September 10, 2018

Harvest Monday, 9/10/18

The only bell pepper I'm growing this year is Carmagnola Rosso which have started ripening, four of them got picked yesterday. They have a great flavor, but they are super late.

If I was able to plant them outside earlier, I could probably get them to set fruit before the heat caused them to abort their blooms or sterilize the pollen. The last 2 years I've had to wait more than a month after the last frost to plant peppers because the ground was too wet to work.
Spicy pablano and jalapeno peppers. Most of the jalapenos have been getting cracks in their surface, likely from the stress of this year's hot dry summer.

I was planning to stuff the poblanos with cheese, coat them with panko, bake them and freeze the extra. The jalapenos will probably get stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon, baked and frozen as well. I've never made jalapeno poppers before, but that's how a couple of friends prepare them using bacon.

The fall garden is so close to being planted. There's just three beds left to plant with greens, and once the sweet potatoes get pulled, fava beans will go in their place to overwinter. I did end up starting tatsoi, mizuna, mibuna, lettuce, and chicory in tubs, so at least they got an earlier start than usual. But we're supposed to get back into the 90's (32 degrees Celsius) at the end of the week. Ugh.

I hope everyone is having a glorious fall with lots of sunshine and cooler weather. Please join us for Harvest Monday hosted by Dave at Our Acres.

September 3, 2018

Harvest Monday, 9/3/18

I accidently picked a couple green Melrose peppers. They're thin walled frying peppers that are very tasty cooked.

The peppers really need to be watered so they can keep setting fruit, but I've been putting it off in favor of hand watering the newly planted beds. It's been a dry hot August, hopefully September will bring us some rain.
That's definitely a typo written in the picture, these are actually Boldog Hungarian peppers. They're another thin walled sweet pepper. Melrose was earlier to ripen, but they're both prolific.
Ajavarski sweet peppers are thick walled and juicy, and they're good sautéed with onions.
A mixture of Corno Rosso, Marconi, Corno di Toro, Feher Ozon, Shishito, and maybe an Odessa pepper. I keep picking the green Shishito peppers even though they tend to be too spicy to eat, maybe eventually the weather and their innate heat will start to come down.

The only bell pepper I'm growing are Carmagna Rosso and they're taking forever to ripen. We still have close to 2 months before our first heavy frost, so they still have time.

I got the rest of the garden dug by hand and then raked over on Sunday, and then spent the rest of the day in bed.We've all been sick this weekend. Since kids are back in school they're probably sharing all their illnesses. If I'm up to it, I'm going to spend a few hours this morning planting the rest of the beds.

All the fall greens, lettuces, and peas still need to be planted. I might plant some more turnips and radishes, in case earlier plantings end up too spicy from the heat.

Please join us for Harvest Monday hosted by Dave at Our Acres.

August 30, 2018

The Late Summer Vegetable Garden

The sweet potatoes are rampaging through the kale bed behind them, but I've managed to keep them out of the other beds. Once the potatoes get lifted in October, this bed will get planted with chicories and spinach to overwinter.

The flowers of the Purple sweet potatoes are quite pretty and they are everywhere. I've never had Beauregard sweet potatoes bloom, so it was a bit of a surprise.
The kale, especially the Portuguese kale with it's large leaves in the back row, have been eaten up by cabbage caterpillars. I've treated the whole bed with Bt, an organic method of control, a couple of times and they're finally coming back from it.
This was the last zucchini plant in the garden. It had managed to hang on through the hot summer. I went ahead and pulled the plant yesterday because it's infected with Powdery Mildew and squash bugs. The Striato d'Italia zucchini pictured was roasted in the oven with an herb blend and a bit of salt, still sweet and flavorful.
The Siam Queen Asian basil is massive. It usually lasts well into the cold days of fall, we don't actually cook with it but add it to hot bowls of soup. To the right is some parsley and leaf celery, the parsley is a little singed from the heat.
The seven little plants of garlic chives are still alive and the biggest plant is actually blooming. I've seen family friends eat tons of this raw as a garnish to just about every savory dish they consumed. My dad is the same way with hot peppers, he'll alternate bites of hot pepper with normal food during evening meals.
The two pepper beds have merged as one, there's some blooming Italian basil in there as well. We've been getting some heavy rains that keep knocking down a few of the pepper plants, which I'm trying to prop up with bamboo stakes. I've been harvesting enough ripe sweet peppers to have with our lunches, they're prepared by slicing and sautéing with onions and a little salt.
The carrots have come up. Last year they were planted at the end of September which was much too late. Hopefully, this batch was planted early enough to do something. They were planted on the 18th, so it took them awhile to germinate.
The other half of the carrot bed is taken up by radishes. I hope September isn't too hot for them, otherwise they'll end up extra spicy. This bed was seeded on the 18th.
There's 6 different varieties of turnips that were planted in this bed two weeks ago. The two varieties in the front are actually from old seed and took a little longer to germinate.
Half this bed is planted in Gilfeather turnips, which is supposedly a turnip and rutabaga mix. The other half has kohlrabi and fennel.
Newly germinated fennel looks just like carrots, but their cotyledon leaves are a little longer.
I forget how slow growing beets really are, kind of like kohlrabi. The Tall Top Early Wonder beet in the back of the bed was planted June 21st and a few of the roots look ready to pull. Those are leeks in the bed to the right, they'll perk up when it cools down and starts raining regularly.

