Monday, July 23, 2012

Harvest Monday and Updating

I have only 15 minutes until harvest Monday is technically over. It's been a really busy week, and it seems like there's so much going on. I'm getting ready to go on a trip for a long weekend for a wedding, and we're trying to get our carpeting downstairs replaced. Originally we wanted to have an estimate done on Saturday, but they're booked, so they'll be here bright and early tomorrow morning (and here I am at almost midnight posting gardening pictures)

Meager harvest from 7.17.12 The cucumbers have been the most consistent producers, and the only plants that seem to be dealing with the heat. It's been a frustrating few weeks- I feel like I can never keep on top of the watering, and even though there have been storms aplenty in our region, they all seem to fizzle out or go around us. We did get the best rain on Saturday- slow and steady, soaking into the ground deep down. 

I've gotten a third harvest from the basil, so I made my third batch of pesto. I finally finished up the first batch tonight. I also planted some more basil seeds, so I can keep the harvest going. I also bought some tunnel row covers from Burpee. As for my pickles that I made a few weeks ago- I still don't like pickles. So I gave them to a co-worker, along with the dilly beans and made a couple more jars of pickles to give away. 

My first big harvest of the lemon cucumbers. They are wonderful. I need to figure out how to use them (I gave these to C) since B doesn't really like to eat them en masse the way I do. 

Sadly I accidentally knocked that green tomato off the vine while I was picking the other ones. I'm lucky though, it had started to ripen, so hopefully I can still use it. 

Just an artistic picture of the week's harvests. I freaking love that basket. 

I've been giving the beans some time to produce- but they're mostly stagnated. I'm guessing because of the heat. Most of the ones I got today were from my second planting of beans. There are tons of flowers showing up on the first planting of bush beans, but they won't set fruit. I keep thinking I need to pull them out and start trying to plant some fall veggies, but I keep hoping that it will cool off a little bit. 

 The melons are the most exciting part of the garden right now, they've started showing the netting. Is that the proper turn of phrase? I didn't know what the word for the hard outer covering was until a few days ago when it showed up. It'll be soon now!

I included these pictures because I didn't have time on Thursday to post- All those veggies on my plate were from the garden, and the chicken has pesto on it with garden basil.  

And lastly, some fried squash- covered with with Italian breadcrumbs and mozzarella. (I guess I used too much cheese. It's my guilty pleasure)

The garden isn't doing much, sadly. It's the lack of rain and the heat. I should invest in some shade covers, I guess. In addition to the tunnel covers I bought for attempting a fall garden, I also bought a small pyramid bed that I'm going to put the strawberries in, and ordered garlic and onions. I bought Inchelium Red garlic- I'm hoping that I'll get a better harvest. The ones I planted last October didn't get very big. The onions are Yellow Ebenezer. I should've bought the onions much, much sooner, because almost everywhere I looked they were sold out. Granted, I only wanted yellow onions, and I didn't want to grow them from seeds; I wanted to do onion sets. The reason I didn't get red onions is I really only use onions in cooking, and much prefer the yellow ones. I don't really eat raw onions on anything, and B doesn't like them at all. 
The weather forecast for the rest of this week still says 100 or close to it still.  
And there are more harvests to see over at Daphne's!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Global Gardens

I was trying to write up a commentary about some articles I've read recently, but I think I don't want to do that. I think I'd rather let people discuss via comments. But, suffice to say, I find these things to be kind of scary. Granted, I'm pretty sure the story about New Zealand has been carefully worded to show it in the worst possible light, (akin to political campaign ads) but still.
So here you go:
New Zealand Food Bill To Make Growing Food a Government Privilege, Rather Than a  Human Right
A front yard garden in Drummondville, Quebec has now been deemed illegal
The second one leads you to the blog of the couple that has the garden. It does sound misleading here- basically it sounds like the town is updating it's zoning laws and even though it seems like some gardens should be grandfathered in, the government isn't letting that be the case, and will start to fine these people if they don't remove the garden. You kind of have to read through the blog to get the whole gist and if you don't remember any of your high school French (like me), Goggle with helpfully translate it for you.

See? Scary.

Those articles made me think of this song by Guster. And I literally just discovered this was a cover of a Talking Heads song. I love the tongue-in-cheek-ness.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Harvest Monday 7.16.12

Harvest on 7.10.12

Harvest on 7.12.12

Harvest on 7.13.12 (They were feeling kinda blah) 

Harvest 7.14.12

Harvest 7.16.12 (I actually pulled 2 more peppers this weekend, but gave them to some friends)

