Monday, August 31, 2009

The Summer That Never Was

June, July, and August 2009: 'The summer that never was'. At least that is what they are calling it over on Cape Cod. Today marks the last day of the Meteorological Summer. Officially there a few weeks left, but after a couple of evenings with temps in the 50's the final day of August certainly is feeling Autumn-like.

I went out to the garden this morning to find evidence of chores left unfinished....

This what happens when your weekends are over scheduled and you get behind on the lawn mowing and weeding thanks to all the rain (and the perfect beach day), and suddenly you realize you are already an hour late for a birthday party.
The Late Blight is really taking it's toll now, I expect this will be my last week of tomatoes. The fruit and stems are beginning to show evidence of the powdery spores. While picking the ripe fruit this morning I actually was OK with knowing these plants will be going soon, many people I know didn't get a single tomato out of their gardens, even the farmer's markets are scarce in some towns. I am thankful for the three months of home grown tomatoes I have enjoyed this summer. Below is picture of today's infected trimmings, another of the tomato harvest.
Here are my surviving winter squash plants, fighting to hold on despite the borer damage. If the buggers are done for the season then they may make it, but another attack would do them in. Two of them have formed new fruit, I am doing my best to not count my chickens before they hatch. I slit open the plastic mulch and covered a stem portion with soil, followed by a fish fertilizer cocktail to encourage new root growth. C'mon squash babies, GROW, GROW, GROW!
Speaking of growing, look at all these muskmelon vines growing madly in the compost pile and up the dog kennel....
And here is my single melon. Can I even call it that, lol? Should it instead be called "The Blossom That Never Died"?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Little Garden Housekeeping

Today has been a great day out in the garden. After the many inches of rain we received yesterday courtesy of Danny, it was a perfect time to rip out the weeds and the less than stellar performers. But most importantly I was a SVB serial killer, and proud of it! I squished at least twelve of these suckers. They had finally taken up residence in my zucchini. The plants are now destroyed, but I was happy to sacrifice a few developing squash for the pleasure of hunting those borers down. YUCK!

Today's sowings:
  1. Sugar Ann Peas - 55 days; I sowed these in the cucurbit bed where I had ripped out cukes and marigolds, mostly for their nitrogen fixing services. If I get peas out of it even better!
  2. Bright Lights Swiss Chard - Chard can be harvested at 'baby' size about 5 weeks after germination and is somewhat cold tolerant.
  3. Napoli Carrot - 58 days; A cold tolerant, early carrot variety. These will hopefully overwinter under a thick layer of hay and plastic or row cover.
  4. Red Russian Kale - Overwinters easily, hardy to 14 degrees F; These should have ideally been sown in early August but I just didn't have the room. I will cover the seedlings with row cover before any frost is predicted, and keep them that way through the winter. May be harvested as early as 60 days after sowing; frosts improve flavor.
  5. Rouge D'Hiver Lettuce - 28-58 days; Cold tolerant red romaine type lettuce, should germinate in soil temps as low as 40 degrees F.
  6. Renegade Spinach - I have had no luck with direct sowing spinach all season, but since spinach seeds should used the same year they were purchased I figured I would give it another go!

(edit: Almost forgot, I took seeds from the nasturtiums and marigolds for next year. It was a rediculously easy thing to do (and free), so I hope they will germinate!)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Chip-oh-LEE-nee Onions

These little discs of onion heaven were available as part of my CSA share this week, YAY! I have always wanted to try them, thought about trying to grow them, but decided on the familiar sweet and red globe onions instead. Well here they are, right in my very own kitchen. Roasting seems to be just about all you can (or should) do with them, but I can't help but thinking they would make a nice Onion Soup for two! If only I had more than half a pound....

Dr. says this about Cipollini Onions:

"Pronounced chip-oh-LEE-nee this is a smaller, flat, pale onion. The flesh is a slight yellowish color and the skins are thin and papery. The color of the skin ranges from pale yellow to the light brown color of Spanish onions. These are sweeter onions, having more residual sugar than garden-variety white or yellow onions, but not as much as shallots.

