait because….WE HAVE RIPE TOMATOES!!!
And I am a tomato junkie of the highest degree, as are my girls. As I write I am eating a bowl full of beautiful fresh ‘maters with basil, cukes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, oh my, my, my….yum!
This gallery contains pictures from throughout the summer of various planting methods that we are experimenting with. We don’t have great luck with big tomato yields because we live on a windy hill and are susceptible to blight. We are trying containers, big and small, on the raised deck and the lower patio, raised beds, rows with red film, interplanting with black film and with different herbs and flowers.
Stakes vs Cages
Interplanted under black plastic
In small container on deck
In container on Patio
Planted with Basil
Results to date:
Planters: Early on, the plants in the planters on the deck took off but over time they have been hit worse by the wind and lack of moisture. They are still producing in the big planters though slower than in the garden proper but the smaller planters have succumbed despite extra epsom salts, persistent watering when required and suckering off sick leaves. I think the extremely hot days and cold nights have hurt them.
Red Plastic: First of all, this stuff does not block weeds – it lets the sun in and the weeds simply grow up underneath the plastic. Initially the slowest method, these plants seem to be have the most fruit and least amount of foliage.
Black Plastic: By far the best weed blocker and maintains moisture the most evenly. There is a more proportional ratio of leaves to fruit than with the planters, but to date we have not picked any ripe fruit from them. This could be because we planted a later variety but they are definitely behind the same variety in the red film bed.
Raised beds: These are the largest, healthiest plants. They took the longest to form fruit, but have not struggled as bad during wet spells and as long as they have been watered (more often than in the rows), they have not been bothered by the heat either.
There is no clear winner yet between the red and black film or the raised beds, but planters on the raised deck have been voted out of practice next year. We will keep a few on the lower, more sheltered patio because they are very convenient, but they will only be placed in larger planters. Time will tell!
Here are a few photos taken by the girls of our treasures – hands down taste favourite is the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes – no competition… second place so far goes to Mennonite, followed by Gold Dust, Alaska and then Scotia. We are waiting for Subarctic Plenty, Black Plum, Big Beef and Lemon Boy to ripen up to compare. What are your favourites?
The winner – Sun Gold!!
Runner Up to date – Menonnite
From top right to bottom left: Menonnite, Gold Dust, Scotia, Alaska, Black Plum (not ripe – wee hands picked by accident…), Sun Gold.
Tonight’s “snack”!!! Stay tuned – we are just getting started on the Tomato-Geddin’ fallout!
“Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” ~ Miles Kingston