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Friday, July 25, 2014

MidSummer Update

It's been a very interesting growing season here in our front and back yards.  There have been great successes and huge failures.  I am coming to the realization that some things thrive in our garden AND are of no interest to pests/animals.  I will make a note to grow more of those things (asparagus, red zeppelin onions, rojo garlic, random potatoes that sprouted in the kitchen and got thrown in the garden and red russian kale)! 
asparagus fronds collecting energy for next year's harvest
There are some fruits and vegetables that thrive but are so popular with the wildlife that we never get to eat them (triple netted blueberries, double fenced and netted tomatoes, triple fenced strawberries).  We planted Jerusalem artichokes last fall and while some plants are now over 6ft tall and filled with blossoms others were mowed down to a little stump.   No pictures of missing blueberries, stolen strawberries or other eaten produce.  I can't bear to document it...

backyard double fenced garden beds
Lettuce did very well this summer.  We ate salads every day for almost two months.  This week I cut the first salad after the plants had finally gone bitter.  Our lettuce usually gets replaced around July 4th so we were very fortunate this year to get  a few more weeks out of it. This weekend, I will start a new round of planting for the fall.

The third plot into the garden is definable only by the lack of plants growing.  The tomatoes are failing this year.  The 3 tomato plants that I bought have the only green tomatoes.  They are being ripped from the vine and chewed on only to be left on the ground.  My tomato seedlings are about a foot high and going nowhere.  But with disappointment comes some success.  We were so excited to harvest all of our garlic this week.  What a rewarding vegetable to grow!

I learn something new every day in the garden.  Thank you for all of your updates.  Its great to hear how other gardens are doing!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Good the Great and the Ugly

First the good news.  I recently led an arts and craft project and taught children to make sub irrigation (self watering) planters out of 1 and 2 liter plastic bottles.  Some made them into hanging planters as well.  They loved it and one child said she never wanted to throw away another bottle again.  Well she is certainly off to a great start...
                                                                      The GOOD

Now the GREAT news... which needs no introduction

and now for the awfully UGLY news.... Just as my summer squash comes into harvest, it is greeted by unwelcome visitors

If you look closely you can see 1 of 5 Squash Vine Borer I found in not 1 not 2 not 3 but  4 out of six of my squash.  Ranging from summer squash to beautiful butternut.  I am not giving up on them yet.  I have repaired the area and replanted.  With a little energy work and fingers and toes crossed we are hopefull

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What's growing in your plot?

Today's little harvest, perfect for a Caponata appetizer!

Eggplant, tomato and basil tips.
I will shrink this recipe to fit!

Classic Caponata
Doris Jacobson Bon Appetit

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1 1/2-pound eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 medium onion, cubed (you can use red if need be)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings in juice or 1lb fresh tomatoes diced, add some water if necessary and salt, pepper, oregano and basil to season
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Toasted pine nuts
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add eggplant, onion, and garlic cloves. sauté until eggplant is soft and brown, about 15 minutes. Add diced tomatoes with juice, then red wine vinegar and drained capers. Cover and simmer until eggplant and onion are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Season caponata to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in fresh basil. Transfer caponata to serving bowl. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold. (Caponata can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)
Optional: Add 2-4 tsp ground parmesan to mix once cooled. 
Caponata, the finished item.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A seedling we will grow

From seed to harvest!  
In the beginning there were seeds that sprouted...

Some were put in pots for the seedling swap.  Nearly 200 to be exact...

others were given a semi permanent home by way of sub irrigation (unleashing my inner geek)  

                                      and others by way of three in a row self watering planters.  

and with helps from tiny hands with pink shovels...
          We dug up flowers and non edibles gave them away to a better suited home and filled up                                                                          the holes with earth compost and love...

With bags in hand we tra la la to the seedling swap

What a day it was

We hurried home with warmth in our hearts.  
We got to work, and this overgrown area went from very drab
                                                                     To very empty...

Soon we began to fill our ground with treats from the seedling swap and our own grown seeds

an emergency DIY strawberry patch conjured up

As we filled our earth with green gold, we mulched

and mulched

and ate

and in between we began to grow

and so we harvested

and because we couldn't quite wait we made fried green tomato salad while we waited for red ones to appear

and we garnished it with herbs from our vertical herb tower

above is my vertical herb tower to show my friends with limited space the endless possibilities 

 this week July 10 2014 we have even more progress        
Do you see red?  I do... I do... I do believe in gardening!

                                   Cucumbers are flowering like crazy.  Fermented pickles in the near future

                                          To fry green or not to fry green...that is the question

Squash landing

                                                        An acorn fit for human not squirrel

                                                   baby butternut cute as a butternutton?