The advantage to cipollinis is that they are small and flat and the shape lends them well to roasting. This combined with their sweetness makes for a lovely addition to recipes where you might want to use whole caramelized onions.

These can be a little more difficult to find as they are not as popular. Specialty markets and grocery stores will have them but even my Whole Foods has spotty availability. They are harvested in autumn and may not be easily available year round (or may be quite expensive in other seasons). "
Maybe I will roast them and do a BBQ Chicken Pizza, substituting them for the usual caramelized red onions........when all else fails put it in a pizza, thats my motto!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Put Away For Another Day Zucchini Cakes with Gingered Cream Cheese Frosting

This is a recipe I have been using for some time to make zuke bread, but after Erin's catchy 'Put Away For Another Day' gadget over at Garden Now- Think Later, I officially coined the name 'Put Away For Another Day Zucchini Bread', thank-you Erin. It begins by freezing your portioned, grated, zucchini and oil in a quart size freezer bag.

Another Day it can be thawed and made into tasty bread (2 loaves), from which one can be wrapped and frozen to be enjoyed yet another day. The fat from the oil helps prevent freezer burn. This last recipe was made into giant cakes and topped with luscious Gingered Cream Cheese Frosting. (That recipe can be found here.) We like it only mildly sweet (2 C powdered sugar), and with a hint of ginger. I did maybe four sweeps over the zester, but more would be just as good if you love that ginger zing.

We normally enjoy this bread lightly toasted with a dab of butter. Feel free to add in some grated carrots or nuts to change things up a bit. Somebody is very happy that these little cakes are finished and ready to be sampled, and insisted on being in the picture!


2 C grated zucchini
1 C oil

Portion above amounts into 1 quart freezer bags or other storage container. Put away (in freezer) for another day.

Another day remove bag from freezer and thaw. Continue with recipe below:

Yield: 1 bunt pan, 4 mini, or 2 8x4 loaf pans

3 eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 C whole wheat flour
1 T cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 C raisins
1 C walnuts
approx. ½ C applesauce (optional)
2 T diced candied ginger (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease and flour bunt (or 2 8x4 pans).

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil and zucchini, then sugar and vanilla. Add applesauce and candied ginger if using.

Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt, whisk to combine. Add raisins to flour mixture and stir in.

Stir dry into wet and pour batter into pans.

Bake loaves for approximately 45 min. - 1 hour. Check often, bake until toothpick/cake tester comes out clean. Cool.

Divide bunt loaf into quarters, keeping one for fresh eating, and freezer wrapping the other 3 to be put away for another day. (Or put away 1 8x4 loaf.)

*Edit* Yet again Blogger is posting things all wrong and I am unable to correct the spacing, sorry! What is up with that anyway??

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Yes, bulbils I say. Did you know that bulbils are the economic way to grow those garlic cloves? Turns out if you leave a garlic scape be it will stretch out and grow a flower-like top made up of all these bulbil things. Then, one can save and plant these bulbils in the fall and patiently wait....

If you planted bulbils, they will not form any stalks. Instead they will have several grass-like leaves up to a foot long, which will die back in July. This is the time to harvest the rounds! What you will find is marble- to golfball-sized rounds that resemble small onions in that they are not divided into cloves. These rounds may be eaten like garlic cloves or saved to plant again in the fall. If planted, they will then give you regular garlic bulbs the following year - WHO KNEW!?!?
Click here for a beautiful slide show of bulbils, you really don't want to miss it!

Too Many Choices

While on the subject of potatoes I thought I would go back and take a look at all that is offered from Moose Tubers/Fedco. There are a million and one choices, it is all so overwhelming! I have a great opportunity to order these potatoes at a discount, with out shipping charges through my local NOFA (North East Organic Farming Association) office.

