Monday, August 6, 2012

Failures

I'm pouting. And I'm whining.
I feel like I've ruined everything in this garden, so I'm refusing to see all the good things that happened/grew and just focus on the....few things that I messed up.
Its been a busy week, a busy weekend, and another busy start to the week, and with the heat persisting I just don't feel like doing anything. And we've had an unexpected house guest due to family frustrations in B's family.
The two melons that I'd been proudly displaying decided they were done growing. One had already detached from the vine and smelled musky, and the other one I picked it up to check and it came right off too. I tried the first one- this one had cracked, but I figured it was worth a shot. Big fat NOPE. The seeds were swimming in melon-y water and when I tried to eat it, the fruit tasted watery and mealy. I just figured maybe that was because it had cracked open. I tried the other one, only to find the same thing.
My guess is it's from over watering?
And then C gave me a bunch of concord grapes from her garden, the last of her harvest, to make grape jelly with. At first I was gonna just make jam with my super fancy bread maker, but she made it sound so easy. And then I found an easy recipe for it using sugar instead of Sure Jell (because I didn't feel like going to the store. And this wasn't just a recipe online, it was in a canning and preserving book.) Well, the juice boiled over while I was putting the dishes in the washer. Then I figured, well, it got to boiling obviously, so I'm going to go ahead and can it. I think it actually needs to boil for a little bit, instead of being yanked off the stove to sit on top of the sink. Either way, I ended up with 3 half pints and one pint of grape syrup.
My squash all has SVB. Well, all but one. But the bees aren't getting out to that one to fertilize it since it's in a different bed.

I should focus on the positives: I got another good bean harvest. Even though I don't like pickles, I can still eat the cucumbers. The carrots, spinach, broccoli and rhubarb I planted for a fall garden have sprouted and are doing ok, I think. I'm going to have soybeans soon. Even though it's not as much as I wanted, I have lots of food put up.
I was so excited to start my garden this year because I was convinced I was going to do leaps and bounds better than last year. And you know what, I did. And I forget sometimes that even though it wasn't 100% perfect like I wanted, it will never be 100%, I've learned a ton of things, and I get to try again (and do better) next year.
Most things are getting pulled out this weekend, and I'm going to start planting my fall seeds: cauliflower, kale, peas and beets, along with what I've already got going: the carrots, spinach, broccoli and rhubarb. And I've also decided I'm not going to grow herbs next year except for basil. I never really kept up with them this year, and I had to save them from near death with frantic waterings.
But I still want to pout a little bit.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard

I took lots of pictures of essentially the same thing: Pizza Margherita. But I sorta did it two different ways

As you can see in exhibit one, on one pizza I put homemade pesto. On the other I put the spaghetti/marinara sauce I made a while back. 

Lots of cheese

Garden tomatoes

Garden basil



 
After a little bit more cheese, it's ready for the oven. 

Look at all that deliciousness. 


More creations over at The Gardener of Eden: go see more yumminess. 






Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Meanwhile, on the east coast...

So let me start off by saying, Northern California is my new favorite place. So insanely gorgeous, and in such a different way from the east coast. We found this mountain lake, and the water looked like it belonged on a tropical beach. 




Paradise. 

So, back to harvest Monday that's really two days late. I'm overrun with cucumbers, and unfortunately because I don't like pickles, and B doesn't like pickles, I'm having a hard time thinking of ways to put them up. But luckily lots of other people like pickles, so I've just been making them and giving the jars away. 




This was the harvest after I got back. The BF did a very good job of keeping it watered. I'm swimming in squash now too. Tonight I pureed it all and froze it to add to dinners, or maybe make some squash bread. Can you do that? Squash bread instead of zucchini? And those freaking cukes are giant- longer than my forearm. I forgot to take pictures from yesterday, but it was a few more lemon cukes, a good harvest of beans and another cucumber. 


Today all I picked was more basil and made pesto with almonds this time. 


Look at all that beautiful basil. You can see in the bottom right picture the older plants and then the 2nd planting of seeds. I may have been a little overzealous with the sprinkling. 



Rhubarb experiment. They're doing better than I expected. 


And in this planter I put a second planting of rhubarb and some spinach for the beginnings of a fall garden. Burpee just sent my seeds that I ordered today because they were doing inventory, so I'm going to get those planted this weekend. Its starting to cool off a bit, and hopefully it will stay under 100 degrees from now on. 


Slowly but surely for the melons. I discovered another one that had started forming the netting.  


My second planting of squash. They've been putting out some nice big fruits. 


Another view of the squash


The soybeans started growing the pods while I was gone. 


The beans have started producing more fruits now that the temps have dropped, so I was able to get a really big harvest yesterday which I froze today and then I think I'll get another good size tomorrow. 


Giant cucumbers. 


That giant mass are my tomatoes. They've started growing new ones, but it really just kind of looks like a tomato jungle forest type thing. 


Another zuke. I took it from far away so you could see how big it is. 


This is the other side, along with two other zukes that I'm hoping I can sneak in before it gets too cold. I've also got more carrots growing in that big open space. 


This is not my year for peppers. In that picture above with the zukes, you can see the one I transplanted almost 3 months ago, and it's not doing much. I saw some teeny, tiny flower buds starting, but I can't find them now. And for the last month all the peppers on the gypsy pepper have been getting these soft, mushy brown spots. I don't know if it's blossom end rot or sun scald. 


I can't win. 


I think the pepper looks pretty bushy, so I'm not totally convinced that it's sun scald. 


Ladybug! Too bad it's not a real one that can eat up some pests. I lost one older zuke to SVB. Another one has been gnawed on pretty badly as well, but it has two big zukes growing so I'm hoping those will mature before the plant completely kicks the bucket. 


More melon plants. They're a few weeks behind the other ones but it finally has some fruits growing. 


Last but not least, one of my Home Depot strawberry plants and my broccoli seedlings.