Archive for the ‘Summer’ Category

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!

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Weekly Garden Update

August 29, 2010

Beans & Peas

Harvest 3

The usual harvest is ticking along nicely.  We got lots of field peas and butter beans, and green beans and tomatoes and some cucumbers!, and peppers and tomatillos, and whatnot.

Harvest 1

Harvest 4

We filled in replanting in areas where seeds did not germinate, for stuff for the fall plantings.

After a month of no sign, suddenly voles have reappeared.  We are attempting to squash them early this time.

Potato Box

Other potato box

We were concerned about the voles getting in amongst the potatoes, so we went ahead and harvested them.  Overall, it was a failed experiment.  The russets (which we had planted from commercial grocery store organic potatoes) only produced 2 potatoes out of 16 plants, so we had a net loss of 6 potatoes.  The Yukon golds produced a nice little bucket of new potatoes, enough for a big meal, but none of them were much larger than my thumbs.  They just didn’t make.  Research into this, including at the NCSU labs, tells us that you’re not going to get potatoes from plants put in the ground after May 1st around here, though they differ on *why*.

I learned as a child that you plant your potatoes at the dark of the moon in March, and no other time.  It is interesting to me that in 2010 we don’t have anything more than theories as to why this does work, but I believe it.

Volunteers

We got some volunteer tomatoes this week, and they’re in much better condition than the other tomato plants, since they haven’t been around as long.

Eggplants

We’re gonna have yet another eggplant this week, and we’re very happy with this continuing slow steady production.

I’m using up some of the continuing pepper harvest in making my “chili red” today.  Also, I dried a couple sheets of cayenne and Serrano peppers, and ground them up into powder.

We ate THE APPLE, with a cheese and cracker plate.  It was fabulous, and I was delighted to discover that it is a very similar apple to one of the types that used to grow on my grandfather’s farm that I never knew the name of.

Basket o' Basil

Last night we made pesto out of this huge basket of basil.  The recipe is attached to the recipe list on the main page, the big variations being using walnuts, and that we froze the pesto in muffin tins (one of the pictures there in the recipe looks like chunks of alfalfa-fed donkey droppings, I’m afraid, but there you go).

We Cover Da World

The butternut squash and melon plants continue to spread; the butternut now covers a depth of almost 4 rows, and has a great number of little butternuts on it, so we are cheering it on.  If the raccoon doesn’t get it, we’re gonna harvest a moon & stars watermelon in the next day or so.

Melons

Big Butternut

Peppers just keep on trucking, and I’m having fun with them.  We pulled up the El Chaco pepper plants, they just never did anything this year, though last year we had a bumper crop.  Who can say what motivates this kind of growth, or lack thereof.  We have lots of anchos, bells, and those little Tabasco peppers that are so cute to look at, all growing upward toward the Sun.

Bell

Tabasco

Anchos

Small butternut

The kaolin clay we sprayed does appear to be at least somewhat effective, though we want more testing to figure out how much.

Lastly, we don’t understand the lack of tomatillos.  Lots of little paper lanterns, but few of them ever actually finish making.  They seem to rot or something, any advice would be welcome.

Weekly Garden Update: August 22

August 22, 2010

Well we’ve had an eventful week.

The dog discovered 3 small rabbits living in amongst the butter beans.  She got one, thankfully killed it quickly.  One ran across the yard into the woods, and one hid successfully (except from us) in the box.  Three days later I was mowing by a large oak stump, and one of the two remaining small rabbits leaped out from under an oak sucker and then froze in a patch of tall grass.  I picked it up, and carried out into the woods past the invisible fence, and let it go in the brushpile hedgerow I’ve been building since we moved in, telling it “This is where you can live, if you are smart.  Learn to avoid the dog, and don’t dig in my boxes and you’ll be just fine.”

Squash!

BIG squash

Lettuce, broccoli raab, broccoli, cauliflower, the kale, brussels sprouts, mustards, swiss chard, and beets are all coming up and doing well.  We’ve decided we want to cover at least 2 more boxes for the fall / winter.

The tomatoes have begun the “losing leaves” process a bit more stringently.  We’re still getting a decent harvest, but it is clear now that the peak has come and gone.

Volunteers

Box 1

Box 2

Box 3

The melons and the butternut continue their mad plan to “cover the earth”.  I’ve named them Pinky and Brain.

Melons & Butternut

We had a delicious eggplant this week, and we have another one to harvest tomorrow or the next day for another meal, and yet another one that will be ready the next week.  We’ve decided that one eggplant a week production is ideal.

Harvest!

More Harvest!

We have harvested green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, 1/2 a melon, field peas, butter beans, and all sorts of peppers.

Pimientos, Anchos, Cucumber, Serranos

Peas and a few Butter Beans

Did ya see how I slipped in that “1/2 a melon”?  Yeah, that’s right.  We came down the morning we were going to harvest the charentais melon, and some critter had removed it from the vine, moved it, and carefully carefully eaten one-half of it, leaving a nice little pile of seeds next to it.  I just have to figure it was a raccoon.  I took pictures of in “in-situ”, brought it in and washed it, cleaned out the seeds and pulp, and got 5 nice little slices out of it.  I can only imagine the joy of the critter that got to eat the other half.

