Thursday, August 19, 2010

Promise of More Food

Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)

One more month of summer to go, the weather is still pleasantly warm and the plants are continuing to produce.   Lower temperatures will allow the plants to even grow better up to certain point.  Gardeners need to be aware that the change in daylength is going to be the determining factor whether to keep annual plants in the garden or not. 

Bell Peppers (Capsicum annum)

The bell peppers are still producing - in fact the plants are too small for the yield that they produced.  A simple tomato cage was used to prop the plant up.   The green bell peppers are the immature version of the red, yellow or the orange bell peppers.  I'm not sure if we could wait for the red color of the pepper.   I can see Hamburger-Stuffed peppers as the destiny of these ones.

 'Fresno Chili' (Capsicum annum)

It is interesting to note that these two varieties of peppers not only are different in the shape and size of their fruits but the growth habit of the fruits are contrasting.  The bell peppers are growing downwards while the 'Fresno Chili' fruits point upwards.  Could this be due to phytohormones or gravity? 

 Increased occurence of female flowers.

Increased fruit setting.

The summer squash (or zucchini) have been flowering for a while but production has been low up to this point.  Fruits would come at a slow rate of one every couple of weeks.  Unlike before when most of the flowers they produced were staminate (male), now several pistillate (female) flowers arise resulting in more zucchini fruits.  In some cases the cause of low yields is the absence of male flowers.  Commercial growers have to resort to using growth regulators to induce more male flowers.   Even if they don't turn into fruits, staminate flowers are the source of pollen that fertilizes the pistillate ones; without them there would be no fruit production.

Eggplant (Solanum melongena)

I purchased unlabelled eggplant seedlings from the farmers market last spring.  I am not sure what variety they were.  The vendor told me that it was a Japanese eggplant.  I was going to assume that it is 'Ichiban', a variety I am very familiar with, but the leaves were not the same.  The growth habit was different and now the fruits do not have the dark sepal.  Whatever variety it is, this plant looks very prolific considering how sparse the leaves are.                     

Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Better Boy')

The tomatoes are continuing to grow.   The relatively cooler temperature this year is conducive for fruit setting.  It does not look like they are going to slow down anytime soon.  However, the shorter photoperiods will soon interfere with the photosynthetic rate of the plants.   I have six tomato plants and we harvest way more than we can eat.   We have to get creative in the way we use them. I found out that the best ways to our good utilize the bigger tomatoes is to make Bruschetta.   In our house, cherry tomatoes are eaten like grapes for snacks.  My kids would watch TV with a bowl of tomatoes on their laps.  Who needs junk food when the tomatoes are so sweet? 

Unripe Cherry Tomato 'Sweet 100'

Here in California the weather is so mild that tomato plants can remain green till Thanksgiving.  However, the fruits will grow at a much slower rate due to the shorter periods of exposure to sunlight as the days get shorter. 
Eating home-grown foods are in.  Enjoy the fruits of your garden while they last.


catharine Howard said...

Very advanced food growing - I am quite jealous! how do you cook the okra?

Helen Lewis said...

I cook in a recipe called "Pinakbet". It's a popular Filipino dish, which is a combination of many vegetables with some bacon-type of meat and fish sauce. The rest of my family do not care for it because of the texture and viscosity of the sauce. :)

Thanks for visiting.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I've never tried growing okra. Although I'm not fond of it, I do love the beautiful blossoms. I'm not sure where you are in California, but our persistent fog has set back our tomato harvest significantly this summer. Thankfully the skies are clearing, and there's the promise of some ripe tomatoes very soon! Hopefully before the days get much shorter!

Anonymous said...

Wow! A bountiful garden!
I have 6 tomato plants as well, and I can say that that number is enough for me and my husband's salad needs this summer. I can say that homegrown seasonal vegetables are the best!!
Lucky kids there, to have fresh fruits no nibble on!

Judith said...

...strange zucchini!the first time I see yellow ones. Here in Italy, people eat the male flowers, harvested in the morning, dipped in batter and deep fried, buono!
(that Anonymous me up there is me:))

Helen Lewis said...

Curbstone Valley Farm - I garden in El Dorado Hills where it is really hot and dry. I'd love to live near your place just because it is foggy and cooler. Obviously tomatoes don't share the same "mentality" as I do. :) Thanks for visiting my blog.

Helen Lewis said...

Anonymous - Yes, six tomatoes are a lot! That will sure require you to share some with your friends and neighbors. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Helen Lewis said...

Judith - I think they call those crook-neck squash. There are also yellow ones that are straight like the green ones. Gusto mo bang buto? I'd like to try the deep fried flowers sometime.

When is your big trip? Keep in touch! :)

Judith said...

Thanks, hahaha! In half a month I'll be in the Philippines. I have done some vegetable seed shopping and collected some seeds from my garden hoping that they will accept our tropical climate.
Yes sure, I'll be around, just keep on blogging:)

Helen Lewis said...

Judith - I'll look forward to reading tropical topics in your blog!

Judith said...

I hope I'll find time.
'Just curious, how big is your garden?I have the impression that you are able to produce a lot in a small space.

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