After digging my first Yukon Gold this summer I knew I wanted to up the potato ante next year. They are after all one of those foods I hate eating when not organically grown, and organic potatoes are not readily available in the major grocers around here. So, after hours of reading about starch content, maturity dates, disease resistance and color I have narrowed it down to the following:

2.5 #'s Caribe (very early)
  • good mashed or baked
  • purple skin, white flesh
  • high yield, good storage
  • resistant to scab and storage rot
5 #'s Yukon Gold (very early)
  • yellow-buff skin, yellow flesh
  • dry, mealy
  • low yield, excellent storage
  • my favorite potato!
2.5 #'s Cheiftan (early)
  • bright red skin, white flesh
  • good flavor with excellent culinary qualities
  • moist, firm
  • resistant to late blight, scab, stem end browning, and net necrosis
  • high yield, fair storage
2.5 #'s Huckleberry (mid)
  • good for roasting, boiling or steaming
  • beet-red skin, mottled red and white flesh
  • moist, firm
  • high yield, good storage
2.5 #'s Kennebec (mid)
  • all purpose potato
  • buff skin, white flesh
  • high yield, excellent storage
  • known for it's most excellent fries
  • susceptible to rizoctonia (a.k.a. black scurf) and verticulum. This could be a problem.
5 #'s Red Pontiac* (late/storage)
  • good mashed or boiled, no baking
  • prone to scab
  • do well in heavy soils or cage/box growing
  • dark red skin, white sweet flesh
  • high yield, excellent storage
  • require close planting

* Or Red Cloud which I grew this year and described in the previous post.

Here it is in black and white where I can not lose it or forget all that I have read. Ten pounds of early, five pounds of mid, and five pounds late. Boy, that is a lot of potatoes!

Potato Scurf; CSA Share

I think I have the above pictured diseases (courtesy of Michigan Potato Diseases)on my potatoes. The Yukon Gold tubers had some occasional Black Surf for sure. (Otherwise known as Rizoctonia Canker.) A couple of the Red Cloud spuds that were pulled up yesterday have both Black and Silver Scurf.

This is a bit frustrating since it is the first time potatoes have been grown in the soil (at least in my garden), and I purchased certified seed potatoes. The good news is that it is generally a cosmetic problem only, though yields can be reduced. I am thinking the rest of the potatoes may need to be dug and stored as frozen mashers to limit any further disease spread. I think the disease will unfortunately remain in the soil for years to come which is problematic in my otherwise shallow square foot gardening beds.

Is it time to try making some of those frozen chunks of mashed taters? Mm Hm I think it is!

(B.T.W., those Red Clouds are as good as Moose Tubers claimed them to be: Red Cloud red skin, white flesh What a joy to dig Red Cloud as lots of intensely red tubers emerge! Snow-white flesh, a little drier than most reds, makes the most marvelous fluffy mashed potatoes. Named after the great Oglala Sioux chief who lived in Nebraska and South Dakota. Highly resistant to scab, resists early blight and hollow heart, heat stress and drought. Very long dormancy for exceptional storage. Medium-sized spreading plant with dark violet flowers. Very limited supply; order early. 7390 Red Cloud organic, 21/2# $8.00; 5# $13.00; 20# $45.00)
Yesterday's CSA 1/2 Share from Silverbrook Farm:
  • 2 zucchini (small)
  • 2 apples
  • 1 lb potatoes (3 large)
  • 1/2 lb onions
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3 ears of corn
  • 1/3 lb pursulane (we left that one behind)

Not even close to $17.00 worth of produce in my opinion. Yet another pet peeve of mine, when I ask what variety something is ( for example, potatoes) they don't know the answer 80% of the time. AARRGG!! Once again, the fruit is the best part. I don't even want to eat the apples, then I won't be able to smell them anymore!!! (Me singing)....Apple season is coming, apple season is coming. 8)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Graden Buzz, Today's Harvest

It is hard to believe my gardening season is coming to an end, since the melons and winter squash won't be producing things should start winding down soon . Time to start thinking about where to put the cold frame, and what to plant in it. I am thinking Chard and carrots. Speaking of carrots, check out the photos below:

This is the potato/carrot bed back in late June. Going from left to right we have some herbs and a few measly carrots coming up; potatoes; sweet potatoes and my son's sunflower from school in the corner.

