Tuesday, December 7, 2010

2010 Vegetable Garden Winners

The winners are:
  1. Sweet Millions (tomato)
  2. Lemon Boy (tomato)
  3. Big Bomb (pepper)
  4. Orlando (eggplant)
I planted all of these plants in February and March of this year. They were given one application of cottonseed meal in the middle of summer, but that’s it as far as fertilizer (and no pesticides were used!). They all put on a great show in the spring, survived a Houston summer, and produced into the fall and winter.
IMG_1874Tomato plants in Houston will often get as tall as the cage you have around them. Both the Lemon Boy and Sweet Millions grew up and over the 5 foot cages they are in. In mid-summer after the other tomato plants died, these still had some green leaves and were producing new stalks from the base, so I cut them back to about one foot tall and let them keep growing.
My favorite is Sweet Millions, pictured on the left after I cut it back and it again grew up and over its cage. I’ve picked about 200 Sweet Millions in the past week. Yes, folks that’s right in December!IMG_1884

The first Lemon Boy of the fall crop was picked a couple of days ago. There are a few more starting to blush, but tonight's low is expected to be 35, so they probably won’t hang in there much longer.Why can’t we get one of those weird Houston December warm fronts? I really could use some fresh tomatoes…
IMG_1881I bought the Big Bomb peppers in hopes of recreating an awesome tapas dish I had in Auckland, NZ last year. It was basically peppers stuffed with cheese, but it was really good.
While this one was the right size and shape it was way hotter than the ones in New Zealand. Too hot for me, but my husband loved them. He dried them in the food dehydrator and pulverized them in the coffee grinder. Now he has hot pepper powder for the year.
The Orlando eggplant is amazing. It has been producing heavily all year long. It is about 4 foot tall and almost as wide. Many online sources say you can pick the fruit when it is a small as 2”, but I picked mine anywhere from 5”-8”. IMG_1869
On a side note, I also planted an eggplant variety called Turkish Orange. I have to say, that I was not very impressed. It was growing next to the one in the picture above, but was eventually overshadowed, so I pulled it up. It may be because I didn’t know what to do with the little orange tomato looking eggplants, but I probably won’t try them again.
In the foreground of the above picture is broccoli. My Saturday harvest included broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant…all at the same time!

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