Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesdays Photography

After pondering whether to do Tuesdays photography or not I decided to partake as I have not posted one in a while. So after two trips to home depot, the second due to their unorganized shelves, getting take out, cutting trim work for the kitchen & planting my late started 'Sungold' tomato I took some picture. The light was really low so I was shooting at 800 ISO so things are a little grainy. This Tuesdays photography is all about the veggie patch:

Green Arrow Shelling Pea

Sugar Snap Pea

Crimson Flowered Broad Bean, seed from Down on the Allotment

Nasturtium closing up for the night

Borage, came up from my seedy compost.

The first cucumber forming, I was very excited to see this.

Garlic Bulbets forming on the scapes.

Pink Berkley Tie Dye Tomato, seed from Judy's SFG

Tomorrow's zucchini blossoms, no females yet though.

Monday, June 29, 2009

New Beginnings

Today I ripped out all the broccoli plants and composted them. I could have left them in to harvest side shoots but I am going to try harvesting more big heads this season with a second planting. This may or may not work depending on how hot the summer is. If it is to hot they will button and only produce tiny heads and if it is a cool summer they should produce very nice heads. So that is the gamble I am taking.

Here is the bed cleared and weeded. There was lots of weeds from my compost, I am having tones of tomatoes & potatoes coming up all over the place from seed. The squash growing under the trellis will now have much need light. The squash are Red Kuri and Delicata from Skippy's Vegetable Garden. In front are the Romanesco Broccoli surrounded by onion sets. The Romanesco was planted a few weeks later then the broccoli was.

Here are my starts and there is 14 'Early Dividend' Broccoli & 4 'Jade Cross Hybrid' Brussels Sprouts. They were growing two to a cell so one was sacrificed before planting.

Finally here they are all planted out. The brussels sprouts are the back row and all the rest are the broccoli. Lets hope for a good second harvest and many side shoots after that!

To end things off here is the broccoli that I blanched and froze from the first harvest. We consumed about a third of the harvest fresh and two thirds I froze. The blanching was done my trimming the heads, stems included into pieces. They were then boiled for a couple minutes in salted water, then transferred into ice water to cool. Once cooled I placed them on a kitchen towels to dry, then transferred to the freezer on a cookie sheet. Once they are frozen I will seal them in freeze bags.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Todays Harvest

For Saturdays dinner I harvested all the peas that were ready and ended up with 11oz of peas. I don't really have the space to grow a lot of peas so they are always low yielding. With my 4' row I usually end up with two pickings with each one being enough for one meal. They are certainly worth the space though as fresh peas are so sweet. Previously I hated peas until I tried freshly hulled ones and now I am converted. These peas were boiled for a couple minutes and tossed in butter and S&P. The second picking will be made into a Pea Risotto which should make it into Thursdays Garden Meal if they are ready in time.

Matron over at Down on the Allotment is hosting Matron's Worldwide Veggie Show 2009. To participate you take a photo of six veggies that are a uniform shape, size & colour and submit it to her at Ahhmatron@aol.com All the photos will be judged on July 14 and a winner will be selected. Should be fun! The photo above is the photo I am submitting. Everyone should join in and see who ends up top of class.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mister Early Is Missing!

Well harvesting some things for Thursdays Garden Meal I thought I would check in on the tomato on Mister Early. This is what I found:

It would appear that some creature decided they wanted it more then I did. I am almost certain that it is not a creature of the human variety as the tomato was well hidden within the foliage. In fact it was rather hard to get a photo of because of its camouflage. So that leaves raccoons, skunks, possums, squirrels or that family of chipmunks that just moved into the yard. Anyone ever experience tomato theft?

I searched all over the yard and didn't find any remnants of the tomato so I am guessing that rules out the chipmunks. So it would appear that I will not be having early tomatoes this year and will just have to wait. What a bummer! I think next year I will be putting netting on the early tomatoes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursdays Garden Meal

Thursdays meal post has been on hiatus lately for a few reasons. The first being that I have not had enough variety that is ready for harvest in the garden. The second being that I have been on a renovating rampage lately trying to finish numerous unfinished jobs around the house. So with a combination of being to busy & with the kitchen out of commission there has not been a lot of cooking going on.

Today I decided to make a garden meal because I couldn't resist all the things that are ready for harvest, a fella gots to eat right. This Thursdays meal is Garden Stir Fry, here is the recipe:

The Harvest

Two of the smallest broccoli heads
Two onion set thinnings
A handful of Sugar Snap Peas
One Anaheim Chili that unfortunately had zero heat

The Recipe


Brown Rice
Green Onions
Sugar Snap Peas
Toasted Sesame Oil
Oyster Sauce
Soy Sauce

Start by cooking the rice, brown rice will take 45-60 minutes to soften. Once the rice is on cut up the chicken and marinate with soy sauce & sesame oil in the fridge. Then prep the veg into bit size pieces and don't forgot to add the broccoli stems as well. When the rice is almost cooked start cooking the chicken on high heat. Once the chicken is almost cooked add broccoli, the white part of the onion, garlic and chili to the wok with a little water for steam. Cook these ingredients until just tender. Then add the green part of the onion, the sugar snap peas, oyster sauce and some sesame oil and cook until just heated through. Serve on rice.

