Sunday, September 27, 2009

Finally took some pictures!

So a whole lot of these:

Turned into a little bit of this:

I also have a bunch of these:

That I think I'll turn into a roasted red pepper spread. (But dang it! I need another pound of tomatoes and I just used them all to make the tomato sauce. Maybe my neighbor will take pity on me, she has loads of tomatoes left.) I went to Powell's Books today and picked up Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving: 400 Delicious and Creative Recipes for Today. The Roasted Red Pepper Spread recipe comes from that book. It was either that or Pickled Roasted Red Peppers and hubby voted for the former.

My other option is to use these with the red pepper spread:
I went and harvested all the grape tomatoes on my Sweetheart vine and there's got to be at least five lbs of em! They filled up the entire colander. I was thinking I'd dehydrate them though to use in sauce and on pizza this winter. When the family moved Grandpa out of his home (to a care facility) earlier this year and cleaned out the house he'd lived in for 60 some-odd years I inherited the dehydrator. It's only 10 years old and might even still work; I'm kinda afraid to plug it in. Grandpa never threw *anything* away. Oh. Except for the manual. I finally found it on-line but I don't know that I can get it clean enough. I don't think it was ever properly cleaned after being used so I'm a little... uh... Ew. At least the racks can go in the dishwasher... Then again for food safety sake it might be worth it to just go get a new one. At least I'll know where it's been. We'll see how clean I can get it by tomorrow first.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A wee little bit of yumminess

Huh. 10lbs of tomatoes sure don't go far in the sauce world. Got three pints. Heh. But better three pints of amazing deliciousness then then no pints at all. =) Of course now I'm spoiled for garden sauce over store bought junk. ::sigh:: I really, really need to grow more tomatoes next year.

Still haven't figured out precisely what I'm going to do with the bell peppers yet. I'd love to make a spread or roast them... not sure yet. Maybe we'll go to Powell's tomorrow and I'll let my kiddlet pick out a book and while she's looking at her book I'll go see if I can't find some amazing book of canning recipes. (Which I'll justify right now by saying it'll help me plan my garden *next* year... heehee)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tomato Sauce

I picked about 10lbs of tomatoes tonight so I think I'll make sauce and can it tomorrow. I can't decide if I should make spaghetti sauce or just chopped toms plain to use in other dishes. I somewhat like the idea of spaghetti sauce... or catsup. Since I just planted one determinate tomato plant... I must make due. I might have to make a bit of extra room next year in the garden for another determinate tomato.. then maybe I'd get 20lbs - still such a paltry sum. lol

I also picked about half a dozen bell peppers and again as many paprika peppers. The more I write the more I'm leaning toward the spaghetti sauce... with roasted bell peppers thrown in. Mmmm. Ya know, the recipe doesn't call for bell peppers. Would I screw up the acidity by adding them in? I don't want to get sick later. The recipe does call for lemon juice to be added to the bottom of the jar, sauce ladled over, sealed and processed. Think it would be okay to add the roasted peppers?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Quick Post

Things have been crazy lately. What else is new? I'm happy to report however that I'm sitting in a cafe smack dab in the center of a nursery. Two of my favorite things - coffee and plants! I wish I had more time to babble here but I've got to make it quick.

Things going on in the garden:
* Eating another round of beautiful green beans.
*Sauce tomatoes are all just about to all ripen. I'm thinking I'll make spaghetti sauce with them at the end of the week (when it's not so hot out!)
*I saw a squirrel accidently drop about two stories out of a tree. Unlike cats they land on the sides. It did get up and totter off but it didn't look well. I hope that it wasn't poisoned by some neighbor.
*Before I leave I think I'll pick up some garlic for fall planting. The last variety I got didn't do well so I'm hoping changing it up will help a bit.

Monday, September 14, 2009


We're eating a lot of tomatoes these days. They sure are good I just wish there were a bit more so I could make sauce or salsa with them. Mostly the grape tomatoes have been going nuts. Not that I mind...

I had nachos with spiced ground beef, cheese, a load of tomatoes from the garden, a splash of lime juice a bit of dried cilantro and glop or two of hot sauce for lunch the other day.

