Monday, August 14, 2017

This Year's Garlic

I pulled the garlic this afternoon, tied it in small batches, and now have to find a good place to hang them for curing.

There are two varieties, though I don't recall what they are called.  The purple marbled variety is the larger of the two and the skins seem thinner and not very dry.  The white variety has several layers of nice, dry skins even before curing.  That bodes well for long-term storage.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Do You Smell Something Burning?

The town has been in a haze of smoke for the last 2 days due to a wildfire in the region (and possibly from the fires further south in the province).  When I got up Saturday morning, I thought I was seeing thick fog outside the window.  Then I smelled the smoke and noticed the eerie yellow-orange tinge in the air.  The sun was a small, neon orange circle in the sky.  What a strange atmosphere.  This picture doesn't do it justice, but might show how much the smoke obscured the sun (this was taken around 11 o'clock in the morning).

One of the first cucumbers...

...and the Galeux D'Eysines are coming along well...

One of the ball dahlias has bloomed!  Pretty petals, and I love the colours.  

One of seven 4-lb bags of frozen raspberries in the freezer.  We also juiced several pounds so it would be easier to store, and so we can make jelly in the coming weeks, if we want.  We finally just stopped picking the raspberry bushes.  We have more than we need and simply could not find people willing to put in the time and effort to pick for themselves.  The berries on the bushes are small (end of season), very ripe, and are falling off the plants at this point.  I hate to see the fruit go to waste, but there is so much else for me to do, that something had to give.

I sold one bag of frozen berries last night and hope to sell a few more to make room in the freezer for the coming beans, peas, and tomato sauce.  If nothing else, it gives us a little grocery money for the hours of picking we've put in!

First ripe tomato of the season.  :)  This is a "Bonny Best", a small canning tomato.  One of the Cherokee Purples is also looking great.  All the rest of the tomatoes are still green (typical).

The marigolds were very late starting, but have finally found their legs.

We picked a few crabapples to juice as an experiment.  The juice is tart, but sweet enough to drink and can be used to make jelly.

Crabapple juice, still warm.  This one batch of crabapples produced 12 cups of juice.

Once chilled (or frozen), the crabapple juice takes on a soft pink colour.  This would make such a pretty jelly!

The first picking of Red Swan beans...

...and Galopka beans...

...and Calima beans.

Garlic rounds (Kiev) that grew from some of the bulbils planted last fall.  (The update is at the bottom of the page, here.)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Slug Hotels

Worst cabbage year ever. 

I knew the green cabbages looked rough this year and that we had lost a bunch to root maggots, but I was not expecting the damage I discovered this morning.  There wasn't a single cabbage worm to be found (if anything goes wrong, it is usually the presence of worms).  Rather, the cabbages were full of slugs.  Slug hotels.  In my garden.  

Big chunks are chewed out of the bottoms of them.  There are slugs and slug poop 4 and 5 layers in.  It doesn't help that this cabbage variety doesn't have tightly packed leaves.  The wrinkled gaps serve as cool, spacious lounge areas for them.  They certainly looked relaxed, as I was scowling, peeling back layers and flinging the squatters out with my knife. Only two cabbages had anything resembling roots left on them, but the roots were only about 3 or 4 cm long.   Most of the stems gave no resistance at all when I pulled them. In past years, they were so strongly rooted I had to dig the stems and roots out with a shovel or leave them until the following Spring because I couldn't pull them by hand. 

I left four on the step that are past saving.  Four small ones are soaking in a sink of salted water. If I start processing them and they are full of holes and slug poo that needs to be scrubbed out with a toothbrush leaf by leaf, then the whole lot is going in the compost bin. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Crabapple Glory

Thanks to all the rain early in the season, this crabapple harvest just might rival the excellent raspberry harvest we've had this year.

