Friday, October 21, 2011

Blooming Friday ~ Mouth-watering

We visited the State Fair this past weekend to see the farm animals, garden exhibits, and watch people ride those crazy rides. I'd love to ride some of the rides but I'm afraid of heights and would feel like a wimp riding the tamer rides with the 5-8 year olds. We also go there to eat evil but delicious carnival food. The cinnamon roll with a frappacino was the best. The roll had a luscious cream cheese icing that was like cake frosting whipped with extra air.

Candied apples are very popular at the fair and I might even make them at home, but the lovely blossoms on our two little apple trees have unfortunately not resulted in any mouth-watering fruit for three years running.

Despite being pruned and hung with baits for moths and other pests they have remained unproductive.

They are ornamental, with beautiful bark

and sweetly fragrant pink-tinged flowers,

but we'd like some apples! So I think we're going to replace those two trees with heirloom varieties and get a pear tree as well. I found this article about a man in our state who has 300 heirloom varieties, and two nurseries that will ship. Appropriately enough, since I have two horses, I'm thinking of getting a variety called 'Horse' which was developed in North Carolina before 1800 and was the most commonly grown apple in our state. It has soft yellow fruit with a tart tang and the tree is healthy and produces large crops of apples that are good for cider and cooking. DH said his grandparents had an apple tree that they said was a Horse apple tree but it may have been a seedling, as its fruit was green, or perhaps another cultivar altogether such as 'Roxbury Russett'.

Another old apple tree that sounds intriguing is 'Sops of Wine', an 1832 apple with a taste similar to the famous 'Esopus Spitzenberg' (Thomas Jefferson's favorite apple), but much more disease resistant. The fruit is firm, sweet and acidic, my favorite kind of eating apple.

Apples are not the only food crop we've attempted to grow.

We've had success with broccoli and cabbage,

pole beans, lettuce and kale.

I've always thought the name 'Buttercrunch' sounded delicious, and the lettuce lives up to its name.

The Southern staples of okra (pictured here is the flower, which shows its relation to Hibiscus)

squash and even 'Silver Queen' corn (truly mouth-watering) grow well here.

Crops like eggplant, peppers and Marabar Spinach love even the hottest weather. I have
not actually tasted Marabar Spinach but it smells wonderful sauteed with onions and garlic.

But tomatoes? Not so much. :( We lovingly planted these tomatoes in our vegetable garden last spring

and practically got nada for our troubles.

So this spring we tried them in a new bed in the back yard, in front of the very young Baptisias, Narcissus, daylilies and Siberian Iris. We prepped the soil

and staked the tomatoes well. This didn't stop them from falling over from wilt, even the varieties that are supposed to be resistant. One Roma survived and we got about half a dozen of the most wonderful tomatoes ever, but that was it.

Next year I'm going to try some of the tomatoes in pots. I really really want homegrown Black Russian and Roma tomatoes and more than just half a dozen!

On a more positive note, there were plenty of strawberry runners to spread around this year. I have of course lost the cultivar names but they are everbearing varieties that produce a lot of berries in spring and some during summer and fall if the weather isn't too dry. They're so sweet and delicious they go down before getting their picture taken.

Happy Friday, and join Katerina at roses and stuff for more Blooming Fridays.


  1. I wish I had room to grow vegetables like this. They look wonderful. I just have a few tomatoes and peppers. The tomatoes have done very well this year here.

  2. Lovely veggie plants here. No apples here either. I did post some of our citrus today though.

  3. Oh my gosh Sweetbay ~ What a wonderful veggie garden. I am impressed, not only beautiful flowers, yummy veggies too.

    Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

  4. I think three years is a fair trial for the apple trees - blossom is no substitute for actual fruit!
    I can no longer grow tomatoes outside because of Tomato Blight which destroys the plants in a couple of weeks - sad.

  5. Your apple trees are so pretty! Many apple trees take up to five years before setting fruit. Maybe you should wait a couple more years before giving up! Or maybe they need another kind of apple tree growing nearby to act as a pollinator? Meanwhile, your veggies are great!

