Friday, July 30, 2010

This week's garden work

On Tuesday I spent a pleasant and full day in the garden. I spent a lot of time with my potatoes. I was concerned about their foliage, and they have been falling over for weeks.
I did some research to try to figure out if it was late blight, early blight, or something else. I decided it was either early blight or fusarium wilt.
Either way I surely didn't want it to spread to my tomatoes. So I cut back all the foliage and bagged it. I had been filching potatoes from my short row of Iris Cobbler potatoes, so I went ahead and dug the whole row. I also dug up a few of the All Blue and Yukon Gold to see what they potatoes look like. They are a fair size. Here are a few of the All Blue, straight out of the ground.
However, I've read that leaving them in the ground for a few weeks will help them harden up the skin to store better. So I'll be leaving the rest of them in the ground for a bit more.

I went on to check on the tomatoes and found a bit of leaf spot which I cut out, and some possible early blight on the lower inner leaves.
I trimmed out a bunch of the lower foliage to open up the plants some. Next year I'll plant them a bit farther apart. However, all in all they seem to be doing well. I'll continue to keep an eye on them.

I decided it was time to pull my onions. The bed looked like this. They were all flopped over, starting to brown on some of the leaves and I wanted to clear the space to put in some fall crops.
About one fourth of the onions were white and three quarters were yellow.
I lay them out on a tarp in the sun. At night I folded the tarp over them so the dew wouldn't get them wet. I turned them occasionally and left them in the sun for two days. Then we had threat of rain on Wednesday night so my husband and I brought them in and spread them on a sheet in our very warm attic. I'll let them dry there a week or so before bringing them down to trim, weigh, and string before hanging in a cooler place.

Now, the bed looks like this with only leeks left. The far end also has the All Blue potatoes still in the ground where the fork is sticking out. What's green in the front is grass I need to pull :)
I also pulled all my peas, the old broccoli and the asian greens that the slugs prevented me from enjoying.I pulled the lettuce that was bolting, and weeded out the cold frame where I have some more cabbage starting. My early cabbage seems to not be forming heads because of the heat we had. You can see a lot more bare earth in the garden.
Today I planted fall peas and tomorrow I want to put in fall carrots where the onions were. I also want to put in fall greens. I have some kale, tyfon, bok choy, asian green, broccoli (a long shot), and kolhrabi started in cell packs to transplant later too. Its hard to believe I need to be planning for fall when I'm still waiting on all those tomatoes.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Garden Dinners

Lately our dinners have been relying heavily on the garden. Last night we had Swiss-Chard Zucchini Soup which used onions, chard, zucchini, potatoes, and cilantro from the garden. We base it on this recipe, but use the chard in place of spinach, add lemon thyme from the herb garden, add crushed red pepper and serve it with cheddar cheese. Above is the harvest that went into the soup, with some of the potatoes you'll see below. The tomatoes made it into another meal.
Tonight we enjoyed Oven Potatoes on the Grill. We love potatoes with our burgers, but I didn't want to heat up the kitchen with a hot oven. So instead, I used up the small potatoes, or cut others into chunks.I used our first All-Blue potatoes, with the last of our Irish Cobblers. I tossed them in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme before skewering them. It made skewering a little slippery but it made the coverage of the oil more even. Here they are going on the grill.
We cooked them on the grill over medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally. They were nice and brown on the outside and tender all the way through when finished. They were delicious. Looking back to find the link for the recipe I make in the oven I realized we could have put beet sections on here too and those would have been good also. Next time!

We also had Romano beans stewed with cherry tomatoes, onions and basil. I sauteed the onion and a bit of garlic in a pan, added quartered tomatoes, and the beans, half the basil and just a bit of water. Covered, they simmered for 5 to 10 minutes until they were tender. I added a half teaspoon of sugar to cut the acidity and topped with more fresh basil.
We're looking forward to even more garden dinners.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Harvest Monday 7/26/10

The harvests continue to grow. This week I picked over 2 pounds of zucchini, yellow and green. There were also over 2 and half pounds of cucumbers, which were made into the first pickles of the year. This cucumber was missed the day before and was as large as a small zucchini.

My romano green beans started to produce this week, and my sugar snap peas continue to give a few as well.
I picked 1.7 pounds of potatoes and some onions as well.
I picked 10 oz of kale for a soup along with 2 small zucchini that I wanted to prevent from becoming monsters while we went away for the weekend.
I harvested over 2 pounds of chard with which I made Spanakopita Pie and some was frozen. Also in the basket is basil, more beans, peas, lettuce, and the first slicing cucumbers. The lettuce is rather bitter, but it still works on sandwiches. We got another couple cherry tomatoes also.
The garlic which was spring planted only amounted to 3 oz. and went into a Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic recipe from Joy of Cooking. I've already ordered my garlic for the fall to be certain of a better harvest next year.
I also picked 2 oz of mint to make this Mint Chocolate Chip Ice cream. It was very good.
Total this week: 11.4 pounds
Total this year: 42.6 pounds

You can see other gardeners' harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mid-Summer Garden

Here is the garden in mid-summer, full of different shades of green and different textures. The cucumbers are reaching the top of the trellises, as are the amish paste tomatoes. Sunflowers are in bloom, as are summer and winter squash. Onions are beginning to brown and have fallen over and will be harvested soon. It is all a happy sight.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Eggplant Blossom

My first eggplant bloomed this week. It is a Long Purple Eggplant.
Isn't it beautiful!

