Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5, 2013 Harvest Monday

Harvesting right along... This year has been a great garden year!  Made some pesto and got several more Romanesca zucchini and Crooknecks.  Even got my first Black Magic zucchini that is in my pot (seeing signs that I need to do more checking for SVB though but plant still looks healthy).  The Borlotti and Taylor Strain shelling beans are in and this is just the first round!  So excited about this!  We will have a good amount of beans for the freezer this year for sure.
Fried Green Tomatos

Purple eggs found on Zucchini

Black Swallowtail catterpillars on the Fennel...didn't have the heart to take them off

Beans, cucs, and some marinated tomatoes on herbed ricotta (SO YUMMY)

Tomato Window

Taylor Strain Beans-Round 1

My little helper shelling the Borlotti Beans
More Maters, Cucs, and Zucs :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Rule #35: Give veggies you don't always love another try!

So I pretty much love every single vegetable out there, but I can be a bit picky about my eggplant.  Currently my eggplant are flowering, but I got some from a friend in North Carolina will visiting last week.  Some were fat, but most were skinny.  I tend to like the skinny ones and I found out that this was a Japanese variety.  It think I will be getting this variety next year.  I got quite a bit and decided to have John grill them up.  Then I put parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and EVOO in the food processor and poured it over the hot grilled eggplant.  FIRST, this was fabulous (it's what my mom does except she simply chops everything instead of food processing).  I was still not very fond of the fatter ones that had many seeds.  Second, I found a recipe for a eggplant open sandwich on pinterest that I had to tweak a bit and it too was amazing.  I used rustico sliced bread from Trader Joe's instead of ciabatta, olive tapenade instead of just kalamata olives, and the grilled eggplant instead of breaded and baked eggplant, but the result was very good.  Put the tapenade on the bread followed by some fresh tomato from the garden, the eggplant and the mozzarella cheese on top.  Then I toasted it up and let me tell you...YUM. Third, we made some pizza and put it on with some freshly made sauce, caramelized onions, mushrooms and black olives and that was amazing too.  So there you have it...give your not so favorite veggies another try :)

In other gardening news we are starting to get a good amount of tomatoes and the crookneck squash is still doing well.  My other zucchini are still hanging in there and we actually got our first (I hope of many) Romanesco zucchini.  Hopefully my surgery and getting most of the SVB eggs off early in the season will prove successful.  The cucumbers are doing AMAZING this year and we are all happy about that. My new one from Johnny's called the Amiga is very good.  Of course we are getting many jalapeño peppers and John has made a fun pickle with cucumbers that he loves ( I can only handle about one or two bites).  My radicchio is starting to pop up and I will need to re-seed two varieties that didn't come up as well.  My last picture is of my Borlotti and Taylor Strain shelling beans that are almost ready.  Once those are done I will have tons of space for my fall gardening veggies!  Am I really already saying fall?

I am sharing this on Daphne's Dandelion's as part of Harvest Monday (as I usually try to do). It's a fun way to see what other gardeners are doing all around the globe.
My favorite big boy....The Italian Heirloom and some Early Girls

Thinning some beets...they look more like radishes

Grilled up some zucchini and onions, added them to a herbed vinegrette and mixed with quinoa.  The greens are from beets, celery, some swiss chard and fennel tops

The first Romanesco Zucchini and other garden goodies


Making the eggplant sammy

after toasting


Radicchio seedlings

More Radicchio seedlings (some chard on the corner of the pic too)

Italian shelling beans... almost ready

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rule #34: Breath in and out and take it one day at a time when coming back to your garden after your vacation!

It's been a while since my last post, but the garden has been thriving and providing for us.  The lettuces are on their way out, but lasted longer with all the overcast days and rain.  Oh the rain.  There was a lot of it.  Not typical of Maryland to still have green grass in mid-July.

So we took a 10 day trip out to New Mexico right at the time that the garden started producing tons of harvests!  Needless to say, when we got home we found many surprises.  Since there was so much rain even after we left the watering was not an issue, but the weeds were so out of control.  The first thing I had to tackle (besides settling back in, cleaning and doing laundry!) was harvesting.  We had tons of cucumbers, green beans, chard, and our first ripe tomato.  There were also a couple of crookneck squash.  First surprise (or not really for me) was that though I was diligent about finding and taking off SVB eggs from the zucchini plants there were larva in every one of them.  Even in my test pot on the patio :(.  I preformed another surgery and think that half may survive.  Oh well.  What can you do?  Next surprise was that the voluntary plant coming out of the rock border of our new bed was a pumpkin!  OH DEAR....there is no room for you baby!  It was in the butternut squash bed that was already at full capacity.  I also found 2 butternuts that look pretty ready, but I have never grown them so I have to look it up to make sure I can pick them.  I haven't even touched the asian greens but they were eaten up pretty good and I will try to nurture them better for a fall harvest.

Today I started weeding and with the little tool we have it really hasn't been too bad and everything is coming up easily.  Unfortunately John only had time to do mowing before he had to go out of town for work or it would have been finished by now.  The tomatoes or so full it's ridiculous and (finger crossed) it seems like there are a lot less squirrels in the garden now that the tree is not in there any more.

On to sowing the winter radicchio!  Hopefully I will post about it soon...
A shot of the garden before we left during the crazy storms!

Out of control garden upon our return a few days ago!

First Haul

First half of the green bean bed!

First blueberry harvest!

Second half of the green bean bed on day 2 of return and another  squash

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rule #33: Try not to overcrowd, as tempting as it may be!