Half a charentais

In canning news, I pickled oodles of Jalapenos this week, as well as tomato sauce, and green beans.

And last, but not least THE APPLE

The Apple

This is the first apple ever from this particular tree.  Being so, it occupies a unique position in my wee brain, rather like having the first sip of water from a well.  I put it on some porcelain and took pictures of it, and we plan to eat it with great ceremony.   Ok, fine, so I’m a romantic.

Marconi 1

Another Marconi

Oregano

Russets

Yukons

Bells

Basil

Cayenne & Serrano

Cayenne, Serrano, Jalapeno

Ancho

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 31st

August 1, 2010

July 31, Weekly Garden Update:

My son in a Tree when he was Younger

To start with, I want to express my extreme pleasure that my son just matriculated from high school a year early!  I’m so very proud of him.  He got his test scores back yesterday and consistently scored in the top 1-3% in the nation for high school students.  When he was 16 I thought we might have to kill him to get any peace, but a year and a half later he has finalized this period of his life by reverting to form, which is that of an extremely bright and thoughtful individual.

*                                                               *                                                             *

Apple in the Tree

We have blueberries, but the two blueberry pictures I took didn’t come out.  But look, here is an apple!  No figs this year, but the fig trees are growing on schedule, and are six feet tall.  In two years we should have 12’ fig trees and figs galore.

Black Jack Fig Tree

Our Yukon gold potatoes appear to be happy, and the russets are really springing up now.  This is our second succession of potatoes this year.

Russetts

Yukons

The Harvest has been good this week.  We have harvested cucumbers, Haricot Verts, Blue Lake green beans, Dutch-Half runner green beans, oodles of Tomatoes, Italian Sweet Relleno peppers, Ancho peppers, Anaheim peppers, Green bell peppers, Jalapenos, and Cayennes.  In addition, I dried an entire crop of basil, which doesn’t seem to have dented the production of same.  We got a lovely eggplant, which we’ll be eating this week.

Harvest 1

More harvest, different day

The whole garden is looking lush this week.  The melons and butternut squash are breaking free of their boxes and trellises and running wild.

Squash gone Wild!

Melons

The field peas are blooming, and the butter beans are too.

Field Peas

Butter Beans

Dutch Half-runners

Image if these dutch half-runners were full on pole beans…they’re already more than 8-9 feet long in places.

Fresh ground Cayenne Powder

I took all those cayenne peppers that you’ve been seeing pictures of and dried them for about 16 hours in a 170 degree oven.  Then this morning I put them all in my spice grinder and made some lovely cayenne powder that smells sweet like honeysuckle and then bites like moonshine.

An Eggplant in the Garden

We’ve been eating on the hot pepper jelly I made last week, and it seems to have addictive qualities.

A local biodynamic farmer is gonna give us some kaolin clay powder to spray on our plants and try out.  I’ll be going up to his farm this week to pick it up and deliver him a jar of the watermelon rind pickle from the watermelon he sold us.

Reach for the Sky!

Haricot Verts

Mycorrhizal Fungi - visible evidence

Flowers in the Apple Orchard

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

July 18 Weekly Garden Update:

July 18, 2010

Inspired by the excellent post on composting 101 by Engineered Garden, I decided to include a blurb on our own composting set up.

I’m going to try not to repeat anything he said.  There are a variety of compost piles you can make, and not all of them need to be “efficient”, if you don’t need them to be.   I’ll even go so far as to say that when it comes to composting we are downright lazy.

Hardwire cloth compost

First I cut a length of 4’ hardware cloth fencing, and wired it into a circle.  Put that on the ground at the edge of the woods.  We fill this with grass cuttings, leaves, leafy branches, dead lawn and forest stuff, and rip-outs of pea vines, etc.  We never turn it, but it still cuts its own volume in half every 3rd of a year or so and I just keep packing stuff on top.

Earth Machina

We got an “earth machine” plastic composter from our county services cheap.  The thing itself was made of recycled this and that.  It has a little door at the bottom and a twist off lid on the top.  Dump kitchen compost garbage, and/or other dead or dying things whenever you please.  Shovel compost out of the bottom door.   We mostly use this as overflow for the worm farm now.

