Friday, July 17, 2009
Backyard Harvest Toronto July 2009
It's mid July in Toronto and the summer has so far been cool with lots of clouds but not too much rainfall. Many crops have been delayed by a week or so and the quality is below normal. Our local strawberries were very limited in both quality and quantity causing the price to double from last year. Not good when competing with industrial berries from California.
My backyard has been producing relatively well. The raspberries have been providing about a pint of fruit every second day for the last week. Made a fantastic raspberry-nectarine milk shake last night!
The cherry tree did much better than last year when we only had 1 cherry. This year many rotted before maturing and quite a few had little wormy maggots inside (you could tell before eating by checking for little holes in the cherry skin). Much of the harvest was too high for us to reach but we ate what we could direct from the tree.
New for me this year are tomatillos.
I've been growing them in pots and have been surprised at their vigor. Lots of fruit developing. Now I need to search out some traditional salsa recipes to use these beauties.
My Scarlet Runner beans (grown from beans that I saved from last year) had a rough start, with all initial leaves being eaten as soon as they emerged from the soil. My guesses are slug and snails combined with a cool start to the summer. Some seedling survived, but I also planted a whole bunch more to compensate for the loss. The second crop came up in half the time and more vigorous, most likely because the soil was warmer. The best of them has now climbed the fence to about 6ft in height. No flowers yet, but probably next week. I had such a good harvest last year that many of my scarlet runner beans are growing in friends backyards this year. Everyone enjoys watching how fast they climb once they get established. I enjoy watching the hummingbirds that the flowers attract almost as much as eating the fresh green beans.
Tomatoes are doing well with many fruit developing. There was an earlier infestation of aphids, but recently I'm seeing ladybugs enjoying the bonanza of food. Since we'd been warned of low populations of ladybugs this year, I'm happy to see them on my plants.
Peppers are flowering and fruiting abundantly, but really need some hot weather to mature them.
The rest of the herbs are all progressing well. Basil was slow to start but has taken off over the last week or so. The mint has been aggressive as usual.
And my cats are really enjoying the fresh catnip that has managed to re-seed itself from last year.