Monday 28 September 2015

Harvest Monday: September 27, 2015

Mom's visiting from B.C. for the week and we are off to Montreal today.  I haven't had much to harvest, although plenty of work ahead of me getting the beds ready for the fall.  I've bought a rototiller - although I don't like to till the soil too much, it is handy now and then.  I've used it to prepare the bed for garlic seed planting in a few weeks.

In the meantime, not much going on but a bit of harvest here and there.  The main photo shows the largest of my beets (definitely not saying much for the rest of the harvest) plus a variety of carrots and a watermelon - pictured just for interest as it did not mature enough to eat. In fact, the watermelon in this following picture is the bigger of the two which I had pulled out earlier in the week (at least I had a spoonful to eat):

I've tried making my usual basil and oil blend (in the food processor) to freeze but it has come out brownish the last two batches - I suspect the very few leaves that are tainted from a mild frost are turning the whole thing brown.  So what basil is not used fresh in the next few weeks will be tossed in the compost.  Along with the basil pictured here are a few Nantes carrots and more mouse melon.  The beans are very young Scarlett Runner Beans which were steamed and eaten.

And the usual batch of kale - in this case, I've pulled some plants that were too close together in the hopes of getting another good harvest in the next few weeks.

As for previous harvests, I made a casserole (scalloped potato style) of my own parsnips, potatoes and thyme tossed with leeks from the local market and baked with some veggie stock.  Yummy.

I'll try to catch up with everyone on Daphne's Dandelions Harvest Monday collection when I'm back from a few days away.  Hope everyone is enjoying their gardens!

Monday 21 September 2015

Harvest Monday: September 21, 2015

Whew, I've been at the Ottawa Cityfolk Music Festival most nights this past week (and working during the day) plus the weekend so very little time in the garden.  Saturday night had some rain ... great for the garden, not so great for the music festival (although I had my dollar store rain poncho so no worries on my part).

The salad above is from a fall planting of arugula - first time I've ever done a fall planting of greens.  As it turns out, I barely got any arugula in the summer as it kept bolting so I'm very pleased to be enjoying it now.

And this acorn squash below was a total surprise earlier in the week as I was cleaning out the dead squash plants - wouldn't you know it, there was a perfect squash lying there that I hadn't seen at all!  And, at just over 2 pounds, it is definitely the largest I've harvested all year.

And another basket of goodies from the greenhouse plants.

And two more Tiara cabbage.  With a few more nibbles on them than previous cabbages.

And since I have finally fixed my computer problems, I can share my tally thus far.  This is the first year I have ever weighed my harvests.  It's been a lot of extra work, but I think it will be very useful for determining the productivity of the different seeds, plant varieties or just crops in general.  This tally doesn't mean much without the details of what is in each category but fun to see that I've harvested over 160 pounds worth of food since the spring!

I will be submitting this post to Daphne's Dandelions Harvest Monday collection.  Pop on over to check it out!

Monday 14 September 2015

Harvest Monday: September 14, 2015

The weather has cooled considerably in the past few days and it rained all day Saturday and Sunday.  Which means I did not get a whole lot done in the garden.  The carrots below were harvested first thing Saturday before the rains started.  They need a lot more time to grow but I wanted some to cook with the parsnips from last week's harvest.  From left to right: Rainbow Mix, Nutri-Red and Nantes.  I'm not sure why the two Nantes have split, it's not exactly rough soil.  But these are only the first four I've pulled of that variety.

I've harvested a few things which I neglected to take a picture of ... a few more heads of Tiara cabbage and the last of the acorn squash.  Two of the cabbage went to friends and the one I kept was made into a quick slaw to top some of my pulled lamb tacos.

And I picked another huge batch of basil.  But I spent most of my time with the dried beans.  The black beans were picked weeks ago and left to dry.  I finally got around to shelling them last week.  This is the first half ...

It had been quite rainy by the time I finally harvested them and some had already started to sprout.

And here is the full harvest of black beans (about 350 grams) along with Tarbais in the upper left (which I also grew last year) and then the Scarlett Runner Beans.

I've never tried Scarlett Runner before ... I think most people grow them as an ornamental, so I think maybe they won't taste very good.  But I'll share my thoughts whenever I get around to cooking them.

And I unfortunately must report my failure with my beloved Borlotti beans.  During a bout of rainy weather a few weeks ago, the bushes fell over under the weight.  I simply didn't get to them in time and lost them to rot.  Many seemed okay and I dried them out, but when it came time to shell them, most had started to sprout inside like some of the black beans and were clearly rotting.