The end result is a stir fry that has tender broccoli with still crisp and sweet snap peas, yum.

*stay tuned for tomorrows garden mystery......

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A big bowl of Broccoli

This evening I harvested the remaining eleven heads of 'Green Goliath' broccoli and the three remaining kohlrabi. I harvest broccoli by feel, when they are getting close to maturity I give them a little squeeze every day and once they start to slightly soften it's time to harvest. By checking back on my blog I harvested the broccoli on June 18th last year so they are a little later this year.

All in all the broccoli was spectacular this spring. Asides from one plant succumbing to root maggot they all produced very well. I also have not seen a single cabbage butterfly this year, I'm not sure where they are but I am happy they are not bothering me. The total weight of the broccoli this spring was just under 6lbs for a total of 15 heads.

Tomorrow I will remove all the plants, compost them and plant the second crop of 'Early Dividend' broccoli as well as 'Jade Cross Hybrid' brussels sprouts in their place. By removing the plants I will be about to harvest a second crop of large heads this season and hopefully side shoots as well. Removing them will also give the squash growing on the trellis behind them much needed light. That is the plan at least, I am hoping the summer heat doesn't do them in, time will tell.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Overview Photos & New Garden Additions

After getting the lawn cut, the patio swept and the gardens some what weeded I decided it was perfect timing to take some overview photos. It has been a long time since I have posted overview photos, in fact the last time was when the garden was under a foot of snow. Lots has changed since then like the addition of three new raised beds, a potato bin, two new native soil gardens that I will show today and a new hose setup. Lets start at the base of the garden, photographed from the patio:

*I left the two overview photo's full sized so you can click to enlarge then if you would like*

Here is a shot of my 163sf of garden space, not included the pots or native soil gardens. Things have really filled in already but all the trellises are still very much vacant. Now that the warm weather is here I hope the cucumbers, squash, beans & melons get climbing.

Here is a shot from the front yard looking down. The big mass half way down is peas & broad beans. They will soon make way for the uncovered poly tunnel and the start of some crops to be harvest this fall. You may also notice that the potato bin is almost filled to the top.

Here is one of the native soil gardens I put in and it is an extension of a perennial border that goes around the back steps. I had planned on grow a few things in pots so I decide to dig a bed from them. With the added soil area I have planted herbs, rhubarb, green onions & the lemon queen sunflowers form the The Great Sunflower Project in this area. Potted plants in this bed are jersey devil tomatoes, red fingerling potatoes, the compost bag potatoes, sugar snap peas & herbs.

This is the last new bed for the garden and is very tiny. I put this in to house the potted radicchio, sport peppers and the soon to be sungold tomatoes in the empty pot. It is also a good spot to plant some marigolds from Skeeter who contributes at In The Garden. By placing the pots on or inside of the rock edge it makes cutting/trimming the lawn much easier.

The last new thing to update on is the new hose setup, You may recall that I posted about this in May. It has been completed for a few weeks now and is working great. Previously the hose was in the back garden and I was constantly smashing plants with the hose. Now it is way out of the way and is easy to roll up.

To end things on a high note, Mister Early tomato is finally starting to turn and in this heat it should be ready any day now. The plant is 'Siletz' and was started way back in February around Valentines day. I was hoping for a red tomato during the first week of June or sooner but with our cold spring this year that was not to be. Still can't complain about a red tomato even in late June I guess.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The First Broccoli Harvest

I picked the first couple broccoli heads for dinner tonight. They are a little young yet but I couldn't resist. Fresh broccoli is the one taste that has stuck with me since childhood, there really is nothing better tasting then broccoli fresh from the garden.

Others things that are well on their way in the garden are peas & lettuce. Shelling peas will be ready any day now and we have lettuce coming out of our ears. Good thing the second sowing of radishes are almost ready. The red fingerling potatoes that I planted in April are just starting to flowers as well.

Lack luster crops are the beans which rotted the first time and now the squirrels are digging up to second sowing! I am starting to freak out a little that July is coming up soon and I only have have dragon tongue beans growing. Mister Early tomato is also still green so that is a bit of a bummer.

Today being the first day of summer, it has brought seasonal weather finally. Next week is going to be nice and warm. The warmest day next week is forcasted to be 29c(84f) and with the humdix factored in will feel like 37c(99f). My veggies should be pleased.

Lastly I have added Google AdSense to my blog and I have made them blend with the blog so they are not to intrusive. My decision came after my Mom added an ad to her baking blog and has over $10 dollars on here account already. I thought if I had an extra few dollars each year I can order more seed and have more veggies to blog about. By no means am I propositioning readers to click them. My thought was more that some of the hundreds of people visiting a day may see something they are interested in as the ads are related to gardening.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fall Seedling Photo's

The Fall seedlings I started May 29th are well on their way. They will all be planted into the garden some time in July. They are all replacing crops that are currently in the garden so I can not pin point a date for planting.

