Monday, August 22, 2011

Busy day, random things

Lovely cosmos.

Alien tomato.

I guessed right!  Or rather, ripe!

Time to bust out the dehydrator again.  And to plug it in on the porch, where the gas clouds from drying cayenne peppers can't hurt us.

We finally got a start on our sauerkraut.  Eight heads of cabbage take up just too much space in the frig.

You'd think eight heads would make a ton of sauerkraut, but I think we'll end up with a gallon and a half, when all is said and done.

We were gifted a bag of beautiful green peppers from my friend Rebecca.   So hubby and I decided it was time to make salsa. 

All the veges (except Rebecca's peppers) came out of our garden.  Onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, garlic, cucumbers.

We made two batches, one with jalapeno seeds and one without.  Hubby tried the seedy salsa -- it made him take a step back and blink a few times.  He gave it two thumbs up.  I prefer the milder version, with extra cumin.  I loooove cumin.

And how do you keep three little boys occupied while Mom and Dad are chopping veges?  With cucumber boats, of course!  The perfect size for little Lego guys to sail around in.  Mix in a lot of whirlpools and pirate attacks and shipwrecks, and you've got fun for hours.  Okay, maybe not hours.  But long enough to keep little boys away from the cutting board covered in jalapenos.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tip of the iceberg

Hubby and I spent an hour in the garden today, simply harvesting.  After an hour at near 90 degrees and high humidity we called it quits and brought all of our bags inside.  We had barely made a dent.  Tonight I will blanch and freeze broccoli, and maybe blanch and peel tomatoes.  The cukes and beans can wait til tomorrow.  And the mongo zucchini will make the chickens happy.  Happy chickens lay happy eggs.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Green machine

The garden is churning and chugging away, growing and ripening everywhere at once.  I am trying, but failing to keep up with the harvest.  I have definitely failed to keep up with the weeds, which are growing as robustly as the vegetables are.  So forgive the foot-tall grass and thistle and pigweed and lambsquarters and velvetleaf and ragweed and campion, etc.

Here is the wall of beans.  Some of the leaves and pods show a bit of rust, or fungus, or something, but it doesn't seem too serious.  The cattle panels are proving to be an excellent trellis.

My basil patch is very healthy.  Owen spent a good hour with a scissors in here today, harvesting the stalks about half-way down.  I've got three grocery bags full of basil on my kitchen table, calling to me right now.  But it's more fun to blog than to pick leaves, so here I am.  I might be up awhile yet.

The Brussels sprouts are for the most part healthy.  I've had my usual trouble with cabbage worms, but I think my most recent Bt application has knocked them back a bit.

Here's a large patch of peppers.  My alma paprika and jalapenos are doing wonderfully.  My one Napolean sweet that I managed to grow from an old packet of seeds is also doing well.  The California wonder seedlings I bought at the nursery have yet to yield any fruit. 

My first red cayenne!  I need to get myself a spice grinder.  And some rubber gloves.

The cucumbers are fantastic.  I harvest a sackful one day, and two days later there is another sackful ready to be picked.  I'm letting quite a few cukes get big and orange, for next year's (and the year after that) seed. 

Two of the many watermelon.  I still don't know exactly when to pick these.  A few days ago I picked one with a large yellow spot on it, thinking it was ripe.  It wasn't even close.  So now I am hesitant to try again.

Similarly with the muskmelon. People tell me that it will 'smell ripe' and 'sound ripe' when it's ready.  I've no idea what this means.

The Jerusalem artichokes are very tall.

I've harvested almost all of the cabbage.  Several of them had begun to split.  I planted a bunch of these, thinking that I might try to sell them (along with other veges) at the farmers market this summer.  But those plans fell through, so now I have twelve cabbage heads on my table, waiting patiently next to the basil.  Guess it's time to try sauerkraut again.

Lest ye think that all my garden endeavors this year were successful, let me assure you otherwise -- my potatoes and tomatoes are all dying of blight, my carrots and turnips never germinated, my radishes were magma hot, my scallions got lost in a mass of grass and my zinnia seedlings all died before transplant.  But I must confess that overall, the balance is seeming to favor good over bad for this gardening year.  And I am, as ever, learning more and more each season.  I have already started planning for next year.  For me, that's the most fun of all.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Full swing

It was a glorious day to work in the garden.  The harvest included dill seed;

eggplant and cucumbers;

tomatoes, zucchini and beans;

one watermelon, which I thought might be ripe,

but wasn't;

and about a third of the garlic.  Also harvested, but not photographed: the last of the spring beets.  I am going to experiment with drying the beets and powdering them, for a colorant in my soaps.

On a day like this, even the vastness of my garden weeds can't get me down.  An evening of pickling and dehydrating awaits.