I don't know what variety of crabapples these are, but I love their appearance when they are ripe:  a pretty, rosy pink-red.  They are tart, but sweet enough to eat on their own.  Now that we have a steam juicer, I think we'll take a stab at making crabapple jelly.  Just a few jars, though.  The majority of the crabapples will hopefully be snapped up by - and preferably picked by - others who would like to have them.

It is a challenge to get a good picture of the entire tree, as it is so oddly shaped.  A few incidents of enthusiastic pruning by R. over the years have left it lopsided. For better or worse, I gather another pruning is in this tree's near future. 

Several of the branches are so heavy with fruit, they almost touch the ground.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Behold, An Eggplant!

A Ping Tung eggplant has made an appearance!  I only grew two eggplants this year, a Ping Tung and a Black Beauty (which doesn't have flowers yet).  The Ping Tung seems to love the pot it's in and it's location next to the fence.  It is covered with flowers now.  After last year's failed attempt at growing them in-ground, it looks like planting them in large containers is the way to go for us.


These are Red Swan beans (snap/bush).  A friend ordered them from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and shared a few with me so I could try growing them.  What a neat colour!

I think it's time to rotate the gardens.  Here is the North garden around this time in 2015, looking lush...

...and here it is this morning.  The broccoli plants have given us all they are going to give us this season, but I couldn't bring myself to pull them quite yet.  The garden looks sparse enough this year as it is!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Bee, Lou, Tragedy, and Triumph

Brief notes from this morning's perusal.

The dahliettas are starting to open.  This little guy seemed to be enjoying them.

Lou, supervising from the fence.

One of my Early Annies snapped under the weight of it's fruit.  It is a determinate variety, so I though it would be safe to leave it unsupported.  Opps.  :(

On the upside, a Cherokee Purple is ripening nicely.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Swimming In Raspberries

    As predicted, this has been a stellar year for raspberries.  We have been picking every 2 to 3 days for about two weeks now.  In five picks, we have harvested over 40 lbs of berries.  Our freezer is packed.  We have even steam juiced (R's latest impulse buy) some of our supply so it will take up less space.  We're going to have to figure out what to do before the tomatoes, beans, and string beans are harvested.  If all goes according to plan, a neighbour and his young sons and a friend of R's will come pick their fill today.  Hopefully, they will help themselves to some of the parsley I hung on the back of the fence, too!

Some of our strawberries and broccoli...

Garlic scapes from a friend's farm.

Sauteed scapes.  Like a cross between asparagus and mild garlic.

'Ruby Eclipse' sunflower

The first and only 'Green Macerata' cauliflower head so far.  Huge plants, but where are all the cauliflower?

'Green Macerata' cauliflower plants in the corner of the potato patch.

'Meteor' zinnia - petals not completely open yet.

Galeux D'Eysines squash plants.  Apparently, these are sprawlers, not climbers.  None of them latched onto the branches I put in as supports.  The Candy Roasters we grew last year were definitely climbers!

'Painted Pony' beans in the bed in the foreground, 'Cattle' beans in the bed near the fence. Both are dry bush bean varieties.

The green cabbage have had a rough summer, but at least the 'Red Express' cabbage are doing well.

A whisper across my ankles...

...the neighbour's kitty arrives for a visit and conversation.

'Cattle' dry bush beans.  These are very productive.

'Early Crookneck' squash plants.  I am still waiting for the actual squash to appear!

Garlic, sunflowers, and 'Tiger Eye' beans.

The North garden.  It looks sparse compared to past years.

'Ping Tung' eggplant flowers.

A volunteer orange zinnia in an 'Early Annie' tomato plant!

Tomatoes, peppers, parsley, an eggplant ('Black Beauty'), lime basil, and an 'Early Crookneck' squash plant along the south side of the house.

Floofy's petunias and a bit of lettuce.

A variety of mint, Red Russian, Lacinato, and Curly kale, and Italian Flatleaf and curly parsley.

L to R: Zucchini plants, jalapeno pepper plant, and Dapple Grey dry bush beans.

The pea patch (South garden), peppers, zinnias, and cucumbers.