Saturday, June 27, 2015

Fourth of July Tomato

      How often do you get something that is better than advertised?  I bought a Burbee's Fourth of July Tomato plant this spring.  I thought I would try one plant as August first or later is often my start of the tomato season.  Well when I checked on the progress of the plant last week, I was shocked and pleased to see a tomato ripening!  Not willing to let birds or slugs or deer get the first tomato of the year, I picked the little devil on June 26th.  Yes, in June.

First Tomato picked June 26, 2015
      And oh so scrumptious.  Not like a mid August Black Krim, but not like anything I have had in eight months.  The plant is a hybrid, so I won't try to save seed, but I will certainly look for the plants again next year.  As an indeterminate tomato, it has been said to produce well into October or November.  I am going to root some cuttings to aim for that late crop.  I may even try to bring in a late plant to try to have stems for rooting next year.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kohlrabi Harvest

Kohlrabi, just before pulling June 16, 2015
      Some vegetables are certainly weird looking in the garden.  Some have never been eaten by more than a handful of veggie buyers.  Some people don't know what part of the veggie they are supposed to eat.  Well, kohlrabi fits all those statements.  The first time I grew it was just to see what it looked like.  It is neat to look at, and delicious to eat.

Entire plant pulled
      So what part do you eat?  The little tennis ball thingie in the middle that actually forms a bulb above ground.  You want to harvest it at this size, because they become woody as they get larger.

Ready for launch
      The Russian rocket scientists who designed the first satellite in space, the Sputnik, stole the design of the earthly kohlrabi.  This baby is ready for launch.
      So how do you eat this thing?  First you trim off the rest of the stems and say good bye to the Sputnik appearance.  If the bulb is tender you can use a veggie peeler to pare off the thin outer layer.  If it is starting to toughen a bit, I just use a paring knife to shave off the thin outer skin.  An apple peeler hand machine would be awesome.  Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked.  Slice the little ball  into 1/8 inch circles.  Cut each circle in half to have two semi circles.  They can now be used like radishes, but without a kick.  Great on a cut veggie platter, or for dipping in your favorite veggie sauce.  The semi circles are great for stir fry or for addition to soups.
       Kohlrabi is becoming more popular in the gardening scene, and I actually purchased mine as a nine pack of starter veggies at Home Depot this spring for $3.44 for the pack.  And one better than a Model T, you can actually get them in white or purple.  If you start seed in early July, you should have an even better fall harvest of this member of the cool weather veggies of the cole group.
      Say bye bye to this one, as he is invited to dinner tonight.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

First Zucchini

Zucchini, as of June 14, 2015
      It seems early to me, but I picked my first two zucchini yesterday!  We had one of them for dinner in a delicious casserole, so had the one remaining on the left. Today we picked the two golden zucchini and the nice green one on the right.  So in only two days into the picking season, we are near the point of overload. However, daughter Emily will be here on Tuesday, and she is a zucchini fixing and eating machine.  Even zucchini fritters for breakfast.  Yes, they are quite good.
      My previous posts tagged for zucchini are from the months of September and October.  It was unusual to have it that late, as bugs or mildew usually do it in. The newer bush zucchini are quite susceptible to squash borers eating out the main stem.  If you pile more dirt around the base of the plant they will often put out new roots and continue to grow. That is how I kept them late into the season.  They also grow so quickly that plants started before July 15th should produce a fall crop.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

English Podded Peas

Mixed Bed, June 2,2015
      Back in February I bought a little 8 ounce container of fresh, shelled English peas.  A much enjoyed extra in February.  Maybe twelve or more peas had stubby extensions that appeared to be roots starting to form in the peas.  So of course I saved those peas to go in dirt in cell packs.  And whoopee, they sprouted and made little pea plants.
      In March, space was at a premium to stuff holding on over the winter, so I put the plants in this little bed that has a short one foot tall rabbit fence.  The kale and broccoli starts on hand also got planted.  A veritable free for all, with space opening up as the peas and broccoli get pulled.  For now it is a beautiful exuberance of attractive green.

Two pea pods in the center

     
      This shot has a little side shoot of broccoli in the middle, with a couple of pea pods to the left, and curly kale leaves with rain droplets.  Simply scrumptious.

Peas picked June 2, 2015
Most pods had eight peas!
Tonight's haul
      Years ago I had concluded that it was a waste of time to try to grow peas.  Too much space required, just buy the peas frozen by the pound.  Well luckily, we tried eating some raw, and a taste sensation was born.  Now we cherish every single one of these peas, eaten as a special treat.  I am even hoping that I have missed some pods that will have peas to use as seed to start the process all over again.

Blueberry Planting

Finally planting, May 29th, 2015
      What is so unusual about the blueberry bush shown above?  Or the other two that also finally made it into the ground?  Well, maybe the fact that my wife gave me four plants about six years ago, and I just got around to planting the three that have survived for years in their pots.  It was a case of not knowing where to put them, so they went nowhere.  I have kept them alive for six years by soaking them in a tub of water which makes sure that they get totally wet, and that the water does not just run down the edge of the pot.  And they survived the winters unprotected with their pots above ground!
      Wouldn't it be ironic for them to keel over now that they have been finally planted?


      The bush just put in is at the bottom of this shot.  The second bush is just above the wood chip path, and the third bush is by the white tag at the top of the picture.  The bushes have about six feet between them for future growth.  Bird netting will be a must, as catbirds and robins will pick a bush clean.  Just before you might find nice blue and ripe berries.  But they are in!!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me

Spring may be coming after all
      This past Thursday was my birthday.  Daughter Barb and family visited yesterday and brought this beautiful present from them and from daughter Emily and family.  What a great way to chase away the winter grays.  Thank you all.
      It has been a long and dreary winter, and I have not even started seeds.  I hope this present will get me jump started.  If I clear out the failed cold frames, I can put these cool weather crops out now.  Be picking salad greens shortly.
      Thanks Barb and Em.