cabbage cherries kitchen garden bean support Demo image Demo image

Nothing to do?

  • Thursday, June 23, 2011
  • Now that the garden is fully mulched, all the spring crops are out and summer crops are all in, I truly feel like I don't have much to do!!!  Believe me, I am not complaining, but it just seems crazy to not feel behind the curve :)  I am going to enjoy this for the short time it lasts.   Once those tomatoes start coming in I will again feel behind!  Anyhow, it is nice to know all the preparation work I did, all the mulching, all the planning, is paying off through a gorgeous, happy, and healthy garden. 
    Last week I harvested my first cucumber and Broden said it was the MOST DELICIOUS cucumber EVER! Ha, ha.  A few updates:
    • I pulled ALL OF THE SQUASH PLANT voluteers that sprouted up in the garden.  I found like 20+ squash bugs breeding and that eeked me out enough to pull them all!
    • I have a few Delicata Squash plants under a row cover HOPING the bugs won't get to them. I am watching daily to see when the blossoms open.
    • I mulched the patio beds well to hopefully conserve some water.  Crazy how dry they get!
    • Picked and pitted 20 lbs of tart cherries.  Not the best, but at least I got something.
    • Bought a case of local raspberries and froze them for the winter.
    • Pulled the peas and am drying the pods that were left so I can use the seeds in the spring.
    So for now, garden bliss.  Just got the Territorial Winter Seed already dreaming/planning my fall garden!

    Problems, problems, problems

  • Saturday, June 11, 2011
  • Oh goodness, so early in the season and there are issues ... Just another chance to paruse through my books and determine the best course of action/attack!
    1. So usually I have an issue with flea beetles on my egglplant, but this year I planted them in tabletop beds and completely solved that problem!  So that is good, not a problem.
    2. My Red Norland potatoes leaves are twisted and disfigured at the top.  Their bottom leaves are healthy and green and gorgeous.  For some reason the top leaves seems twisted.  I don't think it is the leaf roll virus as it doesn't fit the description.  Anyhow this is the only bed that has it.  There are two other beds adjacent and they are fine!  I just spoke to my garden mentor and she thinks that the issue is the pH.......and I did lime this bed this I will try some blood meal and see if that helps.
    Ok- for now that are all the actual problems I have, unless you say that not having enough room for all of my potatoes and tomatoes is a PROBLEM!

    My tomato staking approach
     A few things to note for the season:
    • Tart cherries are just about ready to pick
    • Almost all tomatoes are staked (check out my new system)
    • Tabletop gardens are working GREAT except they need EXTRA watering
    • Just picked up Aunt Molly's ground cherries and the Pineapple ground cherries from Gails, this is gonna be fun!
    • Garlic scapes are done
    • Pole beans are coming up
    • Saw my first cucumber and squash- they should be on my plate anyday now!
    My tabletop eggplant
    My new rhubarb patch
    My been teepees!

      A run down on my potatoes

    1. Monday, May 23, 2011
      OK- this year I bought WAY TOO MANY potatoes...again.  I mean it is a curse I think.  I thought I got just what I needed, but now I have potatoes planted in every kind of bed you can imagine! I even converted my herb bed for potatoes!  Ok, so if I count, I have 5 actual beds of potatoes, and let me see.....5 potato bags ..... and 3 random containers with spuds AND I gave my mome a few of each!  Ok Linna, lesson for next year!

