Monday, August 29, 2011

harvest from the past few weeks

It's been a while since the last post!  Our gardening/blogging activities are in negative correlation with the summer temperature.  It's really difficult to garden in the 90-100+ degree weather.  When we do get out there, we mostly just harvest and weed.  While we have been slacking, the garden has not.  It continues to give out amazing produce.  During our absence from the blog, we had some firsts (corns, bitter melons, muskmelons).  We also had some lasts (R.I.P. cucumbers and patty pans).  Although summer is just starting to get hot around here, we can feel the seasonal change coming in the garden.

Here are some of the harvest pictures from the last few weeks:

harvest basket

harvest basket

frosty lima beans


corn and pumpkin

peaches & cream corn

harvest basket

charentais melon

Thursday, August 4, 2011

the figs are ready


We started harvesting figs last week.  They are ripening rather quickly.  We are harvesting a plastic shopping bag full about every other day.  There are 3 or 4 fig trees in the property, but only 1 of them is in the garden.  The rest of them are in the little planting area by the driveways.  I didn't plant them, so I don't know what variety they are.  I just call them the "green kind" (as opposed to the kind with purple skin).

fig tree

fig tree

This is the fig tree in the garden.  It's at the center of the garden, so it receives plenty of sunlight.  Other than watering it a few times a year, we really don't pay much attention to it.


I thought this one looked like the Piranha Plant from Super Mario Brothers.  I felt like it was coming to get me, so of course I had to eat it first.


Figs are a relatively new fruit to me.  I didn't grow up eating them.  In fact, I had never seen one (dried or fresh) before I moved to California.  I have to admit they are not on the list of summer fruits/vegetables that I look forward to.  I just kind of forget about them... until I bite into a perfectly ripe one.  Every year they remind me of how delicious they are all over again, sweet like honey with crunchy little seeds.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

golden corn tassels

golden corn tassels

golden corn tassels and dark green bean leaves

I snapped the above pictures late in the evening last Saturday.  These corn tassels were especially visible in the almost dark garden.  The golden color looked even brighter against the dark green bean jungle.

I took the picture of the corn ears the next day when the lighting was better.  I can't wait for them to be ready.  I keep looking at sweet corns when we go to the supermarkets or the farmer's markets, but I refuse to buy any (ok, I basically refuse to buy any vegetables).  I want my corns!

peaches & cream corn

Monday, August 1, 2011


harvest basket

tomato harvest

The garden continues to bless us with good varieties of summer veggies.  There are something new ripening every week.  I haven't bought any produce in a couple of months.  I feel like I'm getting as good of a selection from my garden, if not better, as it is from a supermarket.  Not to mention they taste better and have less mileages and storage life.

The huge green tomatoes above are Aunt Ruby's German Green, and they are my new favorite green tomato.  They are so pretty when they are ripe, light green with a tint of yellow and pink blush.  We refrigerate them and cut them into slices to snack on.  They are juicy, sweet, and refreshing.  The perfect snack on a hot summer day.  The  catalog describe their flavor as spicy.  I think they are rather mild but very flavorful and delicious.

My previous favorite green tomato was Green Zebra.  Unfortunately, the two Green Zebra plants I started from seeds turned out to be something else (Black Krim, I think).  I wish I had some Green Zebras to do a side-by-side taste test.

These are pictures of some of the harvest from last week.  In the pictures are - Black Krim tomatoes, Beefsteak tomatoes, Aunt Ruby's German Green tomatoes, Sun Gold cherry tomatoes, luffa gourd (Chinese okra), Big Bertha pepper, Better Belle pepper, Sweet Banana pepper, Birdseye chili peppers, Japanese eggplants, patty pans, cucumber, Delica pumpkin, Yard Long beans, Summerfest Komatsuna, purple mustard, green onions, garlic chives, and edible amaranth leaves.

summer harvest

veggie harvest

veggie harvest

Monday, July 25, 2011

weekend harvest - seeds

We don't have too many pictures of veggies to show off this week.  We had a couple groups of friends who came to visit the garden last week.  We had fun walking around the garden.  Everyone tried their hands in harvesting veggies and took home the harvests.  And, of course I forgot to take pictures of those harvests.


