Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hornworms Have Arrived

It's that time of the year once again! As the tomatoes are just beginning to ripen, the first hornworm is spotted:


Also notice the yellow egg cluster in the image above. That is from the three lined potato beetle. They mostly stick to the potatoes in the bed across the aisle, but once in a while reach out for new ground.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

First Ripening Tomato of the Season!

I was picking beans yesterday morning when I glanced up and saw it: A spot of red among the green foliage.


My first ripening tomato of the season is Juliet, a new variety to the garden spot this year.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Harvest Mondays: July 29, 2013

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 gathering from his or her gardens in different areas.

Increasing variety of harvests from the garden this week. Enough blueberries are being harvested to freeze some for later:

Blueberries

The bush beans are beginning to produce:

Yellow Beans


Most of the lettuce is long gone, but Rouge d'Hiver is still growing and has not turned bitter yet:

Royge d'Hiver Lettuce

A pitiful harvest from some spring planted carrots. It was enough for a side dish and they didn’t taste all that spectacular. I think I am going to give up on spring carrots.

Carrots

Dark Red Norland Potatoes

Zucchini & Cucumber

And More Zucchini & Cucumbers

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

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Garden Musings: July 27, 2013

Now the fun begins! Planning meals around whatever is ready in the garden. I spent most of last Saturday in the kitchen happily preparing meals for the weekend. I began by making some fresh pesto using basil and garlic harvested from the garden.



Some pesto was reserved for Pesto Bread to serve with dinner. The rest was stored in the refrigerator for a meal later in the week. Since it was so hot, I made the bread in the bread machine rather than turn on the oven.

While the bread was baking, I made the first potato salad of the summer using the beautiful red potatoes harvested last week, dill, chives, and celery from the garden. The potato salad was served on Sunday along with grilled ribs and chicken.

Once the Pesto Bread was finished, I allowed the bread machine to cool for a while, and then used it to make Zucchini Bread with the first Zucchini of the year. My new bread machine has a "Quick Bread" selection that I wanted to try. It tasted pretty good. Not picture worthy however. I will do it again if I wanted to bake a quick bread in hot weather. I would rather quadruple the recipe and bake a couple of breads and some muffins all at once. The extras freeze beautifully.

The rest of the Zucchini was used in a pasta dinner, served with pesto bread, and a garden salad of lettuce, chard, carrots, and celery.

Saturday was predicted to be the last day of hot, humid weather that we've been suffering through last week. Sunday was cooler and much less humid. Perfect for gardening and other yard work.

The grass in between the beds was trimmed, the beds were weeded, and the spent perennial herbs were cut back to allow for a fresh round of growth.

The garlic was harvested and spread out to dry in the sun for a little while:


Then it was brought inside to finish curing in the basement spread out on the seed starting shelves. We run a dehumidifier in the summer to reduce moisture in the basement and I found it is the perfect environment for curing garlic and onions.

The garlic bed was in great need of weeding. Among the weeds were a few volunteer New Zealand Spinach plants. I harvested these and sautéed it with some fresh garlic as a side to lunch. This bed was seeded with carrots for fall after cleaning it up.


The tomatoes are grown along trellis structures made from 2x3s and nylon trellis netting. In addition, I usually loop some twine across the trellis to provide additional support for the growing foliage. Another layer of twine was added to the growing tomatoes.

A lot was accomplished in only a day. It was much easier to work outside once the humidity was reduced. I was glad to catch up on gardening since the week that followed ended up really busy work wise. I've been fortunate to gain some new and exciting clients in the last few weeks and some older clients had some fun projects for me to work on.

As the weekend rolls around again, I have more trimming and weeding to be done in the garden. I have started some fall seeds, and more in need of sowing.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Harvest Monday: July 22, 2013

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 gathering from his or her gardens in different areas.

I eagerly watched the first zucchini form and begin to grow. I know soon I will have more zucchini than I can keep up with, but the first one is special. For me it represents the transition from spring harvests to summer harvests. It is like a promise of the bounty to soon follow.



Since this one was the only zucchini growing at first, I allowed it to get a little large. We enjoyed the first zucchini in a pasta dinner and had enough for zucchini bread too.

