Monday, September 5, 2011

Sunflowers and tomatoes!

Our tomatoes are still growing, but the sunflowers in the garden are what catches my eye!  Sunflowers on the left, tomatoes on the right.



The tomato plants are almost 6' tall, so you can see how much taller the sunflowers are.
  They are just huge this year!



And plenty of these flying critters!  The bees don't bother us when we're searching for tomatoes.

It's getting towards the end of the season for tomatoes.  I'm picking them before they're ripe because the peacock keeps flying over the fence and pecking at them.  Picture of that idiot is below...


He's awfully pretty, isn't he.  He came visiting a few months ago and decided to stay.  I didn't have enough to do anyway.  It's pretty cool when he's out trying to impress the hens.  He was just starting to molt in the picture below, but he's still pretty showy.  Now he should be embarassed.  He looks like a big, white turkey...with a crown.  Technically, they're more closely related to a pheasant.



Back to tomatoes and sunflowers!  What's worked the best for me to ripen tomatoes in the house is to put them in a cardboard box and close the lid.  I put a single layer of tomatoes on some newspaper in case I have a gooshy one later and let 'em sit in the dark.  I check them every day, but for late fall ones, about every two or even three days is enough.  I pull out the ripe ones and leave the rest in the dark.  They may not taste quite as wonderful as that perfect, sun warmed, vine ripened tomato, but darn near.  And they sure are a lot better than anything you can buy at the grocery store.

We built our coop and enclosed run so it's next to the garden.  That way I can poke cut up hunks of tomatoes and cucumbers through a small opening in the fence for the hens.  It's also easy to get the girls into the garden for fall cleanup.

Which brings me to the sunflowers.  I'm probably the only one around here that leaves them.  Besides being pretty, it's free chow for the hens.  They scarf up the seeds as fast as they fall.  The hens always miss a few, so there's some for next year.  I pull up the errant ones in the middle of the garden and leave the perimeter ones. 

Works for me!  Happy Labor Day!