 I did take pictures of the harvest for Saturday night dinner.  The cucumbers are slowing down.  The tomatoes are ripping faster than we are picking.  On Saturday and Sunday, we picked tomatoes both in the mornings and the afternoons.

oxheart carrot

This big fat carrot was one of the only two seeds that came up from my failed seed sowing in March.  The other one I picked too early so there wasn't much of a carrot.  Then I kept forgetting to pick this one.  I chopped this one up and cooked it in soup.  It was nice and sweet.  This variety is Oxheart.  They grow very short and fat, so they are good for heavy clay soils.  We don't have heavy clay soils.  I just like to grow different varieties for fun.

Although we don't have too many edibles to show off this week, we do have some non-edible harvest to share.

stargazer lilies

Here are some stargazer lilies we harvested for cut flowers.

common chive

saving chive seeds

I let some chive flowers go to seed so I can plant more next year, although I think there will be some volunteers next year.  There were a lot seeds dropped to the ground.  The seeds were kind of a pain to collect.  It was hard to separate the dried up mini flowers from the seeds.

celery seeds

saving celery seeds

I have a monster celery plant going to seed.  It's been there since last year.  I harvested some of the seeds last Sunday.  I can't wait for the rest of the seeds to dry up, so I can dig up the plant and grow something else there.

I had a much easier time collecting these seeds.  I just used a fine sift to separate the debris from the seeds.  I heard celery seeds can be used as seasoning for cooking.  I'm going to give it a try.  I guess you could count these as part of the edible harvest.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

not so much garden update...

just a few random photos I took in the garden yesterday.

stargazer lily

The stargazer lilies are blooming in the garden!  It looks like the first bloom opened a few days ago.  I can't believe I missed it.  I had been waiting for it for a couple of weeks.  I guess I was too wrapped up in garden work over the weekend and forgot to smell the flowers. ;)

sweet corns

corn tassel

These are our hybrid sweet corns.  The variety is Peaches & Cream.  We planted our corns late this year.  The tassels just started to appear.

sweet corn seedlings

We are also growing some old-fashoned non-hybrid sweet corns for the first time.  They are said to be not as sweet as the sugar-enhanced hybrid types but have a "true corn flavor".  I don't know what that means, so I'm anxious to find out.  This variety is Whipples Yellow.  We sowed them about 4 weeks after Peaches & Cream to ensure the two varieties will not cross.  You don't have to space the sowing dates so far apart (I believe 2 - 3 weeks is sufficient).  We just didn't get to it sooner.


This is one of our edamame beds.  We already pulled a couple of plants from this bed.  The beans were sweet, nutty, and delicious.  The edamame plants in the other bed didn't do so well.  We pulled most of them on Sunday.  They were much shorter, the leaves were full of bug bites and not as green, and there were very few beans on each plant.  In one word, pathetic.  It's probably because the other bed doesn't get as much sun.  So note to self,  plant edamame in beds that get most sunlight.


I started these echinaceas from seeds last year and planted them at the part of the garden where I completely ignored them.  They still came back for me this year.

luffa gourd flowers

baby luffa gourd

Growing on the southeast corner of our finely-built arbor/trellis with duct tapes (yes, we have no experience in carpentry and we are working on it) are the edible luffa gourds (Chinese okra).  They had a pretty slow start this year.  Now that the weather has warmed up, they are loving the heat.  And finally, I spotted our first fruit of the season.

bee on luffa gourd

This carpenter bee was following me around the garden when I was taking pictures.  He finally stopped on the luffa gourd flower and posed for me.

fuyu persimmon

The Fuyu persimmons are getting bigger. They will be the perfect fall color for the Thanksgiving dinner table.

handful of cherry tomatoes and strawberries

Saving the best for last.  A garden tour is not complete without something to nibble on.

Happy gardening!

Monday, July 18, 2011

harvest - summer's bounty

I was being good last week.  I remembered to keep my camera nearby and took pictures of the harvests.  It was also a good week because we had several "firsts" in the garden.


