Weekly Garden Update — Independence Day!

Tomatillos

Tomatillos Hang / Glowing Paper Lanterns Grow / Shine Your Light on Me

It’s July and we’re having record lows.  It got down to 56 degrees this week one morning and didn’t get above 75 that day.  Today it is back up to a more normal 84 degrees.  Lack of rain required that we water the garden early yesterday morning.

In the Jar

We’re already having a lot of fun with the pressure canner.  Last weekend we did the 3 pints of haricot vert.  On Friday I did 4 pints of salsa (see link for Preserved Salsa in the recipe column on the main page).  The fun thing about the salsa was that we got to use tomatoes, onions, garlic, tomatillos, jalapenos, Anaheim, Serrano, and el Chaco peppers from the garden, along with our own basil and oregano.  The fresh stuff tasted great, and we’ve already opened a sealed jar to nibble on.  It tastes great, and has a lot of depth and complex flavor.

Making Salsa

Yesterday we made dill pickles out of some of our cucumbers, plus one of her workmates at work gave her 3 cucumbers we threw in as well (whee)!  We used the recipe from the Ball Blue Canning Book for “Dill Pickles” and followed the instructions for making them “kosher style” in 4 of the jars.  We got 6 pints of pickles from this, and they are sitting on a countertop now all sealed and happy.  While they were cooling I went to go look at them and one went “plink” right in front of me, making me jump.  They look great from the outside, but we’re supposed to wait!?! 6-8 weeks for them to season, oh sigh.

Kennebec Box

We had a potato harvest this week.  We harvested all the Yukon gold, caribe, carola, red Pontiac, and the single Nikola potatoes we planted.  The nikola plant had excellent production.  It was a freebie that the potato company threw in.  The caribe, not so much.  But the Pontiacs, Yukons, and Carolas did fine.  I’m mad just thinking about how many Yukon Golds we would have gotten had the voles not eaten 75% of that box.  We have one full box of Kennebecs left to harvest.  The new box of Yukon golds is looking great, and we’re putting in a box of organic russets this week.

Potatoes

More Potatoes

Nikola Potato

We also harvested all the onions this week, some of which are curing in the basement.

Onions

Speaking of voles, we had a single vole hole and a single celery plant get attacked.  We laid down claymores on the perimeter (mouse traps) and napalmed the tunnels (Kaput) and no sign since.

Box 1

Haricot Vert

Tomatoes, haricot vert, and yellow squash keep rolling in.

Butternut Squash

We lost one acorn squash to unknown causes, possibly from heat wilt during more than a week of 95+ degree temperatures.  The same period saw the mesclun mix on the side porch die as well.  I harvested herbs again this week, and dried most of them.

Stored Garlic

The garlic is all cured, sorted, bagged, labeled, and stored in the dark cool of the basement.

Italian Rellenos

This morning we added compost to 4 boxes and reworked the boxes.  We turned the compost and opened up the right hand section of the worm farm to adding fresh compost.

Celery

And we are harvesting celery.  Some of them are showing signs of giving in to heat, and we have decided to harvest that part that we want to blanch and freeze.  90% of our celery consumption is in soups, roasted meat dishes, crock pot dishes, casseroles, pasta dishes, and other dishes that are cooked.  We really only eat raw celery in the chicken, tuna, or ham salad repertoire.

Eggplants

We are putting up tomato sauce as I write this, and harvested another 5 or so pounds of tomatoes that will go into more sauce later this week.  We reset some trellises.  All boxes of tomatoes, tomatillos, squash, and melons got trained.

San Marzanos

A duck is brining in the refrigerator, and later we’ll be boiling it and then roasting it for dinner.  And to think yesterday I told my father “We aren’t doing much for the 4th…”

Wheee!  Happy July 4th!

Butter Beans

Crowder Peas

Melons

Overlooking

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5 Responses to “Weekly Garden Update — Independence Day!”

  1. kitsapFG Says:

    Yum… duck! I really enjoy duck when it is cooked by someone that knows what they are doing with it.

    The garden is doing splendidly and the potato harvest looks like you have some good eating ahead of you. We also use celery mostly for cooking so my big effort is always to get some into the freezer – and enjoy a little bit fresh during the summer. The primary goal though is to get the bag of frozen sliced celery taken care of that I used in cooking throughout the winter. I like to chop up and freeze peppers (roasted and not) for the same purpose. I probably should do some celery this weekend in fact, as it is growing quite well and ready for some harvesting.

  2. foodgardenkitchen Says:

    The roast duck post is posted! Thanks for your continuing comments!

  3. Thomas Says:

    Great looking potatoes! I love roasting a mix of different colored taters.

    You’re getting me excited about my tomatillos. The husks are just starting to form. I never realized what huge and spreading plants they are.

  4. Paige Says:

    Hi Cousin,

    Had to check this out as soon as I got the link this morning. Wow! Everything looks fantastic!

    Mine is doing pretty well this year, the tomatoes and peppers in particular. I’m just starting to get some flowers on my okra, so hopefully that should start rolling in soon.

    If I can keep it watered enough so that it doesn’t die in this heat, most of it it should be okay. (maybe I can send you some pics. I’m particularly excited about the sunflowers, as this is the first year I’ve been able to get them to grow well.)

    My biggest problem is the critters. Voles and rabbits are feasting daily! They seem to have a special fondness for young green bean plants, so there goes that crop!

    I’ll bookmark you and keep checking in to see your progress.

    Love ya!

    Paige

  5. foodgardenkitchen Says:

    Water soon would be nice, indeed. Please send some pics to my email, thanks!

    The voles have been wild around here, but we have been setting out mouse traps, and putting down a poison that has a low rate of secondary poisoning. Since we started doing both things, vole predation has dropped considerably.

    For the rabbits we have short green vinyl fences (18″ to 24″ high) around each of the boxes.

    Glad to hear from you!

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