More harvests over at Daphne's

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Put 'Em Up

It's been a productive day. (We're normally pretty lazy on the weekends, aside from easy chores) B and I finally went out and got some estimates to have the carpet replaced downstairs. I'm excited about it, especially because the carpet we have now looks horrible- I think this house may have been more on the fixer-uper side when he bought it. We're going to have them install it in August. 
As for the garden, the tulle and netting has definitely been helping, and thank you guys for your suggestions! I've finally started bringing in ripe tomatoes, and the cukes are coming in fast, so I thought (also I was getting impatient) I would try to make some spaghetti sauce, and then since I'd just picked a decent amount of beans I wanted to try dilly beans. 
I wanted to make a small amount because I don't normally like pickles, but I thought that I might like homemade pickles. I base this on the fact that I love pickled beets, but so far the home pickled ones that I've eaten I didn't like, and I thought they tasted different than the ones I get from the store that I DO like. So maybe in a weird way the reverse will be true, thus, only one small jar of fridge pickles for me. B doesn't like pickles. Or vinegar for that matter. 

And I made only one batch of dilly beans because A) I've never had them before and B) I only had enough beans to make one pint jar worth. 

So I guess we'll find out tomorrow!

As for the spaghetti sauce, I think I had maybe 2lbs of tomatoes? I made up my own recipe; from the garden I used the tomatoes, basil, oregano, garlic and squash. Yes, squash. (That's why it looks orange-y) The BF doesn't like squash, so I sneak it into things. I pureed the two small ones I picked this week and added them in. It was probably too much, but I'm ok with that. So anyway, I sauteed the spices, garlic, onions and some olive oil, and then pureed it a bit with the squash. Once the tomatoes had cooked down I added that in.

They are in jars but I didn't process them at all. Two of the 3 went into the freezer, the third I'm going to use for dinner tomorrow. 

So there you go! 3 jars of sauce, 1 jar of dilly beans and 1 jar of pickles. 

In keeping with the homemaking theme of the day, I finished making a dress that I started earlier this week, and started sewing a set of pot holders that I promised the BFF last year. She's out in Iowa going to school, so naturally potholders are what will most benefit her. And then, because I'd seen the recipe earlier in the Kitchen Aid booklet, I finally made 2 loaves of honey-oatmeal bread. Oh, it's so delicious.

This is the first time I've ever made bread by hand. I have a bread maker but I don't think that really counts, and I remember my dad and I making sourdough bread once, but I didn't do much, since I was probably about 5 or 6 at the time. B and I have already eaten half a loaf. I tried to convince him that he should let me quit my job so I could just stay home and bake bread all day, but he wouldn't bite. 

And lastly, what better way to end a post than with a snuggly kitten? This is Gillian, (who is also called Tiny Kitten, Little Tiny and Tiny Angel) B and I adopted her and her sister, Squeak, from B's uncle when they were babies. They weren't getting enough food from their mama, so despite being 2 years old, she is still pretty little. Gillian is technically my cat, and Squeak is B's- I hadn't moved in yet when we adopted them. Anyway, I chose Gillian out of the litter because when we first went to see them she curled up in my hand and promptly fell asleep. How could I not choose her?? And she has been our rag-doll-violently-affectionate-you-must-cuddle-with-me-or-else kitten ever since. No lie, as soon as you get in bed she's crawling onto your chest. Such a sweet kitten. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Harvest Monday 7.9.12

It's been a busy day today, and I'm doing a short post so that I can get started on the laundry soon. So, harvests: 

Two zucchini which were made into zucchini bread muffins, some more beans- the bush beans are about done, and I'm going to pull them out soon. The wax beans are going to finish in the next couple of weeks, and the pole beans are sort of in between. I've got a second planting of wax and bush beans that are just starting to form their fruit. A few more Husky Red cherry tomatoes. I think there were actually 5 or 6 total this week, but I've been snatching them when I walk through the kitchen. Lastly I finally harvested the first lemon cucumber. 

I kept staring at the skin. Isn't it cool looking? Kind of yellow/translucent/pearly. I picked it also because I wasn't sure how big they got before they were ripe, since this is my first time growing them. This one was perfect. I don't know how accurate it is, but last year I based my cuke ripeness on when they weren't very prickly. This one didn't stab me much, and it felt a tiny bit squishy. (Again, I'm sure that's not a super accurate way to tell)

Of course I chopped it up and ate it right away. Very tasty. And I think perfectly ripe. And I really like how it made the slices look like flowers. Maybe I could sell them to Edible Arrangements? Although chocolate dipped cucumber slices might not be such a big seller. 

The regular cucumbers are getting bigger. This one literally grew about 5 inches overnight. I'm going to make pickles this summer. I actually don't like pickles, but I wonder if that's just because they're from the store. I like vinegar on things, I love pickled beets, but for some reason I don't like pickled cukes. And I'm not even one of those people who says, well, I only like sweet pickles, or I only like dill pickles. Nope. None. But I realized after canning some beets with C that they taste MUCH different from any other time I've eaten them. So maybe since the pickles will taste different, I'll like them. 

