Saturday, October 15, 2016

Winding down.
Today I held the annual Winter Squash Fest. Excellent two years ago; bad last year; middle-of-the-road this year. Two dove-sized birds were fighting, competing for the best viewing spot. Otherwise the crowd was sparse. Here's my catch:
The 14 Butternuts are good size; the unidentified red might be Red Kabochas (but where did they come from?). The three left-most specimens are also unidentified. The spherical baby might be a cantaloupe or a honeydew (an abortive attempt, I should say...), and I'll know when I cut it open. Is it possible that the giant at the top is a zucchini? Don't think so, as it grew at the end of a long vine, the only specimen on that plant.
This year's delicatas were pitiful; the smallest in this picture is the size of a walnut (the yellow sphere is the same specimen as the left-most baby in the picture above):
I have been busy making tomato sauce for the winter--the tomato crop was excellent this year, as was the eggplant--and here is a view of one such pot being cooked with basil sprigs, onion and garlic added:

Once the tomatoes are well cooked (an hour or so on very low heat), I put them through my vegetable strainer, then I add olive oil and some red wine, and continue to cook until the right consistency is reached:

Here is what the salsa looks like, and, together with my delicious eggplant, it is perfect for Pasta alla Norma. In Sicily they use penne and a few pieces of eggplant. We use pasta of any shape and LOTS of eggplant, some basil, and we top it off with Parmigiano Reggiano. I find the most affordable such (and of good quality) at Costco.

The herb garden is still going strong:

Thyme, sage, parsley, mint...

And now what is left is many tomatoes still on the vine, and another batch of apples ready to be turned into apple sauce and added to our stash in the freezer. Fun.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

This morning I noticed that the aphids had made a come back, attacking the eggplants. So I did some cleaning and harvested six eggplants:
The rightmost is a long, black. The five to its left are long, pink. I harvested the smallest pink by mistake, thinking I was eliminating a sucker sprout. The yellow-brown runt is the third or fourth such mutant-like critter. They do reach full size, but are not good eating. I have tried letting them stand covered in salt for hours, then washed them thoroughly, then fried them. Not a good dish. Here are two other specimens I downed a few days ago:

Eight or nine other eggplants are still on the plants in the greenhouse. They will be the last of my aubergines. The few plants I have outside did not produce fruit, and I knew they wouldn't. These babies need a lot of warm weather--and our nights here are cool.
I also grabbed the three or four bunches of grapes on one of the vines (the others did not produce fruit) beating the birds that were sure to find them and eat them. They are delicious.
It has not been a good year for my fruit trees. Only the apple (and one grape vine) produced fruit, and not abundant. I am hoping next year will be good.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Tomato and Eggplant.
Both are producing well. Here's this summer's biggest (so far) heirloom tomato, which came in at 599 grams, well over a pound (21 oz and change):
This summer I have grown four varieties of tomatoes, and that's what my tomato army looks like:
The big guns are the heirloom tomatoes; the small tomatoes make excellent sauce. And I have two varieties of cherry tomatoes, one a bit larger than the other.

The long eggplants (pink) are delicious. They do not need to be salted before frying, and are tender and sweet. This is how they stack up on the 6 inch deck rail:
Time to go harvest a few more...

Monday, September 12, 2016

Veggies and Flowers.
The tomatoes are producing well, and the green beans are abundant. I haven't been checking the garden carefully, so today I cut many of the squash leaves (to help me see what's growing under them) and I trimmed the tomato plants of all their new growth--something I probably should have done two or three weeks ago. The chard keeps on leafing, and the beans keep on podding.

The flowers also fluorish:
I'll have to take some pics of the squash... Next time...

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Catch of the Day: Chard, Eggplant.
5 long eggplants, three pink, two black, weighing in at 2.31 lbs; Red chard 10.1 oz. Will harvest more of both...

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Green Beans, Pink Eggplant, and Flowers.

The beans in the window garden are now producing well:

and the pink eggplants are looking good (we have already harvested some).

The petunias are happy in their corner of the greenhouse

amd the marigolds are gigantic and have all but obliterated their box-mates the green beans.

And thanks to the recent rains, mushrooms are sprouting all over. This one is about 5 inches in diameter,

and this family of red heads looks dangerous:

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Eggplant, etc.

This morning I harvested two eggplants, one zucchini, and a few cherry tomatoes:The longer eggplant weighs 251 grams, the other 320 g. The zucchini came in at 222 g.

