Monday, July 26, 2010

Harvest Monday July 26, 2010

Harvest Monday is Hosted by Daphne's Dandelions, to see a list of what other gardeners around the world are harvesting, click on the link and check it out!

I'm really not sure what happened to the week. Last thing I recall, I was bemoaning the nasty cutworm in my garden and now it's time to see what was harvested last week!

Well, as best I can recall we had some cucumbers, squash and loads of basil. It's been a week filled with lots of regular chores at home and some extra ones to get the house ready for my In-laws who arrive tonight. Between potty training, 3 year old temper tantrums, house keeping and yoga, I'm worn out!

Total harvest for the week:
Cucumbers: 15 5/8 oz + some I forgot to weigh
CP tomatoes: forgot to weigh
Squash: 20 7/8 oz
Basil: 2 handfuls
Flat leaf Italian Parsley: 1 small handful

Saturday was a haze, a burry haze. We woke up at the crack of dawn to start an new season on InMotion Fit marathon training. Lots of new people signed up and lots more returning friends. The boys did an awesome job charming everyone as we did orientation and registration. Then we went and watched the hubby play some pick-up basketball games, lunch and home. Everyone got to enjoy a great and rare afternoon nap. And next thing we know it's time to start thinking about dinner!

The hubby had an opportunity to purchase some grass fed beef. So we are expecting 1/8th of a cow. Clean out the freezer time! Last Sunday we had some friends over for a turkey, that's right a whole turkey. We've slowly been working on getting all the other misc things consumed as well. Saturday we had a mish mash dinner of pasta with scallops, garlic, asparagus and from the garden tomatoes, chives, basil and parsley. Yummy! From the freezer pot stickers and shrimp shumai.

When I inspected the garden Friday night, these two were about 5 inches long and not quite ready to pick yet. When I looked again Sunday morning they were HUGE!!

These great cukes weighed in at 15 5/8 oz. I did manage to get them weighed and washed before they were snatched out of my hand and one was consumed. The other one I am saving for a cucumber and tomato salad tonight. I know we had another day of cucumber picking, I guess I didn't get it weighed or photographed!

This week was a clearing week for the fridge, freezer and garden! I pulled the bolting swiss chard that was growing in a container and replanted with kale and inter-planted with radishes. Some collards and beets were planted as well. I hope they do Ok in the heat, it usually doesn't cool off around here until October.

Well, my little visitor is back. He was doing ok for a while, picking and eating some of the smaller and more prolific tomatoes and leaving me the heirlooms. I thought we had an understanding. Then he had to go and take 2 big Cherokee Purples. Well, that prompted me to put an end to this! I loaded up the molemover and we will see what happens. I know that the neighbor who backs up to our yard has two large mounds of dirt that seemed to just appear overnight. And we have odd areas of our yard that won't grow grass worth a darn. So I'm guessing gopher.... let me know if I'm wrong! Hopefully this will work and I don't have to go and buy a trap. Because then I will have to find someone to take care of the varmit. My father in law is here for a while... maybe I can bribe him with a yummy dessert....!

Well, off to finally catch up on reading. Happy gardening all!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ak! Oh ick!!!

We discussed how I don't like icky gardening stuff, right? When I stepped out to water the garden today I discovered a NASTY surprise.... Can you see him?

Ugh! This cutworm is about as big around and as long as my pinky! He devoured all of the scallions I had sown in the planter with the japanese eggplant, down to the soil line (as cutworms do). I first noticed the droppings and then couldn't figure out what was different at first...then I saw HIM. Oh man, I'm such a wuss. I dropped the hose and ran for the camera and then my clippers. Ugh, still grossed out!

On a better note, I see 4, count 'em, 4 baby eggplants. Whoohoo!!!! Yum, yum, yum!! Lots more flowers, but you aren't guaranteed anything yet...

My Scarlett Runner beans are flowering, they are only about 3 feet tall as a whole, but there are runners who have reached the top of the fence. I am just waiting for the foliage to catch up.

And the edamame are getting pudgy! No seed pods on the most recently sown edamame yet.

My cucumbers are pulling down on the stakes I used, so I think this weekend might be a good time to get better stakes and do a little tying up. They seem to be doing great given the light support they have had. there's a big cuke hiding and about 4 that should be ready to pick any day now. Everytime I see my son eating something in the yard I have to interrogate him to make sure it gets washed first! Time tp pull out the flowering arugula and plant something for fall... hmm, what to plant?

The tomatoes may not be doing great, but the basil sure is going gang-busters! Maybe some pesto might be in my future.

Well, it's off to play with the kiddos. Reading time maybe? My youngest one turned 8 months yesterday and I definitely think he's saying "Mom-ma" and "Da-da". He can't crawl, but he can "talk".

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Harvest Monday July 19, 2010

Harvest Monday is Hosted by Daphne's Dandelions, to see a list of what other gardeners around the world are harvesting, click on the link and check it out!

What a crazy hot week it's been here is beautiful sunny SoCal! It's been in the 90's here, which was great for the summer veggies, but not so great for running. Phew! Here's some of the things we pulled from the garden this week. (A lot of things not pictured, I got lazy).

