Sunday, July 31, 2011

First Watermelons and more. July 31, 2011

Well, I am so happy with my first harvest of watermelon, there are still some on the vines ripening.  These are the Heirloom from Iraq, "Ali Baba". I cut one of the smaller ones and it was delicious ... and g-ma Iris really loved em, saying, "I just can't believe you grew these out there, .... wonderful!".
Here is a picture:

Ali Baba - an heirloom from Iraq. The one I am holding is 14.8 pounds and the longer one is 12.2. I just love the look CoCo has in this picture.

Also here is a picture of the first Irish Heirloom tomato also picked today  ... Dandy!

Irish Heirloom. A huge "block of a tomato". This is just the average size.

My daughter Grace (on right) and her friend Harley, not really sure what is on display here, the Irish tomato, or the lasses, which ever,..... they're all DANDIES!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Quicky Follow-up To Yesterdays Post

Hi again... finally some rain and a cloudy day that followed... really brought the vigor back to the Patch. Here are some pictures of this mornings harvest. Gita Beans, Italian Heirloom Tomatoes, Large Red Cherry Tomatoes and some Mexican Sour Gherkin cucumbers. The little Mexican Gherkins are a favorite with Grace and the kids. Now don't forget to check out yesterdays Post too if you haven't already.

Gita Beans an exceptionally sweet Asian green bean.

Gita beans, I picked a large tomato shipping box full this morning. HEY.. keep your eyes on the BEANS and not that handsome guy..... oh ...

This is what the hard work is all about.

Large Red Cherry Tomatoes & Mexican Sour Gherkins.

A perspective of the size of the tiny gherkins.

Italian Heirloom tomatoes, True Lemon cucumbers and common Basil.
G-ma Iris with a colander of Italian Heirloom tomatoes, True Lemon cucumbers, and Basil.

My Mom, Iris.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

FINALLY an UPDATE - July 24, 2011

Well, SO much has changed since my last post that I hardly know where to start. I will begin with the last post May 18, 2011. The pictures form that date show 2 mounds, which has been expanded to 3 on the far end of the picture and to 4 at the near end. Smaller beds have been added in 5 locations and the old original garden on the north side of the walk (for those who know the property) has been expanded to 3 mounds. 
Wow, I'm sweating just thinking of what it took to do all that.


White Lima Bean (Butter beans)

The month of May was a terrible overall, for planting, with too much rain and unseasonable low temperatures.
We had nearly a 2 week span of low mid 30 degree temps with too much moisture. Consequently, it caused an entire planting of White Lima beans to totally fail, and really hurt the 'early' cucumbers, with many failing during the critical  germination period. As the White Lima beans began germinating, the long COLD and wet weather hit, and they were attacked by  seed maggots and ALL rotted in the ground. 
I would like to note, that of the seed companies I deal with, Johnny Select Seeds ( is SUPERIOR in their Costumer Service. They replaced the entire order of White Lima beans at NO COST or Shipping. I can't say enough about this wonderful company, who have helped me get it right concerning ANY issue I might have with an order. I re-planted  the Lima beans on June10th with a 100% germination / survival rate, and July 20th Success!

June 17th

July 20th


This years harvest is the best ever with three (3) varieties Music, Bavarian, and my own cultivar Wild-River,   preforming very well. The Wild-River exceeded my expectations. I have finally reach the goal of commercial production with the Wild-River and Music, but the Bavarian will take 2 more seasons before it will be available commercially. 
The four (4) pictures below show the harvest. The first 3 pictures are of my Wild-River cultivar. The picture with 3 large bulbs and 1 tiny bulb demonstrates what I started with (the small one), and what I have developed them into through selective cultivation. It was a 10 year process to achieve a stable uniform, large size. This is a wonderful garlic that has brought me many years of JOY in conversation and eating with friends, family. And the hundreds of hours of in-depth Process Analysis, while enjoying a Cold Beer or Bottle of Wine, with my true friend and colleague Lance Saunders Sr.. Wild-River Garlic is The Best!!!
Not shown, Bavarian garlic.

Wild-River harvest 2011

Some colossal Wild-River bulbs 2011

Wild-River Garlic. The small one is the size I started with over 10yrs ago as compared to the cultivar they are now 2011.
The harvest of Music 2011. Music is a wonderful garlic.


Well now, I have 6 varieties, four (4) in the 1+ pound class, Italian Heirloom, Delicious, Irish Heirloom and Depps Firefly. The Depps Firefly is one that my grandma use to grow, a great pink tomato.

Of the four large varieties, only the Italian Heirloom is ripe and has been taste tested..... wonderful, very meaty and mild, yet full flavored. can't wait to try the others three. Although I have eaten the Irish heirloom last year, it is a fantastic tomato with very few seeds and full flavor. The seed stock was obtained from a tomato my friend Lance S. gave me from his ending crop late last year. This years Irish plants are are hanging FULL of very large green tomatoes ...  