I have learned this with tomatoes especially over the years.  They get big and need plenty of sunlight.  Overcrowding them makes it hard to find the fruit and I feel they are also less productive.  With the garden expansion this will be an easier rule to follow!
For the past three weeks we have been eating the last of the lettuce that overwintered from the fall planting.  Now we can move on to the new lettuces I planted a few weeks ago.  We had the first of our baby arugula and I will continue to succession plant this all summer because we love the tender baby arugula (especially on pizza!).  We have gotten a few small strawberries this past week, but many of the plants got damaged and needed to be transplanted after the tree came down.  Strawberry plants do pretty well with trauma and and bouncing back with vigor.  The asian greens (tatsoi and chinese broccoli) have started to sprout and I am excited about these.  The girls loved the greens when we went to dim sum a few months ago so I hope this variety tastes similar.  It has been cooler than normal around here so the lettuces are quite happy, but the newly transplanted tomatoes may not be as fond of these temps.  Some of the larger ones are doing well but the smaller ones had a harder time after the transplant.  They are bouncing back now though.  I had to spray them and the eggplant leaves with an organic pesticide because of the dreaded flea beetle.  They just love those tender leaves but luckily they go away once the leaves become bigger and less appetizing to them.  The peppers on the other hand are doing great with no flea beetles.  The early indoor start helped them the most.  Yesterday John took off so I got to finish planting the rest of the beds.  Dad gave me two varieties of butternut squash (four plants total)  and those went into one of the new beds.  I also planted shelling beans, beets, carrots, fennel, broccoli rabe, and replanted three varieties of zucchini.  The first round only had one successful sprout!  I am determined not to let the squash vine borer devastate my zucchini this year and I may resort to the organic BT that I have been reading up on. I have tried everything in years past and I  want to have so many zucchini that I go around late at night putting zucchini on neighbors porches.  As some of you know zucchini and green beans are my favorite and I have finally dedicated one whole bed to green beans and that has worked for me, but the zucchini has been a battle.  I am trying a new hybrid variety of cucumber this year called Amiga so I am hoping for a good cucumber year.  The girls also love cucumbers!!!!  Lastly, the green bean bed is coming along nicely and most of those sprounts are up and growing.
BIG ANNOUNCEMENT:  I have officially (and finally in John's words) agreed to the design plans for our outdoor pizza oven and prep area/sit up counter area.  Now I told him I don't care when he starts it, but he can't blame me for any more hold ups!

*****Havest Monday (June 3):  My shelling beans and broccoli rabe have sprouted.  But I am not sure how all the young plants will like all this heavy rain we have been getting since last night into this morning!!!!  *********
Finally got these in a pot....experiment year with bougainvillea.

Wish geraniums came in orange.  I just love orange and purple but I also love geraniums!

Patio herb collection.  Rosemary found a new home in the yard and basil always goes in the garden.

Baby asian greens

Butternut squash bed and in the back part of the green bean bed.

New lettuces will need to be thinned.

Arugula and swiss chard.  In the front left corner is a store bought Early Girl tomato a neighbor gave me.

Eggplant with flea beetle damage

Happy Peppers

Close up of the baby arugula

garden view

Garden view from upstairs.  Raspberries are going crazy on the left fence.  We had to transplant our grape plants around the tree stump.  They were not happy but I am hoping the perk up!

I think I forgot to post this a few months back.  Next year I will continue to perfect puntarella growing.  Have to pick them earlier before the hearts start to rot.  Pictured are the leaves and a baby point.  It was delicious so at least I know they taste good.  The greens were starting to go to seed at this point but this was also later in the season.  Early when the greens were more tender they were less fibrous and very tasty.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The State of the Garden....Rule #32: IT'S OK!!!!! has been a crazy spring.  Cold and windy at times.  We had the hoop house up for some time and we continued to get radicchio and arugula through March and part of April.  Once we got a few hot days and the hoop house came off they bolted.  I am really getting anxious about how behind I am with the planting this spring, but I guess I should just go with the flow since our garden is in the middle of a major expansion!  We had a few of our gumball trees taken out recently which meant taking the garden apart since the largest one was actually in the garden!  I am so excited about the fact that we will not have to spend days cleaning up the garden and yard of the leaves and all those pesky gum balls!  Someone needs to figure out how to make fuel out of those bad boys and they would make a fortune in our neighborhood alone! Although we thought we would be a little further along, with 2 young children I think we did pretty well. John is creating several new beds in the front of the garden and had to re-do the back bed completely as the tree fell right in that path.  We are re-using the river rocks that got displaced when we paved our driveway and that we had around the tree.  Originally we recovered all those rocks from around the yard so we have never had to buy any and now they will be the edge of many of our garden beds. I thought I would do more planting but there was so much general yard work and weeding to do that I only got some onion sets in.  I could have done more, but there may be heavy rains today so I am going to put in the peas, lettuces, kale, asian greens, and swiss chard in tomorrow.  Here is a look at our progress on the garden and a little helper that had to get in to help with the action!
Coming along...see the huge tree trunk?  LOL.

She loves her accessories!

Our Little Helper

Monday, February 25, 2013

Rule #31-When it's too cold outside you can still plant your starter seeds inside!

The basement is also the perfect spot to plant inside with the kiddos.  Mostly the baby just wanted to make a mess but that was ok too.  We got in our tomatoes, celery, peppers and eggplants.  John planted some sunflowers.  I really need to get some parsley planted as well.  I have the worst time with parsley and celery transplants so we shall see how it goes, but one of the parsley plants I bought last year actually overwintered and seems to be doing pretty well.  I may even get a good bush out of it yet!  We enjoyed our first round of borlotti beans from the freezer and I have to say they are amazing.  Will plant a bunch more this year as John will be (yet again) expanding the garden.  I put EVOO, garlic, salt and parsley on them when they were still hot.  P.S.  The radicchio and other assorted greens are doing well!


Borlotti Beans

Puntarelle Progress


Radicchio and Carrots