It’s the end of June, and in southeast Texas, that means the temperature climbs into the 100s and things start to get crispy. Really crispy.
Our yard, my hair, the garden… okra.
It’s also time to start on Garden Part II for late summer/fall. The strawberries have slowed drastically, even though I’ve been pretty diligent about pulling runners, and we’re done with Backyard Blueberry season.
What hasn’t slowed drastically? Tomatoes. We have 2 potted heirlooms – a black and a sweet gold – that the squirrels have claimed as their own. I did get one small victory this week when I got 3 (3!) gold tomatoes. I’m picking 2+ dozen cherry tomatoes a day (except for that day when I picked 6 dozen) and anywhere from 6-12 San Marzano tomatoes a day.
The San Marzanos… now those really are something special. They’re know for being great “sauce” tomatoes. I don’t usually buy them canned because of how much it hurts for me to spend that much on a can of tomatoes. But from here out, I will be growing them in the garden each year. We took the 6 lbs of San Marzanos I picked last week and made a batch of pizza sauce – killer pizza sauce – to keep in the freezer for a few rainy days when the tomatoes aren’t so plentiful. And I’ve got 5 lbs on the counter right now destined for pasta sauce greatness.
The rainbow mix of carrot seeds I planted in early spring have been pulled to make room for another potted tomato plant. Those were my victory plants this year. Last year, I got one single carrot after planting 3 batches of seeds.
My herb box is full of sage, basil, lavender, thyme, oregano, and weeds. The green and purple beans are still alive & kicking, to the tune of 1-1 1/2 lbs a week, but it’s next month that looks really promising: I’ll have a big fat watermelon, plenty of red bell peppers and jalapenos, figs, a new crop of Meyer Lemons, a dozen Key Limes, and our first real pickable grapefruit next month!
And then there was the bonus plant: a wild tepin chile. It’s the official native pepper of Texas. And it’s &@(#%! hot… it was unfortunate that my 2-yr old had to be the one to find it growing in the neglected non-garden corner of our backyard, but that’s a story for another day. However, it did make one heck of a sriracha knock-off but that’s a recipe for another day.
What’s not doing so hot? Peaches were a bust this year, so were the plums. And three of our citrus trees (the pink lemon, a meyer, and a key lime) were hit so hard by leaf miners that I’m not sure they’re going to survive. Can’t all be winners but I’ll settle for the victories we’ve been able to achieve
What went bust for you this year? Or what do you have coming out of your ears?