Well, it is in fact our Year of Beautiful Basil. This is where we were just about a month ago:
We've got a bumper crop! Must say, I'm pretty happy with it. Although it's kind of tough and has turned bitter. Apparently, if you let it flower, that what it does: turns bitter. Some of it *started* to flower, but I picked off the budding buds right away. So I wonder if there's something about the heat or the location or what have you. No mind. We just add a little vinegar and it perfectly complements the local heirloom tomatoes we've been buying at our farmer's market.
We've got some slicing tomatoes on the vine, but they aren't ripe yet. At home in our buckets, we had two tomatoes that were nearly ripe when we discovered they had rot, which is pretty gross. The rot is a calcium problem, and the product Stop Rot quickly remedies the situation (thx Buffy for the tip!), but here in our town, the hard part is finding the stuff. We're working on it. Fortunately though, we don't have this problem in our garden plot.
Check out this hornworm:
What a fabulous creature! That is when they're not defoliating your tomato plants. We actually haven't had any trouble with these guys... or at least haven't noticed any defoliation of consequence. J. does a great job of searching and destroying (and also taking pictures!).
Our lone squash plant is constantly under siege. Whether it's squash bugs (here's what the eggs look like -- these guys are always mating it seems):
or those damn vine borers (see previous post here), or some kind of disease (bacterial wilt). We harvested the large fruit shown here, but that little one rotted off for some reason:
The SPOTTED CUCUMBER BEETLE!!!! Here, it's feeding on one of our sungold tomatoes, but it likes to eat all kinds of things, and as it's moving about sticking it's little teeth into plant tissue, it's spreading bacteria. Buggers.
The critters are a real challenge in the community garden. I think we've done pretty well in protecting our plants but you really can't let up. The southern community gardener must be vigilant.
All righty.... off to eat some basil and little orange cherry tomatoes.
2 years ago