Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Thought I would share my ghoulish Halloween decorations. It took me a total of 5 minutes with some white rags, newspaper for stuffing and a magic marker. Then flicked on the fluorescent black light from the teenage years, that's all I am going to say about that..... I put them in my bedroom window so they can easily be seen as we are on a dead end street. We had a pretty good turn out but not nearly as many visitors as previous years. That's alright though because now I have lots of candy left for me! Hope everyone had a good evening.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fall Crops Part II

Here goes part II of the fall crops update and there will be two more to come! On this post I decided to focus on fall crops that are in the ground without protection.

I'll start with the fall broccoli. It has done pretty well this year compared to last years crop. I have picked a smallish head from each of the 8 plants and they are continued to produce side shoots as well. These were seeded in cell packs June 1st and planted in the soil after the spring crop was harvested, about July 1st.

Fall Leeks, I seeded these in a pot June 1st and planted them in trenches in the middle of July. They have grown alright but I think they need a full season to develop properly. Leeks are pretty hardy so I am going to cover them with a cheap poly tunnel and hope they overwinter.

Merlot lettuce, seeded Aug 1st and planted out Sept 1st. They are getting to a good size now so I can begin harvesting baby greens, yum!

Easter Egg Radishes, seeded in the soil Aug 1st. I have a few rows a radish growing and they are coming into their prime just as the lettuce is, couldn't be better timing. Y'all be seeing these on Harvest Monday!

Fennel, Seeded Aug 1st. There is three clumps of these in the garden. They are starting to develop small bulbs. I think these will be harvested soon, definitely before we have a hard frost. Never tried fennel before, any cooking ideas?????

Parsnips, I think I direct seeded these some time in July. To late it seems as they are not grow much underground. Not sure if I will harvest these as baby parsnips in Dec or try to overwinter them and harvest in the spring.

Beets I have growing behind the poly tunnel. They are ready for harvest anytime now, I think I will leave them in the ground as long as possible though.

Brussels Sprouts, I seeded these on the same schedule as the fall broccoli, seeded June 1st and planted out July 1st. They have not done nearly as well and it looks like they will be a bust. Next year I will plant them in the spring so they have a full growing season.

Australian Yellowleaf Lettuce, Seeded Aug 1st and planted out Sept 1st. I have a row of them growing and they will be harvested soon.

Batavian Full Heart, Not sure what to expect from them but they are supposed to be very hardy and produce a big frilly headed green. I believe it is a bitter green. They seem to be growing pretty slowly.

'Little Gem' Romaine. These were grown from a free pack of seeds from Baker Creek Seeds. Like all the other greens they were seeded Aug 1st and planted out Sept 1st. I hope they get growing, I love romaine.

Lastly here is a shot of the 'Atomic Red' Carrots that I seeded way back in May. They have grown very poorly but are putting on some roots now. I will harvest them soon.

To end things off here is a photo of the Norway Maples out back. Full fall colour has arrived in my neck of the woods it would appear. I can hardly wait to rake them all up!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall Crops Part I

I am going to update on the fall crops over the next week or so in stages so please keep checking in. Today's post will be devoted entirely to the fall crops that Daphne shared seed for. She shared 'Bright Lights' Chard and Tatsoi and they are both coming into their prime now.

I started these chard plants in the spring and they are just starting to bulk up now. They should be a lot larger but the leaf miner was so bad this year it really set them back. Now that the leaf miner is gone they have really started to grow. I have plans for these, Swiss Chard Risotto and Steamed Chard to name a few.

These three Tatsoi I started in August and it looks like they have been enjoying the cool damp fall weather. I will be harvesting these any day now and it will be my first taste. I grew some this spring but they bolted soon after planting. These will be going into noodle soup and stir fry, probably tomorrow.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Buttoning Up The Garden

I never did get around to covering up my season extenders so I did it this evening. I was a little late that's for sure, last week we had our first few light frosts and they should have been in place before that. Thankfully we have not had a hard frost yet so no damage was done to the fall veggies. This week the covers really are not needed because we have been have day time highs of 15-19c(59-66f) but they won't hurt them either.

Lets start with the cold frame before I put the top back on. To the left is Mache, the middle is Spinach and on the right side is some pitifully small Kale. I think I am also going to tuck some thyme & sage in bare spots soon.

Here it is all covered up. I originally installed the top with hinges without pins so removing the top involves unscrewing it. I think I will be adding hinges with pins soon to make the task a little easier.

Now the poly tunnel in its current state. Some things are growing very well and others are lagging a bit. I am hoping the added warmth of the cover will make things grow a little fast. The poly tunnel has red celery, napa cabage, sugar loaf chicory, mizuna, black & china rose radish and green onions growing in it.

and of course here it is covered up, I bet you didn't see that coming. ;-)

Lastly here is a nasturtium that has endured through the frosts. I have seen a hummingbird sipping from the flowers a few days ago. I was surprised to see them around still, they must be migrating soon.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Harvest Monday Time!

Here goes another Harvest Monday. The event is hosted by the one and only Daphne's Dandelions and is the place where all the cool kids post their Harvest Monday links! This weeks harvest was a pretty big one for this time of year. The past week has brought some pretty cool nights so I harvested everything that doesn't like the cold. I did so just in time too as Sunday we received our first light frost, it's all down hill from here.

Here are all the Purple peppers that the squirrels left me. The seed for these peppers came from everyone's favorite Granny. Half of these went in my Salsa and the others are still awaiting their destiny.

and more peppers.... in this basket is green & red Big Chili II as well as Poblano peppers. About half of these went into the Salsa as well. The rest will be dried or roasted/froze for later use.

In this basket is four small Rosa Bianca eggplants, not sure what I am going to do with them yet, hopefully something that involves lots of cheese =D There also is some broccoli, looks like this is the last of the broccoli.

