Archive for the ‘Cucumber’ Category

Weekly Garden Update: 9/19

September 19, 2010

“Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends…. “, Emerson, Lake, & Palmer

Butternut

Sorry for the lack of update last weekend, but we were out of town.  This weekend we are back, and we were excited and anxious to see how things went while we were gone.

Garden 2

Garden 1

Overall, the garden looks fine for a week of neglect, even though we *still* haven’t had any rain accumulation now in . ..4 weeks?  Pushing 5?   Our rain-barrels are empty.

We immediately dived in and started harvesting those items which looked like they couldn’t wait, including winter squash (is this *really* a butternut (pictured above).  I mean, it said so when we planted it, but . . .um. . wow).

Moon & Stars

And we have several Moon & Stars watermelons ready, picked one right away.  We have a bunch more butternuts that *look* like butternuts that need to be harvested as well.

Butternut 1

Butternut 2

This week’s harvest includes cucumbers, green beans, ancho & cayenne peppers, Italian rellenos, red bell and pimiento peppers, eggplants.  We have some butter beans and crowder peas that need picking.  Squirrels or possums or who knows what must have eaten all the ripening tomatoes while we were gone, there are only green ones on the vines.

Harvest 1

Harvest 2

Harvest 3

Harvest 3

I’m not sure we’ll have tomatoes until Thanksgiving this year.  You can tell the effects of having no rain, but the basil and most of the other herbs seem to be doing ok.

The greens and whatnot under the covered boxes seem to be doing well, as you can see!

Greens

More Greens

Greens under Cover

Box o' Greens

Tabasco Peppers

Green Tomatos

Italian peppers

Cayenne Peppers

Glad to be home!

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9/5 Weekly Garden Update

September 5, 2010

Green beans

We are now clearly into late season garden phases here.  No rain for at least the past couple weeks (Earl notwithstanding) and there is none forecast for the next 10 days either.

Garden 1

Garden 2

The cursed deer ate my 6 apples on the other apple tree that was producing this year.  I would curse them less had I had a chance to have eaten just one from it.  They also stripped the tips of several limbs of leaves.

Garden 3

Garden 4

We have begun ripping out a few tomato vines, all the blue lake bush beans, and we plan to continue as items stop producing.

Garden 5

However we’re still getting harvests of cucumbers, tomatoes, Dutch half-runner green beans, field peas, butter beans, and all kinds of peppers.  I have enough picked anchos now to dry, and they should make the base of a nice chili powder.

Anchos, etc.

Melons, etc.

Charentais

We got 2 charentais melons, and 1 moon & stars watermelon.  We have more ripening of both.  The butternut squash is now putting more of its efforts into making little squashes, if it continues at this rate and we are able to harvest all of them we might get as many as 20 to store in the basement and eat throughout the winter.

Field peas & Eggplant

We’re still putting up green beans.  The last time I canned them, I had a rare occurrence, i.e., a jar that didn’t seal.  We warmed them up in the microwave and they were really really good, clearly the next best thing ever to having them fresh from being picked.  They beat the dickens out of the blanched and frozen ones we did last year.

Bucket o' Harvest

One day's pickins'

Voles are seeking to make inroads.  I keep trying to poison them as fast as they show new tunnels.  Sammie Squirrels are stealing tomatoes and running off to the woods with them, little orang- red blobs in their mouths.  Deer are starting to nibble on our green bean vines.  I seriously contemplate building a deer blind on my porch so that I can have some nice venison tenderloins, squirrel stew & barbecued squirrel.

Peppers

Sage

Mustard and kale seedlings are doing well!  Cabbages, broccoli and other brassicas are coming along.  The lettuce and carrots could not stand the heat and the desiccation we are currently having and will have to be replanted.

Seedlings

Seedlings 2

We put up another cover on a box.  This morning it was 67 degrees outside, fall is peeking over the horizon of Labor Day.

Irrepressible Basil

Squash & Melon plants

Parsley

Lettuce in a Box

Well that’s all for now!

Weekly Garden Update: August 15

August 15, 2010

Today the post is late, because we got up this morning, and after coffee and an egg-white frittata with dill, cheddar, country ham, sweet sautéed peppers, and some leftover cornflake chicken (served on English muffin), we went out to the garden and started the Fall planting.

