This is the first garden update I've written, but I figure it ought to be the third. There's the update I should have written about planting, and the update I should have written about how the St Louis heat index ran amok in my garden, figuratively squashing tomatoes and shredding vines. This update is the beginning of the end for this year's gardening endeavor, but still contains good news.
So first, a big round of applause to Caligula the Insane Roma Tomato Plant, who appears, after months of Miracle Grow Tomato Food therapy, to be producing no fewer than four healthy Roma tomatoes. This is the first growth since the weather cooled a few weeks ago, and the first ever tomatoes to not be ruined by blossom end rot no doubt brought on my malnutrition and perhaps dehydration.
In the obituary column are Zeke and Zed, the zucchinis, who, after Zeke produced one fantastic zucc at the beginning of the season, disappointing by taking the heat hard and never recovering. Actually, my theory is that the plants grew so much that they exhausted the available room for their root systems. The good news is this means Marco the Great Marconi plant is no longer competing with a huge leafy zucc for the sun, nutrients, and water, and appears to be getting ready to produce peppers.
The Anaheim and Red Hot Cherry both produced some throughout the year. I haven't figured out the best way to cook either type of pepper yet. Anaheims are, I am told, the classic chile relleno plant, but I'm a little scared to broil anything until it turns black, and I don't have a deep fryer, and, for pete's sake I'm hungry and I want to eat it now!
My cucumbers produced a few "normal"-looking cucs a piece in the weeks after the heat. They're pickling cucumbers though so normal means fairly small. And now they appear to be dying. It can't be good when mushrooms are growing out of your central root system, and that started weeks ago. Overwatering? I mean how am I supposed to keep a dry climate against fungus and mold when it's a plant that requires watering?
Finally there's Thing 1 and Thing 2, the stalwarts of the garden, the sweet 100 cherry tomato plants. They've produced, rain or shine, heat wave and cool, all the way through the season. I've picked about 50 tomatoes off each in a single day. Many of the tomatoes have split after rains, so I've lost some that way. My favorite way to prepare them is to either stir-fry them with noodles, hot peppers, and noodles (I say that but I guess I haven't actually done that yet!) or to simmer them in cooking sherry with the rest of my sauce for making chili (that I have done, and boy was it tasty).