After Sunday mornings frost these are definitely the last tomatoes of the season. These are Velvet Red cherry tomatoes that the The Conservative Gardener shared. They were really nice and sweet. Very interesting velvety leaves and fruit too, the fuzz easily rubs off the fruit by the way.

Well that about sums up my harvests for the past seven days. It would appear it consisted of a lot of last's. Is it next spring yet? I think I need to move to Australia and bask in spring like Totally Inept Balcony Gardener.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

End of Season Salsa

The last few days has brought pretty chilly nights that have had lows of + or - freezing so I have harvested all the peppers. With them all in and the last few jersey devil tomatoes ripened I decided to make my salsa that I have been planning since the start of the season. Of course my original plan was to have salsa made with 100% garden produce but it ended up only being about 60% from my garden due to blight.

For the salsa I used Jersey Devil tomatoes, Roma tomatoes(store bought), Ancho peppers, Jimmy Nardello peppers, Poblano peppers, Purple peppers (seed from Granny ) & Red onions (store bought). Here goes the recipe:

Shelf Safe Garden Salsa

5 pounds paste type tomatoes, thick diced
2 cans tomato paste (adds a deeper tomato taste, can be omitted if you like)
1 pound onions, diced
2 pounds peppers, hot or mild, thick diced
1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (vinegar works to)
3 tablespoons pickling salt
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 cup sugar
8 500ml jars (pint jars) w/ two piece lids

Place all the ingredients into a large pot and bring to the boil. Once the boil is reached, simmer for ten minutes

Ladle the salsa into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/2 inch head space. Clean the top edge of the jar and tighten the two piece lid on. Place the jars in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Then remove and cool on a dish cloth.

Place the cooled jars in a cool, dark, dry place. Once opened the salsa can be stored in the fridge for at least a week.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Long Weekend of Garden Neglect

This past weekend was a long weekend for the Canadian Thanksgiving, it might as well have been Columbus Day though as no turkey was had. The weather was spectacular, the cool sunny days were much appreciated after the grey weather we have been having. With such sunny sky's I just couldn't resit the urge to skip out on my garden clean up and do something fun! The weekend was spent doing the following things which were much more exciting then ripping out solanum's:

Apple Picking:
Sandhill Crane 1
Sandhill Crane 2
Sandhill Crane 5

Friday, October 9, 2009

Blight... Again

Lets move onto a topic other then me stuffing my face with melon shall we, ha. To a topic that doesn't make you smile, the dreaded BLIGHT! After finding blight on my tomatoes and peppers last August I really didn't do much about it. I did remove some branches and spoiled fruit but that was about the extent of it. Since then the tomatoes actually started to rebound with lots of nice new foliage. Well that is not the case anymore:

Blight is back with vengeance. It is not very disappoint this time around however because all the tomatoes are done now. My next garden project will be a major clean up of all blight infected plants and I will be disposing of the material with the city's compost pick up. That way they will still be composted and won't be infecting my garden again next year, at least that is my hope. I think I will also put out any mildewed, cucumber, squash and melon foliage with the blighted stuff.

My plan was to do the clean up this evening but it is such an insipid drizzly day I think I will wait for sunnier times. Looks like the weekend will be sunny and cool so it will be much more pleasant to do the task then. To all the folks affected with blight this year, lets hope for a better season next year.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mondays Harvest

Long time no post, not that I have been particularly busy doing anything just haven't had much blogger gumption I guess. Last week we had the last half of our windows changed by a local company, I wish I had done them myself. They goofed the sashes, we ordered the top sashes 1/3 of the height and the bottom sashes 2/3 of the height to give them a more historic look. They ordered a 40/60 split so the new ones are out 2" compared to the first half we had installed. Thankfully they will change them at their cost but we now have to have the whole ordeal all over again, erg! Anyway onto the harvests already.

The weather has been pretty chilly lately, no frost yet so that is good news. Our first frost may be Oct 14th but that is based on the ever changing long term forecast, who knows? With the colder weather setting in I decided to harvest all the squash, melons & most tomatoes today. Now the only warm season crops left are a few tomatoes and a bunch of peppers that will be harvested shortly. Here is the veggie haul:

I harvested all the Vermont Cranberry Beans that were shared by The Conservative Gardener . I planted a whole row of these but unfortunately all rotted except two. But that's alright as now I have lots of seed for next year. I should have harvested a few of them a little sooner with the wet weather we have been having. I would say 90% of them are in good shape. I will share a photo of these when they are dried for comparison.

Well on the seed saving topic I harvested the cucumbers I left on for seed saving. The middle one looks perfect for seed but the ends ones might be a little under ripe still, I will leave them on the counter to ripen further. From what I have read you want the cucumbers to turn orange for seed saving.

Now for the squash, I harvested three delicata squash (seed shared by Skippy's Vegetable Garden ) and one large Red Kuri Squash. The big one will probably be pureed and I will keep the delicata's for roasting this fall/winter.

I brought in the last of the Jersey Devil paste tomatoes today, finally the last of them had started to turn color. I will combine these with the rest of the ones in the fridge & freezer and make salsa. Post to come about that soon.

A couple Purple Calabash tomatoes had just turned so I harvested them today. There is a few left that are still pretty green, I am hopefully they will turn soon. Last year I hastily ripped out all the tomatoes plants as soon as the weather turned colder and regretted it. This year I am leaving them in until they are dead and in turn am still harvesting a few tomatoes here and there, sounds good to me!

Finally I picked all the french melons that were a decent size. Here we have three Savor F1 and one Petit Gris (greener one). It has definitely been to cold for melons to do anything so I will allow these to ripen further in the house. I think they need more ripening, hard to tell with these french melons. I am looking forward to melon and prosciutto if they are any good.