Monday, September 27, 2010

Harvest Monday: September 27, 2010

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from his or her gardens in different areas. Below is an overview of some of the bounty harvested over the past week:

The peppers seemed slow this year, but this week I was able to harvest 2-pounds of Anaheim Peppers:


These were used to make some Chicken Enchiladas with Dan’s Green Chili Sauce. Dan’s recipe (Urban Veggie Garden Blog) can be found here. I modified his recipe a little bit to cook in a slow cooker/crock pot. There was enough Green Chili Sauce to freeze for another meal.

The tomatoes are still coming in. After this weekend, only the San Marazano plants remain in the garden. There are still many tomatoes on these vines and a few are harvested each day to finish ripening on the windowsill:


These are the fruit that were salvaged from the pulled tomato plants from yesterday's post:


A large amount of eggplant was harvested and used for Eggplant Parmesean:


Yellow Summer Squash, Bell Peppers from a branch that bent over from their weight, and some more San Marazano Tomatoes to add to the overflowing windowsill:


Another Yellow Summer Squash and a Zucchini that went from small to large in less than 24 hours. Must have been a result of the warm weather we had last week. It will be seeded, grated, and frozen for zucchini bread later this fall/winter:


Be sure to visit Daphne’s Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Is it Fall Yet?

I know the calendar says fall is here, but the weather didn’t feel fall-like until today. This past week we had temperatures in the 80s and yesterday the humidity was quite high making it uncomfortable to work outside.

What a difference a day makes. Today is in the 50s requiring a sweatshirt to stay warm. I took advantage of the comfortable weather to clean up the garden. Most of the tomatoes and all the cucumber plants were pulled.


Below is a picture from mid-July of the Roma tomatoes in the self watering containers and a row of four Early Girl tomatoes planted behind these in the traditional garden. They were so healthy then:


The plants were dying and had pretty much finished producing. It was time to put them out of their misery:


A few partially ripe tomatoes were salvaged. These will finish ripening inside on the windowsill:


The San Marazano tomatoes in the square foot gardens are still looking pretty healthy and a full of partially ripe and green tomatoes, so I they are staying for now:



I think by next weekend, I will have enough ripe tomatoes for one more batch of sauce.

This guy startled me as I was cutting through the tomato foliage. I’ve seen plenty of toads, but this is the first pickerel frog that I have seen in the garden this year:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Taming the Concord Grape Vines

Our property came with overgrown grape vines. The vines had extended themselves beyond their trellis up into the nearby trees. I could see fruit hanging from the top branches, but there was no way to reach it. At the bottom a few clumps of grapes grew and ripened in the fall, enough so I could identify the variety as Concord Grapes.


Concord Grapes are a hearty variety that were developed from native New England grape species by Ephraim Wales Bull in 1849 at his farm in Concord, Massachusetts. This grape variety was perfected to thrive and grow in the cold climate of New England. This variety is used to make grape juice, grape jelly, and flavor candy and soft drinks.

I learned from the neighbors that the original owner of the home planted the grape vines, along with other fruit trees and bushes on the property. They are estimated to be 35-40 years old. The vines were neglected for at least 15 years before we purchased the property.


At first, I didn’t know how to care for the overgrown grape vines. They were mostly a tangled mass of unproductive shoots. Luckily, K knew what to do as he helped care for his family’s Concord grape vines growing up. Over a two-year period, he gave them an all over heavy pruning to get them back into shape. The long vines needed to be untangles and pulled from the trees limbs above.

Fruit is borne on the previous year's growth, so we had to patiently wait until this year to see the results. I was thrilled to be able to pick a small harvest of about 8 pounds of Concord grapes this year.


They were washed, crushed and cooked to extract the grape juice. Half was used to make grape jelly and the remainder was consumed as yummy grape juice.



The vines are still a work in progress and will take a few more years to tame. There are also several vines along the backside of the property that we haven't even touched yet. These too are in great need of taming. I am hoping to eventually harvest enough grapes to make wine.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Harvest Monday: September 20, 2010

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from his or her gardens in different areas.

Not much harvested this week from the garden spot. I did use up the Concord Grapes harvested last week to make some Grape Jelly:


This was the first time I have been able to harvest enough grapes to make something with them. I used the recipe on the pectin box and the jelly came out good. I apologize for not posting more about the grapes last week as promised. Things were a bit crazy here last week. I do promise to post more about the grape and the grape vines this week.

Tomatoes are still ripening, but at a much slower pace now. I am picking them as they blush to avoid insect damage. They also seem to ripen quicker on the windowsill as our nights have been much cooler lately. Also, a few cucumbers were harvested along with some beans to add to a salad:


I made yet another batch of tomato sauce this weekend. I am re-heating it now and will be canning it tonight. Most of the tomato plants are looking very sickly. This upcoming weekend, I will be harvesting of all the remaining tomatoes, then pulling the plants and putting them out of their misery. They have served me very well. I have canned more sauce and salsa than I ever dreamed I would this year.

