A Garden Blog by Kevin Milaeger

Click here to see Kevin's Vintage Ornament Blog
or to Milaeger's New Greens page


Kevin 2015 

Summer Heat Means Fast Ripening

July 20, 2016     
(See below for archives)

Most every evening I walk amongst my tomato plants, making sure all is well. I note how ripe the fruit is, waiting to pick it at just the right time. It’s amazing how much the fruit ripens overnight. The morning after an evening check, there are often distinct changes. They don’t go from green to red overnight, but changing from green to pink, or pink to red is very common. With the recent warm weather, the ripening is accelerated. From now on, I’ll have 15-20 ripe fruit on the plants at any given time (not including cherry tomatoes.) I’ve already started giving away many  to friends.

My peppers are faring well too. You recall that I planted quite a few plants in the garden, and those are all doing fine---about ten bell peppers have been harvested off them so far. Normally I like to wait for them to turn red, when they will be sweeter and more nutritious. But harvesting them when still green will force the plants to produce more flowers, so the later harvest should be larger.  The three plants that I have in a single pot at home are doing even better than those in the ground. I haven’t given them any special care. Of course, the soil is different, and they have probably been watered a little more, but that’s it. I’ll continue watching them to see how they compare.

Many of you know that we offer early spring planting classes in our greenhouses, so our customers can experience a little spring before its time to plant most things outdoors. Attendees are supposed to pick up their pots or baskets by Memorial Day, but there are always a few stragglers. Last week I saw the last pot that someone forgot to pick up. It was from the “edibles” class. In the forgotten pot there is a cucumber plant that is monstrous. I didn’t count the all flowers on it, but there must have been more than 300. I checked about fifty of them and found only a few female flowers. In other words, from all those flowers there will be very little fruit, since only the females are capable of producing fruit.  Later, the percentage of female flowers usually increases. Some varieties of cukes have nearly all female flowers. The seed for these is very expensive so it is impractical for Milaeger’s to sell them as plants, but we have offered some in our “Vintage Veggie” collection. These types of plants are parthenocarpic. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon, but it can also be created. Either way, it is not genetically modified. I am growing this type at home---you can find the seed in most seed catalogs (you generally don’t see it on seed racks.)

Most of my radishes turned out pretty well this year, but one type never formed “bulbs.” It was in a row right alongside others that were perfect. Naturally, I am blaming it on the seed, not on something I did. When I brought some of the good radishes indoors to add to my salad, I sliced one in half horizontally, so I had the top half and the bottom half. I ate the two halves separately and I was surprised that the bottom half was hotter than the top. I tried several more with the same result. Normally I pop the entire radish in my mouth so I never noticed this. Maybe it is unique to the variety I was growing---a round white radish called ‘Ping Pong.’ Incidentally, the radishes were picked at the correct time, before they bloomed, and before the radishes became pithy. Have any of you noticed this with your radishes?

In the greenhouse propagation area at Milaeger’s, we have just sown the seed for our fall “greens to Grow” crop. These greens---lettuce, spinach, kale and others---will be ready for you to plant right around Labor Day. Plant then and you can enjoy fresh greens well into November, in most years. In early September there is generally plenty of room in the garden, as earlier crops such as onions have finished and you will have cleaned up those areas. The greens thrive in the cooler autumn weather.


Please email me (kevin@milaegers.com) if you have any questions or comments.



 Archives  (Click on the green text for links)


July 2016 - Summer Heat Means Fast Ripening
July 2016 - July Tomato Update---a few concerns
June 2016 - The Great Bell Pepper Challenge!
June 2016 - Super Start for 2016 Vegetables!
May 2016 - Tomato Planting Date Inches Closer!
May 2016 - Vintage Veggies Now & Disease Resistant Tomatoes!
April 2016 - A Few New Plants & Garden Updates!
April 2016 - Go Outside---It's Time for Planting!
March 2016 - Yep! ----It's Time to Plant Greens!
March 2016 - The Quest for the Perfect Tomato
March 2016 - Think Green! It's almost time to plant
February 2016 - Pepper Pointers: it's all about patience
February 2016 - I See Greens on the Horizon
January 2016 - Tomato Disease --- What can you do?
January 2016 - Tomatoes on my Mind!

November 2015 - My Late Harvest (The tomato picking continues...No Kidding!)

October 2015 - Its Mid-October---the End is Near!

September 2015 - 2015---Not the Year of the Pepper!

September 2015 - Top Varieties at Tomatomania 2015!

September 2015 - Get the most from September tomatoes!

August 2015 - Tomatomania 2015---Coming Soon!