The other 2 varieties are Wisconsin 55, and Large Red Cherry.
 The Wisconsin 55 is not ripe yet and as a plant is not as vigorous, however it is producing a good number of fruit. The Large Red Cherry on the other hand is perhaps the most vigorous plant I have ever grown, with several reaching 10ft and LOADED with 11/2 -2 inch tomatoes. These are truly one of the best tasting tomatoes so far .. tart, juicy and sweet all at the same time .. classic. This tomato has already won it's permanent place in my  Family Seed Bank. 
No pictures yet for the Irish heirloom, Wisconsin 55, and Depps Firefly.

Italian Heirloom


Large Red Cherry  (1.5" - 2" Tomatoes) Much Larger then the common cherry


This year I only have 2 types of peppers Thai and the recently famous Bhut Jolokia (Ghost pepper). My original Thai peppers are in very limited quantities due to a mishap back in early March when an entire Flat of plants were knocked off the table and destroyed ... hence a far fewer number of plants then expected this year they are however doing well. 

The Jolakia are doing great despite a slow start due to the cold temps in May. They are now quite vigorous and blooming well ... can't wait for these "Knock Ya Dead" jewels to produce ... so far so good.

Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper) Red


Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Turnip, Rutabaga, Mustard, and Pac-Choi  are all doing great. The cabbage however is always a battle with cabbage worms... I REFUSE TO USE 'SEVEN-DUST'.... and I cant afford BT which is the safe alternative. So I hand pick the worms when I can. 

The Mustard green variety is one of the best I've had, an oriental variety called  Ho Mi Z, a smaller, fast growing type with purple veined leaves that are 12 to 14 inches and have a deep dense flavor that is pungent but not overbearing. I am letting some of this Bolt and go to seed, for it too will be added to my Family Seed Bank.

Turnips & Rutabaga

Cabbage & Kohlrabi


My Watermelons are doing fantastic, the two types are Ali Baba and Ledmons, both are heirlooms. The Ali Baba is from Iraq, and is performing extremely well with a good number of melons on now and several quite large already for as early in the overall season it is. Likewise with the Ledmons, an heirloom originating in Wisconsin which is a round type with dark blue-green skin.

The Two types of  muskmelons are Wisconsin Pride and a French melon, Charenties. the Wisconsin Pride is humpin & pumpin .. with a very good number of fruit on and still FULL of blooms. Contrasting though the French melon was hit with a rust like disease and has had a hard time surviving. It has however held on and has a couple small fruit on now, I hope it makes it.

Ali Baba, an heirloom watermelon from Iraq. ( it's almost Erotic,.. LOL.)

Ledmon, an Heirloom developed by  Dr. Ledmon in the 1940s. This melon is considered by many to be the single best tasting watermelon available anywhere. However, it has thin rind which makes it unsuitable for mass shipping. This may be the home gardeners treasure melon.


My Japanese White Hull-Less pop corn is another wonder, it is bigger then I thought it would get and is in tassel and silk now. We are in an EXTREME HEAT and DRY weather cycle right now with no relief in site, which is dangerous for any type of corn in that if the silks dry out prematurely, then it will fail to produce full kerneled ears. I have watered them but only enough to keep it going. We will see. 

Japanese White Hull-less Pop Corn. This has exceeded

Japanese White Hull-less.


OK now this is real exciting. I have four type of squash, three winter and one summer. The three winter squash are Walthum Butternut, Sweet Dumpling, and Giant Pink Banana. The Butternut squash is laying Full of fruit but the hot dry weather is hard on it. The Sweet Dumplings are doing Great and don't seem to be affected as much by the weather. The Giant Pink Banana squash was doing really good but is, however having a real hard time with this extreme heat and drought, but surviving none the less and has several fruit on though greatly reduced in number.

The one summer squash is a VERY SPECIAL type of zucchini, an heirloom called Castata Romanesco. Its speckled and ribbed and VERY SWEET. This is the BEST zucchini I have ever had and is now included in my Family Seed Bank.
Not shown butternut and giant pink banana squash.

Sweet Dumpling winter squash. these are small single serve squash.

Sweet Dumpling.
Castata Romanesco & Red Wine on Ice. ... The best zucchini I have ever eaten.

Well that's it for now.. there are a few things like green onions  and radishes etc.etc. that I didn't talk about but they are common and if anyone wants to know something about them let me know. Also I encourage anyone to make comments in the comments box and help build the content .....  Thank you All for being patient with my long pause in Posting Updates. I will try to do better from now on... LOL, and remember Go Play In The Dirt.... It's Fun!!!