Saturday, July 9, 2011

Flight To The Beach Farm

What has changed in our two weeks away? The leeks have grown to need soil hilled around them, and the cucumbers, just sprouts three weeks ago, are now three feet long. They must be thinned and trellised. Some chard is bolting, as you see here shooting into the picture frame. The newly planted peppers, three weeks ago, yes, they must be weeded, seriously weeded.

But look at those tomatoes, how they've grown. Even the paste tomato starts, planted only three weeks ago, are up to the second row of netting. The netting is performing well, despite our vacationing hands. Only, without our active training, the prevailing winds have nudged the vines northward.

Tomatoes have been splendidly productive. So far, no blossom end rot either -the bane of the potted tomatoes. These are Bella Rosa, which were very late when I planted them in pots in our side yard. Here, they are earlier than most, and more productive.

These are, I believe, Black Russian, and are exceptionally productive. Two years ago I planted these in a planter and I think I got four or five tomatoes. There's more than that in just this one cluster -maybe nine all together.

Under the tomatoes tell another story: weeds and disease. This view under the partially-weeded German Stripe shows that the lower leaves have been yellowing, browning, shriveling.

And evidence of late summer's diseases are already apparent at the base of a Pink Bandywine. Also, skins of aphids are everywhere on the tomatoes (mine and my neighbors'). The aphids are not a major threat themselves, but the disease they spread is a concern.

Which leads me to remember these eggs on fine hairs? I was picking chard leaves and noticed them, sporadically, on the undersides. Then I noticed them on the grass blade, above, that I had just pulled. Then again on the picket fence. What gives, why so many? Is it not an insect egg at all, is it some kind of fungus? I don't think so, I'm confident it's an insect's doing. Turns out they are the eggs of the Common Lacewing -whose larva eat aphids. So, I shall accept eggs on hairs on chard so that Lacewing larva should devour the aphids. I think we call this balance.

I expected to find these, the Black Swallowtail caterpillar, and have more than one munching away on our parsley. No surprise to find them in our weedy paradise by the sea -plenty of Queen Anne's Lace if no one is growing parsley or carrots, and the nectar of milkweed and thistle for the butterflies is also abundant. Just stay off my carrots and we'll have harmony.

I've planted enough parsley for us all. Why not share? In fact, I had to cut the parsley back just to spare the young basil growing to its side. Parsley anyone?

Not all my green beans sprouted while I was away. I think old seed stock was to blame. I will reseed. Carrots have been thinned, and I've tried replanting the thinnings. I've harvested one garlic, and expect to harvest them all by next week. Fall broccoli has been seeded in trays (hard to believe I'm talking fall already). Any remaining greens will be pulled in favor of more herbs, beans, carrots. Looking forward to tomatoes, maybe by mid July.


  1. Yay for lacewings! I remember the first time I saw them I wasn't as astute as you and I wiped them away. But now I leave them to work their magic.

  2. Mighty impressive! The tomatoes look great - I'm having rotten luck with heirlooms right now. And yay for balance! :)

  3. frank@nycgardenMonday, July 11, 2011

    The heirlooms seem to get diseases a bit more rapidly.

  4. Wow, your tomatoes are looking great! So far, the only tomato plant that is producing fruit for us is the Sungold, and they are delicious. I can't wait until the heirlooms start pumping out fruit.

  5. frank@nycgardenTuesday, July 12, 2011

    Our sungold has been the first ripe tomato.

  6. The green tomatoes looks so healthy. I like it very much.

    Lisa from Beginner Free Guitar Lessons

  7. Very worthwhile data, lots of thanks for this post.


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