Monday, December 3, 2012


I forgot to post that last month was my official 1 year mark for my blog!  I am so glad that I have done it.  I am actually working on a family post, but since I haven't done one since July there is much to write about and many pictures to post.  So... here is the progress from the Treviso and Puntarelle this week.  A couple other Puntarelle have started pods and the first one has gotten a few more pods.  There are a couple spots on the top that have darkened a little so I don't know what will happen with that.  It seems to be just the few and not developed into more.  I pulled up some more from the garden and changed my set up with the new ones a bit.  To stop any from sitting in the water above the root I decided to put the new ones in vases.  It seems to be working well.
The new crop...cleaned of big leaves and sitting pretty

Root close up

Progress on the first Puntarelle

Treviso Progress

Another Treviso shot

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rule #29: Experiment with gardening...even if it may seem like a long shot!

So excited right now!!!!!!  So as many of you who read my blog know I was successful with forcing the Treviso radicchio last year and recently found out that I have to do the same to the Puntarelle type chicory in order for it to form the pods.  I really didn't think it was going to work, but a few days ago my first pod started forming.  I don't know if it will get as big and full of pods as the ones I have seen from Italy but I will keep the blog updated.

This is what my set up in the garage.  It's nice and cold now for them.  To the right is the Treviso and to the left is the Puntarelle

First pod forming...almost 2 weeks in.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Rule #28: Update a design that doesn't work!

So the hoop house may look very much like the one last year, but John has made some important updates.  The end frames for last years hoop house were way to big to store (at least store without notice!).  This year the end frames are made of three pieces so that when we take it down and store it easily.  Each of those pieces is wrapped in the plastic so we shall see how that works since there will be some more air that can probably leak in this way, but the radicchio love the cold so I think they will be fine.  The door will be put on this week as well...we did a lot of family time this weekend so John ran out of time! I still have some endive, lettuce, broccoli rabe, a tiny bit of spinach and maché in one of the bed under the hoop house so we will see how they do.  Ugh...must learn from my neighbor Heather and sow MORE.  I ran out way too fast.  I am hoping they come up a bit under there, but they will for sure in the spring.

In other garden news the forcing of the Treviso (did this last year) and the Puntarella variety chicory (new this year) has begun.  I am so excited to see if the Puntarella form the "pods".  I really hope so.  My mom has told me all about them and I know it will be so yummy!  I did cook and freeze a bunch of the greens when I thinned them a while back so we have that!  Here are the results after about a week of forcing.  Both types have already begun their second growth and the centers look tender.  Happy Harvest Monday!  I've got to get out in the garden and pick more jalapeños!

Puntarella Type Variety before taking off some of the outer leaves

After taking off the outer leaves that had started to die off

Here you can see the root that sits in the cold water

New and improved hoop house!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rule #27: Don't get rid of your tomato plants until the bitter end!

Well...finally back for Harvest Monday after about a month.  I am sad not to have time to keep up with what is going on in many of the gardens around the world that I have become very fond of!!!!  It is just busy and frankly when it isn't I just want a few minutes to myself.  Just keeping up with the garden is a task that doesn't get taken care of as much as I would like.  This past month we have eaten more tomatoes that the whole summer!  We finally netted some of the tomatoes a while back and without the squirrels to devastate them and some TLC from some lack of water they have been pretty fruitful!  Ah... I guess there is next year.  John has plans to expand the garden again.  Perhaps a bit more room for more tomato plants will give us a good result! As you will see from the pictures we have been very successful with the lettuces, radicchio, arugula, beets and to this day we are giving away pounds and pounds of jalapeños. We have also continued to get a good bit of eggplant and a few heads of fennel. I am also very excited to announce our very first soft ball size head of red radicchio from the Palla Rosa variety.  My aunt tells me I may also be successful with the Chioggia variety as well.  The Verona just never made large heads for us.  Tonight I was able to get into the garden and clean it up a bit.  I picked some Treviso Radicchio to force (Yay). After reading up on what little information they have online about the Puntarella variety chicory I found that these too may have to be forced to create to "pods".  Another year, another experiment!
Salad with our lettuces, beets, steamed Tatsoi and a couple of the last green beans

Broccoli Rabe and Radicchio
Another view
And here she is!  LOL.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rule #26: First rule of blogging should have been don't feel guilty about not blogging, right?