Wow have the carrots grown in! Anyone remember how frustrated I was by carrots earlier in the season? LOL, no more! (These photos were taken from inside the garden unlike the one above.)
And here is the gargantuan sunflower and the sweet potato vines, which are reaching over into the now foliage free potato bed. I still have some potatoes in the ground, maybe just over half have been harvested to date. What a change compared to the first photo huh? I find it funny to see the formerly full section empty, and the other two full of green.


The onions are done. Quite a bit smaller than I was expecting, nothing close to those grocery store sweet onions. Better luck next year I hope! (That is if I decide they are worthy of their garden space.)


I pulled 4 carrots up- here they are below in order. Finally, a winner!!!

I found a few more lovely carrots in the 'carrot jungle', along with lots of tomatoes, a large zuke, a couple cukes, some chili peppers and another super-tasty Carmen sweet pepper, and a handful of beans the beetles didn't beat me to. Oh, and some basil,.........

....and the first Red Cloud potato harvest!

Very exciting stuff here folks!
On to the garden buzz:
The Orb spiders have taken over my garden. It is getting tricky to pick around their webs.

I always have the urge to rub their cute, fuzzy, bumble buts, however after doing this once as a kid I now resist said urge.

My little man's sunflower is in full bloom, it's gorgeous!
Lastly, some pictures of what Late Blight looks like on a tomato plant:
These are two affected leaves from the top.
The tell-tale powdery underside of the water stained looking lesions:

I ultimately decided not to spray for blight since removing affected leaves by hand seems to be keeping it in check. It is of coarse continuing to spread, but at a controllable rate. Eventually this will change and the whole lot will require immediate disposal.
The SVB are slowly destroying my precious squash. The fruit is shriveling and rotting right off the vine. Very sad. I took some pictures but find it too depressing to look at. Also very sad is the fact that my female muskmelon flowers continue to rot instead of forming fruit. The bumble bee pictured above was on a blossom, so lack of pollination shouldn't be the culprit. Maybe there is some disease that causes this that I am unaware of??
I ripped out most of the cucumber plants and bolting lettuce today. The beets I sowed along with the carrots many weeks back have failed to germinate. That or I pulled them thinking they were weeds. Anything is possible. 8) I am very curious to see what comes home with me from the CSA today, last week was pathetic once again. I brought only a plastic grocery bag with me, and it wasn't even full when I left. I will greatly miss the blueberries though, I am figuring last week was their finale.

Edit: The Farmer's Almanac is showing 27 days until Autumn. (Me frowning.) Also,Today in History:
The Nineteenth Amendment was adopted, granting women the right to vote. It was nicknamed the "Anthony" amendment in recognition of the lobbying efforts of suffragette Susan B. Anthony, 1920.
Thanks to Susan B. Anthony and all others in securing me the right to vote!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Kindergarten Has Come

This post has absolutely nothing to do with gardening, just thought I'd warn you. This post is about the blubbering mess I have become over my eldest starting kindergarten come September. Today we learned who his teacher will be and received the Kindergarten Supply List. Sent me right over the edge! When this boy was a baby I would spend time staring at him, knowing he would grow into a little boy in the blink of an eye, knowing he would one day wave good-bye and leave our little world at home to start his big adventure as a full-time student. I am not ready- we know that for sure, I just hope he is.

This little boy is special (they all are), he is always in a pretend place- usually at work on a construction site or a tugboat. He hates crowds, new things, any noise that isn't being made by him, and being told what to do. He has no idea how to write his name, sing the alphabet or count to 20, (or to differentiate between letters and numbers if we are getting technical), but he can tell you how to pave a road from start to finish and what stick does what on a backhoe. He has the vocabulary of an adult and speaks with a lisp. I have always been his protector, his advocate. My little guy has always had a hard time facing the world, it often overwhelms him. He has come such a long way from where he began, but as his Mom I worry so much about how he will adjust to this kindergarten thing. He worries "about how he will get his energy out". I worry about how he will pay attention.