      Here is a rundown of what I have:
      • Red Norland- Productive and early redskin.One of the best summer varieties for early digging, and it stores well! Great baked, boiled, or roasted. The oblong potatoes have smooth red skin, white flesh, and size rapidly. Introduced in 1957 from North Dakota, Norland has been the standard of early red potatoes for many years. This Dark Red strain is a new selection for richer red skin color. The medium-large, purple-flowered plants resist scab, leaf roll and potato viruses A and Y. TIP: For a higher percentage of small red potatoes, plant at 6-8" apart; for larger potatoes, sow about 12" apart.
      • Purple Viking- Unique taste and smooth texture make this variety a favorite for many. Slightly sweet flavor gets sweeter with longer storage. Snow white flesh is perfect for mashing, but is also excellent for any preparation. Beautiful purple skin with red-pink marbling. Average tubers are 3½-4" in diameter, with potential for larger tubers. Excellent storage qualities. 80-100 days.
      • German Butterball- First place winner in Rodale’s Organic Gardening “Taste Off.” A good choice for roasting, frying, and especially for mashed potatoes. Russeted skin and buttery yellow flesh. Always one of our favorite all-purpose potatoes. Excellent for long-term storage. Very good yields. 100-120 days.
      • Katahdin- Buff skin, white flesh. The choice winter potato for northeastern growers.  Released in 1932 by USDA adn Maine, it is the standard by which all storage potatoes are compared.  Very well suited to a Maine growing season, spreading plants can produced some clunkers.  The tubers tend toward the soil's surface, so hill well.  Resistant to mild mosaic, but not spindle tuber or leaf roll.  Medium to large spreading plant with many large light purple flowers.
      • Green Mountain-Famous for its marvelous flavor and exceptional baking qualities. An heirloom released in 1885, bred in the Green Mountains of Vermont. Produces a high yield of light tan-skinned, white-fleshed tubers that store exceedingly well. Resistant to verticillium, blackleg, and fusarium storage rot, but susceptible to scab and viruses. Large spreading plant with big, white flowers. VERY LIMITED both organic and conventional seed.
      • Red Pontiac- 90 to 100 days. For rich, full flavor and a big crop in a wide range of soil conditions, this red-skinned potato can't be beat! Red Pontiac is an improved sport of Pontiac with deeper red skin color, higher yields, and better adaptability to clay soil. A mid-season variety, it offers sweet, solid white flesh with a flavor you just have to try to believe! The large, round tubers hold their shape and color during cooking, making them a great all-around choice for boiling, baking, frying, and mashing. If you just can't wait until harvest time for a potato fix, pluck these new red potatoes earlier for a simple, tasty treat - boiled, lightly seasoned, and straight to your plate! These plants grow up to 3 feet tall but spread 2 to 3 feet wide, and each 2-pound bag will sow 20 to 25 feet of row and yield 25 pounds of potatoes or more.
      • Russet Burbank- Most people throughout the United States and the World identify Idaho as "The Potato State" because of this single potato variety. This potato variety was developed in the late 1800's by a Massachusetts man named Luther Burbank and didn't find its way to Idaho until the early 1900's.  The Russet Burbank is a much slower maturing potato than the Dark Red Norland and Yukon Gold potatoes. However, they have much higher yields in comparison. The Russet Burbank's elongated shape and thick skin make it a very versatile potato. The most common uses for the Russet Burbank potato are BAKING, MASHING, and FRENCH FRYING.
      Oh yes, and that bag of organic red potatoes left in my cupboard, they went into the garden too!

      Scapes are up!

    3. Sunday, May 22, 2011
    4. This year instead of  buying seed garlic, I just bought the garlic from the PVF farm stand. They had a great variety of hard-neck garlic, so I said WHY NOT!  It came up beautifully in November, and really shot up after the winter.  Yesterday I noticed my first scape, wow!  Get ready for scape pesto!

      Start of my garden journaling routine for 2011!

    5. So 1.5 months has past since I posted last, and MY how things have changed.  Honestly I spend so much effort in the spring to get the garden ready, that I almost feel like I want winter to come ... NOT!  Ok- but I have been super busy this year. I think the difference is that I taught ALOT of classes this season to try to inspire and ignite the home food gardening passion :) in people.  More on that later- back to my garden!  I also added 16 new beds to my garden, soo.....that probably has added the exhaustion I feel.  I think the reason I love keeping this garden journal is so I know how much gardening I am capable of!  I have to remind myself that I work full time, have Broden age 5, Skyla age 1.5, a house, a husband, and friends to spend time with.  So listen, if you are reading this, if I can do it, ANYONE CAN!