Next week looks more promising. The peppers are finally putting on some size and the summer squash are still slowly producing. Fall crops are also coming along. I also will be harvesting some herbs for drying this upcoming week.

Be sure to visit Daphne’s Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Harvest Monday: September 13, 2010

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from his or her gardens in different areas.

It’s hard to believe that only two weeks ago the temperatures were in the 90s here in southern Maine. Beginning this weekend, they are more seasonably in the 60s. The summer garden is responding by slowing down production.

I spent most of the weekend making and canning 18 pints of sauce and 14 half-pints of salsa. I also blanched and froze another batch of string beans. I have enough of each preserved now for at least a year. I am feeling very satisfied.

The tomatoes continue to ripen and I anticipate making another batch of tomato sauce next weekend. However the yield harvested each day has dropped tremendously.

The Purple Trionfo and a few Kentucky Wonder pole beans are still producing. From this point on, I will be picking only what is needed for fresh eating. The remainder will be allowed to mature for seed saving. I am hoping to save enough Purple Trionfo seeds for next year. It will be my first seed saving attempt and the Purple Trionfo were grown right next to Kentucky Wonder, so it should be interesting to see what happens.

Here are some of the harvests from the garden spot this week:







I’ll post more about the grapes later this week.

Be sure to visit Daphne’s Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Harvest Monday: September 6, 2010

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone can share links to their harvest for the week. It’s fun to see what everyone is harvesting from his or her gardens in different areas. Here is an overview of what was harvested in the garden spot this week:









Be sure to visit Daphne’s Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Early September Garden Overview: Part 2

This is a continuation to part 1 of the garden spot overview.

The celery grown in the Self Watering Containers (SWC) was a huge success. We had plenty for fresh eating and I have several bags in the freezer to add to soups and stuffing’s this winter. I thought the celery was finished and was going to pull it, but I noticed some new growth. So I trimmed out the old stalks and gave them a drink of fish emulsion to encourage it to produce again:


Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash have always been a staple in the garden spot. However, when planning the spring garden I still had a supply in the freezer from last year. When room became a problem, I elected to delay growing Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash. I tried to grow Zucchini in a pot, but it really wasn’t happy:


I planned on planting both squashes mid-season once space opened up in the potato patch. One row of mid-season potatoes was being harvested little by little as early potatoes. I started some summer squash seedlings and thought I could transplant the potted zucchini in this area.

Once moved from pot to ground, the zucchini responded really well to its new location and has increased in size and produced more fruit:



The mid-season Yellow Summer Squash has formed its first fruit that should be ready for harvest soon:



Lettuce seedlings were started in soil blocks then transplanted to the garden along with some Evergreen Bunching Onions:


Unfortunately the Simpson Elite Lettuce is bolting after our heat wave last week. Luckily there is still time to reseed:


Also soil block transplanted were Pak Choi and Michihili Cabbage. Hopefully they will make it in spite of the insect damage:




 Spinach has been transplanted into an area shaded by tomatoes and peppers:


Carrots were planted where the garlic was harvested:


Most of the potato patch now stands empty. The final Sugar Baby Watermelons in the melon patch will be harvested soon and shortly the melon patch will stand empty as well.

The temperature was much more comfortable today for working in the garden and I was able to accomplish some much needed cleanup. The abnormal 90-degree temperatures we had last week are hopefully gone for good.


I made another batch of tomato sauce yesterday and canned it early this morning. More beans were blanched and frozen. One more day to enjoy, then I'll be back to work.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Harvesting the Kennebec Potatoes

By the time hurricane Earl brushed by the area last night, it had been downgraded to a tropical storm. Overnight we received 3-4 inches of rain. We really needed it.

Early yesterday morning, before the sun hit the garden and the heat rose, I dug the Kennebec potatoes.


Two varieties of potatoes were planted on May 2, 2010 in the east garden, Dark Red Norland, a mid-season variety, and Kennebec, a late season variety. The Dark Red Norland potatoes were harvested mid-August.

2.5 pounds of Kennebec seed potatoes were planted in two rows that are 8-feet long. The foliage had died back several weeks ago and I stopped watering. Without much rain, the soil was easy to dig through.


The potatoes were piled into a garden cart, which was then covered and wheeled into the shed to protect them from sunlight and rain.


I pulled the potatoes out this morning to weigh them and spread them out so they can cure a little bit before storing.


The Kennebec weighed in at 22 pounds! Combined with the Dark Red Norland potatoes I harvested 68.5 pounds of potatoes from 8 pounds of seed. I am very pleased with my first year growing potatoes.