And last but not least, the ongoing squirrel saga. I put up tulle around the bird netting. I haven't seen any signs of them trying to get in/digging/gnawing holes...yet. I'm pretty sure they're up in the trees looking at this saying "Challenge accepted". I guess if this doesn't work I'll have to put up chicken wire cages or something. 
I guess that was longer than I was expecting. Oh well. Onto the laundry now. Go check out the other harvests at Daphne's

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupbard

My first Thursday's kitchen cupboard! I haven't made a whole lot so far, since things are just starting to take off, and you can only take so many pictures of beans on a plate with pesto before it gets old. I know there are other ways to cook green/wax beans, but I'm pretty lazy during the week, especially since I don't even get home until 7. 
So the above picture is of the zucchini I picked last week, sauteed in a little bit of olive oil

Since the heat has been unbearable, and eating hot food seems even more unbearable, and I should try to incorporate more vegetarian dishes into my diet, I made a salad with the squash that I picked. The cukes and tomatoes are from Giant, and not my garden, yet. The cukes have just started growing (see picture below!!) and I might get some tomatoes eventually, if the damn squirrels stop eating them. I've ordered tulle to cover with and crafted a makeshift barrier with some bird netting. Bastards. B suggested an electrified fence. 

Ah, the real magic- green beans with the homemade pesto, and baked one of the russet potatoes I harvested last week, with some taco pork. 

I included this one even though the only thing I used from the garden was the parsley. Again, hopefully I will have tomatoes and zucchini later to use but for now, just the herbs. But it's delicious. Another cold salad, this one was cooked pasta (then cooled), mixed with olive oil, salt, pepper and some lemon juice, mix in the zukes and tomatoes and feta cheese, with pesto on top. I've been eating it all weekend. 


I also made a second batch of basil pesto, with pine nuts this time. I tasted it when it was done just to make sure it was ok, but it went into the freezer since I haven't finished the other batch yet. 

Update wise I've finally seen a baby melon growing. Hurray! there were so many blooms that I wasn't sure if any had started growing but had just been missed. Now I wonder how long until they're ripe?

Baby cucumbers. I love cucumbers. My dad used to call me cucumber girl when I was first allowed to cook/use knives/contribute to dinner because in the process of chopping cucumbers for the salad, only about half of them would make it in. 

Woohoo! Look how big them lemon cuke is getting! 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday 'Murica.

Hope you guys are dressed appropriately to eat some BBQ while you're watching the fireworks and thinking about eagles <3

Monday, July 2, 2012

Harvesting and Updating

I had a hard time waiting for Monday to show off what I've been getting out of the garden. My garden is pretty small, so small harvests at this point. 

The first ripe zucchini has been picked, and most of it was sauteed for dinner. (I'm saving those pictures for Thursday). And my pollination fears have been mostly unfounded. I've been seeing lots of bees hovering around the plants, but I'm still doing some hand pollinating too, as a fail safe. I finally transplanted the zukes that were in the 24" planters. I know they were too big to transplant, but I figured I'd try anyway. They perked up with some watering, but I planted a couple more seeds anyway. 

After the horrible storm that ripped through our area on Friday, my garden practically doubled in size. It meant that my squash was finally getting big enough to harvest, but then I discovered several of them had been over taken with blossom end rot. I thought I'd pulled all the ones affected, but after the storm on Saturday I discovered more had been affected, covered with black moldy-ness. I bought some lime to amend the soil with and managed to get two of them picked. I think they might have been a little under ripe though.  

This was the other one I picked, and another ripe Husky Red Cherry. This is also a small amount of the beans that I harvested; totals for the whole week are about 3 or 4 lbs (wax, bush and pole beans combined)

I blanched, froze and sealed them in meal size packets. 

I also finally dug up all the potatoes. I probably could've left them in there longer.

I've got plans to expand the potato harvest next year. And anyone know why those two are really dark? I wonder if they're some of the seed potatoes? The couple of seed 'taters that were left in there were all mushy. 

I think this is the last time I'll get any wineberries. They're very small, and even though that's a half cup measuring cup, it's not completely full, so probably closer to a third of a cup. The bushes are struggling with the heat and lack of rain. 

As for updates, the Health Kick tomato wins the award for first non-cherry tomato to ripen. FINALLY! I was getting worried. I'm pretty sure it would've been the Big Mama but some dang squirrels took three of the biggest ones earlier in the week- there were 5 on the stem, and they were the first ones that started growing. That's been the only thing out of the garden they stole, but have also gnawed a hole through our trash cans. I bought a repellent spray.

The soybeans are growing pretty well. Seed packet says about 78 days till harvest. I forgot to take a picture of it, but there are teeny tiny, itty bitty lemon cucumbers starting to form. Nothing from the melons yet, that I can see. 

And lastly, (as bad as I feel saying it) the most interesting damage from the storm is the trampoline that was displaced to the side of the road. 
Now that you've seen my harvests, see what others are getting at Daphne's Dandelions