I know, I know, I need to let it go. LOL, the good news is in a couple more weeks he will "no longer be my problem" and my daughter will get the attention her brother enjoyed for so many years. I told hubby to take the tenth of September off and have a bottle of vodka on hand so I can begin self-medicating after the school bus drives away with my baby on it (and finish when the boy arrives home 9 hours later, gulp. See, I am practicing in my head already!) Of coarse, this is assuming he actually gets on the school bus, feel free to make wagers on this one!

Ok, I am done now. For those of you that stayed with me thanks, and if you have any stories of 'your' first day of kindergarten please share them here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


You know when you have those days that you feel you are failing as a parent, when the children are being so awful, and you wonder why, knowing darn well anything they do 'wrong' is ultimately a result of something you did or didn't do ( at least according to all experts).....and it just makes you want to throw your hands up and quit caring? Or cry?

Well today I have failed the garden, or at least feel that I have. Do they have Garden Protective Services?? They should, LOL!

THE DREADED SQUASH VINE BORER! I had stopped checking for eggs thinking it was too late in the season. Wrong. Stopped spraying Dead Bug at the base of the plants. Big mistake. This morning I went out to give the plants a drink of fish emulsion and discovered the destruction. Now here's the thing: I planted Hubbards as a lure, I planted the squash a few weeks late in an attempt to avoid the buggers, AND I planted Butternut as a back-up. Well don't you know I have no fruit formation on either the Hubbard or Butternut and the damn borers have left them alone, so much for the sacrificial Hubbard and back-up Butternut. Below are my poor squash babies, their demise likely just days away. One Delicata, one Acorn.

I did have foil under a couple of the plants, and from what I can tell they have not been bored yet, but I will not get my hopes up as the larva are clearly just getting started. I stuck pins through the bases of the plants with the tell tale "saw dust" at the openings. The plastic mulch over the bed doesn't allow for any mid-vine root formation. Double edged-sword as it seems to be the thing that has allowed these plants to mature in a timely manner.

So, to sum it all up I have a garden suffering from Late Blight and Squash Vine Borers, and it has mainly gone undiscovered and untreated due to neglect. My days have been filled with too much running around, beach going, and hiding from the heat of the sun, and not enough time spent peering closely at every plant watching for any sign of pest and disease that has settled in. And of course the morning was spent dealing with the borers instead of spraying the tomatoes, so now they will go another day with out protection from flying blight spores. If I don't spray them tonight someone please come through cyberspace and slap me OK?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Damn Blight

I don't have time to post a picture (running off to activities), but this morning I found late blight on my precious Sungold tomato. I ran out of Serenade (anti-fungul spray) last week and have been trying to find some since. Looks as though I am too late. There were some spores on one of the leaves, so it is just a matter of time before all will require being ripped out. Now I am kicking myself for not buying any old spray, is it better to have non-organic tomatoes or no tomatoes? Then of course there are the bugs, birds, and bees to think about....

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Canning Learning Curve

I may be thirty-something years old, but this whole canning thing is new to me. No one in my family canned, and prior to this year's garden I had only made jam once or twice in all my years.

It seems as though the learning curve for canning can be quite steep. As I mentioned in an older post the first time I did pickles that required a salt soak I added it (the salt) to the recipe, and used additional slat for the soak, OOPS! I still find the directions on pickles unclear, maybe it's just my Mommy brain. Anyway, this weekend I had a couple more snafu's: I learned that tomatoes lose a lot of volume after being peeled and chopped (read as 'couldn't complete canning recipe due to lack of tomatoes'), and after following a Sweet Pickle Relish recipe to the tee I ended up with 6 half-pint jars instead of the "about 8 half-pints" it was supposed to make. Hmm.

