Monday, September 30, 2013

Harvest Monday, September 30th, 2013

I finally got a large zucchini to make into zucchini bread. My zucchinis were such a bust this year. So far I've gotten 10 pounds from three plants. The cilantro finally got big enough to pick. So I thinned it all out and froze all those thinnings. Well not all of them. I did keep some for kitchen use. We had stir fried rice last night and I put some in that.

My lettuce has grown and I've finally picked some. I know a lot of people pick it small, but I love the large crunchy leaves.

And my biggest harvest was the chard. I picked over four pounds and froze it all. Some of those leaves are longer than my arm.

I've gotten good a washing it and ripping off the green parts fast. I used to use a knife, but now I just tear it off.

I cooled it off quickly after blanching in the same large washtub that I picked it in. I use spinach and chard rather interchangeably over the winter. I do like spinach a tad more, but spinach takes forever to process and chard is fast. Last year was mostly spinach in the freezer, but this year I have half and half. 20 packets of spinach and 19 of chard. That ought to be enough to get through the winter. I have about 4 months of frozen soil. And this will let me eat it about twice a week during that time and until the overwintered spinach starts producing.

And speaking of winter, I finally made some more wintery fare this week. This is beef stew, made with very little beef and lots of mushrooms, carrots, and onions. Most people in the US would add potatoes to this for the starchy part but I added some dumplings.
  • Beans 0.14 lbs
  • Greens 5.21 lbs
  • Herbs 0.23 lbs
  • Peas 0.08 lbs
  • Zucchini 1.29 lbs
  • Weekly Tally 6.94 lbs
  • Yearly Tally 365.11 lbs, $679.61

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Harvest Monday, September 23, 2013

This week I harvested a patch of my Asian greens. I've got two more like it to harvest at younger stages, one of which will be ready to harvest by next week. And one patch that I sowed this week. I don't know if the last one will be ready before it is too cold for them to grow, but I've got my fingers crossed.

I had one of my typical summer harvest baskets with the addition of a few peas.

I picked and shelled a lot of dried beans. This is all the shelled beans so far this year. As you can see I grew a lot of Trail of Tears black beans this year. The large jars are quart jars. Black beans are probably my favorite beans. I eat them in salads, as beans and rice (Gallo Pinto), in tortillas with squash, and in soups. I probably overdid them, but dried beans will keep just fine for a couple of years if I don't get through them this year. The next two beans are Mexican Pinto and Tiger Eye. Last year I didn't grow pinto beans. Not being able to eat tomatoes and peppers, Mexican food is not on my list of things I eat anymore (sadly, as it was my favorite ethnic comfort food). But I've found I still like tortillas with cheese, refried beans, and cilantro. I probably won't make it often, but I will make it.
  • Beans 4.49 lbs
  • Broccoli 0.24 lbs
  • Cucumbers 2.54 lbs
  • Asian Greens 9.28 lbs
  • Peas 0.10 lbs
  • Zucchini 0.06 lbs
  • Weekly Tally 17.24 lbs
  • Yearly Tally 358.17 lbs, $659.35

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Every year I can applesauce. My family loves homemade applesauce. It is so much better than the store kind. Last year I made 21 pints. We used all but one of them up last year. I think last year's applesauce is just a bit better than this year's. This year I peeled the apples with my apple peeler. Technically my gadget should be able to slice, core, and peel the apples, but mine isn't working right anymore. It peels fine though. The problem is that the peels add flavor to the sauce. I'm guessing that is why it isn't quite as good. This batch made 9 pints. I need at least that much more. So my next batch will be made with the peels and put through the strainer to remove them once the apples are cooked down.

Another problem I had this year was the canning. The applesauce expanded too much and started coming out the tops as it processed. Technically they sealed, but I didn't trust that the seals would hold. So I reprocessed them with more head space. I think I put too much head space in some of them at the end. I'll eat those first. I often seem to have trouble with just the 1/2" that they say to use for apples. I don't know why. I don't have large bubbles in the bottom or anything. Oh well. My first batch is done. I'll buy some more apples at the farmers market next week to make my second batch. I'm hoping in a few years I'll get enough apples to make applesauce with my own apples. I can hope at least.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dried Beans and Fall Crops

I've been picking and shelling my dried beans this week. I found my Tarbais beans crossed last year. You can't tell the year it crosses as the seed coat and the pod are determined by the mother. But the next year you can. And I have three types of beans this year. The beans ought to look like the bean on the left. Large, white and kidney shaped. The middle ones have the wrong shape and the ones on the right have the wrong color. I'll eat the crossed ones and plant the uncrossed ones next year. If I find a lot of them have crossed again I'll have to switch varieties. Most of my beans won't cross even if planted right next to one other, but some insect can obviously cross pollinate that one given the right conditions (the year before it didn't cross).

