Monday, September 30, 2013

Outside My Window Earlier Today

Why yes, I have been eating out of your garden. What are you gonna do about it, eh?






Harvest Monday: September 30, 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.

The garden has been a little behind normal all season. Thankfully, frost has held off for now and we have enjoyed a lovely fall allowing most things to mature. Below are some of the harvests we have enjoyed this week:

Fall lettuce is growing slowly, but there was enough to clip a few tender leaves for a sandwich topping:



The fall Swiss Chard is beginning to size up. Unfortunately, keeping the deer away from it has been challenging:

Swiss Chard

The partially ripe tomatoes harvested before our frost warning last week ripened quickly on the counter over this past week. Our chest freezer in the basement is full, so I processed and canned my first batch of sauce for the season. There are so many more tomatoes still in the garden. I am harvesting a little each day. The majority will mature if we are granted a few more frost-free weeks. Luckily the forecast seems to be in our favor.

Amish Paste Tomatoes

Juliet Tomatoes

So many peppers were harvested last week before frost. Most were made into Salsa and Green Chili Sauce, but some ended up in the refrigerator. I finally seeded, chopped, and froze these this week for later use:

Peppers Ready for the Freezer

Pole beans are still producing. There has been plenty for fresh eating and I may be able to harvest enough this week for another batch of pressure canned beans to add to storage:

Trionfo Violetto and Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans


Raspberries are delicious this year and are producing a few handfuls each day:

Heritage Raspberries

I found some halfway decent apples on our trees. I consider this a bonus harvest. We didn't spray the trees this year so most of the apples are affected with various molds and pest damage. I was looking for some apples to feed to the chickens when I found these that didn't look too bad. Once peeled and trimmed a little they were perfect for making a small batch of applesauce. I hope to harvest more this week:


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

Monday, September 23, 2013

Harvest Monday: September 23, 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.

Happy Fall! It was a close call last week for the garden. For two nights we had a frost warning for our area. Usually when frost hits I am ready for it. But this frost warning was weeks earlier than expected. This combined with the garden's late start in spring due to the colder than normal temperatures threatened to reduce my yield of tomatoes by half. I had a lot of fruit on the vines waiting to ripen.



I harvested all the partially ripe tomatoes and all the peppers just in case:







I also snipped a lot of basil. Basil is so sensitive to cold temperatures that I didn't want to risk losing the plants. I combined the basil with garlic and olive oil to make pesto that was frozen for later consumption:



The weekend was a busy one as I attempted to tackle the glut of tomatoes and peppers. Some tomatoes were used along with peppers, onions, and garlic to make two batches of canned Zesty Salsa. I also made a double batch of Dan's Green Chili Sauce and froze it. Even after all this, I still had six more pounds of peppers to process. I ended up reserving some for fresh eating and cutting the rest into chunks and freezing them.

The ripe tomatoes were washed, placed in zipper bags, and frozen for now. I will turn them into sauce later...or rather sooner than later as our chest freezer is officially full right now with mostly tomatoes.

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

Monday, September 16, 2013

Frost Advisory for Tonight

Photo from WGME.com

A very busy evening after watching the news and discovering that a frost advisory has been issued for my area tonight. I was so not ready for this.

I went out with baskets and containers to harvest all the peppers, partially ripe tomatoes, and basil. I do hope we escape frost because about half my seasonal harvest of tomatoes still remain on the vines. Wish me luck!

Harvest Monday: September 16, 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.

Last week felt typically fall-like when it began, temperatures were in the 50s requiring long pants and a sweatshirt. Then temps soared to 90s by Wednesday with high humidity. A few days of this hot and humid weather spurred some violent thundershowers and lots of rain. Needless to say, not much gardening happened this past week other than a quick walk through to harvest whatever was ready.

The squash vines are finished and the Delicata Squash was gathered from the bed. A few fruit showed signs of insect damage. These will be used first once the bad parts are cut out. The rest will be placed in storage in the basement to be used over the next few months:

Delicata Squash

One Spaghetti Squash was harvested; there are several others still in the garden but the vines look dead to me. I doubt that they will brighten to yellow. So I'll have to enjoy this one.

Spaghetti Squash

Anaheim Peppers began turning red this week:


Lots of tomatoes are coming in every day. My kitchen is in constant tomato rotation: Ripe tomatoes are sorted out and dropped into the sink for a soak and wash, then stored in freezer bags and placed in the chest freezer. Almost ripe are pushed to the end and the newest harvested tomatoes are spread out on the counter to ripen further.



We are eating lots of fresh salsa and sharing jars for Football Sunday:

Anaheim and Jalapeno Peppers

Raspberries are beginning to ripen. Last year, Japanese Beetles and wasps ate most of the ripe berries. Cutting all the canes in spring and allowing new ones to grow pushed the everbearing raspberries to produce mostly at the end of summer and into fall when most of the beetles are gone. We've been harvesting small handfuls each day, which is enough to eat fresh or add to cereal or yogurt.



