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One of my little hills of squash

Nothing will make you more popular than a tomato patch in summertime. I already have quite a list of friends claiming my “extra” tomatoes, once they come in. I hope I have enough to satisfy everyone.

At this point my six plants are growing inches every day, so the tomato situation is looking promising. I have six plants, six different varieties. Four are heirlooms: Brandywine, Green Zebra, Carbon and Cherokee Purple. Two are hybrids: Lemon Boy and Rutgers. Some are old favorites of mine, but the Rutgers and Carbon varieties are new to me. Carbon is a black tomato that supposedly won a tomato taste test at Cornell, so we’ll see.

This is the most beautiful time in the vegetable garden, when everything is young and healthy and full of hope. The true heat hasn’t set it yet, the bugs haven’t gotten out of control, and the gardener looks forward to the fruit of her labors with expectation and optimism. My photographs can’t capture my sense of satisfaction in looking at the orderly rows and well-weeded paths. Over the weekend I put a few marigolds around the borders. They say that marigolds are a good companion plant for reducing insects, but I just think they add a nice splash of color to the unrelieved solid green.

In addition to the tomatoes, there will be zucchini (green and yellow). I love ratatouille and eat it all summer long. I have a row of pepper plants in all colors and heat levels, basil (both Italian and Thai), carrots, and zinnias for cutting. We’ve already been eating salads for a month from a separate patch of lettuce and arugula. Although I have the lettuces under a shade cloth cover, I’m afraid they may not last much longer. The hot weather will set in for good soon, and the plants are already thinking about bolting.

Curiously enough, no-one has tried to claim any extra zucchini I may have this summer.

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