Tonight we had grilled steak with grilled grape tomatoes and green onions. The rice was herbed with fresh time and onions both from the garden. I do love summer.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My 200th post, a meme award

I'd just like to say how sweet both Amy from Tales of a Transplanted Gardener and Shawn Ann from Shawn Ann's Garden are for nominating me for the meme award that's going around. You're both dears - thanks! I completely don't deserve it especially since I've not been posting much lately as I've been really consumed these past few months with lots of other things besides blogging about my garden. More on that in a little bit.

The Meme award guidelines:
1. Link back to the person who gave you the award

2. Reveal 7 things about yourself

3. Tag 7 other bloggers at the end of your post and link to them

4. Let each blogger know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

5. Let the tagger know when your post is up.

So here goes...

1. Our only daughter is just starting preschool for the first time. She's very vivacious and outgoing so is completely loving school. We're easing her in with about 2.5 hours a day, two days a week. It's mostly to get her used to the idea of schedules, routines and getting in some peer play time. Of course it's thrown our house hold routine on its ear. We've had an adjustment period. I now have nearly five hours a week all to myself though and I foresee I'll have no problem filling in the time.... just too bad none of it will be at home as her school is a bit of a drive from the house.

2. One of the things I've been working on a lot lately is my other "life" which I haven't really commented about here or kept here with my other blogs mostly because I don't want them knowing too much about my personal life. I'm a volunteer for the local branch of the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America and have been for upwards of five years now. I produce the quarterly newsletter and write our local support group blog, Grain Damaged. I also help run the support group meetings occasionally. It's very tough for a lot of people to transition to living without wheat, barley, rye and in some people oats. However if you have to have a chronic autoimmune illness this is the one to get. If caught early enough nearly all symptoms of the disease (over 200 of them!) can be negated by simple diet changes. How did I get involved with this? I have it myself. Which, bringing it all back around, makes me just adore my garden where I know all the food is gluten free! ::shudders at the thought of using rye as a cover crop:: lol

3. I grew up in California and sometimes I miss the diversity, the climate, my old friends (my best friend especially), fresh *fresh* fruit and veggies. The beach and the sunsets didn't suck either. I do not however miss the expense, the crowding and general chaos. I should go visit.

4. I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue.

5. Once upon a time I got paid to color. No kidding. Best gig ever, not sure why I gave up being a color designer. Oh yeah, a promotion to a much harder job. I did get to travel to China and Korea about four times a year though. The movie Lost in Translation cracked me up. Guess you've had to live that life to get its surrealness. I will say this however, China is a beautiful country (if you can overlook the pollution) and the people love to have a good time. I quite enjoyed my stays there. Their food philosophy on the other hand, If it won't kill you, eat it can make for some *very* scary meals!

6. Speaking of travel I've been to quite a few places, some for work, some for play. Honduras is not some place I'd like to go back to. El Salvador is slightly better. Singapore is exotically beautiful (just don't chew gum or spit on the side walk), Ireland is like going home, England is like visiting a cousin, France is pretty to look at but is a bit stuck up, Korea seems like it's going to be more fun then it is, China is more fun then it seems like its going to be. I've also been in many states all around the US and Canada is so culturally similar to us it hardly feels like "going" anywhere. There are still so many places I'd like to travel though. Australia and New Zealand and PNG are high on the list. Africa is both appealing and intimidating at the same time, war, famine, racial tensions and disease may put me off forever. Then again, never say never.

7. Okay and I have to think of one last thing. Hum. Oh DH and I will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary next month. =D

This is the part now where I'm supposed to tag seven other bloggers. Ah. That's tough, so many of the blogs I read have been tagged already! How do you choose?

I just stumbled across A Hand Made Life this morning which seems pretty cool.