We just cut into the Charentais melon, and wow it is delicious.  It is sweet and has an excellent flavor, and the flesh is firm and crisp!

Covered Box

We put in cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, Red Winter Kale, and Italian Lacinato Nero Toscana Kale.  We set up the piping, and covered 3 boxes with ground cover to protect new seeds coming up.  This Wednesday we already had seeds coming up from our plantings last weekend.

Boxes 2

Boxes 1

Boxes 3

The Tabasco peppers are finally coming in, and we have bunches of little pimentos as well.  The jalapenos and serranos look like they’ll never quit; I plan to make whole pickled Jalapenos this week.  Later I’ll probably dry some serranos and cayennes and make powders out of them.

Tabascos

Pimentos

We have plenty of other peppers as well; ancho, bell, Anaheim, and Italian rellenos, as well as some Italian red marconis.

Peppers

Ancho

Harvest

We got 4 cucumbers this week, and are pleased by the progress of the 2nd succession of cucumbers.

Volunteer Tomatoes

I trellised the volunteer tomatoes, since it looks like they’re gonna produce.  We sprayed fish emulsion on the tomatoes and melons, and kaolin clay on the cucumbers, eggplants, and squash.

Butternut

The butternut squash is determined to make up for every squash or melon plant we’ve ever failed to grow.  It has spread the width of almost 3 box areas and is half way into the next column, with oodles of female blossoms, and little butternuts growing.

Some Tomatoes

Other harvest items for the week include another big crop of tomatoes (I am making tomato sauce again today), about 3.5 lbs of green beans (I’ll be canning more green beans this week), and our first harvests of field peas and butter beans.  We also got 2 tomatillos and another eggplant, and harvested the very last celery.

Butter beans

The last Celery

Harvest 2

Lemongrass

Field PeasGreen beans

Weekly Garden Update: August 8th

August 8, 2010

Wow, it’s August already!

In addition to the seedlings we’ve been developing, we did more fall planting yesterday:  Cabbage seeds were started inside, but we direct seeded a box of Cauliflower and Broccoli, and a box comprised of Chinese Mustard, Ruby Red Swiss Chard, and Southern Giant Curled Mustard.

The Chinese Mustard is courtesy of http://nycgardening.blogspot.com/.  Thanks!

Our Yukon Gold potatoes are flowering, perhaps we can harvest them by September.

Potato Flower

We harvested the last set of beans from the Haricot Vert, and pulled them up, thanking them all the while.  We got over 7 weeks of incredible production from these green beans, and are thrilled.  The dutch half-runner beans are hitting a production peak, and the blue lakes continue to give us a handful or so every week.  Hopefully I can put up some more beans soon.

Haricot Vert box

Tomatoes have slacked off a bit, but we still got half a box this weekend after I pulled everything red and did more tomato sauce this past Monday.

Boxes 1

Boxes 2

Boxes 3

Peppers continue to roll in.  We are getting red Marconi peppers now, and some of our jalapenos are turning red as well.  The only peppers not doing well are the El Chaco’s, which did superbly last year (helpless shrug).  Here are some Serranos.

Serranos

Butternut squash are getting female blossoms, and the second succession of cucumbers and squash seem to be doing well so far (keeping fingers crossed).

Butternut Blossom

We got 6 cups of Kaolin clay powder this week from our biodynamic farmer and we plant to spray it this week, if it will ever stop raining every other day.

Basil in Harvest Basket

Basil in Box

BASIL.  Yes, the BASIL is coming at us with a vengeance.  We made pesto yesterday, and have 2 trays to dry, and dried basil in the drawer, and oodles more in the garden.  We’re thinking of ramping down to half a dozen basil plants, or even less, next year.

The weather has been almost daily thunderstorms (which our dog hates), with 0 to 0.25 inches of rain almost every day.  Thank goodness it didn’t rain yesterday, and I was able to start mowing the hated grass.  I also mowed back our Kentucky Colonel mint.  The lime mint I planted last year has propagated this year an amazing amount, but I’m about to pull it all up and plant something else.  It tastes nothing like mint or lime, and it’s had plenty of time to develop, flower, or whatever else it wanted to do.  I felt like an idiot standing there chewing nasty leaves from several plants, for all the world like a Koala.