And lets not forget all the jars of Apricot-Pepper Jelly sitting on that shelf that taste like a spoonful of cider vinegar- yuck! That was the recipe, and for once no fault of my own. (I have at least found that it makes a decent dip for breaded chicken or a tasty marinade when watered down with some canola oil), so not a total loss.

So I guess what I am asking to all you seasoned canners out there, when does this get easier? When will I stop making so many mistakes? When will I be able to throw out all of those jars of salty Zucchini Pickles and Apricot-Pepper Jelly that will never get eaten? (I just can not bear to do it right now, too much time, sweat, and money tied up in those jars!!)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday's Garden Buzzz

The muskmelon vines are finally starting to run. This is the horse manure compost pile experiment....still male flowers only from what I can tell. Four varieties of the melon seeds I planted were 75-80 day varieties (Green Nutmeg, Early Silverline, Noir des Carmes and Savor Charentais); the other, Eel River takes 90-100 days to mature. Back on May 25 I did a Melons and Beans Post (here) on the compost pile and dog kennel sowings/transplants. Here we are 81 days later, no melons in sight. Some sowings were seeds, others were seedlings 4-6 weeks old at the time of transplant. WTF?!? The only female flowers I have seen are on the 2 plants in a container- WAY past the 75-80 days (photo below). These were transplants and are running up the kennel walls.....maybe the plastic mulch has made the difference in these two vines? I don't see how I will get any ripe fruit which is so dissapointing seeing that I sowed 5 varieties of melons, I was really looking forward to homegrown melons.

Female blossom on mystery melon vine.

Acorn Squash, the only variety setting fruit thus far. Other varieties are baby Blue Hubbard, Bush Delicata, and Butternut.
(All squash varieties are 90 days out from planting.)

I have been watching my eggplants flower, hoping I would get a purple or green variety out of some of the seedlings. The seed packet I purchased was a mix of four varieties, and the first three plants to set fruit have all produced white eggplants. I am quite excited to finally have a purple one growing, YES! Notice the variation in leaf vein color in the plants year I will just check the color in the leaves as this seems to indicate the color of the fruit (and thus variety). Mystery solved!-well not completely since I still don't know what the green ones would look like. Sigh.

The true BUZZZZZ around the garden......

Lastly, a sure sign that Fall is just around the corner:
Sedum getting ready to bloom.

On that note, have a great weekend everyone, we plan on perfecting our 'beach bum' act!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Todays Harvest, Free Seed Offer

If you could have seen me this afternoon picking away in the garden I would have had a satisfied smile on my face. In my harvest basket today there was my first eggplant (EVER!!), my first red-ripe Carmen pepper, some zucchini, beans, and tomatoes. All these goodies weighed in at 5.6 lbs! I feel the urge to make more oven-dried tomatoes (pictured below), but then that leaves few for fresh eating. What to do?

Johnny's sent out a letter to it's customers, in it are some suggestions for crops to plant now as well as an offer for some free seeds. The offer is in bold print in the close-up picture along with some of their suggestions for sowing now. The letter also mentions the late blight disaster, and how to use row covers as season extenders. I am posting this just for you Thomas (over at A Growing Tradition)!

I have some baby acorn squash growing and the carrots finally seem to be happy to grow in my garden, I will actually need to do some thinning soon. I must go check when sweet potatoes become ready for harvest, I am dying to dig down and see what (if anything) has grown. I know it is way too early, but I can anticipate right?? :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Farm Talk and Food Preservation

I have not been good about snapping pictures these last few days, my memory card is just about full. Anyway, yesterday brought a visit to the farm just down the road for some corn and peaches. I threw the kernels of a dozen ears in the fridge for another day and bought 12 lbs of "seconds" for peach pie filling. The peaches insisted on being used up that day or more than a spot here and there would have been bruised and rotten. I will have to go back and score some more of those peaches soon, I still need to make some peach and pepper preserves. I love putting all this food up for winter......those peaches will make a quick delicious pie or cobbler come Jaunuary!

