July 25, 2014

Saving Seeds and Waitin' for Tomatoes

written by Yvonne

All of these photos are several weeks old now but I thought I'd post them anyway. We've been harvesting cow and crowder peas like crazy.  We haven't actually eaten any of them yet, we're just shelling them and letting them dry.

FINALLY the basil came up! Not really enough to do anything with yet but at least there is one plant.  Maybe there will be enough for one margherita pizza and one batch of pesto. Please, please let there be enough for one batch of pesto!

This is either cilantro or flat-leaf parsley. Come on little plant; grow! I'm tired of buying you at the store.

A TY Veggie Patch summer staple - squash.

And again - FINALLY tomatoes have appeared. They are all green still but they're finally here.

Everything you see here is tomatoes. These big plants better be puttin' out big quantities of tomatoes.

If memory serves, last year I was disappointed with the size and quantity of pepper plants that, but by the end of summer we had more peppers than we knew what to do with. I'm in that same place again. Only two very small plants have come up. Hopefully they'll produce a lot.

This is what, the fourth or fifth time we've attempted to plant something in this spot?  This is REALLY the last time we're attempting this. If the squash and hibiscus plants Tom planted here don't 'take', that's it for this area. Although we did just buy clover seeds to use as ground cover for the bees so maybe Tom can spread some here and see how it goes.

We're comfortable enough now with our garden knowledge and skills to start saving seeds from the produce we grow. One of the advantages of growing heirloom varieties is that you can replant the seeds year after year. We've done that with a few items but this year Tom has really committed to saving seeds from everything possible so we don't have to buy more seeds. So far this year he's saved seeds from crowder and cow peas, pole and bush beans, and cucumbers. Next will be tomatoes and peppers (assuming we get any peppers).

Unfortunately we weren't as inundated with cucumbers this year as in the past two years, but we certainly got a good amount. At the point we were picking one or two cucs every day, I remember making refrigerator pickles last year so I pulled out the recipe and made a couple of quarts. I know I said this last year but they taste JUST like Claussen's. YUM!

July 4, 2014

Getting Into The Hot Days of July

written by Yvonne

Although the cabbage is coming in, it's getting eat by bugs so we may have to abandon these if we can't get the bug problem under control.

Thanks to Tom covering the blueberries with netting, we got blueberries this year!  I took them and some fresh cherries (store bought) and made a crisp.

(The color on these next two photos are off - the plants are not really this gray looking.) WE HAVE BROCCOLI!  Sure wish we knew what we did to FINALLY get them to produce the edible part.

And eat we did!  I made a mushroom broccoli stir fry and it was delicious.

In answer to your question Rebecca: Don't get me wrong - I love the broccoli and we will continue growing as much as we can. However, I'm not as knocked out by the flavor in the same way I am with our home grown carrots, tomatoes and berries. To me it didn't taste much more broccoli-y than good store bought.

Our beans ran over. The vine laying across the two beds is actually on a stake but it fell over from the weight of the vine.

These crowder peas are coming in like gangbusters.

The kale has been a great addition to our smoothies in the mornings. But now the bugs have gotten to them too much and they need to be pulled up. I know from this photo it looks like they are healthy and edible, but when you turn the leaves over, there are lots of worms and eggs (ICK) on the backs that are just too much work to clean off.

The Swiss chard on the other hand is growing, it keeps growing, and it has no bugs. I made a big mess o' chard last night for dinner.

Cucumbers are coming in at the rate of two or three per day.  Per Tom's suggestion I took two of the large baseball-bat sized cucumbers and harvested the seeds from them.  He brought up a great point which is that we are buying heirloom seeds which means the seeds can be harvest and planted over and over again - we should start doing that with as many plants as possible, instead of buying new seeds every year.

Tomatoes are just starting to flower.

Before we lose too many more plants to bugs, Tom got out his Dustructor (a piece of equipment that is supposed to be used in beekeeping, but didn't quite work for him) and showered the garden (and himself) with BT.  I think he learned his lesson and will stand up-wind next time.