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Produce Review September 1, 2006

Posted by Laura in Farm.
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We are to that time of the year when we throw up our hands and quit pretending we’re going to reclaim the garden from the weeds.  An acre of garden is just more than we can keep up with and we can admit it.  Last week I MOWED a path down the center aisle so we could get in and possibly whack our way through weeds taller than the kids to search for produce.  We are not proud of this, mind you- just honest.

Some diligent looking netted us some more melons and tomatoes.  The melon vines have tangled up and traveled so far that I’m no longer certain which kind is which, even though I drew a map of where each kind was planted.  Here is a picture of the haul from last week.

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The cantaloupes have all been pretty good this year, but the watermelons and honeydew types have almost all been a disappointment.  After toting 15 pound melons up to the house, washing, and cutting them, most tasted like cucumbers and went to the chickens.  Next year, we are planning to scale back on our garden.  We may opt to just grow cantaloupes since we’ve had better results with them.

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We also planted some interesting heritage tomato varieties from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (www.rareseeds.com).  From seed, we started Snowball, Pink Accordion, Black Prince, Dr. Wyche’s Yellow, Kellogg’s Breakfast, Green Zebra, Ananas Noire, and a number of others.  I was really looking forward to putting all the different colors together in a bowl, but some have never produced.  I’m not sure whether that is because they don’t thrive in this climate, didn’t get enough of some nutrient, an insect stunted them, or what.  Here are pictures of some that did produce well.

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(Top:  Pink Accordion was a conversation starter and beautiful when sliced.  Bottom:  Either Dr. Wyche’s Yellow or Kellogg’s Breakfast shown with prolific Roma for comparison).

Both of these were tasty, but had some pretty serious drawbacks.  The Accordions frequently had such deep creases that they got rotten spots in them before ripening.  They were also very hard to pick-  you had to cut the stems or you tore the vines and accidentally got unripe ones too.  Half of this variety went to the chickens. 

The yellow ones (not sure if they were the Kellogg’s Breakfast or Dr. Wyche’s Yellow) got to be a nice beefsteak size and were a pretty contrast to other things, but were at least half hard white core.  We may try one or both again since we still have more seed, but probably we will experiment with different ones next year.

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(Chickens consider tomatoes to be a summertime treat to come running for.  They happily eat all the ones that the bugs beat us to as well as all the skins and cores left after canning).

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