The Urban Gardener: Some Like it Hot, Harvest Time
Saturday, September 27, 2014
The summer’s hay mulch is fast disappearing beneath those tomatoes that just won’t quit. Tomatoes pollinate when night time temperatures are above 62 F degrees. Those that remain are swollen with goodness. The last to hang on are the Jet Star cherry tomatoes and those curiously huge white tomatoes grown for novelty’s sake. Most gardeners just can’t keep up with the cherry tomatoes. I trim back leaves and stems to reveal the ripe red tomatoes and expose the still numerous green tomatoes to sunshine.
The soil beneath the tomatoes is covered in fallen red fruit. My practice is to constantly add organic material. Perhaps your office has a coffee machine with disposable individual coffee pods. Once ours started brewing, with general consensus, a covered gallon bucket found a place nearby. Soon, the bucket attracted not only coffee bean paper pods but also apple cores, eggshells, banana skins, and salad. A couple times a week it’s easily tipped into a plastic shopping bag. Once home without any fanfare the contents are buried into the garden. The good will of colleagues supports the effort. Be reliable and simply add this simple chore to routine and a steady supply of organic materials transported thousands of miles are made home.
The New England aster or Michaelmass daisy, is the current garden champion. Our native plants need little encouragement. Easily grown from divisions, asters offer profoundly beautiful arrays of bloom. Always vigorous, they are a green footnote until September when they leap skyward and flower. Drowsy bumblebees cluster on the individually small flowers. Aster is Latin for star and the flowers tiny outreaching petals radiate from a golden pollen laden center. They sometimes fall over but tolerate a jute cord tightened to bring all together. A smaller white cousin sometimes comes along for the ride, often on the fringes of civilization. With some TLC, they will grow well for any gardener. Sometimes, it’s the smaller wall flowers that capture the heart.
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