Early Picture of the Wormfarm

I built us a worm farm out of concrete blocks and a plywood sheet.   We are on very hard clay here in the piedmont of North Carolina, so I just dug a wee bit down to level the site and then I placed the concrete blocks in a rectangle the size I wanted it.  Our friendly county worm-farmer has something like this about 100’ long – we decided we’d start smaller (laughs).  You can feed the worms all the kitchen compostable stuff, wet newspaper, cardboard, leaf and grass cuttings – whatever you have.  They don’t like too much citrus, but they love your coffee grounds.  You never have to worry about ratios, they do all the work, and you don’t need one of those multi-level fruit-fly generators in your kitchen either.  I hinged the plywood lid in the middle so that I can open either half, and when one half gets full we dump stuff in the other half for a few months.  About once a quarter she harvests parts of it that are ready, checks on the worms, and that’s it.  If you want more volume of compost you can put in more worms, make it deeper or cover more area.  There is no mortar and the blocks are loosely jointed – it has plenty of ventilation and drainage.  The only thing I’d like to do at this point is paint the cover so it looks nice and lasts longer.  We get enough compost at this point to feed  our boxes, and that’s all we really need.

HARVEST update –

Haricot Verts

This week we were engulfed by haricot verts, and I canned 5 pints of same while we ate others.  I canned 6 pints of tomato sauce and we are eating tomatoes daily.  We got more cucumbers, in fact I’m in the process of canning 4 more pints of pickles at this moment.  Yellow squash, anaheims, Italian sweet rellenos, cayennes, jalapenos are plentiful.

More harvest

We have pimentos, bell peppers, and several others making rapidly now.  And we have an actual purple eggplant – something that evaded us last year.

Cayennes

Pimento

Bell

There is a charentais melon growing along with our moon and starts watermelons.

Melons

Melons

The kennebecs are definitely ready to harvest now, and the new Yukon golds and russests are springing up nicely.

Yukons

New russets

Our seedlings in the basement germinated this week and are happy under their lights – fall broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts.

We sprayed fish emulsion this morning.

Blue Lakes

The blue lakes and the dutch half-runner beans are making — we should be harvesting both this week.

This week we lost our 2 zucchini plants and the rest of our acorn squash plants.  One of our farmer friends told us that he starts his squash early inside, then sets them out by April 20th in order to get production before the plants are gone, so we will try this next year.  And we’ll be picking up that kaolin clay this next week and will report on results when we have them.

Eggplant!

As I write this it is 94 degrees and 98% humidity outside.  We’ve gotten enough thunder storms in the past couple of weeks to keep us from having to irrigate from the well, which is very nice.

Field Peas

Weekly Garden Update 7/11

July 11, 2010

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My stepbrother got married yesterday in Missouri, so if you read this,

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE BOTH OF YOU!

Have a great honeymoon, and we look forward to seeing you two later!

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\

Kennebec Potatoes

In garden news, I just saw a squirrel make off with one of our san marzano tomatoes.  I don’t know if it picked it off the plant, or if the tomato was on the ground, or what, but the little devil ran across the yard with it and then up a big oak tree.  My word to the squirrels is, “…don’t make me put you on the same list with the voles….”.

Pimento Pepper

We ended up with more celery than we could eat, store, freeze, etc.  So we sold 14 heads we had left to A Southern Season, who paid us a premium for the non-conventional celery.  Feedback from them is that it has a lot of flavor, and they are pleased with it.  No, it wasn’t much money, but it was exciting to pick up some seed cash.

Eggplants

Speaking of seeds, we have several varieties of things we’ve tried to grow here that haven’t grown well or produced in this zone.  Once we catalog what we want to get rid of, we’d be pleased if anyone wants to do a seed swap.

Dying Acorn Squash 1

Dying Acorn Squash 2

Most things are growing well, but we are losing our second acorn squash plant.  Our biodynamic farmer friend at the Carrboro Farmer’s Market had the (informed) opinion that it is the cucumber beetles, squash bugs, and stink bugs.  Some small percentage of the insects carries bacterial wilt which subsequently can infect the plant.  The proximity of a community garden less than a thousand yards from us may be a contributing factor since apparently the range of these insects is fairly large.  We are attempting to pick up some kaolin clay powder as a natural deterrent for these plants and others in the garden.

Field Peas & More

We started our fall broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts seeds down in the basement.  “One of us” likes Brussels sprouts, and they look funny to grow, so we’re gonna try them out.

Tall Tomatoes on 8' Trellis

Even after I topped and suckered the tallest tomato plants, they just keep trying to kiss the sky.  We now have fruits ripening above the 8’ mark and I hate having to get a ladder out just to harvest.  Oh well.

Above the Trellis

We’ve been harvesting cucumbers, yellow squash, tomatoes galore, and more haricot vert.  And now the blue lake green beans are starting to produce.  We harvested more Italian relleno, cayenne, basil, and Anaheim peppers.  We have California wonder peppers which are making.

Tomato Harvest

Harvest of Plenty

Our watermelons are growing!  We are planning on slinging them this week.  One of the places we read up on slinging was Engineering Garden, one of the other gardening blogs we keep a link to here – he posted a small video on the melon slinging process.

Watermelons

Watermelons

Haricot Vert

Tomatillos

Tomato 6

Tomato 3

Butternuts

Yellow Squash

New Cucumbers

Dutch Half-runners Over the Trellis

Weekly Garden Update — Independence Day!

July 4, 2010

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

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