What I do have to tell you about - is the only thing that makes me not totally want to cry when winter is over. The only good thing about summer - is my veggie garden! I don't grow "normal" veggies - the kind you can find at all the farm stands/ farmer's markets and even the grocery store. I don't grow veggies to save money (I'm pretty sure they are the most expensive anywhere but Alaska if you add it up) I really believe there is nothing tastier than a tomato still warm from the sun fresh off the vine. Chiliplants.com is actually located in "central" --- nope can't say that - sorry C! -- south Jersey and you can go to their greenhouses to buy plants in person (it's actually the only current way to get at their huge assortment of basils and their tomatillos) Curt and I drove down there on the day they opened for the season. It's just over an hour from here. They open at 10am - we were there at 10:06am and we got the LAST PARKING SPACE!!!! The greenhouses were packed with people like me that wanted to get their "babies" home!! I really had to go early - last year they sold out of coyotes before I could get one!!
I have some favorites. Kermit is a hybrid eggplant. It's about a 2" round globe. There is no bitter, it ripens green early in the season (listed at 60-70 days). Sliced, grilled with a splash of olive oil and balsamic - warm is super yummy and melty creamy - cold is a great addition to a salad. I use them also in a lot of Asian inspired sesame and ginger dishes. I also like to bread them and make eggplant parm sliders.
Casper is another of my favorites- a more "standard" oblong eggplant shape - it's mid season (80 days) about 4-6" long and white as a ghost!!
The two Kermits are at the top of the picture. The bottom tomato is an Early Wonder. Most of my tomatoes went from the little seedling pot to a 3" pot on Monday - they will then probably go in a 6" pot a few weeks before going outside for good. Each of the 3 times I transplant - I pick off all but the top 2 or 3 stems and put the stem in deeper to get a better root system. (investing in roots early - while my plants do look smaller to my father in law and mom at first - means once they are outside all day in the sunshine they grow big and bushy much faster and I end up with earlier more prolific plants than either of those two get) My early wonder was already about 7" tall in the seedling pot- and since it has been designated the plant that will kick the old peoples asses-- it got trimmed and buried deep in the big pot straight away. (don't think I'm mean - my mom and father in law are retired, they live at a significantly lower elevation than I do--there is a definite climate band change where 287 intersects 80 -- the spring flowers I showed you on Tuesday? Theirs were in full bloom on Easter. they are at least 2 1/2 weeks ahead of me - they should be able to beat me - they never have -- the "competition" gets them plotting early - and out digging etc-- I think it keeps them young)
And before you think otherwise - no those pots aren't staying outside. If it's over 60 before I leave the house they will go out to sit in the sun - and then I bring them in at dinnertime. If it isn't 60 when I leave - I just open the screen door and let them bask in the sun while inside. (if we get a cold day where it isn't 50 I'll leave the screen door closed)