      So here we are, end of May, and I have been eating and gardening for a few months now!  Hot weather veggies went in around May 10th or so .... and today I shoved in the last few tomatoes that volunteered themselves, and I don't have the heart to compost them!  So here is the round up of what I have done UNTIL THIS POINT:

      In the kitchen garden (KG) I current have the following growing:
      • Bok choi
      • 2 beds of Egyptian walking onions
      • Okra
      • purple kale
      • golden beets
      • red beets
      • cilantro
      • parsley
      • cutting celery (a variety Gale is sweet)
      • asparagus
      • 3 types of eggplant
      • rattlesnake pole beans
      • cabbage
      • 4 types of lettuce
      • swiss chard
      • Suyo long cucumber
      • Mici cucumber
      • strawberries
      • dills
      • 2 types of peas (estancia and xxx)
      • New Zealand spinach
      • Curly blue kale
      • Calendula, marigolds, petunias
      • Assorted potatoes (in grow bags)
      • Artichokes
      • sunflowers
      • bush beans
      • lots of onions!
      • spinach
      So until the spring stuff starts bolting, things are abit full!

      In the pumpkin patch area, I am growing: (note the stink bugs loved the pumpkins so much I am not planting them this year.....)
      • Purple Viking figerling potatoes
      • Red russet potatoes
      • Rainbow tomato
      • Egg Yolk cherry tomato
      • Chocolate mint (from Julie's house!)
      In the 'main garden' I decided to plant things that I don't need to check on that often.  I find with little kids I just don't have time to go down to the garden (it isn't that far .... but every second counts!) So I growing:
      • (3) beds of potatoes, red norlands and a bunch of classic keepers ( German butterball, Katahdin, Green Mountain, Red Pontiac, Russet Burbank)
      • (3) beds of tomatoes: Juliets,  Mexico, Japanese Black Trifele, Kosovo, Opalka, Black Russian, Striped Roman, Green Zebra, Black Cherokee, Virginia Sweets, Black Icicle, Mr. Stripey, Black Sea Man, and a few others I will remember later!)
      • Drying beans- both pole and bush
      • (1) bed of garlic
      • (2) beds of Asparaugs.  Planted this year, 3- year roots
      • (1) large Rhubard bed (2 types)
      • (1) bed for bush delicata
      • Peppers - Thai Hot and Serrano
      • Strawberries
      • and some TBD squash

      Overall I am VERY happywith my main garden because last fall I composted all my healthy dead vegetation on all the beds, so to start teh winter they were all 3-4 ft high.  Then over the winter they fell abit, I added 6 inches of composted horse manure, laid down soaker hoses, AND covered with landscape fabric!  All this means, NO WEEDS, HAPPY PLANTS, and little maintenance for me :)  I also mulched all the aisles with straw and I just love the soft look of my garden.

      So can I say, that is it!  ha! 

      Other things of note:
      • New Zealand spinach reseeded itself, sweeet!
      • Heirloom petunias reseeded themselves, I then planted with tomatoes, in hanging baskets, and by the stairs to the house
      • Bought too many tomatoes at Gale's....
      • Not growing sweet potatoes unless I grow them from my sweets. I honestly don't eat the potatoes much, but LOVE the leaves!
      People who made this garden possible:
      • My dad, for building me the best kitchen garden EVER! And for reinforcing my deer fencing!  And for finding straw on teh side of the road for my paths!
      • A friend name Julie was wonderful to give me 7 bales of straw (albeit moldy) but perfect for my paths!
      • George, for providing me a massive amount of 'black gold' and dropping it off with his dumper truck, WHAT A LIFE SAVER!
      • My mom for planting flowers around the pond, great for pollinators, and for people who say I only grow vegetables!
      • Gale, for growing the best tomatoes and veggie transplants EVER!
      Ok, next post will have actual garden updates on a ROUTINE basis!