Most of the beans that I shelled before my vacation were already dry enough to jar up so I did that. But I still have all the beans above to get dry. And more to pick out in the garden. Not much more to pick, but some. Most of the plants are dead already. It has been a hard year for bean diseases.

On better news, the Asian greens were doing well. I picked the first batch of them. Most of them and some cucumbers were put in the cooler and I gave them away to my artist's coop when I hosted a meeting. It was way more than what I needed and my townhouse mates had already taken what they wanted. In their place I planted some radishes and Japanese turnips. I don't know if they will have time to produce, but it doesn't hurt to try.

Also in the Asian greens bed I needed to thin out the third succession, which as you can see above is way too thick. I also planted out the fourth succession. I should have planted that one before my vacation, but again, maybe it will have time to produce. Some recent years have been very warm and sunny late into the fall which is not normal, but may be our new normal.

I also thinned out the spinach and replanted where the seed didn't come up. Spinach can be really hard to get up sometimes. But even if it is spotty, this spinach is Giant Winter. It can fill up a whole square foot on its own and my rows are just 6" apart.

And last but not least I checked on my carrots. As you can see they were very small. We ate them without weighing them. I think I'll check again in early to mid October. I hope they get bigger than last year. But the sun is getting lower in the sky and I'm getting more and more shade every day.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Harvest Monday, September 16th, 2013

I just got home from a six day trip to my parents house who live just west of Boulder, Colorado. Life was interesting to say the least. Luckily my parents live on the mountain so what they are calling the 500 year flood didn't flood the house. It did affect us quite a bit though. For a perspective on the flood, I was told their monthly total rainfall record was 5". I heard a lot of different numbers from people that lived there but I heard of totals while I was there from 12"-18" (30-45cm). 18" is over their normal yearly total. And as we left it had started to rain again.

As to services. My parents have been having trouble with their phones since July. And before I came it was out again and stayed out the whole time. The cell service in the mountains is spotty. We did get bars occasionally, but only enough for text messaging, not phones. The power went down not long after the rain started. My parents have a tower on their property for radio internet that supplies the neighbors, so they have a generator on property to keep the internet up. So we had internet thank goodness as that is how we got most of the news. Sadly they had propane only enough for a week. Hopefully they will get power back soon as they don't have much propane left. The main road to town was blocked. And that is the only paved road. They estimate that road will be back in about 9 days. To get out we had to take the back dirt road. It had the creek flowing over in four spots, but it wasn't deep luckily. Don't tell our rental car agency as dirt roads are not allowed, but the dirt road was the only way to get home.

I did have one harvest last Monday, but I can't find my camera to give you the photo. It was basically a small amount of beans, peas, broccoli and cucumbers.

  • Beans 0.12 lbs
  • Broccoli 0.14 lbs
  • Cucumbers 1.74 lbs
  • Peas 0.16 lbs
  • Weekly Tally 2.17 lbs
  • Yearly Tally 340.93 lbs, $579.93

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Harvest Monday, September 9th, 2013

The last of the corn was picked. We ate the corn in the bottom photo fresh, but the others I blanched and froze.

I had two fairly similar harvest baskets. The last one did have the first peas of the season. You can't see them as they are buried. Only five to start with. I'll have to strip the vines today as I'll be out of town for a while. I ate all the greens that I picked a week ago Sunday, but didn't pick any more for this week. I'd pick them for my daughter but she doesn't eat greens.

A couple of pounds of the Trail of Tears beans were weighed in. I have plenty more of those and the Mexican pintos drying. I don't weigh them in until they are totally dry though. I use the hammer test to see if they are dry enough. If they shatter when when hit with a hammer, they are dry enough to store and even to freeze without killing the bean. I store them in sealed canning jars, so drying them makes sure they don't mold.

This week saw some preserving of the crops. Some of those beans were blanched and frozen as I can't eat over two pounds in a week.

