As much as I liked being away, I was eager to check in on my plot in the Minton Stable Garden upon my return, especially now that summer has decided to grace us with its presence. I had been concerned that the tomatoes that I had nurtured from seed (for a change) would fall victim to this year's scourge, late blight. Last week, Kathy, another Boston-based blogger, published a photo of how her tomatoes were affected, and since then has reported that her potatoes are also showing signs of damage. Fortunately, I haven't seen any brown spots or rotted stems on my plants in my MSG plot, though there are a few brown spots on a few leaves of one of my plants growing in containers on my front porch. My most advanced is this Cherokee Purple shown here, which has started to flower but can probably use some pruning.My pride and joy of the week is this broccoli which is forming a head, currently four inches in diameter. Actually, all five plants are at a similar stage but this head is the largest. The tomato stems you see in this photo are courtesy of my next door plot neighbor (Not Asa, but the other abutter, whom I still haven't met). Like last year, we are once again on top of each other in some places, though another gardener and I were speculating that her tomato plant shading out my broccoli may be beneficial in this summer heat. I am not used to having such success with broccoli so I'm a little unsure of when to harvest. I'll probably not be eating at home the next two nights, so no later than this weekend, I think.In other vegetable news, my pole beans have started making their ascent, and I have harvested another half pint of peas, though they are pretty much done producing. To no surprise, my remaining two heads of Romaine lettuce have bolted. The sweet basil I planted from seed a month ago in some boxes along a wall behind my house are failing to germinate, so today I planted a row of seeds in my MSG plot where some my lettuce had grown. Better late than never, I suppose. Despite a freezer at home still clogged with pesto from last year's harvest, a year without basil is unthinkable. I may also buy a flat or two to transplant in some containers at home.
My yield has died down a bit since the strawberry-and-lettuce rush, but I still have a little to report since my last tally two weeks ago. Half of my snap peas developed into snow peas, which were selling for $2.99 a pound at the Harvest Coop this week, less than the $4.59 that the snap peas fetched before my Canada trip. So even though my methods for reporting are not so scientific, I'll try to make some adjustments to preserve some amount of accuracy and integrity.
Previous benefits total: $87.07
3/4 lb. snap peas at $4.59/lb.: $3.44
3/4 lb. snow peas at $2.99/lb.: $2.24
New benefits total: $92.75
Total costs so far: $167.07
Current balance: -$74.32
We'll see what the future brings as far as harvested broccoli, pole beans, and tomatoes. The other gardeners I've run into this week are bracing themselves for blossom end rot and more blight. Why do we put all of this effort into our tomatoes (especially heirloom) when the risks of problems are so high? Anyone who has compared a store-bought tomato to one grown at home or even locally knows the answer.