      For the record....

    6. Monday, March 21, 2011
      • Tulips and Daffodils are blooming now.....
      • Days still cold, but around mid 40 on up.....
      • Heard spring peepers for the first time on Friday night
      • Planting peas today!
      • Garlic is greening up....
      • Uncovered strawberries
      • Cabbage from fall looks AWESOME!

      Winter Doldrums cured by catalog shopping

    7. I actually wrote this in the winter, but never posted.  Since this is my garden journal, I am posting now....just to have it documented!

      Here is a rough view of my garden orders:
      • Wigwam clips- 20
      • Territorial Seed "Aunt Molly's Ground Cherry; Bingo Bean; Etna Bean; Harvesting Bag; Piccolo Squash; Pineapple Ground Cherry;Organic; Yin Yang Bean;
      • Fedco Moose Tubers "7090 - Classic Keepers ( 12.5#) 1 x $19.00 = $19.00; 7130 - LaRatte ( 1.0#) 1 x $6.00 = $6.00; 7190 - Dark Red Norland ( 5#) 1 x $12.50 = $12.50; 7300 - Purple Viking ( 2.5#) 1 x $6.25 = $6.25"
      • Henry Fields weed barrier, rhubarb (crimson)
      • Guerny's: 25 asparagus crowns (Jersey King Hybrid)
      • Peaceful Valley speedling trays

      Winter silence is over - welcome GARDEN 2011!

    8. If I had pennies for every time I thought about writing, I would be rich!  Today I am finally on to kick off the 'spring wave' and start to garden 2011!  If this season will be like the rest of the world events (democracy demonstrations around world, earthquake and tsunami in Japan.....) then this is sure to be a challenge.Wow, it is going to be an amazing year.  I have 16 new beds just built, a new asparagus patch, and big plans!  I also know that the stink bugs, extreme heat and other evivonmental variables have plans for me too :)

      Here are some recent developments:
      • Placed all seed orders by mid January
      • Planted first seeds in cold frame on 2/20
      • got a heater for my cold frame in February
      • Early March my dad built 16 new beds, including a new kitchen garden!
      • Daffodils are up!  I just saw tulips come up too!
      • Very successful season teaching.  Featured on 11pm news, spoke at Master Gardener's meeting, featured in Loudoun Magazine, workshops sold out at Chicama Run, and presenting at the Loudoun Earth Day festival!
      • JUST uncovered my garlic so I can grow! Many were yellow and crumpled under the straw
      Things I need to do:
      • get manure
      • find straw source for paths
      • figure out how to fend animals from the kitchen garden
      I have more to write, but need to just get this posted :)


    9. So yesterday, March 20th, I planted 25 crowns of Asparagus!  What a feeling of achievement!  I actually needed more room that I had allotted, so I had to move my perennial onions that I planted in the fall into my new 'kitchen garden'.  One of the beds is a huge new 'lasagna' bed.   Essentially 3 feet of organic stuff from last season covered with 6 inches of soil.  The other bed, was a similar 'heap of stuff' last year, and is now the most magical dirt ever! It is FILLED with worms...Every handful had healthy worms working the soil, what magic....  Anyhow I used the 'lasagna gardening' method to plant them and it worked very well.  So only time will tell. I got these crowns about 3 weeks ago and had them in the fridge, so I hope they are still 'alive'.  I also saw my rhubard punching through, what fun this season is going to be.

      As the first day of spring, I do need to mention how magical it is to be in the garden in the spring.  With no bugs, warm breezes, and no weeds to content with- it is pure joy!  I often forget how magical it is - wonder mingled with gardne dreaming....ahh.....

      Anyhow- my seedings are doing well.  I had to replant some spinach, and beets...other than that the rest did well.  I also started some tomas, cukes and other things.  Yes I am risking it being too early, but I have water wells and small solar bells- so I am going to gamble this year!  Pictures to come...

