Farm Stand Today….

…and the tomatoes are pumping out the fruit! Eighty-five plants gave me around 150 pounds of delicious heirloom fruit today. We also had bell and chile peppers, cucumbers, summer squash, onions, and honey.

Some of My Favourite Heirloom Tomato Varieties

  • Costoluto Genovese - Red and fluted/scalloped variety in the third photo
  • Black Krim - A widely celebrated heirloom that is lightly scalloped with a purple skin (last photo)
  • Reisetomate - The clustered variety in the bottom left corner of the second photo. Individual fruits are like fused clusters of cherry tomatoes.

More Sub-Tropical Fruit in Spring

The plants in the sub-tropical fruit grove have been flowering and setting fruit. 

  1. This one’s got a heap of names: Indiana Banana, Hoosier Banana, Poor-Man’s Banana, Pawpaw. It is the largest of the edible fruits of North America and not even closely related to bananas. It is native to the southeastern and midwestern U.S. but can also be found growing in the Carolinian forest of the very southern tip of Ontario, Canada - the province of which I am also native. The pawpaw’s texture is very similar to a ripe mango with a wonderful tangy flavour. 
  2. Rose apple - Belonging to the nutmeg family, this fruit is related to neither roses nor apples. This fruits aroma is overwhelmingly similar to roses with a snappy apple-like texture. An interesting fruit, certainly; one that I want to eat a whole bucket of, certainly not. 

More Sub-Tropical Fruit in Spring

The plants in the sub-tropical fruit grove have been flowering and setting fruit. 

  1. The macadamia nuts flowered recently and have just set fruit. This photos shows the fruits (follicles) beginning to develop. 
  2. The Surinam cherry is not a cherry at all but belongs to the nutmeg family (Myrtaceae). The cultivated fruits of this family always seem to have strong, distinct “myrtaceous” flavours that I can only describe as resinous or “turpentine-y”. They’re certainly unique and not unpleasant. If you love turpentine, they’re delicious. 

Sub-Tropical Fruit in Spring

The plants in the sub-tropical fruit grove have been flowering and setting fruit. 

  1. Bananas flower throughout the spring and summer - this is the first plant to flower this season. The Cavendish bananas that you get in the grocery store are just an example of how a banana can taste. Ours have a smoother, moister flesh with a more acidic flavour. 
  2. Pineapple guavas (not a true guava) or feijoas are my favourite fruit in the grove. These will be ready in the late summer. They have a stony texture like a guava or pear with a moist, gelatinous interior. The flavour is certainly reminiscent of pineapples. 

It’s almost summer - Get outside and plant some peppers!

*See my previous post for full instructions on planting peppers.

Photos

  • Newly planted pepper
  • Good looking roots - make sure your transplants have a well developed root system but still have a plenty of room in the pot.
  • Plant your transplants at soil level and baby the root system; don’t break up the root ball or otherwise disturb the roots and water immediately. 
  • I cover the base of my plants with sand. This keeps the army of pill bugs (they’re actually crustaceans and they’re good for your soil) from nibbling the roots.
  • Until they’re established, I cover the plants with floating row cover to keep rabbits and pests at bay.

Grow Some Peppers!

What a Pepper Prefers

  • Season:Summer
  • Sun: Full
  • Moisture: Lots of it - peppers love water
  • Soil Fertility: High
  • Soil pH:Slightly acidic
  • Other Soil Characteristics: Loose, well-drained
  • What to Plant: Transplants
  • Spacing: 18” between plants; 24” between rows (chiles plants are variable in their size; refer to seed packet or transplant tag)
  • Planting Depth: Seeds - 1/4”; Transplants at soil level

*Don’t let these preferences stop you from trying. These conditions are what a pepper PREFERS. 

How to Grow Some Peppers

Varieties

If you lack nerves in your tongue, enjoy melting concrete with food, or your masculinity is threatened by the prospect of growing vegetables you can always try growing “Bhut Jolokia” or “Trinidad Scorpion”. These are among the hottest known chiles - read: inedible, dangerous, blister-raising. A tea made of their flesh is said to make an excellent pesticide. 

I prefer fairly standard bell/sweet peppers like “California Wonder” but also enjoy “Sweet Chocolate”, “Purple Beauty”, and “Shishito”.

Chiles/hot peppers are amazingly diverse - I love almost all of them. Some favourites include “Burmese Reaching-To-The-Sky”, “Pasilla Bajo” and “Chocolate Habanero”. “Anaheim” chiles are a community favourite in this neck of the woods.

Below: Seed Sowing, Bed Preparation, Planting, Maintenance, Harvesting, Cooking

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