Two of the dwarf cherry tomato varieties I am growing on the roof are coming in full force these days.
The yellow are ‘Yellow Pygmy’ and I believe the red are ‘Koralik’ (I lost the tag!). Both are delicious and sweet but the (possibly) ‘Koralik’ skins are slightly more tender and the flesh juicier.
Both plants are growing in foot-deep containers (one plant per pot).
I visited the Foodcycles farm the other day and was most intrigued by this beautiful scalloped squash called ‘Flying Saucer’.
Behold, the first of the non-cherry, indeterminate tomatoes that has reached maturity for 2009. And it’s a beauty. Incidentally, I’ve managed to grow several ruffled tomato varieties this year purely by happenstance. Well, that and the fact that I have a very obvious preference for that shape.
I’m yet to try it out, but I believe this tomato is a stuffer, which means it is fairly hollow on the inside and great for stuffing with veggies and rice and baking in the oven. I’m waiting for another to ripen so it can be put to the test.
And this is where I admit that my rooftop, container-grown tomatoes are doing pretty well this year despite the troubles that most in-ground gardens are facing with so much rain and cool weather. Don’t hate! These are the sort of conditions under which rooftop and container gardens have the upper hand (finally). I can regulate excess water, I rarely have to pull out the watering can to keep things moist enough, and the garden is warmer than gardens on the ground because it’s up high and exposed. In a typical year I am fighting the excess heat, sun, and drought but this year is almost too easy.
I recently wrote about the nutritional benefits of mulching and fertilizing with sea kelp. A commenter mentioned using comfrey, to which I replied that I am a big fan of comfrey as a fertilizer and would recommend it as a mulch, although I would suggest chopping it up or drying first since the leaves are very large and would form a dense mat when wet.
Comfrey is definitely worth growing as a ready made source of potassium, magnesium, and phosphorous if you’ve got the space. The trouble is it is awfully aggressive and will take over where ever you plant it, and then some. This is why I don’t grow it. I do however, have a secret location where I go every year to harvest a bit to make into liquid feed. That was until this year when I went to harvest from my secret stash and discovered it was no longer accessible. Noooooooo……
The tally so far: Summer is too wet and too cold, the tomato harvest is mostly crappy, and I can’t get any comfrey. The horrors.
But then, a happy turnaround. The other day I ran into a fellow forager/gardener. The subject of nettles came up which lead to comfrey and my recent loss. She mentioned that the farm she works for has a huge patch of comfrey that they use for making their own fertilizer. All I had to do was pay for the time it takes her to pick the leaves. Two days later I rode over to a local market and picked up a big box of comfrey. And while it did rain briefly, Monday was oppressively hot and humid so I stopped at the hardware store on the way home and bought a fan for my office window. Then I balanced a box of comfrey and a fan on top of my bike basket and walked it home because I am not adept enough to ride while balancing both, unlike those dudes you see balancing a twenty-four case of beer (we call it a two-four around these parts) on top of the turned around handlebars of their 10-speed with one hand and a six pack dangling from the other. While I’m on the subject of death-defying balancing feats on a bicycle, I once saw a guy balancing a massive rug on the handlebars while riding. On another occasion, I witnessed a guy with a TV, although that didn’t work out and the TV smashed onto the road.
And that, friends, is the story of the week summer finally arrived (we’ve had sun AND heat for days!), hope returned for our tomatoes, and I got my comfrey. Things are looking up.
1. Chop up the comfrey with a pair of sheers or scissors and soak in a tub of water. I put a brick on top to hold it all underneath the liquid. 2. Let it sit for a day or two until it gets stinky and the leaves are broken down. 3. Strain off the leaves and put them in the compost bin or bury them in the garden. 4. Use the remaining liquid as a fertilizer by spraying on the leaves of your plants or pouring into the soil around the roots.
I saw these dahlias while out on a bike ride and had to turn around and go back to take some photos. I’ve come around to dahlias for looking at, but I still don’t have any interest in sacrificing space to grow them. Thankfully there are lots of Portuguese families in my area that fill up their postage stamp lawns with them every summer.