Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Late July Garden Tour - Tomatoes

The tomatoes are slowly coming along.  The cherry tomatoes have started to ripen but the main season tomatoes are still green.  Here's a tour of the tomatoes that I'm growing this season.  

Here's the cherry tomatoes.  In these three tubs I have a Chocolate Cherry, Sun Gold and Sweet 100 plant.  There's also one volunteer cherry tomato plant that is likely another Sun Gold.  

The Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes are definitely less productive than either the Sun Gold or Sweet 100.

I've also noticed that the Chocolate Cherry Tomatoes are not round but an oval or oblong shaped.  I can't wait to try these to see if they're worth growing again next season.

The Sun Gold is flowering heavily and already has set large clusters of baby green tomatoes.  
I love how pretty these Sun Golds get when they're ready to be picked!

The Sun Golds maybe productive but the Sweet 100 is super uber productive.  It's hard to see but these are multiple long strands of set fruit.  I love how they're cascading down. 

These are some pretty red Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes that are ripe and ready to pick.

There are 3 main season tomato plants in this box: Green Zebra, Kellogg's Breakfast and Amana Orange.
I've been growing Green Zebra for a few years now.  I love them!  They are a green tomato with pretty chartreuse shoulders.  They have been very productive in the past and I'm hoping the trend continues.  So far the plant has set lots of smaller fruit.

Kellogg's Breakfast is a variety that I first tried last year.  I loved the orange/yellow color of the fruit and the taste.  Yum!
Amana Orange is a new variety for me this year.  So far, the plant has set several fruits.  I can't wait to try this orange tomato.
These are both volunteer tomato plants.  I believe they are cherry tomatoes.  I didn't have the heart to compost them so I stuck them half-heartedly in the ground and so far they've survived.  The soil is clay so it's likely not going to be optimal but so far both plants have flowered.  

Here's the majority of my tomato plants.  Some have done extremely well and others are struggling.  

This is a Cherokee Purple plant.  This is one that had struggled early on.  While I was on vacation, the leaves curled.  The flowers set fruit but the curled leaves persisted.  It has since turned around and produced new shoots at the base and at the top of the plant.  Everything looks fine now.  Whew!  Crisis averted!

These are Paul Robeson tomatoes.  This plant unfortunately did the same thing - curled leaves.  This plant, however, has not been able to regenerate young new shoots.  Although it has set fruits, I'm afraid it's lifespan maybe cut short.  I'm hoping the fruit that it has set will ripen before that happens.  

This is a new variety for me this year, Heinz 2653.  It's a paste tomato.  Since I've never grown this before, I'm not sure if it's me but the fruit look ruffled or scalloped.  It looks nothing like the photos.  LOL!  So really, I'm not sure if that is really what I'm growing.  We'll see what it turns out looking like.  

This is another volunteer tomato plant.  The variety is unknown.  I should note that this year I had so many volunteers that I didn't know what to do with them all!
These are Viva Italia Tomatoes.  It seems to be having the same curling leaf problem but it hasn't stopped it from bearing fruit.
This tomato plant is a new variety to me this year.  It's called Rosso Sicilian.  So far it's been pretty productive.  I read it's a good saucing tomato.  This one is supposed to have scalloped sides.  LOL!

I think these are the largest fruit I have on my plants thus far.  Funny thing is that it comes from yet another volunteer plant.  Who knows what it'll end up being.  
There are a few plants that I wasn't able to get photos of.  One of which was the Amish Paste grafted tomato.  It is the tallest of all the tomato plants and is highly productive.  If it does really well this year, I may get a couple grafted tomatoes for my main saucing tomatoes for next year and call it good.  I like getting bang for my buck and that plant has clusters full of fruit.  Thanks for taking the time to visit my tomato plants.  Next up is everything else growing in the garden.      

