Mostly today I was doing garden stuff. Last night we ate the first cherry tomato and pepper from the garden! There are pictures on my twitter, I'll try to link 'em at some point. lynxreign said eating half of the cherry tomato had as much flavor as a supermarket tomato 4x the size, so I am pleased. I don't generally eat store tomatoes, so I don't have as much basis for comparison (not out of snobbery or anything, I just didn't think I liked tomatoes for a really long time, and it turns out a lot of that is how freakin' tasteless most grocery store tomatoes are), but it did seem pretty good.
But yeah, there is a veritable TOMATO EMPIRE out my back door now. Cherry tomatoes are getting ripe, the pear tomatoes are suddenly showing up and getting huge, and the Black Krim tomatoes are hinting at how epic they'll be in a few more weeks. The peppers are coming along nicely as well. lynxreign and I had to make an emergency Home Depot run last night for twine and bamboo sticks, because the tomato cages I bought are really laughably too short for the types of tomatoes I ended up with. We also got some planters for me to put along the fence, which are going to get some bean and squash seeds tomorrow probably. Today I shored up the tomato supports, weedwhacked the horrible area next to the fence (thanks to shadesong and family for the loan of the weedwhacker), filled the new containers with dirt, and harvested the garlic. The garlic harvest is kind of disappointing, to be honest. I don't know if I did something wrong or if it was the weather this year or what, but all of the bulbs are pretty small. It may be that I planted them too close together, not sure. They're drying out in the basement now, and I'll probably try some of them tonight or tomorrow. We ate one bulb already, roasted on the grill with some carrots, and it *did* taste pretty amazing. So IDK, I guess I don't have to decide until September anyway. Garlic takes up a lot of space. Having the scapes available whenever I wanted them was nice, and if the garlic tastes better than what we buy, maybe it's still worth it. Maybe this year I'll try a different type, and maybe I'll do things like mulch and water more frequently, and see if it makes a difference. Or maybe I'll take a year off from garlic and put something else in that space and try again next year, IDK.
Trying to explain some of this stuff to lynxreign along the way has been fun. Last night I was explaining the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomato types. His first guess was that it had something to do with the seeds, and really he was thinking of hybrid vs heirloom veg. It was a good guess though! Anyway if you don't already know and care for some reason, determinate varieties tend to have more compact growth, they don't get as tall, they don't sprawl as much, and the tomatoes mostly ripen all at the same time. Indeterminate means the opposite, basically. More sprawling growth, and the tomatoes ripen over a longer period. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. I don't really want to do canning this year, so I figured indeterminate made sense because that way I'd get a few tomatoes over a month or two, not a million all at once. I just wasn't prepared for *how* sprawly their growth is, thus the bamboo and twine. I've been reading about growing this stuff for years, but this is the first year I've actually done it, you see. This year I had meant to start seeds over the winter, and didn't because of the massive winter sluggishness/depression that hit me, so I ended up just buying whatever packs of seedlings I found at a local garden center. Which, it seems like it's working out. But this winter, dammit, I am determined to do my own seeds. I checked the ones I had to see if I had given myself a break by getting any determinate types. NOPE LOL.
Part of this is also because determinate tends to be something you see with newer hybrid varieties, and I'm generally more drawn to the heirloom types. Next year I'll be prepared for this though, so I won't be startled when I go out back one day and the teeny tiny little tomato plants are suddenly these gigantic ridiculous monsters taller than me. I'll already have better support in place and I'll look at them and be like "lol yes you jerks." Or something. I might be a little punchy at this point.
Um, let's see, for peppers it's jalapenos and cheyenne, plus something that was in the jalapeno flat but clearly ISN'T. It's some kind of cherry pepper I guess? It's tiny and round and tastes like a bell pepper. Bonus, I guess.
I'm also pulling carrots every few days. Turns out really fresh, tiny carrots are awesome in ramen. I feel kinda ridiculous tossing them in there, but hot damn they're good.
Got the basil planted real late, but it's starting to come in now. Lots of other herbs out there too. The cilantro is getting all cute and bushy and I want to eat it all?
OH OH THE WEIRDEST THING: ok, all of my garden reading has told me that growing mint from seed is dumb and pointless and slow and also stupid. But I ordered this pack of herb seeds a while back, and one of them was peppermint. I looked at it all skeptical, then shrugged and tossed some into a pot. "Why not?" I figured, "worst that happens is they don't grow and I put something else in there." Yeah it's actually doing really well. Lol ok peppermint seeds, I don't know what you're up to but thanks I guess?
Anyway I'll definitely talk like I know what I'm doing but I really don't! Somehow it's mostly working out though! Plus I'm lucky and have sparkymonster, nex0s, and izzybelbooks on twitter. They actually *do* know what they're talking about, so it's fun times discussing this stuff with them. #ladygardenchat sounds like a euphemism, but that just makes it even better.