Monday, August 31, 2015

Harvest Monday 31 August 2015

The dry weather continued, with no significant rain but at least temperatures have been a little more moderate. It makes it tough to get any seeds to germinate if the beds continually dry out. Summer harvests continue to come in. The peppers are starting to come into their stride, too bad our season is not longer.




This is a big pile of Jimmy Nardello peppers, with a few others. The Tiburon Ancho are finally starting to fruit heavily and I hope I get enough for some Chiles Rellenos. It takes them a while to reach size, now small bushes about 30 inches/75 cm. tall. This is probably the last of the summer squash. The bushes have been taken down by the powdery mildew and I will pull them this week.




Harvested a couple of flea-bitten heads of Win-Win choi that was replanted when I pulled out the Soloist cabbages. These were started from seed indoors so I could ensure germination before transplanting.The advantage of the dry weather is no slugs or earwigs.




I picked a lot of tomatoes, including this pile of paste varieties. Eight quarts of these were turned into 8 pints of chili sauce for the pantry. That task consumed Sunday but is well worth the effort. I used this recipe from the Joy of Cooking cookbook. I do not like to can and normally avoid it.  I can buy canned tomatoes and pasta sauce that is pretty good, but I can not buy anything like this chili sauce. We like it on hamburgers, steaks, and scrambled eggs. This batch came out with a bit of a bite. In lieu of the red pepper flakes, I used two of the large Padron peppers for heat. This year they are hotter than a Jalapeno by far.




Some of the larger slicers are ready now, including Celebrity. A lot of the Sweet Treats and Juliet tomatoes are now in the dehydrator for my second batch of dried tomatoes. Another bag of tomatoes was harvested but misplaced so they did not get photographed, plus a few of the slicers were snitched for BLTs. More tomatoes are due in this week, so maybe I will have to change my mind about processing some. I will probably try Dave’s technique of blender sauce in my Ninja Ultima and then freeze it.


To see what other gardeners around the world are harvesting from their gardens, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, our host for Harvest Monday.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Harvest Monday 24 August 2015

We had a week of unsettled weather, but at least it rained a couple of times, which really helped with the drought. Again, not much time spent in the garden. Besides the lingering cold, I had a partial nail removal for a pincer toenail (about as much fun as it sounds) which required me to stay off my feet for a couple of days. The good news is I have carrot seeds germinating, which is pretty much a first for me. What I did different this time is plant them deeper so seeds would be less likely to dry out.




Lots of peppers are becoming ready to harvest. The bell peppers are Revolution and are the only bell peppers that will produce for me. The other peppers are Carmen and Jimmy Nardello. The JN peppers are often red on one side and green on the other. You really have to do a total scan of the fruit before you pick if you want your peppers completely red on all sides.




More squash, some too big and some just right. and a Tasty Jade cucumber. The brown objects are very small Poona Kheera cucumbers, an heirloom from India. None of the cucumbers are doing well this year, despite having ducked the wilt bug so far. It has probably been too dry for their liking and I can not get to the garden every day to water.




Lots of tomatoes now coming in. This is a basket of small tomatoes including Jaune Flamme, Juliet, Esterina, Sweet Treats, and Chocolate Pear.




More squash and peppers, plus two more Tasty Jade cucumbers. I have the makings of gazpacho with the harvests this week.




The two pink tomatoes at the top are Pruden’s Purple, and it is turning out to be a nice tomato. Despite some early yellowing on the bottom, the plant has continued to grow and set fruit even in the raised bed, and is now over the top of the 6 foot trellis. It does crack easily. The larger tomato (at 1 pound 1 ounce) cracked on the bottom and became Sunday dinner’s side dish. The orange tomatoes are Sunkist and they are a great tomato. The fruits are usually completely blemish free and look like the catalog photo.




Here is a Sunkist sliced for BLT sandwiches.  Flesh is meaty and juicy with small seed cavities and flavor is very good.




The paste tomatoes are starting to ripen in large enough quantities to start doing something with them. Chili sauce is first on the list. The Roma tomatoes of unknown variety are interesting. Seeds came from one fruit but the resultant plants are producing fruit of two different shapes. Two of the plants have the long, slim profile of the tomatoes on top, while other plants are producing the egg shaped fruit in the middle. Shapes are not mixed on a plant and each plant bears only one shape of fruit.




More small tomatoes, so it is time to fire up the dehydrator again. The Sweet Treats are really tasty when dried. The color balance is off in this photo, since none of the Esterina cherries were green when picked.


That is what happened in my garden last week. To see what other gardeners around the world are doing, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, our host for Harvest Monday.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Harvest Monday 17 August 2015

It was a slow garden week for me because I was fighting a summertime cold. Temps were not that hot and we did get a few thunderstorms. They made impressive rumbles and flashes but actually produced very little rain, so the garden remains very dry. Thursday I did manage to get some of my brassicas planted and covered in a bed freed up after the onions were harvested. This week we are supposed to have days in the 90s and no rain until maybe Friday, so that means lots of watering. It takes me two full hours to completely water my two plots since I have to pump and carry the water, so a little rain here would be welcome but not going to happen until maybe Friday.




More zucchini was picked. The plants are looking like they are close to done for the year and the powdery mildew is getting worse despite my spraying.




