Saturday, September 10, 2016

I'm Little But I'm Loud!

It has been a tough year in the garden at Wits' End.  A long, cold, late spring that kept temperatures below normal and soil saturated well into May made for a tough start for things like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.  When the heat did arrive, there was no sliding into summer, but rather a headlong dive into home plate (90+ degrees) accompanied--at my house, at least--by weeks on end of no rainfall of any kind.  By mid-July, we were more than 10 inches behind on precipitation for the year and in the midst of a severe drought.  And did I mention that while I was leading a tour in Ireland in late May and early June, what I can only assume must have been a herd of bison-sized rabbits moved through the garden like a locust plague and gnawed any and every plant they could reach completely to the ground?  I returned from Ireland 48 hours before a group of nearly 60 people were to arrive for a garden tour to find total destruction and disarray.  

Through it all, though, there were a few survivors. The rabbits--for whatever reason--missed two of my 'Candyland Red' cherry tomatoes, a new All-America Selections winner for 2016 that I was trialing and I have to say, it has turned out to be the "little tomato that could"!  Dainty and attractive in every aspect, from foliage to flower to fruit, I love it just as much for its ornamental character as I do for its tiny, but supersweet fruits that pack a flavorful punch!  Its stems are dainty, also, so it needs a bit of support (you'll see one of the cage wires in the photo below), or you can let it scramble through your flower beds (yes, you can plant vegetables and flowers together--it's 2016, after all!) and lean on its neighbors for support.  I find it nice to walk the garden each morning, seeing what's new and snacking on a handful of tiny tomatoes along the way.

My All-America Selections trial package arrived a bit late this spring--too late to start the cabbage, kohlrabi and a handful of others before the heat of summer set in, but thankfully, here in the South, those are perfect autumn crops and I'll be sowing them in the coming days and making a full report as they grow and mature.  I also have some pumpkins coming along and if I can keep the squash beetles at bay for just a few more weeks, might have enough for a Halloween jack-o-lantern or two. I'll keep you posted!

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