The scarlet runner beans are quite gorgeous too. These are running along the top of our tomato trellis.
I also planted some by my front door to run up and around the porch but they got a later start. I'm hoping they'll be blooming by the end of the summer.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Harvest Monday 7/19/10

This week's harvests brought some firsts.The first cherry tomatoes (3 oz),
The first pickling cucumbers (15 oz) with a few radishes, red and golden beets, cherry tomatoes, green onion and cilantro.
The first carrots (3oz) with some lettuce

The zucchini plants are in full swing and I've already given some away. I'm checking daily to try to keep on top of it. So far we've eaten it grilled, and raw in salads. We'll be sauteing it soon and I may be trying zucchini pickles too. So far we've harvested over 2 pounds of golden and green zucchini. One of the plants of golden zucchini seems to be more in the yellow squash vein. You can see the one on the far right here is lighter in color and has a different shape.
We used the ladder to get the rest of the sour cherries off our tree. This is the total harvest, only 4.5 oz. I picked some rhubarb and used some wild blackberries and picked raspberries to make a sauce to go on yogurt or ice cream. At the beginning of the week I picked the last of the broccoli side shoots (4 oz), sugar snap peas (4 oz) ,and 18 oz of lettuce that was bolting.
Also harvested this week but not shown include enough basil to make pesto, and over a pound of swiss chard.

Total this week: 8.6 pounds
Total this year: 31.1 pounds

You can see other gardeners' harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.

Friday, July 16, 2010

First Tomato!

Here is this season's first tomato, picked this morning on July 16th.
It is a Sweet Chelsea Cherry Tomato. Last year my first tomato was on August 15th. This year I choose a few plants to start early in hopes of earlier tomatoes. I started these plant on February 25th and transplanted it out with protection on May 3rd. I've let both plants go wild with suckers and there are more cherry tomatoes on the way to ripening as well.
My other tomato with an early start was a green zebra. The fruit are developing, but I'm still waiting to have it ripen. Of course, it won't be red, but they do turn more yellowish and soften.
The other tomato plants are setting fruit. Here's a glimpse of some of the other fruit I have to look forward to.

Market Miracles are sizing up.
Red Zebras are beginning to set fruit.
An unknown heirloom has some nice round fruit. I'm curious what kinds I'll get from my Fedco Heirloom mix.
I'm very excited about the Purple Calabash tomatoes. The are lovely and wrinkly and seem to be setting a good number of fruit on each plant. I've also read good things about their taste.
Amish Paste tomatoes were the first to bloom and are sizing up well. They are also the tallest of my tomato plants, reaching the support frame at 6 feet now.
My last variety is a purple cherry tomato from China but it got a later start and so it has not yet bloomed. There's no photo of it. That's it for the tomatoes, I'm looking forward to these varieties ripening sometime next month.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Harvest Monday 7/12/10

This week the summer garden arrived. The harvests have picked up and the variety has increased. I told my husband that I haven't felt the need to go to the farmers market because we have what we need in the garden. A friend who works on a farm came for lunch. She was telling me what was in their CSA distribution this week and mentioned new potatoes. It made me curious and so I dug up one bunch of my Irish Cobbler potatoes just to see. They were so good. This was 10.5 oz of potatoes with some squash blossoms.
Later we had friends over after church for lunch. I ran out to the garden and dug up some more potatoes to make hash browns to go with our pancakes. Both times I tried to re-plant the potatoes because there were small potatoes the size of peas, as well as the well sized new potatoes. Hopefully they'll re-root and grow some more :) This was 1.6 pound more of potatoes.

Also this week I harvested almost all my chard plants so that I could freeze some. Some went into a couple of quiches, but I was able to blanch and freeze some. It only filled one quart freezer bag after I was done. I'll continue to harvest more throughout the summer. All together this week I harvested almost 3 pounds of swiss chard.
The zucchini and first winter squash started blooming this week. We had squash blossoms in a salad and on top the quiche. We also got our first green zucchini, which makes it feel like summer is here. I'm sure we'll be sick of zucchini in a month, but right now it is a welcome novelty. It weighed 13 oz.
Other harvests this week include the first couple beets,
Side shoots of broccoli, sugar snap peas, radishes, and squash blossoms,
More swiss chard, lettuce, and green onions
More lettuce, in total over one pound of lettuce this week.
Finally, I picked spearmint and peppermint to dry in the attic, along with the beautiful blooming lavender. The mints weighed 6 oz. I didn't weigh the lavender since I don't plan on eating it, it will be made in to sachets.

Total this week: 9.8 pounds
Total this year: 22.5 pounds

You can see other gardeners' harvests at Daphne's Dandelions.