still at it

The eggplant isn’t the only one to be producing blossoms a little late.  Remember I mentioned that we were nearly despairing of seeing a Costoluto Genovese ripen, and that I suspected these Italian heirlooms despised our hot & humid Southern summer?

Well, we’ve now had about a dozen of them.  They were not as spectacular as advertised — or perhaps not as spectacular as I’d been building them up to be in my imagination, all through the long, hot months.  They were also much smaller than I’d envisioned, which would have been fine if there were lots and lots of them.  To make some spaghetti sauce from these tomatoes alone, I’d have had to grow about 40 plants — of just Costoluto Genovese.

Although I must admit, I still love their scalloped, girly shape.  I took some lovely photos of them, used as the base for a platter of Caprese Salad, and I’ll probably share that during the dull winter months when me and all my gardening pals are obsessing over the garden catalogs.  Just to remind us all to buy extra basil seed… and if you’re in a more northerly clime, maybe to try out the Costoluto Genovese where it might feel more at home.

More proof, if any were needed, that this plant would do well in more chilly temps, in the above photo.  All of my Costoluto plants have started putting out masses of new blooms… now, when it’s impossible they would ripen before first frost.

I do plan to take the advice I found earlier this summer over at a blog called Your Small Kitchen Garden and pull all the green tomatoes when it starts getting cold, bring them inside and see if they will ripen for me.  Daniel contends that the much advertised “vine-ripened” taste is basically a fat marketing lie, and I enjoyed reading his article — even if, when there was still sun, I continued to ripen my tomatoes to red alert level outside, on the plants.  (And I’m still doing so, even if our night temperatures have plunged into the 60s.)

Part of that stubborn resistance, I suspect, is my underlying philosophy of gardening rearing its head.  Or what I’ve got to substitute for one so far.  Anyway, I’m too inexperienced to have a fully developed philosophy yet.  But what I do have is a short list of How Gardening Works For Me that goes something like this:

1) Observe the way it happens in the natural world without my input.

2) Get all joyful and mystical and spend hours in blissful, enlightened contemplation as a result of Number 1.

3) Come back to earth briefly and copy Nature’s processes as closely as I can as I do the “work.”

4) Interject myself as little as possible — so there’s less “work” and so I don’t waste time reinventing the trowel, which seems to me an insulting way to treat Mother Nature.  Also, so I’ll have more time for Numbers 1 and 2 on this list.

5) If my garden needs serious intervention to make something happen that should be automatic (i.e., attracting pollinators), go back to 1 and repeat.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

(By the way, in case you haven’t guessed, this is Yellow in my series of unofficial responses to Capturing Beauty‘s Rainbow challenge.  There was a lot to choose from.  Yellow is actually a really common flower color in the Victory garden.  Vegetables and herbs often bloom yellow.  It must be a succesful evolutionary strategy.  Just a little information garnered from following #1 on my list above.)

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