Harvest!

We harvested another eggplant along with all the other stuff this week.  We cooked the one we got last week.  I sliced it thin, salted it and let it sit for a couple of hours, washed the salt off, and dipped each one into milk, then into a cornmeal and bread crumb mix seasoned with sweet paprika, black pepper, dill, ground parmesan, and ground romano.  Then I cooked them in ¼ cup of olive oil spread out over my 16” skillet.  They were yummy, and we spooned our own tomato sauce over them on the plate right before eating.  I’ll probably do something similar this week.

Charentais Melon

Last, but not least, we harvest a charentais melon.  We are very excited, we just hope it’s ripe!

Green Beans!

Butternut

Field Peas

Cucumbers blooming

Butter beans

Weekly Garden Update: July 25!

July 25, 2010

Weekly Garden Update, July 25:

Eggplant

Wow, we’re having some record heat around here these days!  Yesterday we got up and were outside at 6:30 am harvesting the box of Kennebec potatoes, and doing weekly maintenance in the garden because it was only 77 degrees then.  Later it got up to 100 degrees, but we were comfortably ensconced inside by then.

Harvest

We pulled up the last of our yellow squash yesterday, the squash vine-borers got them.  We have enough yellow squash to eat this week, but as of August we’ll be out of them.  Strangely we have 2 volunteer squash of unknown variety coming up, so we’ll see if they live long enough.  And the cucumber plants we planted in June may do something as well.  Several older cucumber plants were removed yesterday as well, and we got the last of those cucumbers as well.

Harvest2

The Kennebecs produced the best of all our potatoes this year.  We got as much out of this one box as we did the other 1.75 boxes of potatoes we harvested.  And they were the largest as well.  Last night we boiled some of the smaller ones, and served them with parsley and butter at dinner, and they were delicious.

Some Kennebecs

Kennebecs

Our first butter bean pods are setting up!  Blue Lake green beans seem to be waiting for something, but the Dutch Half-runner green beans are trying to catch up with the Haricot Verts.

Butterbeans

This brings me to the 3.5 lbs of Haricot Verts I harvested on Thursday.  There were so many I just had to weigh them.  We strung them, and then I canned 5 pints of green beans and 2 pints of Dilly Beans.  There were beans left over, but not a lot.  Then we picked another double handful yesterday.

Peppers

Cayennes

Along with the haricot verts, we picked about 40 tomatoes this week, several dozen jalapenos, cayenne, Anaheim, and sweet Italian relleno peppers.  We’re even starting to get some small bell peppers, and harvested one of them.

Haricot Verts

Either today or tomorrow I’ll be making Hot Pepper Jelly out of the jalapenos, sweet Italians, and 18 Habaneros we bought.  Next year I’m gonna be growing either Habaneros or Scotch Bonnets – I just can’t see buying them in the future.

Garden 1

Garden 2

Garden 3

Melons

Tomatoes

tomatoes

Cayenne Peppers

Little House on the Piedmont

June 27, 2010

On the vine

We’re feeling like we live in Little House on the Prairie this week, as we bought canning supplies, wide-mouth canning jars, and a small (16-qt) Presto Pressure Canner.

New Canner

Canned Green Beans!

Our first experiment today was 3 pints of haricot vert, and we’re surprisingly excited.  We are already developing a list of things to can, and gathering treasured recipes (like Peach Pickles!) from family.  Watermelon rind pickles, cucumber pickles, radish pickles, HOT pepper jelly, etc.  Next thing you know I’m going to seriously need a pickling crock and grape leaves.

The voles have been absent – no losses on our part, no vole sign or dead voles in traps.  Is this just a cease-fire, or have we won ….until next time?

Tomatoes 1

Tomatoes 3

Tomatoes 6

We are harvesting tomatoes and cucumbers and haricot vert and yellow summer squash daily.  I just haven’t been able to get myself worked up about weighing any of it so far, though I think about it sometimes.  There are really only two of us, and we measure our success more by what we end up buying (or the lack of) than what we are producing, since she keeps excellent records on what we buy as part of the budget process.

Ready to Eat

Little onions

Squash

New Potatoes

From now on we can harvest celery whenever we please, until we run out or the frost comes.