Monday, July 30, 2012

Harvest Monday 7/30/12

Sorry I'm late with my harvest pictures.  It's the end of July and already I've harvested a lot out of the garden.  This week saw what was probably the last of the raspberries and blueberries.  Hopefully next year the raspberries will be more productive.  I'll have to remember not to trim the canes late in the season like I did this year.  I think that really slowed down production.  The blueberries, however, were  good producers this year.
This week I pinched back some of the basil plants and harvested the tops.  I also had a small harvest of cherry tomatoes early in the week that made for a delicious summer salad (see earlier post).  

I pulled the last of my baby carrots this week to make room for a new batch of carrots.  These were pretty looking carrots in all stages of growth.

This is what they looked like all cleaned and trimmed and ready to be weighed.  I *heart* baby carrots!
This was my 3rd harvest of green beans.  This year I had a stellar green bean crop!  Usually I have to battle the slugs for beans but this year they only chomped the leaves of the plants and not so much of the actual beans.  Score one for me!  I also harvested more delicious cherry tomatoes!

Happy Harvest!!

This weeks totals:
- mixed berries 0.44 lb
- cherry tomatoes 0.68 lb
- basil 0.3 lb
- green beans 1.39 lb
- carrots 0.82 lb

**Linking to Daphne's Harvest Monday on Daphne's Dandelions**

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

First Fall Plantings

The "Daddy Do" list is never ending.  One thing I wanted my dad to do while he was in town was to build another hoop house for the lower raised bed.  That way I would be able to extend my harvest and keep the naughty bugs off my vegetables.  This bed, however, is notorious for slugs so I have been on patrol.  

Right now I have green beans and cucumbers growing off to the left.  The cucumbers are on the outside of the covering and climbing the netting in back of the cloth.  The piping bends down and there is a slot for them to fit into to make hoops.     

I thought I would have time after returning from my trip to start my fall vegetable seeds.  It turns out, I had too high expectations.  LOL!  I ended up buying some broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprout starters.  

I amended this bed with chicken manure and slow release organic fertilizer.  I covered the bed with black cloth as I was not good about weeding this bed and weeds were prolific.  I'm hoping to kill them off during the season.  On July 23rd, I planted 4 plants each of Fall Blend Broccoli and Cauliflower in the right bed.  I will plant the Brussels sprouts in the ground since they get big and tall.        
I also started a few seeds to see if they would grow in time to plant.  This is what I'm growing from seed for fall (planted July 23):
1) Apollo Broccoli x 3, Gai Lan x 3
2) Lacinato Kale x 3, Rainbow Blend Swiss Chard x 3
3) Winter Elf Cabbage x 3, Soloist Cabbage x 3
4) Green Delight Baby Bok Choy x 6
5) Radicchio x 3, Misome x 3
6) Spinach x 6

Cherry Tomatoes are Ripe!

I was super excited that my cherry tomatoes are finally ripening.  I've been able to pick a couple of pints full already.  I *heart* cherry about natures candy!  I also pinched back some of my basil and harvested the tops.  Guess what I'm having for dinner?

This is one of my favorite summer salads!  You can find the recipe here.  I used the cherry tomatoes and basil from my garden along with a store bought Asian cucumber and Trader Joe's Marinated Mushrooms (love this stuff!!).  

**I'm a little late but better late than never right??  Linking up to Wendy's Garden To Table Challenge (GTTC) at Greenish Thumb**

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What's Bakin?: Triple Berry Crisp

After picking marionberries, we moved onto raspberries and blueberries.  I'm not sure what we were thinking by collecting all of these berries.  LOL!!

Since we had lots of berries, I decided to make a dessert of them.  I'm not a big pie person but I love crisps and cobblers.  I decided to use the three berries to make a crisp.  I changed the original recipe by increasing the amount of total berries to 5 1/2 cups.  It definitely needs more berries than called for.  I also used less brown sugar and butter and didn't miss it at all.  I found it to be perfect.  I used Vietnamese cinnamon so used only 1/2 of what was called for in the recipe.  Next time I may use a whole tsp.  This is a delicious recipe!  I love the crumble on top and bottom.  It goes really will with Tillamook vanilla ice cream (just sayin...)!  