August 2015 - Oh No!!!......Freaky Tomatoes

July 2015 - A Marvelous Community Garden

July 2015 - Finally----the first ripe tomato

July 2015 - Is it Possible to overdose on peas?

July 2015 - The Garden in July --- I'm still planting!

June 2015 - And Just When Things Were Looking So Good...

June 2015 - Tomatoes, Cukes, and a Whimsical Onion

June 2015 - Trials and Tribulations in the Veggie Garden!

May 2015 - Trouble in Tomatoland!

May 2015 - Tomatoes are Claustrophobic

May 2015 - A Little Chilly, but it's Rhubarb Time!

May 2015 - Joan's Rhubarb Torte Recipe

April 2015 - "Ketchup and Fries" plant video

April 2015 - Early May in the Vegetable Garden

April 2015 - What Vegetables Can I Plant Now?

April 2015 - Making Salad Interesting

March 2015 - Ready... set... GROW!

March 2015 - Unusual Potatoes --- Not Just for Tots Anymore!

February 2015 - Next Month is Spring!

February 2015 - Greens to Grow 2015


September 2014 - Tomatomania Review 2014!

September 2014 - Tomatomania Results by Category or Cummulative

August 2014 - Kale! Kale! The Greens are Here! Click here for Recipe

August 2014 - The August Harvest Begins

July 2014 - Greens to Grow for Fall!!!  Click here for Spreadsheet

July 2014 - My Tomatoes are Blushing

June 2014 - Some Tomato Concerns

May 2014 - Garden Update --- the Cold Weather Experiment

May 2014 - Is it Time to Plant Tomatoes?

May 2014 - Vintage Veggies #4 and Vintage Veggies List 2014

April 2014 - A Chilly Spring... What Can I Plant Now?

March 2014 - Start Growing Your Own Food Right Now

February 2014 - Greens to Grow   Click here for Spreadsheet


October 2013 - Keep Calm and Garden On!

October 2013 - Autumn Vegetables

September 2013 - Tomato Popularity Poll Results Blog

September 2013 - Tomatomania Category and Cumulative Results

September 2013 - Tomatomania 2013 Blog, Video and T-Shirt

August 2013 - Greens to Grow and Spreadsheet

July 2013 - Spaghetti Squash

July 2013 - New Tomato and Zucchini Recipe Blog
July 2013 - Tomato and Zucchini Recipe

June 2013 - Cold Spring - What it Means for Vegetables
May 2013 - Tomatoes in Containers
May 2013 - Vintage Veggies 2013
April 2013 - My Tomato Garden Preview 2013
April 2013 - Don't Forget Rosemary!
April 2013 - It's Planting Time
March 2013 - Onions
March 2013 - Vintage Veggies
March 2013 - Greens to Grow Update
February 2013 - Hot Peppers
February 2013 - Grafted Tomatoes
February 2013 - Greens to Grow

September 2012 - Tomatomania Results
July 2012 - Compass Plant
July 2012 -July 2012 - Heat Wave
June 2012 - Okra
June 2012 - Potato Onion
May 2012 - Gas Plant

May 2012 - My Tomato Garden
May 2012 -
Vintage Veggie Fest
March 2012 - Growing Raspberries in SE Wisconsin
March 2012 - Winter Tomato Project
February 2012 - Success with Sweet Peppers
February 2012 - Vegetable Cukes Miniature
January 2012 - Tomatoes New Varieties

September 2011 -Tomatomania Review 
August 2011 - Tomatomania Preview
August 2011 - Racine Vegetable Garden Tour
Summer 2011 - Vegetables in my Garden
July 2011 - Vegetables - Squash and Tomatoes
June 2011 - Vegetables - Diseases made Simple
June 2011 - Vegetables - Container Growing
May 2011 - Vegetables - Squash and Tomatoes
April 2011 - Vintage Veggie Fest Event Preview
March 2011 - Vintage Veggie Fest Announcement

September 2010 - Tomatomania Review 
August 2010 - Flowers Late Summer Color
July 2010 Vegetables Cukes and Tomatoes
June 2010 Tomatoes New Varieties

September 2009 - Tomatoes End of Season Review 
September 2009 - Tomatomania Review
July 2009 - Tomatoes General and Fruit Set Problems
June 2009  - Tomatoes Fertilization
June 2009  - Tomatoes Personal Experience
May 2009 - Tomatoes General
May 2009 - Tomatoes Diseases
May 2009 - Tomatoes Selecting and Growing
April 2009 - Tomatoes General

Any questions or comments, please contact us at: gardenquestions@milaegers.com