I had a very interesting talk with the farmer while I was shopping.....for starters he is against all things farmer's market and CSA related. He feels they take advantage of the naive paying customer (the CSA's) and that the markets and CSA's take away from his roadside business. All of the folks 'pretending' to be farmers (i.e. don't farm at least 5 acres of land) don't belong at a booth in his opinion and he doesn't understand why people are OK not seeing the farm behind the food. Oddly enough he sells produce grown by someone else and sells his to others, so I wasn't quite sure why he had such a problem with this- peaches, corn, and apples are his gig. He also wants people to realize you "need to save the farmer, not the farm". Thought provocing stuff.

He also mentioned I should get ready for the produce to become less available and much more expensive. All the rain ruined/prevented most succession plantings and has lowered yields over all. (Guess I should be stocking up on the corn and zucchini now while the gettin' is good!) It's always nice to see the face behind the farm and hearing his views on the world of farming was interesting.....usually we just talk about how we like to cook our corn!

On a more mundane note I just came in from doing a foliar feed and I LOVE my new pump sprayer! What a difference that made. The harvest bucket has a nice heft to it, plenty of tomatoes and cukes, a zucchini and some lettuce for those BLT's. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bean Bugs, CSA, and Sunflowers

I have been picking these fuzzy things off my beans by the dozen. May be time for some spray action.

The first sunflower, "Bashful", a dwarf variety from Johnny's Seeds. Next year I will be sure to buy some with more color to add to the mix in the whiskey barrels. These are in with the nasturtium and winter squash, described here in an older post.
CSA pick-up yesterday, I haven't been keeping up with my weekly records here.... the share has been a let down the last couple of weeks though it was better this time. I don't know that I will be doing a share at this farm next year, though I will consider doing one elsewhere. Last week my basil was bad the day after pick-up, and I have the same problem with other items in the past. The last two pick-ups were coming in at a $14.00 value at market by my calculations, way under the $19/week average I pay for the season......AND they charge you their market price for any extras you pick-up, so much for a share-holder's discount. The positives have been good tasting berries and a nice variety of produce (not all greens, kale, etc..)
Today's share:
  • pint blueberries
  • sm. container cherry tomatoes (1/2 pint?)
  • corn, 3 ears
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1/4 lb greens
  • spring onions, 1 bunch
  • bunch of parsley
  • 1 cuke
  • 3 peaches

Oh, and I made oven-dried tomatoes yesterday with the cherries and plums from the garden. They look yummy, I am really wishing I had a Food Saver right now to pack them for the freezer. I am too lazy (hot) to post a picture right now.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Recent Harvests

Another couple of pounds from the potato patch, super-tiny shallots, and some beans'n greens.


My biggest tomato harvest yet, guess I should go peruse those recipes I posted recently......

The shallots were dying back and needed to come out. The cloves are so small, can I just separate put them back in for next year? They almost aren't worth saving to eat.

One of my blogging friends is doing an e-book give away over at Life Throught The Cracks. She is concerned with the possibility of food shortages in our future and wants to promote food security, head on over and check it out!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bird and Butterfly Garden

The butterfly garden is in full gear. The coneflowers have really filled in this year, you can barely see the turtlehead and aster growing in between, and the birdbath is completely hidden from view. Things are getting a little wild in there, maybe next year I will add to the chaos and scatter some wildflower seeds and see if anything manages to take hold. The milkweed seeds I sowed months ago in the kitchen garden never came to fruition. Oh well, better luck next year I guess.
For some reason I can not keep a butterfly bush alive in my yard. I have planted four bushes, in two different spots, in two different years. What gives? Aren't these things known for being hard to kill? And invasive? Some species are banned in Massachusetts. (In a covert operation some buddleia may have been delivered to an out of State address and smuggled across the border, and maybe they were planted in my garden, maybe.) Why go to all this trouble for the darned things to not come back the next year? Ah butterfly bush, the thorn in my side.

So tell me, what do the butterflies flock to in your garden?