September 24, 2013

Last Bit of Catching Up

written by Yvonne

Here's the last bit of catch up, then we should be back on track with up-to-the-minute vegetable news from TYs Veggie Patch

Now this is a harvest!

On one hand, we had success with beans this year. We planted them in a new spot on the side of the house which expanded our growing area. That was great. The plants actually produced beans, which was also great. But we didn't do a great job of harvesting and eating them. They didn't produce enough at one time to constitute a full meal so they'd end up going bad before we had enough of them to eat them. (It didn't dawn on either of us until LAST WEEK that we should have frozen them as they came up! DUH! That's the whole reason we bought a big-a$s freezer.)

Where we didn't have such great success was in keeping the little yellow, fuzzy bugs away. This was not a new occurrence; these bugs got to our beans in previous years when they were grown in the beds, so the issue wasn't due to the new location. The little buggers take no time in turning otherwise big, healthy green leaves into lace. These just got decimated.

Of all the melon seeds we planted, this looks closets to the Swan Lake. It's not exactly the right shape, but it's the right color.

More melons on their way.

It wouldn't be honest to report only the good things, so here's our dirty laundry. This is what's become of our beds. Nightmare!! Yes there are tomatoes in there...

and yes the peppers (right) and cow peas (left background) are producing quite well, but we let everything else go to weed and it's quite embarrassing. But after a long, long span of ignoring the garden, we got back to it.

Tom cleared out all of bed one and I worked on the left half of bed two. He planted more tomatoes, kale, collards and peppers in bed one. We figured it being the beginning of August, there might still be time to get a late summer crop going.

Tom embarked on an experiment. He took a tomato that had fallen off the vine and had broken open and he planted it 'as is'. He didn't harvest and/or dry the seeds, but just planted the tomatoes directly into the ground. His theory being that we get so many tomato plants that come up all on their own (in the beds and in the compost pile) that they are likely seeding themselves when they fall off the vines. So why not just plant the tomato instead of buying new seeds? After all, we're using heirloom varieties and they seem to want to produce just by falling off the vine. We'll see.

The bell peppers are taking off! That's $6-$9 of peppers right there, my friends.

And the banana peppers produce three for every one I harvest. Not complaining, mind you.

And even though they are buried in the weeds, the tomato plants are producing. We got lots of these small, round ones and lots of cherry-type tomatoes, but not as many large tomatoes as I'd have liked.

September 17, 2013

End Of Summer Is Upon Us

written by Yvonne

I know, I know! We suck. We're the worst bloggers ever! I mean the whole point is to keep people up to date on what's going on. And if too much time passes, people lose interest, right? If that's you, I completely understand. Our main excuse for not keeping up with the blog these past three months is that not much has been going on in the Veggie Patch other than a lot of embarrassing weeds.

But that time has passed and we're getting the beds going again, thus the blog will begin again.

The post below is from a while ago but I already had the pictures so I thought I'd put some text to them anyway.

July 19, 2013

Lots of herbs growing and our dried stash from last year is getting low. So I chopped off a good bit of the basil, dill and parsley....

and hung them in bundles to dry.

Talk about smells wafting through the kitchen!

The melon vines are really taking off. We keep re-routing them to keep them out of the driveway.

The green beans took over one of the FU bushes.

The other volunteer melon is also taking off.

The cow peas are starting to latch on to the zucchini plant. The zucchini has stopped producing so it's time to rip it out and re-train the cow peas to go up the stakes.

I unwound the cow pea vines and showed them where they need to be.

It's kinda hard to see, but here are the stages of the cow peas. Stage 1: They are green and look pretty much like string beans.

Stage 2: They begin to dry out on the vine.

Stage 3: They completely dry out.

Stage 4: Shell them and put 'em up for eatin' at a later time.

 Man! Peppers are slow to mature.

But, they do mature eventually. Here is the start of a bell pepper.

As you can see the collards started to bolt so this will be the last harvest of them.

A HUGE bug greeted me when I pulled up the collards. A June bug perhaps? It was big and kinda pretty.

And speaking of bugs... WHAT THE ?@#$?! IS THIS!?!?!

Small yellow pear tomatoes doing well. Great to pop into a salad.

(OK, Stephanie. Here's your Where's Honey & Olive.)

We pulled all the rest of the beets out. I roasted most of them...

and made beet chips with a few of the larger ones. Love the beet chips but they don't stay crisp for long.  Anyone have any tips?

Had a recipe for a roasted tomato sauce that I hadn't tried so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

Drizzle olive oil over the tomato halves, sprinkle with course salt, put in a 250 oven for 7 hours. Take them out, wazz them up in the food processor with a few cloves of garlic and PRESTO, yummy tomato sauce. I ended up doing this several times with batches of tomatoes and then froze the already prepared sauce.