Monday, June 25, 2012

Harvest Monday 6.25.12

Happy harvest Monday! 

I picked (and ate) the first Husky Cherry. I also picked/ate the ripe Chocolate Cherry this weekend, but forgot to take a picture. 

Four Kentucky Wonder beans. (Are they supposed to be that flat? Or did I not let them ripen long enough?) and 3 Gypsy peppers. 

Bush beans- I think they're slowing down, but I also don't have as many plants growing as the bush beans. I do have a second planting that's going to flower soon. 

Wax beans- finally got a decent harvest, and there are going to be tons more; they're slower than the bush beans, even though they were planted at the same time. 

 As you can see, the squash is getting bigger, so hopefully I'll have some squash to show off for harvest Monday. The peppers are the ones I harvested today. I only cut the three biggest, I'm gonna let the others change colors. Go see what other's are harvesting at Daphne's Dandelions

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Garden to Table

I don't remember what day is the official garden to table challenge, but I don't feel like waiting. I made basil walnut pesto with basil from the garden, slathered it all over pasta, tomatoes (from the store. Mine aren't ripe yet, sigh) and garden beans. It was deliciousness. (I'm angling for the pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid for Christmas. Or, I will be in a few months)

I took this picture a couple of days ago, so it had grown even more by the time I used it tonight. And now that I look at  it, I guess there is a lot there.
Recipe called for 2 packed cups of basil. I didn't measure it, but it filled up my mini processor. 
Process the basil, walnuts, olive oil, garlic and salt. Then add the Parmesan cheese and butter.  
Mmmmmm, pesto

I made zucchini bread muffins for dessert. The zucchini isn't from my garden, though. Mine aren't ripe yet. But soon! I feel bad for bemoaning my "lack" of enough basil to make pesto. When I made it tonight, I still believed there wasn't enough to get any decent amount. Well, I was definitely wrong. I found the recipe online here

Moving on, the gypsy peppers are getting bigger, and it finally seems like the one that I transplanted has recovered from the move and is growing

The first tomato to start ripening- the chocolate cherry. I noticed today that one of the husky red cherries is starting to redden as well. 

You can see what I mean about the size of the chocolate cherry in this picture- it's much smaller. 

 No baby cantelopes yet, but there are lots of flowers.

The lemon zukes are loving that trellis. 

The zucchini is getting huge! I'm worried I will have the same problem with these guys that I did with the squash last year- not much pollination.  Granted, it was my first year and I really didn't know what I was doing. I couldn't figure out why the baby squash kept dying. I tried to hand fertilize a few but it didn't work too well. I'd hope that last year it was just the location, but I've already had two zukes this year not get fertilized and die.

I felt like a bad veggie mom today. I normally spend more time watering the beds as opposed to the potted veggies because I literally see the water running out of the beds (it's very frustrating. But at least the grass around the beds is getting watered, right?) Since the drainage is so bad, I feel like I need to water it more frequently. On top of that, it usually seems like the ones in the planters stay well watered longer, and I know that just because it's dry on top, doesn't mean the soil isn't moist farther down. PLUS it rained last night. All that to say when I got home from running errands this afternoon my zuke and squash plants were all wilted and falling over. And when I started watering it, the soil started bubbling, as all the air bubbles were squished out from the soil finally getting some water. Thankfully they perked up after that. 
 Last but not least, I started some broccoli seeds today, hopefully I can do a fall garden this year. Now I think it's time for another muffin!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

I've never eaten rhubarb before, or (obviously) strawberry-rhubarb pie. But I keep seeing people talking about/making them, and since I decided that I wanted to try and grow some in a little experiment, I figured I should try some first. That and I'm always up for a good baking session.
I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen. The sweet cherry pie that I make is her recipe too.

Ingredients gathered. This was the first time I've used my Kitchen Aide to make the crust. Yet again I'm reminded how much I love that thing.

The recipe called for 3 1/2 cups of rhubarb. I ended up with about 4 1/2; the stalks that I got from the store were much bigger than I was expecting. 

Sugar, sugar and tapioca. This is also the first time I've used tapioca as a thickener. I usually use cornstarch or flour. 

I <3 stars. 

Look at all that yummy pie goodness. I ended up having to scoop out some of the filling because it was a little too full. All that means is I'm going to have to make a mini pie later. 

Freshly baked deliciousness. I haven't tried it yet because it's still cooling. 

Anyway, I guess it's not really garden related because I bought the rhubarb and strawberries at the store. I'm ok with that. But as a quick update:

-I finally pulled the peas out, and instead of putting the zukes there, I decided to plant the random pack of soybean seeds that I bought earlier this year. Honestly I'd forgotten I had them. I used the whole pack, but since that was only like 30 seeds, I don't think it's too much.
-The zucchini finally has fully formed flowers, so hopefully the bees are helping them get their pollinate on.
-Spotted tiny flowers on the lemon cukes (planted May 11th) and the first planting of cantelope (planted May 13th).
-The chocolate cherry looks like it will be the first to ripen, I think I saw a hint of color taking over the green. It was a Home Depot transplant that flowered on May 7th, and the first tom started peeking out on the 22nd. Most of the info I've found on them says they mature about 70 days from transplant, so that should be soon. And one seed company said that they grow about 5-6 feet high and 3 feet wide. Well, mine is mayyyyyyyyyybe 2 feet high? And a foot wide? Hmmm.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

June Garden Tour

So a quick warning- there are a lot of pictures. So this post might be long and rambling. I realized as I was uploading the picture (all 28 of them) that most of the pictures I see other bloggers post are of large sections of the garden. I like to get all up in there and take pictures of small sections. It also helps me later to see what things were like at a certain point, but I think part of that is being a newbie. 