Celery box

Eggplants are blossoming, as are the Blue Lake green beans.  Dutch half-runners and butter beans are putting out tendrils.

Eggplant blossom

Blue Lakes

The sage, tarragon, and rosemary have completely restored themselves since the last harvesting, and the dill is out-growing my efforts to use it.  Basil is setting up nicely, and we have 2 different mints that I just mow back whenever we have to mow.

Sage

Basil

Potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers are still growing.  I am topping and suckering each tomato plant as it reaches 8’.  We got some new potatoes this week, and plan to harvest the rest of the box most affected by the voles, then replant organic russets, like we already replanted the organic Yukon golds, which are growing nicely.

Potatoes

Potatoes

Recent Yukon Golds

We have some really large cayenne peppers growing, as well as pimento, Serrano, anaheims (harvested 2 more this week), anchos, jalapenos (harvested 3 for another round of the muffins)…well we have a lot of peppers.

Peppers

The Japanese beetle season is here, and it is open season on them.  We have beetle bag traps up, and they’re filling nicely.  No significant damage from them yet except for a few apple trees leaves, so far.

Happy Cucumber

We had to pull up a box of cucumbers and zucchini, which is always frustrating and disappointing.  We replanted in another open box, and the plants are already leaping up.  We’re not sure, but we *think* they were hit hard by an unidentified (so far) brown bug that were all over them.  We squished them, and have been squishing any signs of them, and no replication of the problem yet.  If anyone had a clue about this vague problem, we’d be pleased to consider any theories.

Flower

Weekly Garden Update: Summer Solstice 2010

June 20, 2010

8' Tomato

Tomatoes have once again outgrown our 8’ trellis.  Last year they grew up and then started back down, with the longest one having a total length of approximately 14 feet.  This year I’m topping them as they hit the 8’ mark, and plan to sucker more of them as well.

Tomatoes

San Marzanos

The war of attrition against the vole menace seems to be tilting our way.  In the last 2 weeks we’ve only lost 1 celery plant and 1 eggplant, and we have racked up 2 voles in traps, and a total lack of new vole hole activity.  (I started humming the Ballad of Roger Young while I wrote this (chuckle)).

We took another step this week away from the mainstream:  we bought canning supply implements and wide-mouth pint Mason jars.  With our large metal pots, this will allow us to do water-bath canning.  We’re seriously considering splurging on a pressure canner at some point as well.

Haricot Verts

We harvested haricot vert at least 4 days out of the past 6!  Oh, snap beans galore to be steamed and gobbled.  We’ve been harvesting a few yellow squash which were promptly sautéed in butter and devoured.  We got our first Anaheim pepper off the vine, and we have jalapenos, cayenne, and Italian Rellenos growing.  At least one tomato is coming off the vines daily.

Squash!

Harvest

Today we harvested our first cucumber, and more celery.  More cucumbers will be harvestable tomorrow or the next day.

Cucumber

Celery

It has been 15 days since we racked the garlic, and this morning I cleaned and polished the bulbs after trimming down the stems and the roots.  I separated damaged bulbs or bulbs with little or no paper covering to be eaten sooner.  I smell like garlic.

We pulled up all the snow peas this morning, and reworked the bed.  And we weeded and tidied up and picked squash bugs, etc.

Field Peas (Cow Peas)

Butter Beans

Dutch Half-Runners

The butter beans, field peas, and Dutch half-runners are growing nicely, as you can see here.

Here is our butternut squash growing up the trellis, and in the background are the tomatillos.

Butternut Squash

Last but not least, this is a color of day lily of which I am particularly fond, and a couple of extra photos from the garden.

Day Lily

Melons

Yukon Gold Potatoes - Planted recently

Haricot Vert

Weekly Garden Update: June 5&6

June 6, 2010

Let the Sun Shine…

It is 87 degrees in the shade at 10:30 am.  Tomorrow is supposed to be hotter.  The Relative humidity is around 80%.  So yeah, it’s hot and muggy.  What did you expect in rural North Carolina?

This week we harvested dill, rosemary, and sage.  Herb harvests have settled in to become a weekly thing, and so I’m taking to flavoring what we eat accordingly.

