Monday, August 30, 2010

Harvest Monday

Lots of tomatoes for this weeks harvest monday. Definitely to many to eat so I will can some of them for winter. Tomatoes include: Mortgage Lifter, Cherokee Purple, Pink Berkley Tye Dye, Kellogg's Breakfast, Velvet Red, Siletz & Monomakh's Hat. Also in the basket are a few cucumbers & snap beans.

Here is the last weeks dry bean pickings. It seems every week I get a nice bowl of dry beans and they are starting to add up now. Lots of variety in this bowl: Trail of Tears, True Red Cranberry, Vermont Cranberry, Tigers Eye & Boriotto.

To wrap things up here is a photo of the first Kellogg's Breakfast tomato. It is a whopper coming in at 1lb. There are lots more of them on the vine too although not as big as this one. This one will be sliced up with dinner today. The seed for this tomato was shared Granny.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Late Summer Roundup

Today seemed like a good day to do an overall update on the garden. I can't even remember the last time I did an update or even a post other then harvest monday. Lets start at the top of the garden:

On the trellis is 'Waltham' butternut squash that have since taken the place of spring peas. The squash have really taken off the last couple weeks with lots of squash forming. In the front is a mix of peppers. This is a bad spot for peppers as it is kind of shady, next year they will need a new spot.

This trellis has all the pole beans, both green & purple. In front are dry bush beans which are ready for the compost now. Tucked in the corner is the early sown Siletz tomato. It is now getting a nice second flush of fruit.

Here are the monster dry bean plants. There are three varieties growing here, up 6' wigwam's and then all the way across the wall. They are absolutely filled with beans! There is Charlie in the window, always watching what I am up to.

This is the area below the dry pole beans. Recently onions were growing here, now the coldframe will be located in this spot. Plans are to place and plant it up this weekend. To the side is a mix of fall carrots that are about a month old.

Next down we have fall broccoli, parsnips & lots of carrots behind the parsnips. Mental note, plant parsnips behind carrots next year.... In the half barrel is a kale & cabbage plant.

This little bed has a few fall parsnips in front with chard & celery behind. The dill looking flower is some bolted fennel. I am letting it flower to collect the seeds for cooking.

Here is the tomato bed, which did contain 12 plants. Two have since died from having the eavetroughs spill over on them. Lots of heavy rains this season. The tomatoes are really coming into their prime now. Next year I really need to grow more early producing tomatoes.

Here is another almost empty bed, it only contains some purple sprouting broccoli I planted this spring. This area will house the poly tunnel, another thing I am hoping to get in this weekend.

In behind the empty bed & tomatoes there are cucumbers & melons on trellises. The cucumbers on the left are doing very well. The melons on the right are legging, they were shaded to much by the tomatoes. Looks like I might get a couple melons later in the fall though.

At the base of the garden I have this new bed that is just lightly amended yard soil. The bed comprises of celeriac on the right, potatoes in the middle & brussels sprouts on the left. The potatoes have pretty much died back now so I will be harvesting them soon. I am not expecting much from them because the summer has been so warm.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Harvest Moday

Today I have a bit of an unconventional harvest monday. This is the first time I have shared a hop harvest and local foraging. I'll start with some garden tomatoes first though:

The first of the heirloom tomatoes were harvested today. I have harvested a couple early hybrid tomatoes already but these are the ones a gardener longs for. Starting on the left in the so so picture is Cherokee Purple, Pink Berkley Tye Dye & Giant Belgium. The small ones in front are Velvet Red.

This spring I planted three hop varieties, they grow from rhizomes and are perennial. This variety is Cascade and they are used in hoppy beers and American ales. Pretty good harvest for the first year! The next hop harvest will be Nugget which are used to bitter beer. The other variety I am trying is Goldings, it is not putting out many hops the first year so it will be a wash. Below is a closeup of a hop:

This is a Cascade hop cut open. The yellow parts are lupulin glands. They contain most of the essential oils and resins which give beer their flavor.

Here is a bunch of Elderberries that I picked today well out in the country. They grow wild in wet areas. I have never tried these before but they seem to be rather prized by people in the know. They have a blackberry flavor but are very astringent without sugar. The seeds also contain a small amount of cyanide so they have to be cooked before consuming them, this boils the toxins off. They have many uses like syrup, jellies & pies. They are also used to make elderberry wine and added to beer as well. Not sure what I will do with them yet.

I also came across an apple tree growing on the side of a gravel road today. It must have been a cultivated variety at some point, looks kind of like a Golden Delicious. It was really neglected but the apples still looked good. I picked a bunch and will probably go back in a few weeks when they sweeten up more. These ones will be made into an apple pie, mm apple pie.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Harvest Monday

The first potatoes of the season. The plants are just starting
to die back, lots of spuds coming soon.