I've had some trouble with flea beetles this year, which seem to like beets as much as they like eggplants. The garden got treated with beneficial nematodes last week when we had cooler weather, which should help with the flea beetles. I had to wait to the end of summer because nematodes are supposed to be sensitive to heat when they're traveling in the mail system.
This cleared out corn bed will get seeded with all manner of Asian greens and mustards.
I totally cleared out this corn bed yesterday. Our town has a free service where they'll pick up and process non-grassy yard waste into mulch. I just put the corn stalks into the alley for them. The plan is to plant snow peas and snap peas, and then fava beans will go in after them to overwinter.

There's still lots of planting to do for the fall garden. I've got to get greens, peas, and lettuces in soon. Lettuces get pretty dirty from rain splashing soil on them, most people mulch around them or plant them close enough that doesn't happen. My instinct is always to overplant and overcrowd things. When it comes to greens and such, it does seem to help keep them cleaner.

August 28, 2018

Harvest Monday, 8/28/18

All three of these are different varieties of zucchini I picked a few days ago. I try to remember to pick zucchini while I'm out clearing the garden and seeding things that will be harvested in fall and early winter, but a few were definitely left a little too long.

Please join us for Harvest Monday hosted by Dave at Happy Acres. A place where garden and vegetable enthusiasts congregate to share the goings on in their gardens.

August 20, 2018

Harvest Monday, 8/20/18

I picked a bunch of sweet peppers last week. We mainly grew sweet peppers this year with the only spicy peppers being jalapenos and poblanos, although Shishito and Padron peppers can get fiery hot as they ripen in our climate.
The dark red top-shaped peppers on top are Odessa and the orangey red top-shaped pepper on the bottom is Feher Ozon. I have to admit, the Odessa peppers are much sweeter than the Feher Ozon pepper which has a sour-ish end note. I've only eaten them raw, and perhaps Feher needs to ripen longer.
Of the long peppers, Melrose is a shorter wrinkly blunt-nosed pepper. There's quite a following in regards to this pepper which is a thin-walled frying pepper. I've tried the pepper raw and the flavor and texture was just, eh. But sautéing it with onions and it becomes something else entirely. Flavorful and incredibly sweet, my husband and I ate the Melrose peppers and onions on top of rice, and that was all it needed. So good. And a bonus for this variety is that the plants are productive.

I've been carefully saving seeds from our peppers, which have been disease free this season and tend to be in general. There have been very few pollinators around this year, but it's probably possible for peppers to accidently get pollinated by wind and such. Since I didn't do anything to isolate them, there's no guarantee they'll be true to type since I grew gobs of varieties.

Padron peppers tend to just be fiery hot in our climate, and Shishito peppers can be the same if left on the plant too long. The few tiny young Shishito peppers that have been edible after frying up with sea salt in a little olive oil, were quite wonderful.

We're still getting the occasional zucchini from our plants of both the Butta (F1) yellow zucchini and Striato d'Italia zucchini. Other than that, peppers, herbs, sweet potatoes, kale, and cutting celery are the only things left from the summer garden. I'll be sharing pictures on my gardening transitioning into fall in the next couple of days.

Please join us for Harvest Monday hosted by Dave at Happy Acres, a place where the strong at heart and overzealous come to share the fruits from their gardening labors.

August 15, 2018

Harvest Monday, 8/13/18

Sorry, I couldn't be around much this summer. My husband had to have surgery at the beginning of July which meant I couldn't get out into the garden for weeks. Here's a few pictures from right before his surgery, and a few things during garden cleanup and the like.
Bush beans did great this year. Surprisingly there was only a little rust in their patch.
Cherry tomatoes did well this year, but the onions were terrible. Tiny tiny onions.
The green tomato on the right blushed with gold is Green Cherokee which is amazingly prolific even with all the diseases that rampaged through the garden.
I've been roasting tomatoes with zucchini and summer squash with mixed herbs which was fabulous, but my favorite way to eat a tomato this year was just fresh on crackers with some soft Laughing Cow cheese.
We picked tons of cherry tomatoes this year, but the only ones that tasted great even with the wonky weather we experienced were Red Grape and Sun Gold and both are hybrids.
Lots of weird diseases in the garden this year. It was the first time I've ever seen wilt and what I suspect was Septoria leaf spot. The tomato plants never recovered after the 8 days of torrential unending rain we got. And the only large tomato that still managed to taste great this year despite it all was Pink Brandywine.

Corn and melons were a bit of a disaster. We got a few good pickings of corn, but then it rained and critters moved in. Squirrels were all over the tomatoes as usual, but something big was pulling down the corn and getting to the melons. We've trapped possums before, but I think it might be racoons.

