Our first eggplant has appeared. It's SO pretty! And there are a bunch more coming right behind it.
I couldn't wait for the peppers to come out. Now that they've arrived, I'm not sure I can do too much with them. These are called Mariachi peppers and holy cow are the hot! Yesterday we roasted them on the grill with our corn and salmon. I peeled off the blackened outsides, took out the seeds and as many ribs as possible, put some cream cheese on them and our mouths were still on fire. We may pickle some and we can use them sparingly in salsa. Now I really can't wait for the other two types of peppers to come up so we can actually eat them.
A few of the tomatoes, tucked way inside the vines have FINALLY started to ripen.
There is no doubt, we are gonna have a slew of tomatoes. Look at the bunches...
So that we are all set when the tomatoes are ready to harvest, Saturday we visited a super neat old general store in Mathews called Renfrow Hardware. They have everything we will ever need for canning, plus I think the literally have everything (including chickens for purchase). We bought some new jars and lids, and the big purchase, a 16-quart pressure canner. We spent all day Sunday doing dry runs with the new equipment. Our teacher from canning class suggested you always perform a dry run with nothing in the jars (except hot water) at the beginning of each canning season to make sure everything is in working order. So that's what we did. We started with a test run using the water bath method, and it was successful. Then we ran a test using pressure canner method. The first test failed - water was coming out in places it shouldn't and pressure never built up. Once it completely cooled down, we took the lid off, tightened up a few things and tried again. SUCCESS! We now have the confidence to successfully can water! :)
Cantaloupes are doing well. They may be ready to harvest soon.
The pumpkin patch is growing like crazy and it's even flowering...
but the flowers don't have anything behind them so it appears they aren't getting pollinated. I learned from the Almanac Gardener on PBS that flowers with no fruit behind them are males. If they don't get pollinated, they fall off and no pumpkin is produced. Guess that means the males are useless and don't produce anything but waste. What? I didn't mean anything by that... I was purely talking about pumpkins. :o
And yet, here is proof that pollination should be happening. ? Maybe the female flowers will show up soon, who knows.
Update on the apple tree: Apples are certainly being produced, but they are pretty gnarled up and the tree itself just isn't in the best of health. We had Nate The Tree Guy come out and give us an estimate on pruning all the trees in our yard, including this apple tree. He said the best time to work on the apple tree is in Jan. or Feb. after all the fruit has dropped off. So we'll just leave it for now and start nursing it back to a health then, hopefully having a "fruitful" and productive tree.
The pecan tree that is actually a peach tree is in a similar condition to the apple tree. In the pictures here, they look nice, but when you see them up close, they all have worm holes in them and the leaves on the tree have been eaten up pretty bad. So we'll wait until winter for Nate The Tree Guy to do some work on it, then we'll try to get it healthy from there.