Growth Notes: August 1st, 2011

I’m quite pleased with how the garden is shaping up this year. Despite the fact it was a barren wasteland of morning glory, ivy, oregon grape, and other sundry weeds and annoyances when we first moved in. The weather has been cool here, and rainy, and to my shock and awe, plants have not succumbed to blight or any other various diseases, *knocks on wood*. There’s a bit of a problem with powdery mildew on some of the bee balm and columbine, but even the squash only have minimal tellings of it. Things are going pretty damned well, and I thank the excellent natural soil of the area, and a bit of hard work to keep it all going.

Now, for a few updates!

Tomato 'AP2'

  • Tomato ‘AP2’ – This plant is a sprawler, sending large, huge vines everywhere. Next year I’m going to make a point of caging this one rather than trying to stake it. Fruit is currently taking on a rather heavily pleated shape (love it!), so a grow-out next year with the actual ‘Americke Pyramidni’ will let me know if that fruit is heavily pleated as well (according to PGRC fruit shape is “oblate” and fruit smoothness is “rough”). Tons of flowers, some blossom drop but this might be more due to the weather than the actual tendencies of the plant (as several other varieties are also dropping buds). Can’t wait to see how these fruit mature.
  • Pole Beans 'Irish Conners'

  • Pole Beans ‘Irish Conners’ – doing a lot better here than when I tried to grow them in Nelson. Vines are about 6ft tall currently, immature pods are flattish and medium sized and taste very sweet. Flowers are white, with 4 flowers per shoot. Most set with no problem, but there are a few dropping. Once again, might be due more to the weather than actual growth.
  • Pole Beans 'Oma's'

  • Pole Beans ‘Oma’s’ – Very strong grower, vines are currently between 7-8ft and seem to grow several inches over night! White flowers, immature pods are rounder and fatter than Irish Conners, and currently seem to grow longer.
  • Beans - Poltschka X (Unknown)

  • Beans ‘Poltschka X’ – Very, very slow growing (once again, possibly due to weather, although all the other beans have outpaced these). While the other beans started flowering weeks ago, I just saw the first blooms open up on these yesterday. Flowers are white.
  • All the tomatoes have had at least some flowers isolated now, and are growing fruit. I had some problems with a few, most notably ‘Coracao di Boi’ and ‘Antonovka’ with blossom drop. Once again, hard to tell if this is weather related or not, but since it’s been warming up and days haven’t been so cool, both are setting fruit much more easily.

    Site update!
    I thought it was high-time to start producing a quarterly newsletter. In it we’ll have updates on the bank, new additions, and special projects and plans. There’ll also be things that are announced there first (like looking for growers for instance!), as well as highlights and features on varieties in the bank. I’m even hoping to feature one family heirloom per newsletter with stories, historical info, growth info, etc. Imagine it like a mini magazine that finds its way to your inbox!

    Of course all information will be kept strictly private, I’m not even using a third-party service to keep the email addresses, they’ll be stored with me, and I will never release them.

    The first issue will be in October of this year – and yes I would love to feature your family heirloom! If you have one, please use the contact link located in the side bar to get a hold of me.

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    I’m excited about the first issue, which is already being worked on as I type this.

    Stay tuned for more growth notes from the gardens coming this week.

    Growth Updates for June 2011

    June 12 - Tomato 'Fryerfrinsbroghese' Oh it’s been busy here the last few weeks, so I must apologize for the inherent silence this has caused.

    A bit of travelling was in order, then catching up after travelling, and now that I’m all caught up I finally have a moment to do a post here.

    The image you see to your right is the tomato ‘Fryerfrinsborghese’. This tomato, about a month back while I was originally transplanting everything, was snapped in half by my over excited dog when she took a flying leap over it while it was still waiting for transplant. Of course, I only had one of these transplants due to extremely low germination (I have a feeling these seeds must have been the original given to Plant Gene Resources Canada in 1984). Shocked and horrified I grabbed my rooting hormone and plunged it into the ground.

    About two weeks on it looked practically dead, but still showing a bit of green I couldn’t force myself to actually rip it up. Then, when I left for holiday I noticed a little tiny bit of new growth. Hallelujah!

    By the time I got back a week later, there was about two new inches of growth on it.

    The plant is now doing spectacularly, growing very well, and I even see the formation of flower buds, promising me I’ll actually be able to save some seeds from this sucker for the bank. If this is any indication of how strong this plant is, I am absolutely thrilled to have requested these seeds from PGRC (which I did only because I liked the name!).

    Unfortunately I do have a few deaths to relate: ‘Platillo’, another variety from Plant Gene Resources Canada didn’t survive the initial transplant. It was a poor start to begin with, but even my extreme babying couldn’t help it. ‘Calabacito Rojo’ also met its untimely death after a bad meeting with a weed whacker. ‘Americke Pyramidni’ died about a week after transplant, due to its very weak state, but the tomato that came out of those seeds that is still yet unidentified, ‘AP2’ is doing extremely well and growing like crazy. All three will be on the growing list again next year.

    ‘Irish Conners’ the bean I’m determined to bring back from the brink of extinction is doing much, much better for me here in Victoria than it did in Nelson. In Nelson I had hard clay soil, and temps reaching 35C, and this variety suffered in those conditions. Out of five initial beans last year I got two plants, and from those two plants, only managed to save 13 beans. Thankfully I got that many, and decided to plant them all this year. Well, they are doing spectacularly well here on the coast with it’s warm sun, but slight breeze to keep it cool. The soil I think is playing quite the roll too, as the natural sandy loam here seems to be much better for these plants to grow in. Looks like I’ll have nice strong plants, which means lots of beans to send out to anybody wanting them.

    Thanks for coming by to read about the updates – I promise more in short order!