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Ripening Tomatoes And Volunteer Melons

As usual for this time of year, June going into July, my garden is looking quite productive. Of course, I am not without my disappointments, but for my second year of large vegetable gardening, it has gone and is going well.

Here are a few highlights.

Peas

It’s way too hot for peas now. You know the weather is stressing the plants when the pods don’t grow very long before the seeds begin to fatten it. The purpose of a plant is to reproduce, and when it senses death coming, it ramps up its seed production. So first, a photo of one of those short, fat pea pods:

beanoncomplainingpeaplant

Peas are one of the easiest crops from which to collect seeds, as are beans. With both, you let the pod dry thoroughly on the vine, then pick it and open it up to get the seeds. Pea pods turn black when they are ready. Here’s one example:

beanreadytopick

Tomatoes

I am going to have some BIG tomatoes this year! Check out these photos (I put up my hand to give you perspective):

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But bigger is not always better. The cherry tomatoes that volunteered in a brush pile have produced the first ripe tomatoes.

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And they will keep producing, even as temperatures stay above 90 degrees. Here’s another of the brush pile volunteer cherry tomatoes:

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While I’m talking about tomatoes, I don’t want to be remiss in mentioning the ground cherries. I don’t know where they came from, as I didn’t see any last year. But there must have been one or two around and there seeds gotten spread. The following plant looks spent, but actually the sagging leaves and brown husks indicate that the fruit, which tastes very much like tomato, is beginning to ripen inside the husks.

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Here’s a ground cherry that volunteered in my garden, where my spinach was growing.

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Even though you need a lot of ground cherries to equal an average tomato, I’m leaving it there. I won’t be growing anything there until this fall, and hey! Free food is free food, right?

Volunteer melons!

I was pleased enough when this crenshaw melon plant came up from a fruit that had rotted on the ground last summer:

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(Same plant, different angles. The vines with more triangular leaves around it are sweet potato vines.)

But a couple of weeks ago, B discovered one in the brush pile, as well!

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Note yet another volunteer tomato to its right!

Here’s a close up of one of its buds:

volunteermelon6-30startingtobud

Not sure how that melon seed got there, but I’m not complaining! I went from not going to have any melon plants (thanks to the lousy potting soil I used to try to start things from seed) to having two. Which is twice what I need.

I haven’t grabbed a picture of them yet, but the other day I discovered two baby watermelon plants behind one of the rain tanks! If they produce well, we will probably take them into town to sell.

Various and sundry

I have one cucumber plant that is growing well.

cucumbergrowingwell

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The other plant surrounding it is a Chinese long bean. They apparently have decided to trellis together.

I want to know what this (the following photo) is about. I had golden oregano for three years in Plano, which never went to seed. But in its second year, the green oregano I planted is flowering!

oreganogoingtoseed

Maybe I’ll eventually have oregano all over that area!

The blackberries are finally ripening. They’re still mostly not soft enough to be sweet, but it’s only a matter of time. Note the bird netting around them; birds ate my ENTIRE CROP last summer.

blackberriesgettingripe

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Jerry has gone out picking wild blackberries every few days, always coming home with about three cups worth (and could get more if he wanted). Here’s one example:

wildblackberries

They are tart, but great in smoothies mixed with bananas.

The second crop of strawberries has not amounted to anything worth talking about, however.

Finally, the sweet potato slips are turning into vines.

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Going great! I hope your summer is, too. 🙂

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