Black Krim and Beefsteak tomatoes, Big Bertha peppers, patty pan, strawberries, green onion, KY Wonder and yard long beans.  Oh yeah, and our first Japanese eggplant for the season!

a basket of blackberries

The peak of blackberry production is over, but I still haven't grown tired of them yet.  I want more!


These garlics were harvested about 2 weeks ago.  I laid them on a table outside, away from direct sunlight to dry a bit first.  Then last week, I bunched them and hung them up to cure.  The hardneck variety is Chesnok Red, and I bought the seed garlics from Hood River Garlic.  The softneck variety was organic garlics bought from the grocery store.



You can't really see in this photo, but the basket was full of different kinds of herbs (oregano, thyme, sweet basil, purple basil, lemon basil, garlic chives, green and red shiso).  They were used to make a light, aromatic penne pasta.


The green tomatoes are Aunt Ruby's Green Tomatoes.  After trying to grow them for two year, these were our first harvest.  Aren't they beautiful? 

In the picture are also our first lima bean and edamame harvest for the season.  The edamame were immediately cooked after picking.  They were sweet and nutty.  Yum!

first pumpkin

Our most exciting harvest for the week was this beauty.  On Sunday, we decided it was time for our first Japanese/Delica pumpkin harvest.  It came in at 5 lbs 6 oz.  I heard the taste of of this type of pumpkin improves after keeping them a couple weeks to a month.  I'll try to wait!

proud gardener with pumpkin

Here's the proud gardner holding the pumpkin.  And, yes, those are PJ pants.  He says they are comfortable to work in.

pumpkin stem

This is a close-up of the stem.  Here's the post on how to determine when to harvest pumpkins and what this stem looked like 3.5 weeks ago.

pumpkin plants

The pumpkin plants are hanging on to the powdery mildew attack.  We have done a few applications of milk spray and seaweed feeding.  We cut off leaves with PM on them and yellow, dying leaves.  The plants are growing new leaves and new fruits.  I don't know if the plants will hang on long enough for those new fruits to ripen though.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

good news and bad news - tomato harvest and problems

The tomatoes are rolling in. These are my harvest from yesterday.

Tomato harvest (beefsteak and black krim)

They are Beefsteak and Black Krim, or at least I think they are.  The Beefsteaks are smaller than I thought they should be.  The Black Krims are from a plant that I had labeled Green Zebra, but yesterday I found these dark red/purple tomatoes.  I am not too sad about it.  They are tasty.

I have one more plant labeled Green Zebra.  I hope I got that one right.  I do like Green Zebras.

sungold cherry tomato

We also got our first Sun Gold cherry tomatoes yesterday.  They were sweet but not overly sweet, and they were really flavorful.  They tasted more than just tomatoes.  Two weren't enough to give a good description of these yummy fruits.

Now, for the bad news.  The tomato plants are not short of problems this year, especially the three plants I transplanted out the earliest (you can see them here and here).  It could be the cooky weather earlier this season, or it could be their location.  They are shaded by the persimmon trees in the afternoon, so they get a bit less sunlight than the other tomato plants.

tomato leaf (blight)

The leaves are showing signs of blight.  It's unusual for me to get blight at this time of the year.  It's not too terrible yet, and the stems and fruits are not affected.  Since the temperature has kicked up a notch, I just cut off the infected leaves for now.

chewed-up tomato leaf

chewed-up tomato leaf

Tomato hornworms were never big problems for me and I never had to hand-pick them... until this season.  I get really grossed out by worms, but they have done enough offense for me to get up the courage to look for and remove them.  They chew up the leaves pretty badly, and they leave their "compliments to the gardener" on the leaves.  I know worm poops are good in the soil.  I don't know if they work the same on leaves.

***If you get offended by worms, stop reading here.  If you are interested in seeing the offender in action, feel free to look at the next picture.***

tomato and hornworm

They also ate some of the unripe fruits.  They usually go for the smaller fruits, but I caught this one on a big Aunt Ruby's German Green that was just waiting to ripe.  URGH!! That really gets me!