  6. We've had the trees for 12 years ~ they were planted in 1999 and looked crooked for several years after Hurricane Floyd lol ~ and they are two different cultivars. One's a Liberty and one's a Freedom. They did produce quite a lot of apples in the past.

  7. Good luck with your new apple trees Sweetbay . . . Horse . . . what a strange name for an apple. ;>) Yummy veggies and I am sure they are happy with all your horse manure. I am impress with your broccoli and cabbage . . . I had no idea they could take such heat. Wonderful photos! Mouthwatering indeed!

  8. I wish I had room for a veggie garden like yours! Everything looks beautiful. :o) I mentioned your blog in my my most recent post. Hooray!

  9. I am jealous of the fall veggies. I did not find time to plant any. Apple trees without apples aren't much good are they? Good luck with finding some that produce for you! Carla

  10. Carol the cabbage and broccoli had been planted in early spring and no they did not survive the summer heat! lol Especially not this summer it was so hot.

    Thanks Casa!

    Carla I agree, the apple trees are nice trees but they really need to produce some apples too.

  11. There's nothing like the blooms of Apple trees! So lovely! Maybe the trees are just too old to produce a crop.
    But your vegetable garden sure gives you a lot of produce! Wow!

  12. My parents had an apple tree that simply refused to produce apples. My mother wanted to cop it down, but my Dad refused to let her. Then some twenty years in, it finally had some apples. I hope you have quicker success with your apple trees or that the heirlooms that you are thinking of getting work better for you. I too had mixed luck with my tomatoes this summer mostly because I did not stake them well enough. Like you, I am not giving up just yet. Next year I'll make a fresh start!

  13. I don't blame you for wanting some apples! I hope the replacements perform better even tho your current ones are pretty in bloom.
    You have lots of great veggies SB ~ I can't grow tomatoes either for some reason?? I resorted to buying them from the farmers market which is over now. :-(
    I'm still struggling with blogging so haven't been by in a while ~ hope you're having a good fall?

  14. Persevere with the tomatoes!

    Apples, apples, apples. Tis the season. I don't think you can beat a homegrown apple, still warm from the sun and straight off the tree.

  15. Lovely post...I hope you do get some of those apple...we went to a tasting recently where they had quite a few heirloom varieties. I remember the Newton Pippin was also quite tasty :-)

  16. Fairs are popping up all around us right now. I suddendly have a desire to go to one for a Candied Apple....

    Wow, so many veggies. YUM...

  17. I was told the Golden Delicious apple tree is a great pollinator for any variety so I decided to give it a try. And, I had a fabulous harvest this year... Which made the horsies quite delighted. :) Your choices sound wonderful.

  18. Hey Sweetbay,

    Nice post as always. I love the malabar spinach tee pees.

    I hope you have more success with your apples. 'Horse' really sounds interesting to me.

  19. Your veggies look delicious....we have two pear trees. Even though I was told the trees are self pollinating I think two is best....
    These are new, young trees, I think it will take a few years for them to fruit.
    Our Apple tree only produced fruit one year. I think cedar trees near by caused
    cedar rust and the tree just would not produce fruit.
    Good luck with your orchard.....I love the idea of growing heirloom apple trees...

  20. Your apple trees are so pretty, Sweetbay, even if they didn't produce any fruit. We didn't harvest many apples this year, either, and we lost one of our two apple trees to strong winds last year. Your tomatoes looked so healthy in the last photo; tomato wilt can be so discouraging. I hope they do better for you next year. Thanks for sharing the okra photo--I had no idea they produced such pretty blooms.

  21. Hi Sweetbay, we grow romas in pots and they seem to do quite well that way. With all the bees you have I am surprised you don't have apples setting. I wonder if enough cross pollination is happening. Love the buttercrunch lettuce!

  22. Kate I will look into Golden Delicious. We used to get tons of apples (too many, we'd have to thin them) but not lately. But we used to have 3 trees and now we only have two. The Garden Ms. S we do have lots of bees so something else must be going on. I contacted one of the nurseries for a catalog so soon will be apple tree shopping. It will be hard to choose among so many varieties!


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