Well... here we are over a month later and I am finally blogging again!  Every week I have been meaning to make it to Harvest Monday and share what has been growing, but it just didn't happen.  I did, however, take pictures.  We are still getting some green beans and eggplant mostly now.  I did thin a lot of the radicchio sowing bed and have had some of the thinnings cooked in oil and garlic.  I have just now started harvesting some beets.  There must be some trick to beets that I am not aware of.  Mine have been good and I have maintained dirt on the tops that peek out (and for some I pushed them down a bit), but they aren't getting super big.  Well, they are still tasty and I think that's what counts. We actually nursed many of our tomatoes back to health and netted them well so we are now harvesting a couple.  Hopefully the very cold weather will hold off for them.  The basil produced beautifully and we were again able to make pesto.  I planted a bunch of new lettuce varieties that are doing great.  As are the broccoli rabe, arugula, and tatsoi.  Although the tatsoi and matché did not produce as much as I would have liked from the seed that I put down.  I really meant to get out there and plant more swiss chard and kale, but it just didn't happen :(  I did manage to get a couple of kale plants in but I didn't prepare the soil well or take care of them after planting so I only have a couple.  It was just a busy month and after transplanting 100 plants, sowing all the lettuces and other greens, weeding, and keeping up with everyday life I just didn't have the time.  The weather was also so horrible and the bugs were out in full effect.  The girls and I stayed in quite a bit in September because of those factors.  Well here are some picture from the past month of the garden.  Several of these plants are a bit bigger now.  The broccoli rabe, for example, is much bigger.  No broccoli sprouts in it yet though, just great leaves.  I am anxiously waiting!!!!  And in case you were wondering....the jalapenõ plant is still going crazy!

The radicchio bed is doing very well.  The front ones are the Treviso that will eventually form that nice red center  after being "forced"

A few of the other radicchio bed, some beets, and green beans in the back

One of my new varieties...Palla Rosa

Broccoli Rabe...the are about triple the size now.

Broccoli Rabe




Thinnings of the Puntarella type Chicory


Lovely basil

Monday, September 3, 2012

Rule #25: If at first you don't succeed....try, try, again!

Ah, we are back in the business of eating fresh homegrown green beans!  After planting another round after the storm and power outage almost 2 months ago and nursing the younger plants back to some kind of health they are all finally producing again!  I just love green beans.  The radicchio are all transplanted and yesterday (September 2) I sowed arugula, matché, broccoli rabe, tatsoi, 4 different types of lettuces, and transplanted my endive.  This is the first time I will transplant these and luckily I didn't have to transplant all of them so at the very least I will still have the endive from the sowing bed.  We will see how that goes.  I still need to plant spinach and more swiss chard.  Just chopped all the leaves I had so I am hoping those keep producing.  We shall see.  Getting many eggplants, jalepenõ, a few large yellow peppers, and cutting radicchio.  Unfortunately I have not had a lot of luck with my seed savers exchange peppers or eggplant.  The baby eggplant was eaten by flea beetles so I had to buy 2 plants.  I have found that I like the Japanese ones the best though!  Please let me know if you know what is going on with my Orange Bell Peppers.  I have added a picture of them.  My large yellow ones are Heavyweights I purchased years ago that I am pretty sure are hybrids.  They are doing well though. I'll give them that!  Happy Harvest Monday (hosted by Daphne's Dandelions)!
Weekend Haul

What is going on here?????

Another view

Oh and we are getting little handfuls of Raspberries every day!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rule #24: Try something Hot, Hot, Hot!

Actually the jalapenos aren't too bad if you take out the seeds and membranes.  We made a huge batch of jalapeno poppers to put in the freezer.  We have made one batch already baking them instead of frying and they were very good.  The spot that gets a bit spicy is right by the stem, so beware!   It's amazing that you only need one plant and the pests seem to know that they are hot too, because they stay away!  In other news you will see a few cherry tomatoes in with the peppers!  Ugh....we did not do well with tomatoes this year.  I think we got late blight, but there are still a few with green tomatoes on them.  Unfortunately even with the netting, Shnikies decided to break through and eat the Gold Medals that were almost ready to pick. We were sad about that one :(  On a positive note, yesterday was transplant day for the radicchio and they seem to be doing well this morning.  A little weepy, but that is normal.  I am so excited about the Puntarella type chicory!  We will see how these new varieties do and if they end up being the correct ones.  From the pictures I think they will be right. I have been picking and eating the cutting radicchio also.  On to more fall planting this week.  I got some new new lettuce varieties to plant this year and a fast growing Cima Di Rapa (broccoli rabe).  My goal is to plant them all and continue to transplant.  Last year I did about 100 radicchio transplants which was a pretty good number.  With the peppers still doing well and the new set of green beans starting to produce the problem will be finding a spot to put the lettuces right now.  I think that I may just pull some of the tomatoes that don't have any green ones on them!  I'm thinking the pesto needs to be made next week!  Happy Gardening!

