Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wedding Gift Oven Mitts

A friend from college got married this past weekend. We couldn't make it across the country for the wedding, but I made a gift to send along.

I made two oven mitts and six napkins.
The oven mitts were so fun to make I also made a set for myself. I actually made my set first as a test set. It was a good thing because the first one I made with too much of a seam allowance when I sewed the layers together and it is narrow and only fits my small hands. I did better on the second one.
However, sewing through the 8 layers of fabric to sew them together started causing problems with my needle on my sewing machine so these are probably the only two pairs I'll be making. I may experiment next with some hot pads, but I have lots of curtains to finish sewing first.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Harvest Monday 9/27/10

I harvested the rest of my row of yukon gold potatoes. It came to another 27 pounds of potatoes. That's a total of 35 pounds of yukon gold potatoes from a 10 pound bag of seed potatoes. I find that to be a good return, though I don't know how it compares to others.
My sweet potatoes (upper right corner on top of potatoes)
were a sad harvest. They are smaller than my carrots. I had planted them in the row behind the cucumber trellis and in front of the tomatillo plants. I didn't realize how big the tomatillos would get and the sweet potato vines hardly got much sun. These little sweet potatoes went into a soup with carrots, leeks, and potatoes. I'll try again next year with a better spot.
This week I harvested our two apples from our apple trees. (6.5 oz) We haven't tasted them yet. The first two pie pumpkins and a mystery squash were harvested this week. They've joined the others in curing on the front porch. Spinach, Lettuce and Arugula are picking up and we're having more salads again.
The tomatoes continue to produce, another 15 pounds this week. They seem to ripen partially and then the strong wind blows some of them off. They finish ripening inside. The plants look rather ragged, but I'm going to let them hang in there until frost. We're already past our average frost date, and each day past is more chances for a better pepper and eggplant harvest.
Total this week: 54.29 pounds
Total this year: 352.19 pounds

You can see what other gardeners harvested this week at Daphne's Dandelions.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September Garden Overview

A reader reminded me that I hadn't shown what the garden looks like in a while. When I look at this photo I see the cucumber vines on the trellis that I should have pulled weeks ago and the poor melon vines that got downy mildew and I didn't do anything about in the same row I need to get some cover crop seed this week and pull the dead plants and seed to protect the soil from erosion and weeds.

I do seem some good here too. I do see the cold frame filling out with greens, and the Brussels Sprouts looking good. The peppers and eggplants are still lush. You can't see them, but my fall peas have sprouted along with radishes. The pumpkin vines resisted the downy mildew and have spread into the grass as the pumpkins ripen.

Hiding in the back are my tomatoes. The ones that fell in August and were tied back up are suffering from leaf spot and dying back but the tomatoes continue to ripen. The frame is crooked and rigged to stay up until the end of the season. Next year we'll need a stronger frame.

So are beautiful and ugly parts to the garden right now. There is work to be done and I hope I get to it. And the garden continues to produce.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Harvest Monday 9/20/10

The tomatoes continue to ripen, but slower now with the cooler nights. This week I harvested 14 pounds of tomatoes. I'm not canning any more, but rather am freezing them whole for use in soups and sauces this winter.I also picked kale and a few carrots. I also harvested my second eggplant. There are a few more that may mature before the season is over. In all, the eggplants weren't much of a success this year with only 2 so far from 6 plants.
I shelled the dried beans that I picked last week and weighed them. They were just over a pound.
I also harvested my first and probably only sweet red pepper. There are some green ones on the plant finally, but they don't have time to ripen.
Ripe winter squashes were harvested and set on the front porch to cure. I picked 25 pounds of buttercup, butternut, and Delicata squash. I also picked one 15 pound Jarradale pumpkin. There are 3 more Jarradale pumpkins that are not yet ripe, as well as a few butternut squash that are still developing. There are also about 6 pie pumpkins that are turning orange and I hope to pick soon.
Sunday night's harvest was at dusk, hence the flash in the photo. I picked 2 oz of arugula and spinach to make a pesto, along with tomatoes and 2 very small melons. The tomatoes are all larger then the melons.I picked the melons because they smelled ripe, though they only the size of tennis balls. The larger one tasted alright, but the smaller one was bitter. I hope to do much better with melons next year.

Total this week: 58.48 pounds
Total this year: 297.7 pounds

You can see what other gardeners harvested this week at Daphne's Dandelions.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Garden Visitor

The goldfinches were the first to enjoy the sunflower seeds but I have yet to get a good photo of them doing so. Last week while I was weeding, I kept hearing a "thump, thump, thump". I found a downy woodpecker enjoying the sunflower seeds. He was rather enthralled and allowed me to stand a few feet away to take his picture eating the seeds.
Lately I've also seen the chickadees enjoying the seeds too. I'm glad there are so many visitors to my garden.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Harvest Monday 9/13/10

The tomatoes are still coming this week with over 29 pounds of slicing tomatoes. I made another batch of Annie's Salsa this week and plant to make tomato sauce next week.
I also harvested more arugula, carrots, dried beans, leeks, chard, tomatillios and the first winter squash( a buttercup).
The large pile of dried beans have not yet made it in to my totals because I weigh them after I shuck them. The forecast calls for rain tomorrow so I figured I should pick them while they are semi dry.