Harvested Celery

We harvested some heads of celery, snowpeas, the rest of the broccoli.  We have finished harvesting all our mature lettuces.  We harvested cauliflower, and have still a head or two before we’re done with them for the spring.  We harvested the rest of the garlic scapes, and froze most of them.

Curing Garlic 1

Curing Garlic 2

Also, we did our Garlic Harvest, all hardnecks:

45 French Rose

28 Purple Glaze

22 Brown Tempest

13 Random Bulbs of the above 3 (last week)

03 Green Garlic (previous harvest, eaten)

111 Garlic Total.  This is very close to the number that we planted October 17th, and we’re counting garlic as a rousing success.  Surprising and happy-making because it was the first time either of us has fooled with garlic.  A local farmer is using a piece of lattice to hang and cure their garlic on, so we followed suit and hung some plastic netting on a cattle panel under our screened porch to cure them.  With any luck, this will give us enough garlic to eat for at least half a year, plus enough seed garlic to plant most of this fall’s crop, though we are planning on supplementing this with some softnecks from a local source that has been growing one particular variety as seed stock (and eating stock) for over 25 years.

Cauliflower

This weekend we are planting:  running conch field peas (cow peas), Henderson bush baby lima beans, old Dutch half-runner green beans (these bear profusely and accounted for a plurality of our green beans last year), Yukon gold potatoes.  These are going into the garlic boxes and broccoli and cauliflower boxes.  The potatoes are going into a radish and carrot box which has been resting for about a month.  We had to amend our planting plan because the snowpeas are still producing and we didn’t want to tear them up.

Bloody Butchers

We have tomatoes ripening on the vine, 3 of them are red already, all Bloody Butchers.  The san marzano tomatoes are growing nicely.  I predict tomato biscuits in my future.  There is nothing like biting into a hot fresh biscuit with a slice of a real tomato that has been salted and peppered with a dab of butter melting over it.  We get our butter from the dairy 4 miles down the road and I find that it compares favorably with most European butters that are available in the fancier grocery stores locally.

San Marzanos

Acorn squash and yellow squash are lurking behind golden blossoms.  Zucchini and butternuts are not far behind.

Acorns

Yellow Squash

The haricot vert are in full bloom.  Hopefully the green bean deluge will begin soon.

Haricot Vert in Bloom

Cucumbers and climbing squash are attempting to take over the world with their little pale green clutching tendrils.  I find myself talking to them as I would to a pet (or myself) as I alternatively scold and encourage them to grow properly up the cattle panels, and not through the border fencing or into the neighboring bush squash.

Cucumbers

We have actual peppers on the vines, in this case, cayennes.  Oh those practical, prolific, satisfying hot peppers that make you feel like you might know what you’re doing.  In my humble opinion these are easier to grow than radishes anytime, if someone is a beginning gardener.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne #2

We’ve killed 2 more voles in traps in the past 10 days.  Vole depredations are down again, perhaps our continued efforts are actually whittling them down.  The warfarin we get from Kaput is now being applied every 4 days rather than only when we get an outbreak.   I worry about our hawks that live near us, but just yesterday both of them were overflying the garden and the yard as usual.  The local squirrel population doesn’t seem to have been affected yet, and they are the only other critters that we regularly see in the garden.  Just this morning we watched from our windows as one in the potato box scaled a potato plant, and balancing delicately, swayed back and forth, then jumped out over the fencing.  He jumped twice and landed on a t-post on the celery box, perched there and chattered, then leapt down into this box as well.  We ran out onto the screen porch and hollered at him:  the celery box is littered with mouse traps and buried warfarin – he cleared out in a hurry at the unwanted introduction of the crazy humans.

Tomatoes 6

We’re not sure what to do with extra celery leaves.  Neither of us thinks they will freeze as well as the stalks, and we’re not sure that they can be dried and used effectively either, though we are likely to try.  We have more leaves than we can chop and eat this week, so please, if you have any suggestions, leave a comment.

In the Celery Forest

Welcome to the Jungle

Tomatoes 1

Soil worked Box ready for planting

Squash

Peppers

Weekly Garden Update: May 30th

May 30, 2010

Weekly Garden Update:  May 30th

Episode V:  The Voles Strike Back

Voles got 4-6 more potato stalks this week, 4 more celery plants, and forced us to harvest carrots which could have used more time, but which were being decimated.  We shall not give up the fight.  There is no try, do or do not.

