Heirloom Gardening Update It Stopped Raining!

Friends Drift Inn Farm – Gardening

Heirloom Tomato Plants finally in the garden!

Inn The Dirt – Heirloom Gardening in Appalachia

Finally, finally it has stopped raining…at least long enough to get the root bound, blooming tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants off the porch and into the garden! I can think of little else that would have made me happier this birthday weekend.

Here are a few snippets about how things are going:

Heirloom Tomatoes

Green Tomatoes ready for frying

Aunt Ruby’s German Green Tomatoes grew quick with strong stems and lush foliage. By far the most aggressive growth. (First year trial) Aunt Ruby’s is reportedly “the choice” to make top notch fried green tomatoes.

Cuore Di Bue (Oxheart) has been the second most vigorous, growing tall with very health foliage. (First Year trial) These are a tomato for sauces. I had every intention of growing out Amish Paste this year, but somehow they did not get planted. Sigh

The San Marzanos have been a little sulky since heat and humidity have settled in our mountain valley. Superior in taste to all the sauce tomatoes IMHO, I just cannot afford to buy these already canned. I sure hope they produce bushels!

The Hazelfields and Marglobes are shorter, but stocky and healthy. Rutgers, which has been my “go to” for canning has not performed well the last few years. Hazelfields are the darling of the Lexington Farmers Market, and Marglobes are an old variety which was always in the original Friends Drift Inn Garden. Of the three, the Hazelfields look the most promising.

The Riesentraube “Grape” tomato plants are a bit of a mystery to me. They are very short compared to all the others, but have a very pretty “umbrella” of foliage. Looking forward to seeing how these produce.

The Cherokee Purples look great this year, but the plants always do. It’s the fruit that is scarce, and often splits. But ohhhh, the taste!

The Yellow Pear Tomatoes were slow to germinate. So slow in fact that I replanted them, ending up with twice as many plants as I intended. That’s okay, I love Yellow Tomato Preserves!

Peppers, Eggplants, Squash and Melons

When it comes to the peppers, I just am never happy with their progress. The California Wonders, both green and gold, look okay. The Sweet Banana and   Hungarian Wax are satisfactory. The Cayennes,   Tabascos,   Fish Peppers,  Ashe County Pimentos, and Macaroni Peppers are just hanging around in a state of suspended animation. It makes me impatient, but I know in August they will finally pull a Hans Solo and get back to defending the pepper galaxy. The Joe’s Round, also a hot pepper, is growing much more aggressively than the other hots.

This is the first year I have grown eggplants from seed. They have been a big giggle, growing fast and furious. This year I have Long Purple, a favorite for grilling, and Listada de Gandia just because it is striped and pretty. Giggles

Due to the unusually wet weather, I started cucumbers, squash, and melons a few weeks ago, just to hedge my bets. Some require a long season, and the weather has made us late getting the garden ready. We’ll be transplanting these in a week or so, after I get the beans, okra, corn, and greens out. Look for gardening updates often!

How does your garden fare?

Friends Drift Inn Recipes, Gardening and Hot Flashes!

Peppers Sweet Bell, Hot Wax, Ceyenne Hot

More Gardening

Waiting for a Rain Delay
Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplants OH MY!
Pick a Peck of Peppers
Tomato Picks 2011 Part I

About Joyce Pinson

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.