All the tomato plants, bush beans, and onions have been pulled. I've hand dug those beds, weeded, and started the process of fall planting. Mostly carrots in containers, beets, Gilfeather turnips, kohlrabi, and bulb fennel have been planted. I've still got salad turnips, radishes, and greens to plant. Once the corn gets cut down, more greens as well as fava beans will get planted in their place.

It's supposed to rain for a week so I've been pushing through to get the garden planted before then. Finger's crossed I can get it done tonight.

July 2, 2018

Harvest Monday, 7/2/18

June 25th was the first picking from the bush bean beds. The earliest and most prolific bean so far is Triomphe de Farcy beans, too bad it's the stringiest bean ever. The strings are so tough and difficult to get off they actually make my fingers sore. Thank goodness Landreth's Stringless is making up for it.
Dark Brandywine is the first large tomato I picked. (Berkley Tie-Dye would've been the first ripe but a critter ate half of it.) On the left are three Jaune Flamme tomatoes, they produce large trusses of fruit.
On June 27th I only got half the bush bean bed picked before it threatened to rain again. A mixture of Triomphe de Farcy, Contender, and Tendergreen.
I started picking the tomatoes early just to keep them from splitting too badly with all the rain we'd been getting.
The other half of the bush bean bed got picked on the June 28th. Mostly Landreth's Stringless and Derby.
In the back is a Berkley Tie-Dye tomato and a small Green Zebra.
Out of the 4 cucumber varieties I'm growing, only Salad Slicer and Heike have produced. The other two have yet to make female blooms.
On Sunday, July 1st, I harvested more green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes.

I mad a chicken, onion, and green bean dish yesterday using Aldi's Harissa Simmer Sauce and it was fabulous. Spicy and delicious over a bed of rice with fresh herbs and a dollop of homemade cucumber yogurt sauce. Yum.
A plate of homegrown Mrs. Burn's Lemon basil, Siam Queen basil, Gigante d'Italia parsley, and cucumbers with some store bought cilantro. This was served with the chicken and green bean harissa sauce dish.

We got 8 days in a row of heavy rainfall. The wind was so bad on June 28th it made me worry about a tornado. Lots of tree damage in the neighborhood and power went out for a little bit. But it looks like that stormy weather pattern has finally broken. All this rain means disease is running rampant in the tomato beds, and half the onions were lost. I've decided I'm done growing onions, it's a lot of work starting them so early in February only to have most of them die or not do well because of the amount of water we tend to get.

The bush bean bed will probably be done in another week or two, Gilfeather turnips will be directly sown in that bed. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts will get planted in the early Buhl sweet corn once it's done in few weeks. It'll probably be late before the Morado corn is finished so fava beans/broad beans probably won't be planted until October or November in those beds.

I might try a planting of peas along the fence in the Buhl corn bed. The only reason I've been able to keep up with the weeding this year is because the kiddo is vacationing with the grandparents. They've been going to the beach and out cherry picking, so lots of fun stuff.

Join us for Harvest Monday hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres. A place where garden drama unfolds as gardeners share their trials and triumphs, as well as their weekly harvests.

June 30, 2018

Corn Tasseling and Other Things in the Garden

The Buhl sweet corn is tasseling, and I can see little corns forming. So cool.

The long season Morado corn is already as tall as me. It's supposed to end up 8-12 feet tall. Only a few stalks lodged at the beginning when they were a foot tall, but they're all staying nice and upright now even with all the rain and wind we've been getting.
Buhl sweet corn tasseling. They're only about 4.5 feet tall at this point.
A few of the stalks only have a single ear forming, but I've counted a few stalks with possibly 4 ears starting.
Baby Buhl corn? So cute. They're actually a very well rooted variety with no signs of lodging. I can actually see them forming more roots at the bottom of their stems, so they're very stable. 
The Butta(F1) zucchini is making babies! My husband got me a big spiralizer for Mother's Day, so I'm incredibly excited. This yellow zucchini is very prolific.
This baby Tuscany melon is about three inches long, but I've seen them get this large and yellow and fall off. So fingers crossed that doesn't happen.
Looks like this is the only baby the Charentais melon has set. They haven't made many female blooms yet and the bed is fairly overcrowded so pollinators probably have problems getting to them.
The onions that were started from seed are making me crazy. Half the bed died out when the Cipolle di Tropea red onions got powdery mildew. The Borettana Cipollini onions aren't swelling up yet, but otherwise they're coping with the rain well. I went ahead and seeded beets in the back half of this bed.
Tall Top Early Wonder beet in the onion bed. They popped up in just 3 days with the warm weather we've been having.
The leeks are doing wonderfully. I've never gotten them to this size in Kentucky before. This variety is American Flag. I'm growing them in clumps of three about 8-12 inches apart. I tried trenching them last year which worked very well, but the squash plants ended up overrunning them.

June 26, 2018

Interesting Winged Bug

It rained crazily all weekend and I found this interesting insect hiding under our covered deck. It laid there quietly while I wandered around close to it, but then flew away when I accidently dropped a gardening clog. It was massive close to 2.5 inches long.
It's more than likely a cicada which have started singing in the trees lately.
It was playing dead for quite a long time making me think it was just a husk from molting but those are usually brown and don't have wings.