Anyway, I'll start with the most interesting thing and then you can scroll through the pictures if you like.
So B bought this house in Oct 2009. We met that December and I moved in the following September. So I've lived in this house for almost 2 years. And apparently I'm not very observant because coming up our driveway today I noticed for the first time that we had a fruit bush growing on the side of the road. Now our house is in a slightly wooded area- I can see our neighbors houses through the trees- so I don't think that I'm THAT unobservant. Either way I was super excited to find what I thought was a raspberry bush, full of berries, especially since the one I planted in our front yard isn't producing many. 

I go down to pick them, envisioning various raspberry dishes/desserts/jams/jellies in my head. But as I get closer I realize they're not quite like regular raspberry bushes. They're kinda fuzzy. And the berries are small and sticky. Not sticky from berry juice, but more like sap. 

PS, the plant is HUGE. And there's a second one a few feet away.

A few internet searches later I find out that they're actually wineberries, or wine raspberries. It's a type of raspberry that's native in Asian countries, here in the US it's considered an invasive plant.
See, fuzzy. 

I want to keep it though. The berries taste like raspberries but are more tart. I picked what was ripe, although there was only a small handful. 

You can see the berries in this picture, along with my wax/bush bean harvest for the day. 

I also pulled out all the garlic today, as they were falling over. The plants weren't as big as I wanted, and I don't think any of them had really started creating cloves. Someone mentioned on one of the forums about curing the garlic and then replanting it. I'm going to read up some more on it and try to do that this October.  

Ok, back to the garden tour. The basil is growing, and bushing out a bit from being cut back. Still hoping to get enough for at least one batch of pesto this summer. 

Basil from the nursery, and some seeds that apparently accidentally made their way into  the container. 

Basil again. And more seedlings have started

Here is my garden experiement- the radishes are on the top, rhubarb is below. They've sprouted, but I'm not sure how long they'll last. The radishes might actually do ok. We're still having pretty cool temps- in the 80s.

Same with the spinach- I might be able to use these as transplants?

The first planting of melons is taking off. I finally started getting some more melon sprouts popping up in the other half barrel planter this past week too. 

These melon seeds (above) were planted just over a month ago, on May 13th. 

I'm not sure what to think about my strawberries. I think something is still getting in through the cover holes, but it could also be that what I thought were strawberries just starting to grow are actually the little bits left behind from being chewed. I've read of a few other people using tulle to cover them, so I'll have to hit up JoAnn's next time they have a sale. They've put out a few runners. 
What can I do with the runners? Cut them and try to plant them? Leave them be till next summer when hopefully I can built a strawberry bed? Just cut them back? The ones in the round planter are from Burpee. 

The strawberries in this picture are from Home Depo, and you can see my second planting of zucchini. I know the containers aren't big enough. I'm going to transplant them soon, I hope. 

Cucumber seedlings. I need to start building my trellis for these guys soon. 

This is summer squash- They're starting to produce the immature baby fruits, but I've yet to see any of the flowers open up yet. And these containers are probably too small too. I didn't think about it until after they'd gotten really big. Oh well. There's always next year. And I have a couple more plantings of squash in the raised beds too. 

The zucchini is at the same stage as the squash; I planted the seeds at the same time. 

The tomatoes seem to be doing much better, although they're a little sparse, leaf and stem wise. Early blight is under control- although I see a small spot or two here and there. I'm going to spray them again in a few days with more of the Serenade, but the blight is definitely not taking over huge sections like it was before. 

Now I'm just impatient waiting for them to start ripening!

Baby beans are the cutest thing ever. I've got tons of flowers on both the wax and the bush beans, and there are baby beans on the pole beans too, but not a whole lot of ripe ones yet. 

I also find it interesting how the pole beans have collected at the top of the trellis- like a hat or something. 

So the top pepper plant is the one that had been stunted due to the tomato plants shading him too much. I think I mentioned that I'd planted him with the toms because I thought he would grow at approximately the same rate as the others. No such luck, and he's been in the ground since mid April. I finally dug him out and transplanted him in a different bed all by his lonesome. I grew peppers here last year, and they did fairly well, so I'm hoping he'll bounce back. It's been a week though, and I haven't seen much improvement. The rest of the bed is open, and I'm thinking this would be a good place to try a fall garden- peas, broccoli, spinach and carrots.

As a comparison, this picture above is from April, when he was planted- top left of the bed. 

This pepper- a gypsy pepper from Home Depot- is doing great. All of a sudden I realized I had peppers growing!

Thanks to the not too hot weather so far, my snow/snap peas are still producing a little bit. Not enough for a meal, I usually just end up picking them off and eating them right away. I'm going to transplant those zukes I mentioned earlier here soon. 

The lemon cuke looks marvelous, growing nice and strong, easily pulling itself up the trellis. I bought these as a novelty, and I'm really excited to try them. 
And there you have it: (almost) the whole garden.