      Oh ... I also pruned the fruit trees and 2 weeks ago the berry patch was trimmed up!

      Finally back up to speed- November Happenings

    10. Saturday, November 6, 2010
    11. Ok- now that I have tried to recall what happend this season, here is what is happening thus far:
      • Hard Frost happend this it is all done in the main garden
      • Pulled EVERYTHING and pilled up the new beds I want, as well as covered all existing beds with debris and straw
      • Pulling straw from all paths and piling onto the beds
      • Planted garlic (in October)
      • Bok Choi looks very good
      • Cabbage moths/worms finally dead
      • Need to transplant spinach into cold frame

      October Summary

    12. Again, from my memory...but what I remember is that it was an AWESOME harvest month.
      • Seeing as last month was October, I still have very great memories!  Great memories of good harvests....and of stink bugs :(
      • Before I mention the great things, I just have to mention how horrendous the stink bugs were this year. I mean we had several swarm days, and maybe a few of them were in September.... Anyhow, we had THOUSANDS on our house, and I literally hated it.  I actually got Country Pest and Termite to come out BEFORE the first swarm which I think helped.  All the news talked about how bad this year was....they were relentless.  They were also all over my parents Airstream which I had to go in to clean up for some people who were looking at it.  I HATE STINKBUGS!  In the cars, in the house, everywhere!
      • Beyond stinkbugs, GREEN BEANS (Masai) were amazing
      • Pulled all pumpkins, boston marrow, and coosa. Stink bugs just too bad. I only got (3) Boston Marrow, but hey- that is ok!
      • Tomatoes keep coming! Although cooler, still got loads of San Marzano's
      • Pulled Sprite Melons
      • Still eating Sweet Potato leaves and pulled a few potatoes. But honestly I don't want to get the potatoes cause I will then have to stop eating the leaves!
      • Pulled Endamame, they got heaps of pods finally but the pods had barely anything in them. I think it was because of the drought.  Decided to use their remains in building up my new beds.
      • Planted fall crops (I think I did this is September) cabbage, Kale, beets, carrots, and bok choi
      • Harvested dry beans - ok season.
      • Planted cold frame with lettuce, beats, and kale.
      • Planted garlic
      • Pulled sweet potatoes at the end of the month

      September Summary

    13. Again, this is all from memory  (which is not that good these days) since I was too busy to write!
      • Such a great month for harvest.  Bush beans (masai) I planted in July started producing -- awesome.
      • Sweet potatoes continued to look great and I continued to eat their leaves!
      • Endamame still growing, just beginning to flower, these need the longest season ever!
      • Planted fava beans too late.....never got anything, pulled plants
      • Pulled final potatoes.....not very happy with the grow bags
      • New Zealand spinach going crazy!
      • Found 3 Boston Marrow growing, but the stink bugs and cucumber beetles are all super attacking. Many vines are going limp, I was so bummed
      • Butternut squash grew in the craziest of places that I did not plant it - my cold frame and the fire pit! (since I didn't plant any this year it was welcomed surprise)
      • Peppers seem to be doing well, I made some hot pepper jelly and at least I loved it!
      • Raspberries and blackberries doing awesome- we have been picking yummy fruit all season!
      • Apples look great too!
      • Planted hanging planters with lettuce, and kale
      • Planted cabbage from Southern States in main garden

      The 2010 main season is over....August Summary

    14. and it was such an intense season that I stopped posting after July 27th!  Eek!  Since the point of this blog is to help me learn what works, and what does not......I will try to remember the details since August!

