Posts tagged ‘tomatoes’
The tomatoes continue to grow each day. They are getting more color, signifying the start of the ripening process. The first of our sungold cherry tomatoes are ready this week. A tasty treat for the gardener, cherry tomatoes ripen one by one, inviting snacking during garden work.
Our tomatoes are ripening on the vine. A little bit of summer heat should be just what they need.
Tomatoes are eager to please with their abundantly delicious colorful fruit. They are so productive that they are unable to support themselves; and in most cases need a house or structure on which they can rest. One can buy a variety of cages for this, but gardeners on a budget often construct a home from the things they have available. In our case, sticks and some re-purposed wire. I pounded the sticks (3 – 4 feet long) into the ground and wrapped them with wire. The wire spirals gently upwards to support the plant at all levels. As the plant grows it is important to position the leaves, branches, and fruit so that they have room to grow. Use your best judgement and make sure the plant does not look crowded.
Tomatoes and chiles are late bloomer in Santa Cruz, because of the fog and coastal coolness. Our first tomatoes are ripening on the vine right now, and the sweet Italian peppers are thinking about flowering, but still waiting for a warmer day.
The rain waters the seedlings, young food plants, and perennials today. Meanwhile, the blustery wind tests the strength of the young plants, flowers, and new fences. The humans rest today after two weeks of working the land.
Last week while the sun shined, Don Domingo swept and maintained the sidewalk around the garden. The foilage he found, augments his beach sand soil. The blue jays arrived in search for corn kernels. Young finches spent their time eating something the human eye cannot perceive. The humans provided corn kernels and other feed to the local pigeon population. The monarchs, swallowtails, and other local butterflies ate and fluttered through out our land. As the nectar matures, hummingbirds feast. Hummingbirds and other birds also rest and bathe in the land of our community garden, El jardin.
Over the past week many gardeners tended to their land by cleaning the weeds, tilling the soil, and planting seeds and young plants. So far in our early spring, the following plants grow: indigenous maíz, nopales, various types of onions, beans, various types of lettuce, chamomile, comfrey, our perennial herbs, roses and gladiolas. Fava beans from the winter fallow remain on part of our land. The beans continue to provide nitrogen for our soil. The peach and plum trees blossoms fly and land throughout our land providing nutrients for the soil and beauty for our spirits. Also, our pines drop their needles to augment our soil.
Due to an extremely dry winter for our coastal redwood town, the gardeners planted a few weeks earlier then we usually do. Generally, we fallow our land in the winter due to the excessive rain fall of our location, a neighbor to the Redwood Forrest. This warmer drier year brings a hopeful promise of a larger yield of food, more bbqs, as well as, a healthy harvest of warmer weather crops. In addition, to our usual harvest of indigenous maíz , beans, summer squash, nopales, onions, chayotes, plums, and perennial herbs, we hope to have stronger harvest of warmer weather crops such as: chiles, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelon.
All but one of our plots have caretakers. All of us hope a strong gardener can take over the neglected plot. In El jardín, we enact traditional organic practices. One fallow piece of land attracts pests, such as snails, and compromises our diligent organic farming practices. At the same time, a neglected plot reminds us what the land would look like with out a garden at all –an ugly piece of land full of weeds! A neglected piece of land reminds us of the strong work we do. This land awaits a loving caretaker.
Our early spring in El jardín finds a friend in hope, promise, and hard work! As current food systems force people to purchase and consume genetically-modified-organism-food, our work with the land enables us to eat and live healthfully. We practice traditional methods of farming, despite the coercion of companies, governments, and non-governmental organizations, who force farmers and food consumers to use toxic seeds and food. Our work and our praise for Mother Earth, creates healthy eco-systems and food systems. Happy spring and happy planting to all of us!
Summer in the beach flats garden is a magical time of year filled with good times and good food. Many crops are being harvested including onions, squash, carrots, green beans, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, herbs, blueberries, and strawberries. The first elotes can be seen protruding from the corn stalks; silk tassels blowing in the breeze. Soon gardeners will enjoy the delightful flavors of indigenous heirloom corn brought from their homelands of Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador. To complement these unique corn varieties are an equally beautiful assortment of heirloom beans including ‘ojos del venado” brought from Sonora Mexico, black beans from Oaxaca, and Italian Giganti white beans. To please the other senses, a variety of flowers can be seen lining the walkways and common areas of the garden. The drone of bees drifting lazily from flower to flower adds an earthy ambiance to the sound of the waves and seagulls in the distance. Gladiolas of every color known stand head high near the Children’s garden plot, waiting to be brought home and loved. Marigolds or Cempasúchil are still small but soon will be waist high bursts of green and orange; the flowers are gathered for Dia De Los Muertos altars in the fall. These beautiful flowers are a staple in many gardens because they repel bad insects and attract good ones. Girasoles aka Cosmos, are volunteers that are eager to please. Appearing in purple, white, orange, yellow and red these flowers grow themselves in the fertile soils of the beach flats garden. The sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the garden combine to create a feeling of peace and harmony that every gardener knows.
As we move into the first few weeks of spring the garden has been undergoing a rapid transformation into the bountiful wonderland of the planting season. The first bean and corn sprouts can be seen peeking above the the well worked soil, while many more below the surface are awaiting the perfect sunny moment to burst forth from the mother earth look upon the sun for the first time. Tomatoes have been transplanted and baby squash plants are trying to find homes in gardener’s parcels. The chayote vines are creeping steadily up their trellises while gardeners think of the many different ways to eat the delicious fruit that will come. For those who have not yet planted there is no need to worry, it is still early in the season and there is plenty of time to fill your garden with the foods that will delight your taste buds.