An Orgy of Tomato Goodness as the Garden Comes a Cropper

August 13, 2008

Fresh tomatoes in abundance adorn my daily table. This is my best crop ever. Fresh salsa and tomato-laden entrees are nightly dinner fare. After the backbreaking initial work and the tenacious nurturing the rewards of growing one’s own are many. I’ve been making sandwiches and tortilla wraps with Boca spicy organic chicken patties and combos of my own garden tomatoes, peppers and store-bought lettuce, ranch dressing and cheese. My fresh salsa recipe is simple: cut up a medium-sized tomato and supplement with a couple of grape tomatoes to add a tinge of sweetness, cut up a little onion (I only had some dried onion lately, as the pix attest, but they will do), cut up some of my home-grown jalapeno peppers, add a little black pepper and some cilantro (dried will do)—and that’s it. This is pretty basic, but the freshness can’t be beat, and the chunkiness and texture differ from the slimy store-bought stuff. Note that I had to use a champagne flute for my Sauvignon blanc because I finally broke the last of my wine glass set. Anyway here are some pix from some healthy, low-fat meals of the past few days. -EG


Tomatoes Beat the Prediction

July 10, 2008

I planted my backyard tomato and jalapeno pepper garden on Sunday May 11, a week and a day after the Kentucky Derby, and predicted a couple of weeks after that upon seeing the fast progress of the growth that I would be harvesting the first ripenings by July 20, but a number of factors seem to bode well for a harvest well before that date. First of all, the climate this summer in Kentucky, so far, has been superb for gardening – not too hot, adequate rainfall, relatively low humidity. Second, I really put a lot of work into proper soil preparation this time. Last year my first batch of tomatoes had to be tossed away due to rot, due to poor soil and underwatering. This past winter I composted a thick pile of leaves and pine needles from my yard and my next door neighbors’ and plowed as much of that under this spring as I could. Excess amounts were shoveled out into a compost pile outside the garden fence. Prior to the first turning of the soil by spade I added a few hundred pounds of peat humus and cow manure ($1.50 a bag at Meijer x how ever many bags) and then turned the soil over three times, once each weekend, before planting. Ever since I have been diligent about daily watering and weeding as much as possible. My weeding methodology is simple and organic and time-consuming: I pull the roots of the errant grass and clover and other undergrowth by hand. As of last week my first grape tomato was turning red and probably will be ready to pick by tomorrow or so, more than a week before my prediction. But let’s see how we do where it really counts: with the regular, full-sized tomatoes. I have some romas that are three inches long and looking about ready to turn. I have a good variety of tomato types: Mr. Stripey, Early Girl, Better Boy, Roma, grape and maybe a couple more. Also, the jalapeno peppers are coming along nicely. The mole who had dug a hole on the eastern edge of the garden has not been seen and evidently has not hurt the garden at all. Here are some pix of the lush garden. There won’t be any salmonella or pesticides in this harvest – just good eatin.’ -EG


Copyright Infringement is Your Best Entertainment Value

July 25, 2007

negativlandcopyrightinfringement.jpg(image from the website of that notorious culture-jamming band, Negativland.)

Now that I have your attention with that mildly transgressive idea, I don’t have much to tell you.

A whole lotta stuff in my life is heating up right now (plus I’m becoming a lazy blogger), so the postings during the summer are going to be few and far between.

I state this only in a desperate bid to ward off any thoughts by my regular readers and blogroll buddies (all three of them), to keep me on the radar and on their blogrolls.

Quick stuff and random thoughts:

** This is how an excellent music blog, Electric Mud handled its summer blogging status: He simply posts, “Closed for the Summer.” I won’t go that far, but it’s pretty close to what I’m doing here.

general_patton.jpg ** I remember my parents taking the family to the George S. Patton Museum in Fort Knox, Ky. back in the late ’60s. In those days the museum was in an unglamorous, almost barracks-like warehouse-type building painted a faint green. On the walls above the windows (which were open during the summer; no air-conditioned comfort back then) were painted large scenes of Huey helicopters in action, tilted downward and ready to swoop on the Red enemy (and whomever or whatever else was in the way). Accompanying these images was some kind of banner or tagline that in my fading memory read something like: “The machines that are winning the war.”

It was as ludicrous then as it is now.

scotts-classic-mower.jpg ** Just bought myself a Scotts Classic non-gasoline, non-electric, good ol’-fashioned human-powered lawn mower. They’re officially known as “reel” mowers, but most people I know refer to them as “push” mowers, which doesn’t quite work ’cause even most gas mowers need pushing. I haven’t had time to do the whole yard with it, but a test run on a patch of grass was successful, Anyway, I remember my grandparents having their own version of this, a rusty old hulk hanging in the garage, unused for years. By then they had succumbed to the temptations of the infernal gas-powered machine…

…the machines that are winning the war on weeds and grass.

It was as ludicrous then as it is now.

tomatoes-1-month_0730-11pct.jpg ** After a scary June in which my first batches of tomatoes rotted on the vine and I had to throw out at least two dozen, the veggies have since come in mostly unscathed, starting around July 4 and since then I haven’t had to buy a tomato, and probably won’t have to until September or so. I have 20+ various tomato plants this year, the most I’ve ever planted, including yellow/orange varieties and cherry tomatoes.

tomato-plate_1001-12pct.jpgI used no chemicals at all, the garden is wholly organic, except for the fluoridated & chlorinated tap water I reluctantly had to use for watering due to the sparseness of rain this summer ’round these parts.

That’s led to some good healthy snackin’–and a fresh tomato with dinner every night.

I’m also harvesting the hottest jalapeno peppers I’ve ever tasted…

white-castle-demo1005-13pct.jpg** What you’re seeing here is a very rare occurrence: the demolition of a White Castle restaurant. This is the one that until last week stood at what is now the corner of Westport Road and Hurstbourne Lane. (A new store opened a few yards away; see my previous posting about that…).

white-castle-demo1007-14pct.jpg

I happened to be biking by when the demolition exposed the wall insulation. It’s amazing how many interesting things you can capture when biking around freely and armed with a digicam.

I know when I was driving a car, having the time or inclination to do something like this (when getting through the green light was the most important thing in the world) would not have been possible. The blinders are off…

I leave you with this shot taken from the parking lot of the Kroger at approximately the same location a few weeks ago (July 7, 2007):

parkinglot-2-7-7-07.jpg

Enjoy the summer.

-EG