Super Sweet 100's: 4 11/8 oz
Early Girl Tomatoes: 1 7/8 oz
Gretel Eggplants: 3 1/8 oz
Celebrity Tomatoes: 9 3/4 oz
Ronde squash: 5 3/8 oz
Scalloped squash: 13 7/8 oz
Natsu Rakuten-Summer Fest: 4 oz
Swiss Chard: 10 oz

We also found another running friend who was willing to take a lot of the veggies we didn't think we would be able to use. I can't wait to hear how it's put to good use.

Well, like I said, this week has been hot, not Atlanta hot, but hot! We reached temps in the 90's (or 110 if you believe our thermometer... which I don't...) and I don't think my tomatoes enjoyed it. It's crispy city for their leaves. I spent a good hour removing scraggly dried out leaves. Which left me with some nude and funny looking plants.

The eggplants are handling it well though! Lots of little Gretel eggplants and more flowers. The japanese eggplants are starting to flower and I'm hoping the next few weeks will give us a good harvest.

I'm saving this baby for my in-laws visit next week. I think my MIL will enjoy tasting a home grown eggplant.

This scalloped squash plant has only been in the garden for about 6 weeks, and it seems to like it a lot! We've already had 3 squash harvested and I see 3 more that will be ready within a week and lots more that I can see that need to be pollinated. What a good buy!

Asian greens have been treating us well. I pulled some for my friend, but I still haven't tried it myself. Here are some Natsu Rakuten-Summer Fest and Tatsoi.

AND I saw something super exciting in the garden..... baby edamame! Whoo hoo! These two plants were the only ones to survive the first planting. Between the slugs, critters and just plain rotting before they emerged, he first planting was not stellar. But I have ore plants that seem to be doing well, but these babies have flat fuzzy pods that I am going to watch swell.... and then I will probably watch my oldest son devour them and not share them with the hubby, the in-laws or me...

Ok, back to spying on the garden! Happy gardening all!!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Harvest Monday July 12, 2010!

Harvest Monday is Hosted by Daphne's Dandelions, to see a list of what other gardeners around the world are harvesting, click on the link and check it out!

Well, it's still Monday in the west coast! This weekend was a whirlwind of activity and I'm a little late getting my harvest totals in. There were some things that didn't get photographed, but Saturday's harvest certainly did!

"Burpless" cucumber - 5 3/8 oz
Green Zebra Tomatoes - 18 5/8 oz
Ronde de Nice Zucchini - 4 oz
Summer squash - 1 lb 6 oz
Scalloped Squash - 7 1/4 oz
Swiss Chard - 2 lbs 6 oz

Whoohoo! My harvest totaled over 5 pounds!

The squash on the left doesn't look all that large does it?

How about now? Holy smokes! I kind of left this one in the garden a bit too long. But it was yummy!

The Swiss Chard has been going a little crazy in the garden. Since it is one of my son's favorite types of greens, we figured his birthday dinner was a good time to cut and cook some up. (And give some to my girlfriend and running partner!) 2 pounds later there is still a ton in the garden. Chard has really been an easy and prolific crop for me so far.

The Swiss Chard (please pay no attention to the state of chaos all around the chard and the rest of the house!) getting weighed up.

Here's a shot of the birthday boy chomping into his steak. Yeah.... he didn't want the cut up pieces on his plate, he actually climbed on Daddy's lap, held his hands and showed him where to cut his steak... I'm claiming that this came from the hubby's side of the family. My side is goofy, but not that goofy.
The next day we were off to Anaheim for a Disney weekend (which did NOT go well....but that's not gardening related is it?).

I managed to off-load some chard and cherry tomatoes to my unsuspecting friends and I think they might be getting some eggplants and zucchini's soon.... as for the rest of the garden, things are well and the kid keeps eating all the ripe strawberries and green beans before they get weighed let alone photographed. He did insist that we pick the cucumber and eat it right away, then proclaimed it to be "delicious...yum, yum!"

Ok, it's awful late and I'm sure I have a long day getting the house back in order after the birthday and checking out the garden tomorrow. Happy gardening!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

First Tomato Hornworm

I am amazed every time I sow seeds that a tiny little thing will turn into a big plant that will help feed my family. But there are a lot of things in the garden that frankly kind of ick me out: bugs, worms, etc. I found this guy as I was pruning some suspicious looking leaves off of my Super Sweet 100 tomatoes.

My first tomato horn worm. Ickers! However, my son thinks they are fun stuff. Again ewwwww. He also wouldn't let me squish him on the ground, so we are now proud "parents" of a tomato horn worm residing in a glass jar on the patio. When the kiddo isn't looking that worm might get squished!

I've been hearing lots about garlic scapes lately, and I have been scouring our farmers market to find some. And I found some finally at the Asian Market! I have always counted on Asian Markets through-out the US for fabulous ready to buy food and ingredients that remind me of my youth, but something fresh and new? I can't wait to try them out. I've already frozen some for more experimenting, and I'm plotting where I will plant garlic this fall. The smell as I diced and blanched yesterday was absolutely divine.

