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!

Monday, July 11, 2011

weekend harvest - summer is here

Summer is here.  We can feel it in the hot air and the garden tells us so, too.  Summer squashes, cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, peppers... are starting to ripen one by one.  We are busy harvesting, cooking, and eating that I forgot to take more pictures.  Here are a few of pictures that I managed to put down my pots and forks and took.


These are some of the veggies that we had for Saturday dinner.  In the picture - water spinach (water morning glory), patty pans, beefsteak tomato, lemon/lime basils, and yard long beans.  This was our first harvest of yard long beans.  We have been getting the Kentucky Wonder green beans for about two weeks now.  The lima beans are the last to come.  We have plenty of lima bean pods now, but they are still flat.


Right now we have cucumbers coming out of our ears.  Not that we don't appreciate them.  They just grow faster than we can harvest, eat, and give away.  I need to find more creative ways to use them.


Blackberry is at the peak of production.  I can get a nice big bowlful every 2-3 days.  They are so plump, juicy, and flavorful.  Yum!

Friday, July 8, 2011

death of the potatoes

dead potatoes

This was the gruesome crime scene.  The potatoes finally gave up and died.  They hadn't even flowered yet.  Cause of death - Bug problem? Blight? Not enough sunlight? Uneven moisture?  I don't know.

We have yet to have potatoes grown to the flowering stage.  Last year we grew them in containers.  They were all green and happy one day, but the next day half of the leaves were eaten by some bug.  We are no experts in potato growing, and we haven't had luck with it, either.


Yesterday we dug the bed to see what we could salvage, and these were what we found.  Not too bad.  We planted them from a bag of sprouted store-bought potatoes, and we got more than we put in.  All is not lost.

sliced potatoes

I also coped with this tragedy by cooking.  I wanted a simple dish that would allow me to really taste the potatoes, so I made a potato omelet.

I scrubbed the skins, sliced and seasoned the potatoes with salt, pepper, and dried thyme, and set it aside for 10 - 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, I put a good amount of vegetable oil in a frying pan and set it on low heat.  I poured beaten eggs over the seasoned potato slices, lifting the slices to make sure they were coated.  Then, I put the potato-egg mixture into the frying pan and covered the pot.  I did flip the omelet half way through, but it was not easy.  I suppose it would have cooked all the way through without the flipping since it was on low heat and covered.

potato omelet

The taste?  It was really good.  There is really nothing like fresh home-grown potatoes.  I wish I could describe it better.  They have a true potato taste and the texture is nice and firm.

Next time, I'll add another egg so the omelet would hold its form better and maybe some of our newly-harvested garlics.

potato omelet

Thursday, July 7, 2011

catching up

We have been absent from the the blog for a couple of weeks, but things don't stop in the garden.  Here are some pictures from past two weeks...

peaches and blackberries

Frosty Lima bean
baby lima bean

Black Krim tomato



bell pepper

building the shed
building the shed
softneck garlics
softneck garlics

first tomato! (unfortunately overripe when we found it)