More dry beans. The dry bush beans are finished up now.
Now the dry pole beans are starting to come in, they are
just loaded with pods.

A few cucumbers and more snap beans. The snap beans
have not given up yet but I am starting to give up eating
them. I think some blanching & freezing is in order now.

To wrap things up there is hope the tomatoes will ripen this
season. This is a Velvet Red just starting to turn. There also
are a couple larger tomatoes faintly turning. Next season I need
more early tomatoes and less big heirlooms. Most varieties
this season are 80 plus days to harvest, to long!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tomato Crop Update

The summer has been getting the better of me lately. Asides from harvesting it seems hard to spend time in the garden or in front of the computer. We have been on the road a lot lately touring around and taking pictures. I should really post some photos of our finds soon. I was going to do this tomato post yesterday but ended up going to the lake with my Sister. Even at the lake I can find some veggies, below is a photo of a Trailing Wild Bean that was growing on the beach. From what I can gather it is fairly uncommon in the north east, not sure if it is edible though.


Now for the task at hand, tomatoes. They all look very healthy but seem to be taking ages to turn colour. This season I started them 6 weeks before planting them out, I think that is the culprit. Next season I will go back to starting them 10 weeks before transplant.

This was a sucker. They form between the main stem & leaf.

This year I have been religiously pruning out all the suckers. Once the plants reached the top of their 6' stake I also cut the top out in hopes it directs energy into fruit not growth. There are a few reason that I pruned so heavily this season:
  • It fits more plants in a small space, without pruning they just shade each other
  • To increase airflow within the plants, this helps reduce the risk of blight
  • It also makes it easier to see/harvest the fruit
Below are some photos of the fruit, mostly the ones I really wanted to try like last month!

Kellogg's Breakfast, grown from seed shared by Granny.

Green Zebra

Pink Berkley Tie Tye, grown from self saved seed.

Cherokee Purple, grown from self saved seed. They are
starting to get bronze shoulders so it shouldn't be long now.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Harvest Monday

The last week has been pretty slow in the garden. I am still waiting on most warm season crops. It's been so warm this year you'd think they would be ahead of the game. Good thing I am starting to learn patients. Here goes some photos of the same old harvests:

Bright Lights Chard on the left, grown from seed shared by
Daphne. In the basket is a mix of Purple Podded pole beans
and Dragon Tongue beans.

Almost all the dry bush beans have came in. These are
predominantly Vermont Cranberry beans.

The Kentucky Blue pole beans are starting to produce again.
A nice change from all the funny coloured ones. The other beans
are Purple Podded pole beans.

These onions are multiplier onions, also called potato onions.
You plant a bulb in the spring and end up with 4-6 more later
in the summer. I have yet to taste them but they certainly
produced well. One the other end are a couple retarded cucumbers.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Harvest Monday Catch Up

Been on a bit of a blogging hiatus so this post includes harvests from the past two weeks. The garden has been producing well but I am still waiting on the majority of tomatoes. The cucumbers and peppers seem to be lagging as well this year. Looks like there will be a bumper crop of warm season veggies late this summer. Here are photos of most things harvested lately:

Tomatoes
The first two tomatoes came in last week. These are from the early sown Siletz plant. As soon as they started to turn I brought them in to ripen on the window sill. Last season the critters got the first tomatoes, not this year! They tasted excellent.

Snap Beans
Above we have Purple Podded poles & Dragon Tongue beans, both have been producing well still. The only ones missing are the green pole beans. They have been on a break but are flowering well now.

Dry Beans

Lets start with the first bean photo shall we. The black beans are Trail of Tears, grown from seed shared by Daphne. They are a pole bean and are the first pole variety to produce beans. The raspberry coloured beans beside them are Vermont Cranberry, a bush variety. They are grown from seed I saved last fall.

The lower photo includes Soldier beans on the left, grown from seed shared by Kath. They are a bush variety and very productive. On the right are Tiger's Eye Beans. Also a bush variety but not nearly as productive.

Onions
Bottle Onions

Red Long of Tropea Onions
(seed shared by Daphne)

Utah Sweet Spanish Onions

Assorted tiny onions.

All the onions came in today. Like the last two seasons they are rather small. Storage onions are typically not all the big but these are half the size they should be. One that did stand out was the Bottle onions. They are like a long shallot and grew quite well. If they taste good I think I may only grow them next season as a storage onion. They are reported the be a really good keeper.