Sunday, August 25, 2013

Preserving the Harvest

With about 10lbs of Roma tomatoes, and more coming every week, I figured it was time to start canning! It's not the most fun process to stand over a hot stove for 2 hours on a late August day with 3 burners going. I did some dicey things like carrying pots of scalding hot water around the kitchen and nearly burning myself. Also, theres always the fear that I'll  give someone botulism if I don't do it correctly, but in the end, when I take them out to cool and I start hearing the lids pop (indicating they've been sealed) it's a great feeling! And afterwards when I use them on pizzas it's an even better feeling! And when no one dies from consuming them, I'm ecstatic and declare the process a success!

Friday, August 23, 2013

This pretty much sums it up...

I love this bumper sticker! I can't think of a bigger waste of money, time, and resources than annuals. Especially ornamental annuals!

Which is why I recently planted a perennial herb garden that should come back every year! It was all about buying the right herbs for my climate (zone 5). Specifically, lavender, chives, oregano, and thyme. The rosemary I'll bring inside later in the year. It's a hardy herb, but not quite suited for our sub-zero winter temps. It'd only survive if we had an off mild winter. Also, even for the herbs I did plant, I made sure every one was suitable for zone 5. Some varieties of herbs might not be suitable for this zone. In fact, I bought lavender in particular based on the sales associates advice who said it should stay indoors. I thought it would accompany my rosemary indoors this winter, but upon closer look at the tag, it was ok for zone 5! So in the ground it went!

I'm not saying I'll never have an annual plant. I regularly tend to a whole garden of annuals (most vegetables are annuals). There are plenty of useful annuals, including herbs and vegetables, (actually only herbs and vegetables), but I can't stand when I see apartment complexes planting dozens and dozens of ornamental annual flowers only to watch them later die and never return. You'd be better off planting something useful, like mint! Which is also in my perennial herb garden. 

Plus, I'm always on the mission for perennial vegetables. For my area, I've only identified a few, like asparagus and Jerusalem artichokes. Also some fruit plants are perennial in our area, like apples, peaches, pears, and grapes, depending on the type. 

Here's a picture of my perennial herb garden (it's still small; I planted it late)

Happy gardening!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Determinate v. Indeterminate

Tomatoes come in 2 types-determinate and indeterminate. Determinate ripen all at once. Indeterminate ripen throughout the season. If you're ever confused....roma tomatoes are determinate! Whoa. And this isn't even the bulk of it. Most are still ripening. 

We were able to turn this....into this:

That's zucchini/tomato soup just like my mom makes! Except we used fresh tomatoes! It's basically just a puréed tomato base with potatoes, zucchinis, and onions in it. There should also be an egg cracked in it and some Parmesan but we were using what we had and we were out of Parmesan and eggs. Sad, but the soup was still great!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

More turnips! Big ones too!

More turnips! Look how big these are!

Also, two banana peppers!

Tis the season!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Habanero Fail!

I thought I was doing a good thing when I put my habaneros in the ground finally. I thought they'd finally grow big and produce fruit. But I think they were pretty stunted from the deer incident. They never grew. They didn't die either, but they were taking up room in my garden that now seemed appropriate for things that might actually produce, especially for a fall garden. So out they came! I'd be lying if I said it broke my heart to rip them out. I had given up on them. In went lettuce, Swiss chard, and ...uh... I forget. Radishes I think. Well, we'll see in 45 days I guess!

I also plucked some ripe tomatoes and one giant zucchini. I was a little disappointed we haven't had more zucchini by now. But I'm glad to have the one at least. No green beans yet. Well...I found one but no real green bean harvest to speak of yet. 

I think it might be an off year. We had lots of rain early on, then not much rain, then some suddenly cool temps recently. As one gardener commented, this much inconsistency isn't good for any one type of vegetable. It's bad for all. 

We also got a few of the early roma tomatoes (which I put in a brown paper bag to help them ripen just a little more) and some banana peppers too, which is nice!

Now to find a recipe that uses peppers, zucchini and tomatoes! Yum!