Thursday, June 19, 2014

:: Tomato and Cucumber Salad-

I’ve only been gardening with intent for about 3 years.  I played around with a garden when we first moved to the country—but really, I was too busy growing my children and growing myself—to worry with food; when all I really had to do was load up 4 kiddos into the VW Eurovan and  head down the highway to Wal-Mart. Gone are the days when ALL MY FOOD COMES FROM WALMART. In fact, I rarely step foot inside that store anymore.

So after 3 year short years of TRY, TRY AGAIN… this years garden has been pretty successful. How I measure success has changed over the years too.  I’ve only planted 4 small garden boxes.  They are chock full of different edibles.  I’ve put away about 6-8 quarts of green beans from a little 2 X 8 foot box. I haven’t canned any…but I do blanch and freeze. Either way… 6 or 8 qts from such a small plot of ground. Not too shabby!

We’ve had a mild Spring and Summer so far—by mild, I mean moderate temps. Today was in the 90’s  breezy and sunny. We’ve had lots of rain—so guess what?  FEW grasshoppers.  That’s right!  You’ve NOT heard or read about me Whining about GRASSHOPPERS.

  little grasshoppers

I’ve heard and READ …they thrive in the drought. Their eggs hatch like crazy and that water—lessens the hatching and keeps the population down.  I’m not sure if its true or not… but, WE HAVE HAD RAIN…AND ‘HOPPERS NO BIGGER THAN the ones you see pictured here. Oh, they are here-- but NOT HUGE and Not CLOUDS OF GRASSHOPPERS.  Don’t get me wrong, we have them… but I don’t feel so OVERWHELMED by them this year.  The downside… WE DO HAVE MOSQUITOES!!!  AWFUL! AWFUL! THINGS.
All that said… the gardens are growing before they’re being obliterated and munched to death by the hoppers.  I’ve actually grown some FOOD this year.  Really, last year was such a disappointment.
These are the cucumbers!  I’ve got them ALL SIZES.

  cukes all sizes collage
They’re coming along pretty well. Will I make pickles with them?  Probably not. The Honey and I do like to slice a cucumber and some onion and cover them with some water and vinegar—keep them chilled and eat them as a salad with dinner. 
I’ve of course grown radishes—Bree usually, plants those and pulls them.  They come along so quickly—they meet the need to have her patience greeted with a speedy harvest.  Cooked up a few things with those.  I love them grated and put into Cole Slaw! So yummy.

This is our LONE TOMATO.  I counted I have about 1 dozen tomato plants in various boxes.  All have bloomed.  This is our only Tomato.  We’ve had plenty of rain, gentle breezes…and flying whats-its to pollinate them but NO Tomatoes…except this one. :/ One Tomato

I have noticed this!  Right after the flower blooms… it wilts and falls right off the plant.  So there’s my tomatoes… fallen down before their time. 

bloom drop
“Blossom Drop” – could be caused by a few factors.
  • Too much Humidity… check!  We’ve definitely had that.  It causeS the pollen to be too tacky and not able to drift to other flowers.
  • Too High Heat during the day—Not so much. We’ve had lots of 80° and 90° days… nothing like we usually are accustomed to this time of year.
  • Too Low Temps overnight—Uh, No.  That’s not it.
  • Too Much Nitrogen. It is a high concentrated amount of dirt which includes chicken and cow manure(this could be the case in my blue pot) 
I used compost dirt in that barrel half.  —However the other two boxes where I have tomatoes planted don’t have this same dirt; and they’re not growing tons of tomatoes.  JUST THE ONE TOMATO!  
*edited to say; I found another plant with about 5 tomatoes growing on it. But that's it. 6 tomatoes in all. :/ 
I had plans for these tomatoes.  I like to eat them with cucumbers; and you saw how they’re thriving… I like to slice both of them (cukes and ‘maters) and drizzle Ranch on top …not drown them. Chill and eat! I’m not a big Ranch Dressing kind of person, but…
Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
This is something I’m going to keep working on…getting these tomatoes to grow.  I also should come up with a different dressing- something more healthy.  Especially now with my recent diagnosis of diabetes…I’ll definitely be experimenting with some new ideas and meals.
  • Any ideas? 
  • How to get these blooms to set fruit?  Or maybe…
  • You have a vinaigrette that you think will be so delicious on my TOMATO? 
    • I would hope it’s a good recipe too, if you suggest it.  As I only get one shot at it.  Seeing how I only have ONE tomato. ;)

Til next time, Be Blessed!

The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him. ~Psalm 28:7


Michelle H said...

I don't have a vinaigrette, buy my sister's family makes their own wonderful ranch dressing with no added sugar:.

1 1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
1 cup sour cream
4 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons dried dill (or 1 tablespoon fresh dill)
1 teaspoon dried parsley (or 1 tablespoon fresh parsley)
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Might help for those times a vinaigrette just won't do! ;-)

Char said...

Your garden looks great, grasshoppers and all. I have to admit, they make me think of the locus that wiped out all the crops in the 20's. I don't like them, but ours get much larger that that. We live in the desert, so maybe that explains a few things.
Be careful of the mosquitoes, there is that new disease from the middle east that has come over and it's carried by them. (I think it's the middle east, but I might be wrong) you can google it to find out. That is one thing about living in our heat, no mosquitoes, it's too hot. LOL
Be well and enjoy the fruits of your labor, it's looking great,

A Daughter of the King said...

You are so amazingly talented, Pat!!! I'm still looking for the right vinaigrette recipe, but I love Braggs' Healthy Vinaigrette. I'm going to try the Ranch recipe above, using milk kefir instead of the buttermilk. Thank you, Michelle H.

Diane said...

Good for you! My tomatoes are still about three inches high and not in the ground yet!!

Rhonda said...

No advice but I think your garden and amount of produce are great!

I just read some of your past post, I am so glad you got to the dr and are getting treatment. I don't think I have diabetes but I need to get a check up like you did.....