And just for fun, here is a picture of my brave kiddo during one of his radish breaks.

Well, as far as being a newbie gardener goes, I am certainly learning a lot through trial and error! Lesson 1.... use a tomato cage...

I didn't, as you can see, and then I missed it as this little one decided that it wanted to go wandering.

It has been a tough week, I think the little one is teething, that has to be the reason he has given up on sleeping. Monday night I think I managed 4 hours.... in 1/2 hour increments. I exaggerate, he slept from 3:45-5, so I managed an hour and fifteen minutes on that stretch. And the next night was about the same. I really needed my Mommy break Wednesday. I can usually escape to yoga once or twice a week to totally disconnect, and the hubby and I try to trade off Saturdays so he can go play basketball and I can run. But June was a recovery month for me after Rock 'n Roll San Diego. So I've been missing my alone time. This Mommy break was extra special. My girl-friend and I had tickets to Lilith Fair. Whoo-hoo!!! Lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and wine...

With all that going on, it was hard to remember what exactly we pulled from the garden. I really have to do better about utilizing the garden to feed the family and not just as a stress reliever for me. I know that the cucumbers have lots of little babies growing, the squash are going gang-busters, the tomatoes are chugging along, that darn bok choy is taking it's sweet time giving me seeds, the bush beans are giving me nibbles and the pole beans are doing their climbing. Come-on summer garden!

FYI --- August 2010 Cooking Light has ideas for additional uses for zucchini....! Only 3, so I will still be trolling the internet when I (hopefully) get swamped in them this summer.

Well, it's getting late and I have an early morning ahead of me! Happy gardening everyone!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

12 Step Program

There really should be a 12 step program for new gardeners. Moderation.... moderation.... get your feet wet before plunging in...!

Yesterday I dropped by one of the larger nurseries in my area to get some fertilizer.... just fertilizer (because Lowe's was sadly lacking in selection) and just had to stroll through and see the beautiful plants. I came home with fertilizer (at least I remembered what I went for!), a Gretel Eggplant, a Plumeria, and 3 packets of seed... What can I say? I'm a sucker for eggplants, and these are soooooo cute.
And since I can't have a tropical vacation for a while, I will have to settle for just the fragrance of the Plumeria to get me through until I can be whisked away to paradise!
Well, tonight is Lilith Fair, so planting will have to get put off for another day...although I did promise a trip to the zoo.... so maybe another 2 days!

Happy Gardening!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Harvest Monday July 5th

I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July! Our family laid low and relaxed for a change. I started out the 4th with a rare treat, sleeping in! And today I had another awesome treat, a stroller-less morning run.... ah, the simple things in life are the best and often most missed with two small kids.

I'm not really sure why, but last week we harvested very little from the garden. Most likely due to the transitional phase we are going through. We did manage to enjoy a zucchini, a scalloped squash, 1 eggplant, some Green Zebra tomatoes, and some Sweet 100's tomatoes.

Zucchini: 12 7/8 oz
Scalloped Squash: 8 1/2 oz
Eggplant: 10 7/8 oz
Green Zebras: 1 pound 2 3/4 oz
Sweet 100's: 4 7/8 oz

We enjoyed the zucchini and eggplant on the grill again and I am pondering ways to explore new uses for squash. I promise I did not consume that whole steak. There were definitely left overs for lunches this week.

We also had a handful of strawberries, green beans and lots of baby radishes, but they never made it past the garden hose and to the scale. They are now in the belly of a cute almost 3 year old. I am amazed how happy he is to be presented with a bunch of radishes.

I am slowly taking over the ornamental border in our backyard with my vegetable garden, and I am also lusting after the strip of yard sitting unused beside the house. I think that it does get adequate sunlight, now I just have to prepare myself for the labor involved with cleaning it up (it was a former dog run area for the previous owners) and talking the hubby into getting me some raised beds. Perhaps a Christmas present and next spring we will have additional planting space! So for the time being, I am making myself content with lots of containers and some border space. Since there is a lack of horizontal space, we are going vertical. I spent some time this weekend helping the cucumbers and pole beans find their way upward.

To see what other gardeners are harvesting today, visit Daphne's Dandelions (the host blog of the Harvest Monday).

Happy Gardening!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

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Oh Holy Hannah! I'm buying a pellet gun for sure! I turn my back for one second (ok, overnight) and the dang birds are robbing me out of house and home.

Morning inspection showed this carnage....

Bye-bye beautiful Purple Cherokee tomato that I have been checking daily and frankly lusting after. What was left weighed in at 6 7/8 ounces. During Operation Tomato removal, I found this guy....

Bye-bye 8 5/8 ounce Green Zebra. And we had just sampled a ripe one, and fell in love with the rich taste and smooth texture of this tomato. I'm just thankful that the plant has been very prolific so far and we have lots more to look forward to eating this summer.

And of course, bad things come in three's... I found this unripe small 3 oz Green Zebra had been tasted as well (apparently twice).

*Sigh* S.O.S. I need help fending off the birds (I'm assuming it was the birds) so we can enjoy the fruits of my hard work!

How do you all defend your tomatoes?