I dug up another section of potatoes while the weather was cool and comfortable. I was sad to lose about two-pounds to rodents, but the rest were lovely:


The pole beans show no sign of slowing down. I didn't photograph any harvests this week, but I am still picking every day.

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

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Not Many Hornworms This Year

In a demented sort of way, I was looking forward to finding hornworms on my tomato and pepper plants this year. Instead of drowning them in soapy water, I could feed them to the new flock of chickens and add a little protein to their diet. As fate would have it, this year only a few hornworms were found.




This one did some damage before I spotted it. I dropped it into the chicken pen and the chickens enjoyed chasing each other for a bite of the tasty morsel.




This hornworm disappeared quickly and the flock looked to me for more. I searched but couldn't find another and gave them some kale instead.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Garden is Winding Down

Decreased sunlight and cool night temperatures are taking their toll on the garden's summer crops. The squash bed is limping to the finish line with only a few zucchini plants struggling to still produce.



It was mostly powdery mildew that took the squash bed down. Then the deer came through and ate the foliage exposing the Delicata and Spaghetti Squash scattered around the bed. Most of the Delicata are ready to harvest. I hope the Spaghetti Squash ripens before the vines die completely. I have had my fill of cucumbers and zucchini this year, but the yellow crookneck squash only produced a couple fruit. I will look into another variety next year.

Squash Bed

The tomatoes have been generous over the past few weeks. I have a lot of whole tomatoes in the freezer and my countertops are heaping with ripening fruit. In the garden, the determinant tomatoes are barely hanging on. Early blight has ravaged the foliage as it does each year. I have harvested a lot of tomatoes from these Roma and Rio Grande plants. I am hoping the remaining ones ripen before the disease affects the fruit or the plants die completely.

Roma and Rio Grande Tomato Plants

The indeterminate tomatoes are less affected by early blight, but the disease is rising upwards through the vines. Here too, I am waiting for a lot of tomatoes to ripen. Juliet produced a ton of lovely small Roma shaped tomatoes that are both eaten fresh and frozen for later use. The vines are still filled with more.

Juliet Tomatoes

The San Marzano plants didn't do as well as previous years. The vines are shorter and there is less yield this year. I am happy I gave Amish Paste another try this year in the garden, the trellis is overflowing with various sizes and shapes of these tomatoes.

Amish Paste

Still growing strong are the pole beans that have just begun producing over the past few weeks. Each day I pick a basket full of beans from the Kentucky Wonder and the Trionfo Violetto pole beans. Deer ate the Kentucky Wonder vines earlier in the season, but the tops of the plants are still producing. I need a step stool to reach them. What we haven't eaten or given away has been pressure canned. I have preserved two cases of pint jars so far.

Deer Eaten Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans

The Anaheim pepper plants are filled with fruit. Some have just begun to ripen to red.

Anaheim Peppers

Most of the other pepper plants struggled this year and have only managed to produce a few peppers per plant. I don't expect these to ripen before we run out of growing season so will probably be harvested green.


We have had some cold nights over the last week. Some areas to the north had several frost warnings. I am hoping frost stays away a little longer.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Harvest Monday: September 9, 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 can't believe that September is here already. When I am immersed in graphic design projects there is no time. I have been very busy lately. When I do get a break during the day, I head outside for a breath of fresh air.

First, I visit the chickens and check their water and food. They watch me in anticipation as I continue into the garden with basket in hand and harvest whatever is ready. I often pick some greens or find a cucumber or zucchini that has grown too large. I give these to the chickens as I exit the garden and watch as they enjoy the treat. During this time, I talk to them and observe each one to be sure they are healthy. Once satisfied, I retreat inside to return to work. It is a nice break.

Harvests this week were mostly beans and tomatoes. Lots and lots of beans and tomatoes. Here are some of those harvests:

Juliet Tomatoes

Trionfo Violetto and Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans

Amish Paste Tomatoes


Also harvested but not photographed were zucchini, a couple peppers, and a few handfuls of raspberries that were eaten quickly.

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

Monday, September 2, 2013

Harvest Monday: September 2, 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.

This week was the most bountiful of the growing season so far. Each visit to the garden yielded a harvest of tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, or beans. It was a busy weekend in the kitchen preserving.



Tomatoes are piled on the counter to ripen completely. Some are used for fresh salsa:



Most of the paste tomatoes are frozen for now until I have time to process into canned sauce and salsa.



Basketfuls of beans are harvest each day even from the Kentucky Wonder vines half eaten by deer. A batch of beans was pressure canned and a gallon zipper bag is in the fridge to give away.



I have a large number of zucchini on the counter to make into breads, lasagna, and to give away. The rest will be grated and frozen for later use in baked goods and soups.



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