Total this week: 36.12 pounds
Total this year: 239.2 pounds

You can see what other gardeners harvested this week at Daphne's Dandelions.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

First Winter Squash

There is a Fall chill in the air and so Friday night I had a craving for winter squash. I'd been trying to resist picking one for a week or more and instead enjoy the tomatoes we're still getting for a few more weeks. I finally succumbed and picked a Buttercup Squash for dinner last night. I choose this one because it looked like someone else was starting to nibble on it.
Inside it was dense, orange and wonderful. We scooped out the seeds. We baked it for about 45 minutes in the oven, topped it with nutmeg and butter and enjoyed it. The flesh almost melts in your mouth. No photos of it baked, we sat down and ate it too quickly.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Harvest Monday 9/6/10

This was the week of the tomatoes. Here's Tuesday's harvest. I've started picking some of the Amish Paste as soon as they get color because the slugs are getting to the low hanging fruit.
On Wednesday, I picked over 6 pounds of chard to blanch and freeze. It was a big pile but it cooked down to about 3 quarts once it was blanched. I also harvested over one pound of pineapple tomatillos because some of the plants fell over and rather than tie them up, I just cut off the plants. I didn't weigh the green ones because I'm not sure if they are going to ripen. I picked the ones that felt plump off the plants I cut down.
Thursday was even more tomatoes which allowed me to take my tomato photos. I harvested 32 pounds of tomatoes this week. This week I got enough tomatoes to make a double batch of Annie's Salsa. It made 11 jars. Mmmmm it is good. It looks like it will continue into next week at and I'll have enough to make some more salsa and even some sauce.

On Friday I picked some nice large beets, over 2 pounds. They'd been forgotten for a while and sure have grown in size. Not all the ones out there are this large though. I also picked some shelling beans, and of course, more tomatoes. I ended up with two photos because I didn't pick enough beets for the recipe the first time ;)
Saturday's harvest has some arugula hiding at the bottom, with a few cucumbers, and tomatoes.The hot peppers went into my salsa.
Sunday brought more tomatoes and some dried beans, both black and scarlet runner. The light brown are from the dragon tongue beans.
The weather has turned this weekend and it feels like Fall. I'm tempted to go out and pick some winter squash. However, the season in my garden is still summer for just a few more weeks. The peppers are finally setting more and more. The eggplants are blooming again and setting also. The tomatoes will bear heavily this next week too. We have just a few weeks until our first frost date. Winter squash will have to wait their turn.

Total this week: 47.08 pounds
Total this year: 203.12 pounds (Yay! I crossed the 200 lb mark!)

You can see what other gardeners harvested this week at Daphne's Dandelions.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Seed Bouquet

Encouraged by Ottawa Gardener, I made a seed bouquet. She's challenging people to post a photo of a seed-saving bouquet on blogs. It was just the motivation I needed to clip some seeds that I've been meaning to harvest.In my bouquet are cilantro/coriander seeds,
Carrot seeds (look like queen anne's lace), and winterbor kale seeds (gray and spiky seed pods).
I won't get many seeds from the kale as I left them in the garden too long. Many fell apart as I picked them. That's not such a bad thing as I may get volunteer plants. I still have plenty of seeds from the original seed packet and since these were only saved from one plant I may just use them for making sprouts to eat this winter.

Since the seeds were so fragile, I put each variety in it's own paper bag to hang to dry in my attic. You can find out the contest details here.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Beautiful Beans

I don't know what these beans are called. I called them a French Shell Bean. A quick internet photo search came up with one listing for "Tongue of Fire" beans. I bought some at the grocery store last fall as a fresh shelling bean. We enjoyed them so I set a few pods aside and dried them to plant this spring. We got another meal out of them and I've set aside a few more for next year. I found that they are best harvested when the pod is pink and white, then the beans inside are more mature. The pods that had more green, had pale green beans. They all turned white when we cooked them with some tomatoes. They were lovely and tender.
These are Scarlet Runner Beans. When I planted them I don't remember noticing that the beans were purple and black. I think they will fade as they dry. It was a wonderful surprise to open the first brown pod and find lovely lavender and black beans. There will be more of these soon.

Here's an article about cooking shell beans. It makes me think that maybe I should cook seed and cook my pole beans that have gotten too tough to eat as green beans.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Yesterday I finally had enough tomatoes to do a 'tomato photo-shoot'. I really wanted a photo of a basket full of a variety of tomatoes. So I picked what was ripe and took some photos.
Then I brought out the rest of the tomatoes from the house and artfully arranged them in the basket. That gave a little more depth of color since the just harvested ones were on the orange side.
I decided to also try in the shade to reduce the glare.
While I was at it, I decided I should photograph the different varieties so that when I'm trying to decide what seeds to plant I can look back at the pictures. It will also help with my seed saving when I don't know the tomato type. Some of my plants came from an heirloom mix and I'm having to play detective with the Fedco catalog to figure out what they are.

Here are some individual shots. Unknown Tomatoes are shown first. Please feel free to give any guesses in the comments.

Unknown 1- Pink/Yellow FruitUnknown 1
Unknown 2- Very Large OrangeUnknown 3-Round Deep Pink
Unknown 4- Large pink/red lobed fruit,
has ripened further.
Unknown 4
Market MiraclePurple Calabash
Cherokee PurpleAmish Paste
Green Zebra Red Zebra