Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Undaunted by Extreme Heat: Tomtillos, Eggplant, Peppers, Melon (plus Yard-Long Beans)

It would be an understatement to say the roof garden was tested by the weather this summer, especially the weeklong string of 100+ degree F days, bringing temps to near 120 degrees F up on the roof. But the tomatillos thrived, getting big and fat (note coin for scale).

I now think the heat drove our tomatoes to near extinction, but we'll post separately on that. 

Today we're featuring roof-grown food in SIPs that thrived in 2011's extreme Chicago weather

By the way, I learned something about why our tomatillos are so sweet from this site.
It's a key ingredient of Mexican salsa verde when harvested immature. When ripe, it turns from pale green to golden and the flavor is sweeter. 
Aha! Harvested immature for salsa. Too late for that and no wonder they're sweet enough for our raw fruit in the morning. Tomatillos grew like crazy in an earthbox and are now turning yellow. Time to harvest them all.

Eggplant have been producing steadily all summer, these pingtung long and Listada among them, apparently unfazed by the extraordinary heat.

Of the three kinds, I'll admit a preference for the long ones based on their incredible ease of preparation: slice lengthwise, saute in coconut oil two minutes a side over medium-high heat, and enjoy. Or chop and add herbs. Or miso. Or etc.

I guess it's no secret peppers love heat. Some of our sweet peppers bear a circular brown spot at their tips, testament to the large hail that came over the July 4 weekend.

 Jimmy Nardello, hugely prolific

Carmen, excellent raw
or stuffed (last year w/refried beans and cheese)

Rooster Spur,
hot as the dickens
Little Bells, torn from the mother plant
by extreme wind

We're this/close to chilling and putting a knife to these...
This little icebox watermelon
is growing through its climbing grid

L to R: Rainbow sherbet, Golden midget, and not sure

Japanese icebox watermelon,
seeds from Debbie and Little Green Girl in a seed swap

Yard-long beans  

A fun variety we received via Debbie and Little Green Girl in our seed swap way back in February when it was ten below. These babies steam up nice and tender. They're flavorful...and a hoot to watch grow.

The jasmine, too, loves its SIP and is climbing our arch, scenting the roof garden beautifully.



Debbie said...

Your harvest looks wonderful!

Our Japanese Hime Kansen Melon is fairing well too. It's really a cute little melon. I can't wait to taste it!

Shaun Overton said...

What kind of soil are you using for the Jimmy Nardello's? My crop was rather meager this year, which I blamed on 110+ degree summer heat.

H2 said...

Hi Shaun:
For sub-irrigated planters (SIPs) we use a combo of peat and perlite, to promote wicking of water up from the lower reservoir.

Did you grow your Nardellos in SIPs or in the ground. If that latter, perhaps they were thirsty. This is one of the primary advantages of SIPs.