Lots of tomatoes were picked but a lot of the cherries and Juliets were not photographed.  In this photo on the left are three orange Sunkist tomatoes (largest was 14.5 ounces, 411 grams). The pink tomato with the crack is a Pruden’s Purple (13 oz., 370 g.). Three Opalka tomatoes that avoided the BER. The first Chocolate Pear tomatoes are coming in now (they are always the last to develop and ripen, and they cracked badly after the rain). A lot of the Jaune Flamme cracked as did one Sweet Treats cherry. Not a single Esterina cherry cracked, and I picked lots of them. That is why I plant them rather than Sungold, whose taste I slightly prefer.


The peppers in the photo are two Jimmy Nardello, two Hungarian Paprika, and a Yummy Belle. The Yummy Belle is a nice little pepper but I only have gotten two peppers from two plants. With that kind of productivity it is not worth the effort and space they take. I may try a different seed source next year. The paprika peppers were dried and added to my stash to try grinding my own paprika.


To see what other gardeners around the world did last week, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, our host for Harvest Monday.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Harvest Monday 10 August 2015



The story this week is mostly squash and tomatoes, and that is likely to be repeated for the next few weeks. There are three new things in this photo, however. The first cucumber, first eggplant (Ping Tung) and the tomato on the right is a small Pruden’s Purple.  A neighbor in the garden is also growing Pruden’s Purple and has already harvested one that weighed a pound and 3 ounces (about half a kilo). I have two on the vine that should come close to that.




Some more cucumbers and squash. The cukes are Monika, a Polish pickler. The vines are not looking really good (not from wilt, thankfully) so I am not sure if I will get a lot from them.




A lot more tomatoes. The yellow tomato in the middle is a small Sunkist that was showing signs of anthracnose infection at the stem end, so I picked it. The green tomato is an Opalka that dropped for some reason.




I finally cleared out the last of the lettuce so I can try planting carrots in its place. I have more lettuce transplants ready to go in for fall salads.




Some of the Red Zeppelin onions were falling over and the foliage on the rest looked bad so I declared it time to harvest them. I let them dry in the sun for a few days before taking them home to finish their drying in the garage.




Here is a follow-up picture of the crystalline ice plant I described here. The foliage has indeed changed, becoming smaller and more gray in color, with red tips. And it is now flowering. The attractive flowers only last a day and the bees do seem to like them.


That is what happened in my garden last week. To see what other gardeners around the world are doing, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, our host for Harvest Monday.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Harvest Monday 3 August 2015



We will start this post off with not a beet photograph. Lots of squash this week, with the Romanesco now producing eight fruit per week to Dunja’s three.





Here is the requisite beet photograph. Just a few more left. I need to replant these and hope I get some for the fall.




The escarole is starting to bolt, so I harvested two heads. And I am still getting some lettuce. When I removed the bolting lettuce heads, I found smaller plants crowded underneath from inadequate thinning, which I left. They are now harvestable size, proving that laziness has some usefulness in gardening.




The endives are also ready to harvest. The inside of this head is nicely blanched, which makes it more tender and less bitter. The frilly leaves are really hard to clean , however. Lots of hiding spaces for slugs, earwigs, pill bugs, and just plain debris.




More squash and tomatoes.




Despite my problems with bean diseases, I am still harvesting plenty. This is several pounds and I picked a like quantity on Sunday which I did not photograph.




I am finally starting to get some peppers. On the left are three Hungarian Paprika, then an orange Yummy Belle, and three Jimmy Nardello. I also picked some (too) large Padron peppers, which did turn hot.




More tomatoes are starting to ripen.. On the left are two Opalka, one with some BER. The green shoulders on it are typical. The large orange tomato in the center is my first Sunkist, one of the smaller ones. It has a touch of anthracnose rot on the stem end so it is going to get cut up and used today. The two rose colored cherry tomatoes are the first Sweet Treats. I like their color.




After clearing out the bed of Super Star onions of all that had formed bulbs, I was left with these “onions” with very straight and thick stems. I showed these in a photo a few weeks ago and wondered how big the bulbs were going to be, given the diameter of the stems. Well, they are not forming bulbs. Last week it suddenly became obvious. These are not onions but leeks. Apparently Dixondale Farms mixed some leeks in with the bundle of Super Star onion plants. I am not upset, I can always use some more leeks.




Finally, this is a satellite view of my house and its so-called yard. This should explain why I can not garden at home and have to drive to the town’s community garden/allotment. The house is located in a stand of climax Eastern white pine on top of a pile of rocks forming a knob off the side of the Vaughan Hills. East is the lower right corner. The land slopes to the left down to the town road. Elevation is enough that I have driven home in the rain to find it turning to snow as I go up the driveway. The “soil” is several inches of forest duff on top of a clay-like mixture of rock powder and pebbles left by the glacier. My first “gardening” tools were a chain saw, pick ax, and my favorite, a heavy five-foot pry bar. Thank goodness for the community garden.


That’s what happened in my garden last week. To see what other gardeners around the world are doing, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, our host for Harvest Monday.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

July Tomato Tour

It is the end of July and the tomatoes are busy setting and ripening fruit.  I have already harvested a few of the smaller tomatoes, but the rest will have to wait until August. Since the plants are a lot more interesting with fruit hanging on them, here is a quick tour.




I have four Opalka plants, a Polish paste tomato I first saw at Tower Hill Botanical Gardens. Fruits range from big blocky fruits to long and skinny. Unfortunately, The skinnier fruits are highly susceptible to blossom end rot and I have removed a lot of them to conserve the plants’ resources.




The bottom tomato shows why it is useless to try to ripen the fruit, thinking you can just cut the end off. By the time the tomato is ripe, the rot usually affects the entire tomato.

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