Jalepenos and Cherry Tomatoes

One of three transplanted Radicchio beds

Radicchio sowing bed

The Puntarella type variety of chicory I have high hopes for (new)

Pepper, Eggplant, Carrots, Cutting Radicchio and Dill seeds (anyone know what is going on with the spots on this pepper?)

Lesson learned last time?  Use gloves when doing a ton of jalapenos or you hands will be on fire!

cutting, de-seeding

Drying and getting ready to be filled!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rule #23: When the gardener is away, the squash bugs will play

So I knew going on vacation would not be great for the garden. It was dry all 7 days and the squash bugs totally took over and killed my one zucchini and one crookneck squash.  They are also threatening to kill my butternut squash plant that is small to begin with since I planted it very late!  Before leaving I was doing a good job of squishing eggs and young bugs and collected a few zucchini to take on our trip. When I got home I found two pretty mature zucchini still on the plant but they were dying and becoming hollow.  Too bad really :(  We have been trying to give the tomatoes some TLC to nurse them back to better health.  I finally netted to two outside the garden and the green tomatoes on them are looking good.  There are a couple tomatoes in the garden, but since we didn't net those ones most of the tomatoes went to the squirrels.  The foliage on them are beginning to come back, but I just don't know if we will get anything more from them.  My green bean bed is making a come back and my carrots are also doing well. For the most part my baby radicchio are looking good and strong and will be ready for transplanting later this month.  That is a positive note at least!  I also planted more fennel and beets that are coming up strong.  The radicchio, beets, and carrots were planted on July 11th. The peppers are beginning to produce and we have gotten one yellow (slightly taken over by something) and a nice red one.  The jalepenos are also producing a ton and we are getting a steady stream of eggplants.  How is your garden doing?
Picking Heriloom tomatoes early saved a few from the squirrels and the flavor is the same when ripe!

24 hours later....the Italian Heirloom.

After vacation pickings (yellow pepper already eaten!)  The basil is also doing great!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Rule #22: Summer can be hot, water slides are a great investment!

This is especially true when you have two children with summer-ish birthdays.  Since we like to have birthday parties at our home a water slide was a great option when having a bunch of kids over.  We can't believe our little Larkyn is four!!!  Four just seems so big.  She is just amazing and so much fun! She has been saying the funniest things.  Like when I ask her to help with clean up sometimes she says, "I'm on it, mommy" or "sure thing".  I just love that. She continues to do really well with Mckinley.  She just loves her and all little babies/toddlers for that matter.  Sometimes I do hear, "Mommy Mckinley is in my room and I don't want her to be." Ah, I think I will be hearing that a lot from both of them in the future.  Hopefully it will be more of the sharing and playing that they have begun to do.  It is so nice to see them playing with the little people or care bears together.  Mckinley has also taken to looking through books with Larkyn.  What makes us laugh the most is when they play in the castle tent.  Mckinley just launches herself up and through the window to peek out.  She thinks it is just so funny. Larkyn's Peppa Pig Party was a success and I think everyone had fun on the water slide and little slide pool.  I am also including some Fourth of July pictures.  Ah what a fun 5 days!  This was the last day (we didn't know that at the time) of our power being out since the big storm rolled through and left it's mark on our neighborhood. Luckily it was a great chance to see all the neighbors that were still around and how they were doing! I started this post before my trip to NC to see my brother's family and some neighbors that moved.  We had so much fun.  I will have to post those pictures soon, but wanted to add that when we came home Mckinley just took off with walking.  She took a few steps between us on the first, but now she is really practicing her new skill and letting go of things and just walking.
Father's Day 2012

Father's Day Breakfast

Father's Day Dinner



Swing time!

Going down

Peppa Pig Party

Lunch with Pig Ears

Going up

Coming Down

Mckinley's Turn

The Cake!

Fourth of July: Navy Girls

Add caption

Headed to the Parade