I promised you in May that I would post some pictures of how my vegetable garden looks after a month. Compare the photos in the previous post to those below to see the difference a mere four weeks make. It is amazing to see seedlings change into fully grown plants and start producing fresh summer vegetables. The zucchini are producing beautiful blossoms and fruit. The romano beans have grown to the top of the wood poles and the beans are ready to be picked.
The tomato plants are on their way. My dad builds the entire trellis with recycled material he has around my garden, like wood poles, metal posts left over from when we built my house, and left over irrigation tubing. He buys nothing and recycles everything from year to year.
The poles are about 6 - 7 feet high--that's as high as we can reach to tie the tomato stems--and planted about 6 feet apart. These poles support the horizontal bars, which he makes out of wood sticks or tubing, are placed about 12 inches apart. When the plants start producing, the trellis looks like a wall of tomatoes. You will have to wait until August to see what I am describing. In the meantime, if you have planted San Marzano tomatoes and would like to use this time-honored Calabrian technique, please feel free.
Take a look at the picture below to see how my dad ties the tomato stems to the trellis. He uses strips of his old worn shirts!
We always remove all the suckers once the tomato plant is well on its way up the trellis. A tomato sucker, or side shoot, is a growth that appears between a branch and the main stem. Here is a picture of what it looks like:
We leave suckers on the lowest portion of the tomato plant, as many as five or six, and these become the main branches that will produce tomatoes. All the other suckers that are produced by these stems will be removed as the tomato stems climb up the trellis. You want to prune the suckers when they are small, no more than two to four inches. Suckers this size can be snapped off with your fingers, but suckers any thicker than a pencil should be cut with a pruner or knife to avoid damaging the plant.
The eggplant and pepper plants are growing well and my two cucumber plants are on their way to producing:
This is the best time of the year in my garden; I get to pick fresh vegetables on a daily basis.
Even my fig trees are ready to produce wonderful sweet figs. They will be ripe enough to eat right off the tree by next week.
I have two large fig plants, a Kadota (green-skinned and golden flesh) and a black mission tree. I'll have more on figs in a future post.