Other harvest this week included:

Red Norland Potatoes

Blueberries

Carrots, Celery, Dill, Chives

Garlic

New Zealand Spinach

Kennebec Potatoes

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

Friday, July 19, 2013

Blueberries!



Just a small handful for now, but the bushes are just filled with unripened berries. It's going to be a great blueberry year.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Harvest Monday: July 8, 2013

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 gathering from his or her gardens in different areas.

I spot-checked a few bulbs of garlic. It is early this year, but the lower leaves on the foliage are turning yellow. I am hoping they size up a bit more and will be keeping a close eye on them.

Garlic

The greens bed had resurgence in growth during the cool, rainy period last week. I took full advantage and harvested the leaves of various lettuces, chard, and kale. Each time I harvest the greens; I think it will be my last for the season. So I was thankful for this bonus harvest. Also in this basket are some green onions and a few turnip thinnings.


Kale, Turnip Greens, Green Onions

Mixed Lettuce

The garden is on the verge of providing more variety this upcoming week. Be sure to visit Daphne’s Dandelions to see what others are harvesting this week.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Weekly Garden Musings: July 6, 2013

Early this morning before the sun rose above the trees I was in the garden weeding. You could feel the air thicken as the sun's rays hit the dew-covered foliage. It has been hot and humid over the last several days and I knew once the sun reached the garden, it would be too uncomfortable to continue working.

I worked from one raised bed to the next. The weeds were easy to pull from the damp soil. I finished four raised beds before it became too hot to continue. I will resume again in the evening when the sun begins to set.

Thinking of the meals ahead, I harvested some green onions, beet green thinnings, and herbs before I retreated inside to air conditioned comfort. Because of the heat, meals will be simple ones that are grilled with salad or stir-fried.

We've had a lot of rain over the past week, So much so that much of the state was under a flood watch. We've even broke the rainfall record for June set in 2009. That was also the year without a tomato harvest as devastating late blight ravaged gardens up and down the east coast that year. (apsnet.org "The 2009 Late Blight Pandemic in Eastern USA").

Last week's rain saturated the landscape, the limbs of the apple trees were heavy and draped into the driveway, the grass was in desperate need of mowing, and in the weeds made a foothold in the garden. Luckily, the basement didn't flood and there is no blight in the garden so far.

Once the rain stopped and the sun, heat, and humidity settled in, the garden responded:

The First Tomatoes 

Zucchini

Cucumber
Pole Beans Climbing Their Trellis

The peppers look pretty stressed out and some of the lower leaves are turning yellow. They are not happy with the crazy weather that has seesawed between damp and cold and hot and humid. In addition, they are struggling against slug and beetle damage.

Pepper

The lower foliage on the garlic has begun to yellow. It won't be long until they are ready to harvest:

Garlic Should Be Ready Soon

During the week, we took advantage of a break in the rain to replace some of the trellises in the garden; the others were reinforced to help them through this growing season. They will require replacement next year. Trellis netting was added to all the indeterminate tomato beds just in time for the tomatoes to need support.

Two New Trellises on the Raised Beds
Pests: Joining the slug population this week are a few Colorado Potato Beetles and the ever-destructive Japanese Beetles.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Harvest Monday: July 1, 2013

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 gathering from his or her gardens in different areas.

Harvests are increasing enough to begin preserving for the future. Garlic scapes were ready this week. About half were cut into 1-inch pieces and frozen. These will be perfect to use in stir-fries, soups, and sautés. The rest stored in the fridge for fresh use:

Garlic Scapes

Kale continues to provide an abundant amount of growth. K doesn’t like kale and I was having difficulty keeping up with it, so I sautéed some with a little olive oil and garlic scapes and froze it:

Siberian and Russian Kale

The oregano spread a lot since last year and needed to be trimmed back so as not to crowd some peppers. The leaves were dried and the dehydrator and stored in a jar:

Oregano

I trimmed the sage bush back in early spring. This resulted in a lot of new growth on half the plant. The other half is in full bloom. Some sage leaves were harvested, packed loosely in a zipper bag, and frozen.

Sage

Lettuce and Chard continue to produce providing us with nice fresh salads:

Lettuce

Swiss Chard

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