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Summer and Fall

August 26, 2011

Morden Yellow tomatoes

Wow! What a great week it has been, with our first two days above 90 degrees this summer and a few warm nights. The tomatoes seemed to have popped out. The early varieties are ripening faster and some of the later varieties (though not the latest) are starting to turn. Sometimes, you know something to be true, but it doesn’t hit home until you experience it…that happened to me this week. I know certain plants need not only daytime heat, but also nighttime warmth for good growth (tomatoes, peppers and eggplant in particular, though at varying levels). This week I saw it happen. I picked tomatoes pretty thoroughly on Monday. The day itself wasn’t particularly warm, in the low 80’s, but Monday night was warm…I think it was about 66 degrees on our thermometer Tuesday morning. When I looked at the tomatoes Tuesday, I had a whole new batch ripe and ready to pick. A lot of things may have influenced the ripening,  like the warmer temperatures over the weekend or simply the timing of the whole season. I tend to think the warm night had  a lot to do with it, too. Pretty amazing.

chicories for fall

Even though I keep hoping the summer heat will extend into fall, this week has been full of planting for the cooler days of fall. A few things have been in for a while: Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, carrots, and beets. Over the weekend, I planted a variety of chicory and lettuce starts, along with fennel and kohlrabi. I also planted some sprouting broccoli starts, though as I was deciding on spacing, I discovered I may have got them going too late. I seeded spinach directly in a bed and started the last of the lettuce in pots.

King Richard leeks

There isn’t much left now to plant. Maybe some arugula or other quick greens, if I can find the space and then, later, cover crops and garlic and fava beans for next year. Other fall crops that have been in the ground all season are looking good: lots of winter squash, celery, celeriac and some extremely beautiful leeks.

I am looking forward to the good things to eat in the fall, but am fully enjoying the summer tomatoes now.

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