Friday, November 27, 2009

Late Tomatoes!

The tomatoes I'd brought in on the vine (last post) have mostly pinked up. A few went over the edge and had to be discarded; perhaps more frequent monitoring would have prevented this loss. The yield was nearly a pound to cherry tomatoes!

Of the few I'd left on the vine as an experiment, two had gotten to harvestable state, and a third had already dropped, lying orangey in the dirt like the last leaf of fall (see photo)

I didn't touch the lettuce since it still seems to be coming along. There were tiny, gnat-like bugs swarming in the sun over the Tower tub, and noodling around the lettuce leaves at the Court was a black-and-white bee. It's nice to see some biological activity continuing, albeit at a slow space, even as things cool off.

Total harvest today: 15 ounces of tomatoes, mostly from the commingled items cut green for ripening on the stem

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bringing in Late Crops

Today's Yield

  • 6 oz tomatoes, harvested green a while back and ripened in newspaper (see photo)
  • 6 oz mixed greens, from  Tower Tub (described below)
It was cold last night; not freezing, but I'm concerned about losing the food value of what's left. This afternoon I brought in all the tomatos on stems, to rpen them indoors, except for a very few I left as experiments. I also brought in such greens as looked worth harvesting, leaving the very smallest on the off chance that we might get a warm week to make it worth harvesting.

On the plus side, the aphids seemed all gone. I'd never figured out how to get them off the greens, and I didn't want to give the food bank greens with bugs on them.

I got quite a few green tomatoes still on the stem, all cherry tomatoes except for one large tomato that had hidden out, green, in the foilage. These got wrapped very loosely in newspaper to control moisture, and set in plastic tubs in our apartment to ripen. Also, I got about 6 oz of greens which I'll drop off at the foodback tomorrow (Monday). I'll let the parsley go a little longer.

The lettuce leaves are mostly browned (see photo). Perhaps I could salvage some leaves by chopping off the brown parts but they aren't acceptable for the food bank.
One exception: the red leaf lettuce. These are too small to harvest today but they don't seem bothered by the weather so I'll check them again later this week.

I got fewer green tomatoes than at the Court. They should ripen up nicely newspaper (see photo above).

In Both Locations
The chard is coming along slowly. Looper worms and aphids had hit them pretty hard but now that it's cold, they seem to be coming back.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Storm-Tossed Tomatoes

The winds blew strongly last night and much of today. When I checked the tubs, I found maybe a dozen tomatoes that seem to have been flung all untimely from their vine. Most were between the Court tub and wall, leading me to discover whether I could reach them. Many of the leaves are browning, but enough of the bush survives that some of the fruit are ripening, albeit very slowly and with much splitting.

From the Tower tub I took two large green tomatoes, still on the vine, to ripen within newspaper. They should be ready within a week for the food bank.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Return of the Kale

The kale in the Tower tubs seem to be coming back to health.

They had been pretty chewed up by the looper worms, and then the aphids were sucking away their precious bodily fluids, but it looks like the cooler and wetter weather have knocked back the pests.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Even slower production

The tomatoes are ripening very slowly now. Maybe one a day becomes ready, and if I let a few days go by between checks, there's often splitting.

I've heard you can ripen tomatoes if you wrap them in paper and keep inside.  I'll experiment with both newspaper and brown paper bags. Newspaper gets the tomatoes dirty, but you'd have to wash them anyway. Today I clipped on branch with about eight green tomatoes on it, from the Tower.

The lettuce at the Tower is doing o.k. A few leaves of one species has started to grey and collapse; I clipped those off. It looks like a general thinning may be due  next week.

Notice that the parsley is back- AGAIN!

On the other hand, the lettuce at the court is having problems. The species that has a few grey leaves at the Tower is completely absent at the Court, but there are a lot of grey and dead leave so perhaps we know where they came from . On the other hand, the red-leaf lettuce and the large paddle-shaped greens still do well, although the latter is still plagued by aphids.

At the Court I heard, then saw a chicadee. This is probably one of the crew eating the seeds from the sunflower in the overflow herb pot. While the primary goal of urban agriculture is food for humans, a few sunflowers for the birds may be appropriate, as well has contributors to absorbing sunlight and carbon, while providing nourishment to the human soul.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Still Producing, Slowly - Sunday, October 18, 2009

Things have definitely slowed down. On the plus side, we don't have to water anymore, as the deluges of the last few days make excess moisture the concern, rather than the reverse. I guess we'll have to clear out some of the tomato foiliage to encourage evaporation, discouraging mold. The plants seem to be cooperating, by shutting down some stems.

As long as we're not getting frost, we'd like to keep trying to pink up the tomatoes that are still green. Eventually we'll have to bring the greenies indoors still on some long pieces of stem, and try to finish them in a box on top of the clothes dryer.

The greens which were the 2nd crop in the Tower greens tub needed thinning, which produced some nice baby greens. At the Court, the greens had started spottier, not as thickly sown I suppose, and grew into adulthood more quickly; we took a batch of adult greens from there. Some had aphids, which I tried to brush off, but I suppose we'll have to assume the recipients will rinse the greens before using.

From the Court
  • Tomatoes  9 oz.
  • Greens  11 oz.
From the Tower
  • Tomatoes  3 oz.
  • Greens  6 oz.
It doesn't sound like so much when you express it in ounces, but it looks like the food bank'll be able to give out the makings of several nice salads - all organic too! I don't think the tomatoes are quick as sweet as during the hottest days of autumn, but they still have good flavor (... judging by the splitties; since we can't foodbank them, they had to be sacrificed to quality testing.)

As I mentioned to Joel when he visited the site earlier this week, keeping up these tubs is not a lot of work; we just have to remember whose turn is whose. There was no weeding necessary, for which I am grateful. Checking the health of the plants was a nice quiet activity in the evening; the morning watering was also a pleasant ritual (...not to mentioned delightful on the hot days!) While the primary purpose may be food, the recreational benefit should not be overlooked!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

And the Parsley is BACK! Again!

At the Tower, that parsley is growing new leaves, even in this cool weather. Will we get a 4th harvest?

The greens are moving slowly but still trying.

Those wormthings seem gone from the chard now, but is covered with little bugs. Still, it's struggling on. Perhaps the cold will eventually finish them off.