Sunday, September 11, 2011

Of Tomatoes, Potatoes, and Squash Bugs

The Cherokee Purple tomatoes that I thought were dead were very much not dead! In fact, they are just starting to ripen and oh my are they tasty. I also rescued a Brandywine tomato from our hardware store to see how those tasted as well. In addition to those, there are a ton of Glacier and Early Girl maters. Here is a picture of the three heirloom tomatoes: Brandywine (pink), Glacier (red), Cherokee Purple (you take a guess).
But why no Early Girl photo? They look exactly like a small version of the red Glacier tomato above. And I forgot.

Last night my husband and I did a taste test of all the tomatoes, both with and without salt (our preferred topping for maters). The results: 
  • Brandywine tomatoes taste exactly like store bought fridge tomatoes, and are nothing to rave about, though they are rather meaty. They ripen late, an just started about a week ago. Also not very heavy producers. Perhaps they want a more acidic/humid/steady climate.
  • Glacier  tomatoes taste very much like how we imagine a tomato should taste, and tend toward a more tart than sweet finish (which I like). They are very meaty and are great for sandwiches.
  • Early Girl maters have a tougher skin than the other varieties and have a high goop-to-meat ratio. They ripen early though, and are at the end of their season right now.
  • And finally, the Cherokee Purple tomato was the cream of the crop, tasting rich, and tomatoey, not too sweet and not too tart and even more heavenly with salt.  They are late to ripen and are just now getting ripe for me, but also are heavy producers.

So what does all this mean? Well, the Cherokee Purple (and Brandywine) are what is called a "determinate" tomato, which means that it ripens most of its fruit all at the same time (this week apparently). The Glacier and Early Girl tomatoes are both "indeterminate", meaning that they ripen throughout the season. All this combines to meant that I will be planting lots of Cherokee Purple and Glacier, with a smattering of Early Girl to get my season going sooner. And no Brandywine.

I also dug my potatoes today, and got a paltry four pounds of taters from the giant bed--a far cry from last year's 15lb haul. I learned my lesson though: make sure to break up the straw when putting it over the plants lest the roots not get air...and not grow their tasty tubers. Instead the plants grew very vigorously on top, but had very few taters down below. 
Now onto less savory matters.

Squash Bugs stink. 

The darn shield shaped evil-doers ate every last vine in my garden, first on the summer squash, then to pumpkins, to acorn squash, then on to the cucumbers, watermelons, and cantaloupe. Not one vine survived. I got a few zucchini before they attacked, as well as a few acorn squash and pumpkins. No melons. No cucumbers. Bastards.

Oh well, that is how gardening works sometimes. Time to go eat some maters and mozzarella and contemplate next year's garden plans.

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