We harvested 9 18” long tarragon stalks today, and they are currently drying on a cookie sheet in a 175 degree oven.

Tarragon

Yesterday we harvested fresh dill, and we have more we can grab whenever we need it.

Dill

We have been harvesting garlic scapes as they get ready, and I’ll be posting a brief “things to do with garlic scapes” just before this update, so there will be a link here.  Also we have started testing some of the garlic bulbs and are beginning to cure them.

Curing Garlic

Snow peas have been coming in faster than we can eat them for some time now, so we are eating raw snow peas in salads, lightly steamed snow peas as sides, and snow peas in nearly all the dishes in which we put mixed veggies.  We are freezing a lot of them as well.  It is looking like they are slowing down however, as there are few new blooms, so maybe the snow pea harvest is coming to an end.

Tomatoes

The strawberry season in central northern NC came to an abrupt halt, as no one at 3 farmers’ markets I know of had any this week, and the pick-your-own place across the street from us has closed for the season.  One farmer speculated that it was the lack of rain followed by 4 inches in one week followed by increasing temperatures that caused the strawberries to close up shop and return to fairy-strawberry-land so quickly (“…And the little streams of alcohol come a-trickling down the rocks…”).

Tomatoes!

Tomatoes

There are over 50 tomatoes on the vines!  Long oblong ones, small spheroid ones, clusters of them, and blooms blooms blooms are all toot-tootin’ along.

Celery

Celery that isn’t being attacked by voles is doing very well.  In fact, we were able to rescue some of the stalks of the ones that had their roots eaten by voles, and I used fresh celery in the clam chowder I made up last night.  From now until the end of the season we have celery that can be harvested at will (at least those the voles don’t get).  We still have over 36 stalks going, so hopefully we’ll still be harvesting celery at Thanksgiving.

Peppers

We replanted eggplants and peppers this week, and transplanted basil and cilantro we have been growing in containers inside.  We have oregano, rosemary, and lemongrass to be harvested at will.  We harvested another whole row of lettuces this week, lettuce production is finally petering off, though we have some new mesclun mix which is coming up nicely.

Squash

Cucumbers starting Tendrils

Garlic

It’s May! It’s May!

May 1, 2010

Tra la! It’s May!

The lusty month of May!

Chives

That lovely month when ev’ryone goes

Blissfully astray.

(end singing now)

Lettuce in Harvest Basket

Och Aye, It’s May.  Today we shopped at Carrboro Farmer’s Market and the South Estes Farmer’s Market, buying beets and carrots and biodynamic strawberries that taste like Vanessa Redgrave’s voice sounds.

Radishes

This afternoon we spent in the Garden.  We harvested green garlic, which makes great garlic bread, and oodles of radishes and enough lettuces to satisfy the entire Efrafa warren.  We harvested young spinach, and the last of the wintered cauliflower.

Trellised Peppers

Then we transplanted peppers to a box, only 21 of the ones we have ready to go.  We harvested lettuces and thinned the rest out by transplanting them so they had more room.

Pepper Seedlings

We have Sugar Snap Peas!  Not many, but enough have come in for a dish.  And we have blueberries growing!

Blueberries

And lit-tle ty-ny apples.  We have half a dozen tomato plants blossoming, plus both our tomatillos.  The snow peas have lovely purple and pink blossoms.

Tomato Blossom

We transplanted winter squash that we set to germinate last week into a box, and the summer squash are starting to unfurl from beneath the top layer of dirt.  The haricot vert are germinating as well as the cucumbers.

Squash Seedlings

Below are photos of many of our herbs we have growing in railing boxes and by windows and in large containers outside scattered amongst the Garden.

We’ve been growing mung bean sprouts from beans purchased at our local Co-Op, and have gotten nicely efficient at having them on hand most of the time.  Mostly they go into the salads.

Sometimes I feel redundant; shooting what seems to me to be similar pictures over and over.  Then I remind myself that a year from now it will be nice to have a visual record of the weeks passing in the garden.

More cilantro

Basil

More tomatillo blossoms

Tomatillo blossom

Thyme

Tarragon

Sage

Rosemary

Parsley

Oregano

Tomato Blossom

Lemongrass

Dill

Cilantro