And some of the cucumbers were made into dill relish. In the past I made sweet relish, but I've gotten bored with it, so I've switched to dill now. I hope I like it. I made a quarter batch from the Ball book and I still got four half pints (one was in the fridge). I probably only use about two half pints in a year, so I'm guessing it will be too much.
  • Beans 4.57 lbs
  • Corn 8.48 lbs
  • Cucumbers 9.43 lbs
  • Peas 0.04 lbs
  • Weekly Tally 22.51 lbs
  • Yearly Tally 338.76 lbs, $574.49

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Three Sisters

The Leaning Tower of Beans
This week has been all about the three sisters. The above sister, beans, is sadly grown without its other sisters in my garden. I tried a lot to make the three sisters work. But this sister wouldn't play well with her siblings. She would grow up the corn and smoother everything in its path.

Especially this one above. The Trail of Tears beans is an aggressive grower and will trample anything in its path. It is also a great producer and I just love black beans. So I grow it every year. The other dried beans come and go, but this one is always here. I've been picking dried beans for a while now. When I have a bag I shell them in front of the TV. Today I picked a large bag of Trail of Tears and Mexican Pinto.

The next sister, corn, was indeed planted with its sibling, squash. We had raccoons in the garden, but they didn't steal one ear of corn. We got to eat it all. I had heard that raccoons don't like the prickly squash, but I hadn't seen it before. As you see the corn stalks have been chopped down. They are now in the compost. We ate 4 ears of corn every day we were home for dinner. There were lots more, but I could tell the corn was going to start to get old too fast.

So they all got picked, blanched.

And frozen. I have seven one cup bags. I'm thinking a salad of beans, corn, and squash would be good.

The butternut squash is all alone out there right now. I've got eight big squash set on the earliest planted squash. And five in the second bed that was planted later. They have powdery mildew right now. I still hope the later ones can set more. They may or may not be able to ripen at this point, but I can hope.

In other exciting news the snap peas are just starting to ripen. Yum.

And do you see my new garden helper under the bean plants in the path? My daughter is home for a year. She was out helping me pick beans. Kronos the dog was chewing on the dill plants I'd ripped up. I think my daughter was more help. At least Kronos is easy to train. Is is very biddable and smart at the same time. Last year when he visited he learned to stay on the paths the first day I tried training him. He remembered when he came back. Of course it helps that there are plants in the beds now. Last time the empty beds were just so tempting to run through.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Harvest Monday, September 2nd, 2013

This week the last melon was picked and eaten. The above melon was seven pounds. I had two types of melons growing this year. Halona which is a cantaloupe which is good for our shorter cooler weather. And the melon above is Sensation, which is a cross between a cantaloupe and a honeydew. I'm not a fan of honeydews as I find them rather tasteless. Sensation doesn't have the more intense flavor of a cantaloupe, but it is much better than a honeydew. And it gets huge and is also very very sweet. It gets a lot sweeter than any cantaloupe that I have had. Though a perfectly ripened Ambrosia comes close.

Our three year old apple tree fruited for the first time. They are Ginger Gold apples, which are very early apples. The weird little brown things are the footies that I covered my apples with to keep the bugs at bay without spraying. It worked wonderfully. As you can see the total harvest wasn't huge. That is because the squirrels ate most of them. I eventually covered the tree with netting which stopped the pilfering. But I did lose 2/3rds of the tree to them before that. Next year I'll stay on top of the problem and net the tree in early August or late July.

I had five harvests like this not two, but who needs so many identical photos of the same thing. I've been picking four ears of corn for every meal that we eat at home. I pick the biggest and best every time, but I think I'll have to pick a lot soon as the corn is aging. I don't have a lot of time to pick the ripest ones.

I had two large harvest baskets with tons of beans and cukes. And just a small amount of broccoli. I gave most of the cukes and beans away.



Kale, Tatsoi, Red Sails lettuce, Deertongue lettuce, Fun Jen

This week started the harvest of the fall greens. Which of course reminds me that I didn't plant any radishes or turnips. Again. Yes every year I forget. I'll have to find an unused spot to add them if I want any this year. I have no idea why I always forget them in the fall, but I do.

  • Beans 2.61 lbs
  • Broccoli 0.29 lbs
  • Corn 5.51 lbs
  • Cucumbers 10.69 lbs
  • Greens 4.04 lbs
  • Asian Greens 1.81 lbs
  • Melons 6.98 lbs
  • Weekly Tally 31.93 lbs
  • Yearly Tally 316.26 lbs, $530.31
  • Fruit
  • Apples 8.61 lbs

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.