Is there anything better-tasting than a homegrown tomato? Plucking one, still warm from the sun, and popping it into your mouth -- or slicing it on the spot and tossing it into a salad, makes garden toil worthwhile.
This looks to be a very good growing year for tomatoes, judging from the big bowlful I picked on Saturday. Not an early year, like 2010, when I harvested my first tomato on June 30 -- but a very satisfying year. The tomatoes I've harvested so far have been delicious. And there's lots more to come, with dozens of tomatoes still ripening on my plants.
The weather has been pretty great this growing season, with lots of rain early on, when we needed it. And I'll take a little credit for my awesome tomatoes this year, because I took the time to do good soil preparation with lots of compost.
That's not so say everything has been a complete success. Three of the ripe tomatoes I plucked from one plant had serious end rot. This unappetizing, common condition typically suggests a lack of calcium, often linked to inconsistent moisture.
I admit I'm not the most attentive plant-waterer. I sometimes forget about my plants for a day or two, then try to make up for it with a big dousing. (There's some good information about blossom-end rot and other tomato maladies on the University of Minnesota's website: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/vegetables/disorders-of-tomato/)
My lone pepper plant is a total under-achiever, with only one acorn-sized pepper to show for itself so far, even though I planted it back in late May. I'm not sure what I did wrong with this one.
What are you harvesting this week? And is this a better-than-average year in your garden? Tell us about your successes -- and flops -- so far.