Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tomato Troubles (aka Mid-August Update - Part 3)

So lastly in my mid (to late) August update are the tomatoes.  Back in April I described each of the varieties that I am growing this year.  I planted them in two different areas.  The first area gets a bit more sun than the second area.  The tomatoes in both sections have done very well with those in the shadier bed predictably producing less and taking longer to ripen than those in the sunnier beds.
Tomato Beds in the Sunnier Area
Tomato Bed in the Shadier Area

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What's Happening In The Garden - Mid-August - Part 2

Ok, so we are way past mid-August.  More like end of August.  But I did take these pictures last week and I started writing this post on Thursday so technically, it was closer to the middle of the month than the end.  And today we have our first heat alert this year with a high of 33°C (91°F) but it feels like 43°C (109°F)!! with the humidity.  Our temps have not been over 30°C (86°F) since June which is great for me but not so great for the garden, especially heat lovers like peppers.  But I think that 109° is a bit much, even for them.

I started some broccoli, Chinese cabbage, kohlrabi and kale transplants in July - all of which were supposed to go into the onion and garlic beds.  Well, the garlic was harvested & that bed was planted up near the end of July with the kohlrabi, Chinese cabbage and a few of the broccoli starts. This is what that bed looks like now:

From back to front:  Broccoli, Mei Qing Choi, Kohlrabi

Monday, August 25, 2014

Harvest Monday - August 25, 2014

This week we have onions and then we have more onions – oh yes, and tomatoes!

Rossa di Milano (left) & Copra (right)

Friday, August 22, 2014

What's Happening In The Garden - Mid-August - Part 1

The tomatoes are finally producing loads of fruit – enough to start some canning.  Only problem is I’ve never canned tomatoes before so there is a bit of a learning curve…..and a supply issue.  My plan was to can them in 1 litre (1 quart) jars and then I realized that the pot I used for canning some jam is nowhere near tall enough to adequately cover the larger jars with water.  So I have ordered a canning pot from Amazon – and now I wait.

In the meantime, I thought it was high time to do another update on how all of the beds are doing.

First up is the squash.  To backtrack a bit, I am growing 4 types of bush squash, 2 plants of each.  Three varieties are summer squash, one is a winter squash.  So far, one of the “Sure Thing” zucchini – the largest plant – has produced the majority of the summer squash.  The other Sure Thing is about a quarter of the size and has produced exactly – zero.

"Sure Thing" Summer Squash

Monday, August 18, 2014

Harvest Monday - August 18, 2014

I harvested about 2/3 of the Rossa di Milano onions this past week.  The stems had fallen and, even though I would have preferred to leave them in the ground for about a week or so afterwards (as I often see recommended), we were in for a couple of rainy days so I thought it best to get them out of the ground after only a few days.  I included a couple of the very small onions in the tally as I used these in the kitchen this week, but the rest will be tallied after they are cured & ready for storage.
Rossa di Milano Storage Onions

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Peppers Don't Like Beans - Fact or Fiction?

My son’s birthday is in the beginning of August so it is always a super busy time for us.  We usually have a family get-together on one weekend and a party with his school friends on the next.  One year we tried to combine them and it was just a bit much for me.  I much prefer two smaller gatherings to one big one.  Yesterday was the friends party and we are done!  My focus can now go back to gardening - and the 100 other things that have taken a back seat over the past couple of weeks.

So now I arrive at my pepper observations.  In the last little while I have noticed that the peppers planted next to the beans are doing significantly better than those I planted with the tomatoes.

Pepper Plants in Tomato Bed
Pepper Plants in Bean Bed

Monday, August 11, 2014

Harvest Monday - August 11, 2014

My first harvest of onions is in – well, technically they’re shallots.  ‘Camelot’ shallots grown from seed to be precise.  But does this look like a shallot to you?
Camelot Shallot
Me neither.  These have got to be the biggest “shallots” I have ever seen.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

This past week was my son’s 9th birthday and usually this means we (I) are busier than usual.  But I thought I would squeeze in one tiny post (well, not so tiny as it turns out).

About a week or so ago, I made zucchini bread.  I had never tasted zucchini bread in my life.  Zucchini has never been a big performer in my garden (yet!), so the avalanche of summer squash that others experience has yet to materialize at our house.  Far from having too many zucchini and having to devise new ways of using them up, I have the opposite problem….dozens of recipes to try and too few zucchini to make them.

After reading one of Rachel’s posts at Grow a Good Life on zucchini bread, I thought I would give it a go.  I had been having a bit of a brownie craving for the last little while, so of course, I chose to make the chocolate zucchini bread.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Harvest Monday - August 4, 2014

Carrots were the big harvest this past week.  The total harvest was not too bad, but I think they really should have stayed in the ground for another week or two.  I didn’t want to delay any longer however, as my fall carrots are going into the same bed and I am already pushing the limit on sowing them this late.
I’ve only grown Scarlet Nantes carrots (successfully) once before and I vaguely recalled them being quite a bit larger.   When I looked back over my records, I was right – back in 2012, the average weight of a typical Scarlet Nantes was 71 grams, while this year it was 31 – almost ½ the size.  Next year I really do have to get them into the ground earlier – not only would they be larger, but then I could also get my fall planting in the ground sooner which would give them a better chance of reaching full size.
"Little Finger" Carrots

Friday, August 1, 2014

Carrot Scare

My carrots have taken a long time to size up - or so it seems.  As is often the case when waiting for things to mature in the garden, a few days seems more like a few weeks – the first ripe tomato, the first juicy strawberry….and the carrot harvest.

That’s why I love keeping records of when I do things.  I could have sworn that the carrots should have been done long before now.  But then I look back and see that I actually sowed them on May 13 and they didn’t start germinating until May 25th.  All of the varieties I am growing should mature in 60-70 days.  So moving forward from the date of germination, they were not due to reach maturity until July 24th at the earliest.  And taking into account that they are located in a bed that receives a bit more shade, the end of July is, in fact, on the early side of the harvesting window.

So now I want to backtrack to last week when I had a bit of a scare with the carrots.  As I was doing my daily stroll around the garden, I noticed this:

Bolting Carrot??