Thursday, September 20, 2012

Still Harvesting

cucumbers, beans, tomatoes
 I discovered a pile of harvest photos that I haven't yet shown off this morning.  Most of the tomatoes are nearly green in the pics because I have been picking them at first blush.  Now that it's mid-September I've actually managed to harvest quite a few of them, and even my first couple of Fairy Tale eggplants, which are small but still tasty.
cucumbers, tomatoes, jalapenos.

After mowing the lawn a few days ago i discovered the blackberry vines growing over the fence from the neighbor's yard had a conciliatory harvest for me... probably in hopes that the bribe would keep me from cutting them.  It wasn't much of a harvest but I also didn't put much effort into clinbing around in the busshes looking for more.  Mina had them on her ice cream and said they were delicious.

 Not sure if I already mentioned the results of my potato growing or not.  The 3 potatoes I planted never bloomed, but I was sick of waiting on them so I turned over the 3 gal. pots they were in and low and behold I had potatoes!  There was a total of about a dozen baby potatoes, and some tiny ones that were just developing.  I ate them!  The tiny ones are being saved for spring planting though, maybe I won't have to purchase seed potatoes again.

Beans, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers.
 Eventually all those blushing tomatoes end up looking like the ones below and I use them fresh or cook them up for salsa or spaghetti sauce.
Tomatoes, green peppers, jalapeno, onions, garlic, and lime.  Ready for salsa!

Cooking the salsa.
Cherry tomato bowl.  Plus a couple eggplants.
 So despite the slow end of August and beginning of September harvests, things have kind of picked up as the days are growing shorter and the garden is getting more shade.  We've been seeing temperatures in the upper 80s and occasional 90s the past couple weeks, but that ends this week and temps will continue to get cooler.  So far the tomatoes have managed to prove their worth, even though I haven't yet seen enough at any time to preserve.  The huge fat San Marzanos are driving me crazy though, they are so thick with tomatoes the branches are breaking through the string holding them to their stakes, but not a single one has ripened yet.  Maybe the change in weather will give them a nudge to finish up before they die?

Custom cabinetry.
 The last item to share is that we finished up the final touch on the kitchen before we put in the new floors... the custom cookbook shelf on the end of the island.  I need to pick up a few more little shelf brackets for the tiny shelves, but otherwise it is done.  I think it looks great!  And it's much handier than digging around in the dining room cabinets to find a recipe.  Also, the shelves are designed to contain and hide the electrical outlets for the island, which aren't visible in this picture because they face in toward the oven. 

I have been house hunting this week and found a great place with a lot of potential, including garden potential, just waiting on a response from the bank and needing to finish up the work at this house and we'll be ready to dive into buying a house!

Friday, September 14, 2012

So Sorry

I haven't been keeping up with things, the kids are back in school, the garden is dying down, the tomatoes are still hanging in green on the vines.  I have started house hunting as well, which has taken up a good bit of my brain power and a small bit of my time.  I'm sure I'll be back to blogging more as things become more regular, but it is ridiculously busy right now and I have no idea when it will settle down again.

Monday, September 10, 2012

And The Winner Is....

With only 3 entries it was fairly easy to determine a winner to the giveaway.  Peggi's name was pulled from the hat. 

Congratulations Peggi!  Since Blogger doesn't list a blog for you, please send an email to me at with a mailing address so I can send out your gift.

Thanks to everyone who entered and thanks again for reading!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Free Stuff!

This blog has finally reached 5,000 visitors!  I've enjoyed writing the blog and having a chance to share with all of you so much that I am feeling generous and want to celebrate my 5,000th visit with the rest of you.

So I am giving away a $10 gift certificate for Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds to celebrate.

Please leave a comment below to let me know if you want to be in the drawing and on Monday I will pick a name from a hat and announce the winner.  Thanks everyone for reading, and happy gardening!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bargain Buys!

As frustrated as I've been with the garden, it was nice to finally have enough of something for some canning and freezing yesterday. 

I tore out the remaining bush beans and trimmed the pole beans down a bit, removing any flowers that hadn't begun to grow pods yet.  I did the same with the tomatoes a few days ago and covered them with plastic as well. 
Grow room shelves are now packed with canned goods and curing onions.  I need a pantry!

The final harvest of beans was enough to blanch for the freezer, there were also finally enough cucumbers to make two quarts of pickles, and I made up some chicken stock from the roast chicken we had earlier this week.

As if that didn't keep me busy enough I took my mom shopping and discovered a few deals at the produce store.  Mature mushrooms were $0.99/lb again, and they had 20 lb. boxes of canning tomatoes for $12 too.  So I bought up 3 lbs of mushrooms and a box of tomatoes and stayed up past midnight canning 16 pints of diced tomatoes.  The mushrooms will be sauteed and frozen today.

As exhausting as all the tomato processing was I'm sorely tempted to go get more for sauce and salsa... it was very satisfying to finally have some tomatoes around!

Dried rosemary to fill the spice jar.
In other news... I didn't post about it before, but last week I took down the hanging bunches of rosemary, thyme, sage, lavender, and mint.  I stripped the dried leaves off the stems, crushed them up a bit in the mortar and pestle, then filled up my spice jars and little baggies for the freezer.  Freezing extra dried herbs keeps them fresh longer.  I reuse the storebought spice jars when I can, but some things like the mint and lavender I just put into bags in the freezer. 

My rosemary harvest was huge and paid off in two full jars of dried rosemary (purchased at the grocery store these would have cost me about $8 each.  Perennial herbs pay off!)

My daughter is super excited about her little herb garden, later this week we'll trim the lemon balm and vervain and yarrow and get them started drying as well for teas.

I'm still waiting on the sunflower seeds and pea seeds to finish up drying, but the sunflower will be weighed in and added to the food total weight when it's done.  The peas seed is just for replanting, though I should probably weigh it since pea seed costs money and these will be money saved in purchasing more.