'Early Dividend' Broccoli seedlings. These will replace the current
'Green Goliath' Broccoli when they are harvested.

'Jade Cross Hybrid' Brussels Sprouts to be
planted with the second crop of Broccoli.

'Musselburgh' Leeks to replace the garlic after harvest.

The last of the early started fall crops are Red Celery. Kind of
hard to see but they are in there and almost a month old. Looks
like I need to cut the lawn after these photos.

This evenings garden activities included sowing the Kentucky Blue & Purple Podded Poles Beans that I pre-sprouted. I hope the second sowing goes better, the weather is supposed to really warm up next week so that should help them along. I also sowed a row of Detroit Dark Red Beets in place of the Vermont Cranberry Beans that unfortunately rotted in the soil. I will grow the beets to full size and harvest this fall as storage beets.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

This & That

The garden has been mainly running on auto pilot for the last week or so. In addition to finishing the fence I have been ripping and tearing in the kitchen. Tasks done and to be done in the kitchen are:
  • repair the previous owners botched drywall job
  • repair the previous owners botched trim job
  • paint the ceiling, walls, wainscoting & trim
  • change lighting fixtures, switches & outlets
I am about half way through and am hoping to get lots of painting done after this post. It will be nice to go from an almost school bus yellow kitchen to a beige/taupe kitchen!

This photo is a good representation of the weather the last few days, It has been rainy and cool. Of course being a gardener I never complain about the rain except when................................

it rots my bean seeds. I have not had the best of luck with my beans this year. I planted kentucky blue poles, purple podded poles, vermont cranberry & dragon tongue beans and the only ones that germinated were the dragon tongue's. So I am pre-sprouting the kentucy blues & purple podded in paper towel on the fridge, it looks like most are ready for planting now. The vermont cranberry beans I received in a trade with The Conservative Gardener so I am out of luck with them unless I order some. I did however have two of the vermont cranberry germinate so maybe I can grow them on for seed for next year.

After having all my oriental greens bolt on me I have direct sown a few more in hopes of a harvest before the heat sets in. That is if it even warms up. The top photo is 'Bonsai' Bok Choi and the bottom photo is Tatsoi from Daphne's Dandelions.

The broccoli is well on its way with most about half way developed. I am guessing in about a week I will be harvesting the 15 heads. Some will be eaten fresh and what ever can not be consumed will be blanched & froze.

The one thing in the garden the can not be put on auto pilot is the potato condo. It seems every other day I have been adding boards or soil. Now that it is three stories high I have run out of the potting soil I have been recycling from last year. Now I am going to fill it with 4 large bags of compost that I am going to mix 50-50 with the top soil from the garden I removed by the fence. I think this should be enough to fill the condo 5-6 boards high. Once I run out that will be the end of my condo development this year.

Here are the late started sungolds just starting to develop true leaves. I planted 3 seeds and had no germination so I plant 3 more and now it seems every last one has germinated. I'm not impatient at all...
Here is a photo of the nasturtiums I planted in the top of the topsy turvy's a couple weeks ago. They have just started to bloom. I am hoping they grow down and cover the ugly things :-)

To end things off here is just under 2 pounds of kohlrabi I harvested a few days ago. I have eaten one fresh in salads and they have a very nice taste. They are as crisp as radish and have a mild & sweet cabbage flavor. These particular ones are destined for kohlrabi slaw which I will get done once the kitchen is usable again.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Garden Blogger Bloom Day

I decided to participate in Garden Bloggers Bloom day which is hosted by May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of each month. I want to participate every month this year but I have already missed May.

June's Window Box, lets see if it will grow to the brick again like last year.

One of the two urns out front. They have grown nicely since planting them a few weeks ago.

Pansies on the front porch. These have done well in the cool spring we had. They will however become compost soon as the weather warms. You may see I have some deck & porch painting to do this summer.

Jacob's Ladder, these blooms have an amazing smell. Believe it or not these are blooming well growing in a shopping bag. I dug them up about a month ago to make way for the fence and have not replanted yet. Tough plant for sure.

Green Arrow Shell Pea. They are blooming like crazy and are a very productive & sweet variety.

Crimson Flowered Broad Beans. I have finally found a couple beans growing. They also have black aphids which is unavoidable with these plants from what I have read. I will start spray with soapy water tonight.

Northern Lights Azalia. It has grown very slowly but I am not complaining as these plants really don't like our climate or soil.

Coral Bell

Hardy Variegated Geranium

Nora Barlow Columbine. I will have seed available from this plant if anyone is interested in a trade??

Ladies Mantel. This is the full sized version, I have a dwarf one out back that I like much more.

Blue Eyed Grass. I picked this up on a whim and am very happy I did. What a nice little plant and is very hardy to even prairie weather.

To end things off here is the first bloom on the Peony I planted over 3 years ago. The single flowered ones are my favorite. I think it needs a pink friend though after seeing so many pink single ones blogged about.