And for anyone who read my last post, you will know that I accidentally harvested this Dickinson pumpkin too early.  I will give it another week or so as I'm not quite ready to cook it up yet, but have no intention of trying to store it.  It will be turned into pies or casseroles very soon, assuming the flesh inside had enough time to mature.

Near end of day Sunday when the rains stopped, I did another walk around and picked some more kale, chard and a few tomatoes.  The brassicas I planted for fall harvests are pretty small so I haven't paid much attention but I found this little broccoli (bottom left of pic) which looked like it was ready to go to flower.

And I went through the crazy mess of the mouse melon plants and found another handful - I'm really loving these!

This is my submission for Daphne's Dandelions Harvest Monday collection.  Thanks to Daphne for giving everyone the opportunity to share in the harvests posted from all over the world.

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Will Pumpkins Ripen Off the Vine?

This is an excellent reminder that gardening is meant to be a gentle activity ... something to be approached with calmness and often more than a little delicacy (like when weeding around onions!).

I came home from work tonight to find, yet again, one of my rain gutters destroyed and in the middle of my yard.  My neighbour's dog likes to chase chipmunks up them and chomps the gutters every inch it can then rips it off.  It's happened many times ... they give me money now and then to replace them.  But the bigger problem are the holes. 

The dog digs and digs and digs, presumably to get the chipmunks.  I refilled one hole several times last year and finally placed a huge pallet over the area.  That stopped the dog for a while.  Now it digs around the pallet.  Clearly that is where the chipmunk(s) live.  So I found one hole by the pallet and this hole was a few feet away so not sure what was going on here.

I had some work to do and proceeded into the greenhouse for a little harvesting work.  The result wasn't too bad there ... I managed to pull off more than a few leaves and a couple of entire limbs while removing peppers.  But then I decided to check out my one remaining pumpkin plant. 

Some of you may remember that I lost many plants to frost and then more to cucumber beetle damage.  This Dickinson pumpkin plant was the only surviving pumpkin plant so I've been babying it a lot until the two fruit started to ripen.  Until this evening.  Arrggh! I was just trying to lift and turn the pumpkins a teeny, teeny bit so that the same part wasn't always touching the ground to avoid rot.  Well ... one came right off.

So, what I'd like to know is ... will it continue to ripen off the vine?  If not, I assume there is something that can be done with a green pumpkin (and I mean cooking with it, not just carving it up for Halloween).

I'll watch it over the coming weeks and will keep it outside for a while to hopefully ripen in the sun (is that the right thing to do?!).   And if you have the same questions as me then stay tuned!! I'll let you know what happens.

In the meantime, I'll listen to some mellow jazz or something ...

Monday 7 September 2015

Harvest Monday: September 7, 2015

This has been such an amazing growing season with plenty of heavy rains in between many hot days.  This weekend is no exception with the humidity hitting 40 Celsius yesterday and again today.  It is expected to break somewhat tomorrow with some showers. 

The heat loving plants are doing very well.  Especially those in my greenhouse!  So thanks to Alex at Lexis Greenhouses who helped me with the purchase and shipment as I have been completely thrilled with this extension of my garden!

This has, without question, been the most success I have had with growing peppers (both sweet and hot).  I've never really had a problem growing jalapenos, but good heavens, I think my yield has quadrupled from just the one plant in the greenhouse. 

In the picture above (clockwise from upper left):  King of the North, Jimmy Nardello, Hungarian Hot Wax, more Jalapenos, Sweet Pickle.

The Sweet Pickles are very productive but many of the earlier peppers were very small.  Lately though I've been getting peppers about 2 inches which is more the expected size.  They are a lovely plant with so many colours all at once.

And here is another variety that is growing in the greenhouse: Hinkelhatz!  I've had a few of these which I've just thrown in with jalapenos in previous harvests but I've now got them coming in faster.  Hinkelhatz is an heirloom pepper cultivated by the Pennsylvania Dutch and was traditionally used for pepper vinegar or hot sauce (which is exactly what I'll be using them to make).

I cleaned out quite a bit of the escarole (using Daphne's method of cleaning greens outside in a large tub).   This is over two pounds which I blanched and froze.

And another cabbage with several more to be harvested later this week.

And potatoes.  These are fingerlings, but I am trying to clean up the potato patch so have also harvested Yukon Gold and the few Russian Blue that are left in the ground.

Ooh, and more of these lovely mouse melons, so glad that I'm finally getting a few of these to nibble on.

As for these onions ... well, none have been intentionally pulled and these are accidental pulls during weeding.  But the onions in the ground aren't looking much better.  Sigh.  I keep thinking I will just give up growing onions but then I keep trying with the same results. 

I'm looking forward to seeing what other gardeners have on the go this week over at Daphne's Dandelions Harvest Monday collection!  See you over there!