Triple Berry Crisp
Adapted from: (submitted by Polly Giebler)
Serves: 12-18

2 c. fresh marionberries, washed & dried
2 c. fresh raspberries, washed & dried
1 1/2 c blueberries, washed & dried 
4 Tbsp white sugar
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. rolled oats
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 c. butter

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2) In a large bowl, gently toss together the marionberries, raspberries, blueberries & white sugar.  Set aside.

3) In a separate large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Cut in the butter until crumbly.  Press half of the mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan.

4) Cover the bottom crust with the berry mixture.  Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture over the berries.  Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and the topping is golden brown.  

**Linking up to Robin's Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard at The Gardener of Eden**

Canning: Marionberry Jam

My dad, aunt and uncle are visiting.  About a week before leaving for Alaska, I took them berry picking.  It was a new experience for them and I got free labor.  Haha!  We stopped for marionberries first.  I wanted some to make jam.  Last year, the marionberry jam was hands down my favorite!  My aunt raved about it too so I wanted to make extras to give to her.    

 I didn't realize that we each had a container and were all picking marionberries.  Needless to say, we ended up with a whole bunch of marionberries!!  It was enough for 2 recipes of seedless jam and some extra berries to freeze for smoothies!  

I ended up with 14 pints of marionberry jam.  Enough to give away and enough to squander for myself!    Yummy!!  It was delicious on my toast the next morning!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Meatless Monday: Caprese Salad

I'm behind on my posts...AGAIN!  Yeah, what else is new.  While I sort through about a thousand Alaska photos, here's some photos I took before I left on my trip.  An excursion to the Farmer's Market a few weeks ago found me unable to resist the promise of vine ripened tomatoes.  I'm a sucker.  Mind you, these babies were not cheap.  They were, however, might tasty!  
I cut some fresh basil from the garden and bought some mozzarella cheese to make a delicious caprese salad. 

 I layered everything on a plate, dusted with some sea salt and pepper and drizzled it with good quality balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.  

Summer never tasted so good!!  The best part was that there was some left over for my lunch the next day.  I can't wait until my own tomatoes are ripe!!

Harvest Monday 7/23/12

I'm back from my Alaskan adventure.  While I was gone, my aunt cared for my garden.  I told her to pick whatever she needed.  She says she and my uncle picked and ate from the garden.  I'm not sure what was harvested in my absence, but when I got home, there was still lots to harvest.  

This past week saw an amazing green bean harvest!  I've picked them over twice this week and they're still producing.  I also was able to harvest small handfuls of cherry tomatoes.  Hooray!!  

I picked some baby carrots this week too.  I love how pretty they turned out!

Despite being trimmed too late in the season, my raspberry plant has been giving off small batches of treats here and there.  My blueberry bush has been very productive this year and the fruits have been sweet and delicious!

The kale is growing tall and will soon outgrow my hoop house.  I'll have to replant for the fall.

Here's the second picking this week of green beans and cherry tomatoes.

Happy Harvest!!

This week's harvest totals:
- kale = 1.58 lb
- carrots = 0.42 lb
- green beans = 2.2 lb
- cherry tomatoes = 0.42 lb
- blueberries & raspberries = 1.49 lb
- basil = 0.06 lb

Saturday, July 7, 2012

On The Road

Well not really the road....more like a cruise ship. Greetings from Alaska! I had been hoping to post a few photos as we went along but no such luck. My Ipad does not seem to want to cooperate. We started our adventure in Fairbanks and did a great land tour through Denali and ended up meeting our cruise ship in Whittier. We set sail and visited Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau and tomorrow we dock in Ketchican before ending our cruise in Vancouver, BC. I have lots of photos to sort through when I get back but I can't wait to share some amazing pictures with you!