In no particular order, I think you should check out:
1. Annie's Kitchen Garden
2. Our Engineered Garden
3. Tales of a Transplanted Gardener
4. Toni's Weedless Square Foot Garden
5. Shawn Ann's Garden
6. The Corner Yard
7. Give a Girl a Fig

Friday, September 11, 2009

September's Garden

Thank you to Shawn Ann for the blogger award! You are such a sweet heart!
Welcome too Sam, Di and Kiki - so nice to have you here!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Not much to do when it rains

The rain is back so I haven't been doing much of anything in the garden. I did notice that my green beans are coming back with a vengeance now that the heat is gone.  Yay!  Also one of my paprika peppers is turning red.  I hope the rest of them ripen before we're all rain and cold all the time again.  I still need to rip out the pumpkin vines that were hit with PM.  Maybe if it's dry tomorrow I'll give that a go.  Just before the rain came I managed to direct seed carrots, beets and spinach.  We'll see how they fare.  My spring crops of beets and spinach were a complete bust... maybe this time around they'll do better?  Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Oh how I adore rotting piles of plant matter! I adore my husband more though (as it should be!) He indulges me in all things gardening. Well, except for the green house... I'm still working on that one BUT he's not all bad. ;^) I requested that he make a screen for my compost and he obliged. What a swell guy.

I'd composted before but was using just a one bin toss n' go system and never really did like it that well. It was hard to get to the finished compost on the bottom. So my dear hubby made me a three bin system at the end of last winter. Yay!
We collected plant materials and at the beginning of summer I moved them out the storage area (bin 1) and into the working pile area (bin 2). Bin 3 is for storing finished compost - I haven't had the pleasure yet as I use it faster then I can make it! Because we didn't have three cubic feet worth of materials I wasn't able to get the pile nearly as hot as I'd like. I did manage to get it up to about 145° which was pretty successful considering the lack of bulk. However not everything in the pile broke down to my satisfaction. You can see here the rather large clumps of still easily identifiable stuff (newspapers, sticks, a random potato or two, etc.)

As much as I love compost I didn't really want to use that on my garden beds because A.) it's unsightly and B.) It's still going through a decomposition process in which there's the off chance it could steal nitrogen from my plants (probably not really an issue unless I dug it in before planting and it was at the root zone level). Mostly it's just A - I like a pretty bed, what can I say?

So to indulge me, DH made me a compost screen to fit over my wheel barrow. (He used some scrap wood we had laying around and 1/2" wire mesh tacked into the bottom with heavy duty 1/8" staples to hold it in place.) It's super sturdy. He also braced the corners and put guides on the sides so it wouldn't slip as I was sifting my dirt.

Here you can see I've thrown a shovelful of chunky compost on the screen.

The next step is to take my gloved hands and just move the compost back and forth across the screen letting the smaller pieces fall though. The bigger stuff I then just chuck back into the collection bin of the next pile I'll be working on. The good stuff falls into the wheel barrow. The end result is beautiful compost that I've rotted myself!*

I went and tossed this on my fall starts and of course they love it! The broccoli is especially appreciative and is getting huge already. The new little red cabbages look so lovely next to the new dark earth I had to take a picture or two.

*WIth the help of one or two hundred trillion microbes and wee beasties. (Thanks guys!!)

Also, Welcome Kira, Gary and Michelle to my blog! Hope you enjoy my bit of show and tell. I hope to get over and see what you're writing about very soon. =) Cheers~

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Death Day

Death Day or Three Strikes You're Out!

I realize I was supposed to post this yesterday for Death Day (held the last day of day of each month to show off all the skeletons in the closet so to speak). I had the wonderful opportunity to use this bed for one summer season to grow various squash and pumpkins, my favorite. Yay! This fall I'll be putting a semi-dwarf apple there. In the meantime I planted Jack O' Lanterns, Sugar Pumpkins, Fairytale Squash and summer Yellow Crookneck Squash. And they did great for most of the summer. However powdery mildew snuck up on me and in three strikes took out most of my plants.


The main reasons for death seem to be the following.

1.) It came on in the very hottest part of our summer which was also unusually humid for our region, the perfect conditions for powdery mildew. It didn't help that I noticed it late either.
2.) Once I realized what a terror it was going to be and galvanized myself into action, the spay bottle I was using to broke half way though the first application of a milk/baking soda mix.
3.) The next day we left for a week to go to a beach house on the Washington Coast. By the time we got back it had done its worst. As you can see the pumpkins, despite the mildew, look lovely. I think at least the winter gourds will be fine. There is no more summer yellow crook neck squash left worth eating.