The little plantation in the green house is coming along well and more fruit is coming soon.

The heirloom tomatoes (three visible in this not-so-good picture), are reaching good size:

The herb garden is luxuriant,

with beautiful, gigantic parsley

and, clockwise from bottom right, thyme, sage, arugula, mint. The arugula is in full bloom, which means I will be harvesting the seeds soon.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Tomato, Eggplant.
Good progress in the growth of my tomatoes and eggplants:

The heirloom in this picture is about 3 inches in diameter.

This eggplant is agout 6 inches long.

I harvested the first green beans, some chard (enough for two meals), and the first cherry tomatoes.

I uprooted the spinach, now lying in the back, waiting to dry into seeds, to clear the way for this batch of green beans. Looking good.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Mom's Birthday.
She would be 113 years old today. In her honor I took pictures of the petunias:

My container tomatoes are doing well. Here is a row of 7; there are others):
My eggplant plantation looks good. I have let two volunteer squash plants (I uprooted dozens of them) grow along:

And the marigolds are cohabiting nicely with green beans:

Sunday, June 26, 2016

My eggplants are growing nicely
My petunias are beautiful

and the spinach are going to seed

Monday, June 13, 2016

Basil, Spinach.
Some of my basil is ready to be pestoed (6 net ounces)
with partners pine nuts, parmesan, a bit of garlic, and olive oil.
The spinach is giving signs of wanting to bolt,
but I was still able to harvest 10 ounces worth of leaves, a nice amount. In a while I will be collecting the seeds of this excellent producer.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Smells, Sweet and Not.
The Scotch broom, or Spanish broom, or ginestra is in glorious bloom. The photos do not do it justice, but they look good and their sweet scent is strong:

as is that of the honeysuckle:
I have used some left-over "All Purpose Plant Food (7-4-4) Pet & People Friendly" in the eggplant patch in the greenhouse trough. One of the ingredients of the plant food is "Bird Guano," and believe me, it's strong! It must be good if it's this stinky.
We had overlooked the last butternut squash stashed in the basement, and recently I found it in its mummified state, but in nice living colors:

On a more gardeny note, the spinach continue to produce excellently. We have harvested (and eaten in a delicious stir fry) our first snow peas.
I have 22 tomato plants in the penitentiary; 11 in containers. A few others await a final destination.
The eggplant plantation consists of ten plants in the trough, several others in containers, and six that await the end of spinach to populate the window garden.
I have planted green beans in the flower box (growing beautifully) and in the wagon garden. The wagon garden remains a mystery. The snow peas are healthy, productive, and beautiful. The spinach is rachitic; the chard even worse. I am hoping a few beans will germinate and produce well. Finally, the various squashes in the penitentiary do not look particularly well.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

More Updates.
I have put in the ground 30 lupini beans, using different methods, such as soaking the beans overnight before planting them, and planting them at different depths. So far 1 out of 30 has sprouted. Not what I had hoped. The lone sprouter seems to be doing well.

I have concluded that only one of my six grafts took. It's doing great. The early sprouters are clearly dead, victims of the cold spell, I presume. The same cold spell that killed all the peach, apricot and plum flowers (but not the apple flowers, now turned to apples the size of cherries). I have topped the peach tree and will graft again next spring.

My snow peas are coming along well. The plants are full of flowers, some already turning to pods. I have had to enclose the plants in chicken wire because our visiting deer had feasted on them (as well as on the low branches of the apple tree and on the baby cherry tree). Let's hope he stays away.

I have started transplanting the tomatoes in the penitentiary (4 so far) and in containers (7 so far). And three petunias are now gracing the greenhouse wall.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The first lupini plant sprouted about ten days ago--the only one of ten beans I stuck in the ground. I do not understand why the turnout is so low.
The growth on graft 2 is vigorous. Graft 1 obviously failed. After a growth spurt early on, grafts 3-6 are either dead or otherwise dormant.
The snow peas are coming along:
The tomatoes (heirloom and cherry) and the long eggplants I grew from seeds are in their intermediate location in the greenhouse (some sixty plants--way more than I need):

My little basil plantation is thriving and ready to be split up:
I finished my box and trellis, now ready to receive my compost:

The little kangaroo mouse went bye bye:
and in twenty minutes the rosanero will be playing the game of their lives.