Alright, so, maybe “summer bounty” is a *little* bit of an overstatement.
The fruits of my gardening labors have been coming in somewhat slowly, but very steadily. I have three different healthy Green Zebra tomato plants, and two Early Girls – making for a pretty steady stream of tomato production, but never really leaving me with more than I can deal with. I also have one Cherokee Purple plant which has one great big tomato on it, but only the one. Both the Zebras and the Girls have so far turned out to be extraordinarily delicious.
Unfortunately I’m losing maybe a third of the tomatoes to blossom-end rot, and as I’ve mentioned before there is a pretty much constant onslaught of these tomato hornworm bastards. They are huge, and have an appetite to match.
I catch at least one or two every couple of days.
The black chiles are maturing to a beautiful bright red color that practically glows.
They have about the same heat as a jalapeño but a little smoother flavor, it’s a more subtle heat.
My plumeria has started flowering.
Plumeria is a tropical plant used in Hawai’i to make leis. It has a wonderful fragrance and a flower that you don’t typically see in Northern Virginia. My father realized years ago that he could bring plumeria back from the islands (where my brother and his family have lived for nearly 20 years now) and grow it in containers here, back east, while bringing it indoors to go dormant through the winter. This is the first year I’ve grown any but it’s doing very well out on the deck.
I’m also embarking on a new project – growing shiitake mushrooms. I’ve done the whole mushroom-kit-in-a-box thing, with some success now (grew them in a kitchen cabinet), so I wanted to move on to something new. It also didn’t hurt that one of the main purveyors of shiitake spores and logs in this area has been a close family friend for years and years – Paul Goland of Hardscrabble Enterprises. He doesn’t seem to have much of a web presence, though.
There isn’t much to show you now, cause all I’ve got is a log with spores injected into it and sealed. I’ll show you anyway, though. You ready for it?
Here it comes.
You can see the spots where the spores have been implanted. To start production, I have to “shock” the log into action by placing it in cold water, fully submerged, for 18 to 24 hours. So I have to give it a bath. Then, mushrooms will emerge in a few days and be ready to pick a week later. Up to a dozen crops may be induced every 6-8 weeks during warm weather, and the log will supposedly last up to 3 or 4 years.
I’m going to start production on it this weekend, hopefully. Can’t wait to see what happens.
I hope everyone’s been having a great summer.. it will be September in the blink of an eye. I don’t think I’m really going to do any secondary fall plantings, but maybe. I’ve already started to plan what I’m going to do differently next summer though.