      So I went on vacation for two weeks and had an AMAZING garden sitter- Gina Faber.  She took such great care of my garden, sent me email about its progress and questions about what I planted.  It really was a relief to know someone so good was watching my garden.  She even used piola on the blister beetles!  If she hadn't done that, I don't know what would have been left.  Anyhow, she saved alot of the harvest for me in the freezer, ate alot for herself, and donated to Interfaith kitchen!  So what a great 2- weeks. When I got back, everything looked good - just other parts of the house looked crazy.  The weeds took over our patio area by the pond - gotta see if there is anything I can do about that next year!  The rest of August was very dry, here is what I remember?
      • My tomato harvest was VERY, VERY good.  I made alot of salsa, and basic sauce.  I was abit worried that I wouldn't have enough tomatoes, so I used my 'tab' at PVF and bought (2) ponies of tomatoes.  Looking back on that time, I actually had tons of tomatoes myself and didn't need to necessarily buy my own. Anyhow, the salsa is a big hit and I hope I have enough for the winter season! 
      • Had alot of papaya squash and ultimately I ripped it out.  The stink bugs were pretty bad  on the squash and I decided to end a good thing, I pulled all the plants in hopes of stopping the 'reproduction' festival.  One thing I don't like in the garden is 'chaos'........well bad chaos like an infestation and I opt to pull when this happens.
      • SPRITE MELONS like crazy! I actually mixed the Sprites with another melon.  They both were sweet and delicious and we used them alot, gave away alot, and froze alot for winter smoothies.  Planted too many, took over the whole bed and then some!
      • Sweet Potatoes love their new bed.  They were gorgeous and beautiful. I learned from PVF that you can EAT the leaves!  This became my new favorite addition to green smoothies.  Easy taste, and just yummy.
      • Pulled the Romanesco.  Not sure if it was too hot, but it never produced fruit.
      • Perennial onions doing great.....
      • Pumpkins, delicata, Boston Marrow and Coosa doing great....but the stink bugs got the upper hand.  I tried to kill what I could, so before they took over I ended up getting some Coosa. They were DELICIOUS, and if I can manage the pests, I would grow them again.
      So for August, I think that is a good summary. 

      Moving fast... quick updates

    15. Tuesday, July 27, 2010
    16. OK- so alot going on as I am leaving for a two week vacation and working hard to get the garden all shored up!  This past week I have:
      • Ripped out all the sunberry's
      • Cut back the swiss chard and continued battle with blister beetles (I HATE THEM!)
      • Took some of smaller potatoes and am attempting to have a second crop this year
      • Planted a second crop of beets, and carrots
      • Moved the 'melon' plant to the sunberry patch
      • Ripped out crappy soaker hose and strung a new one in the beds I just planted
      • cleaned up potatoes and onions and put them in my new storage bin
      I am taking  a risk on not watering my tomatoes and melons and beans.  Since my soaker hoses snapped, I am only going to water the super important things in my garden. I think the beans will be fine.......and the tomatoes ....I think they will be fine too!

      Anyhow- got alot done by cleaning up the beds, getting seeds in, and getting the soaker hoses ready.  Wonder what I will find when I return!

      Updated photos - topsy turvy experiment

    17. Sunday, July 25, 2010
    18. So my topsy turvy experiment is in full swing.  I planted these hanging grow bags for a mix of veggies: eggplant, peppers, strawberries, butternut squash, and delicata squash.  At first I thought it was the best invention ever, then as the season progressed, I rethought this statement.  I am not at the end of the experiment- but I am in the middle.  Overall they dry out WAY TOO QUICKLY, even with watering every day.  The size of the plants are much smaller than in the garden due to the small soil space. With that said, I have had:
      • Wonderful strawberry harvest and love keeping these plants contained. When they send out runners I just put them in a new topsy turvy!
      • Eggplants are forming now and I am so excited. Due to bugs I never get eggplants, but this year I did, sans bugs!
      • Getting LOTS OF PEPPERS!  Like I said, plant size is smaller, but still getting a great harvest!
      • Squash's not doing so well......they dry out too quickly. I do have one butternut squash formed though!
      Eggplant and Holy Thai Basil
      4 Kinds of Hot Peppers

      Delicata squash 
      My first butternut squash!
      View of full butternut plant
      my first eggplant ever!
      another view of peppers

      What a year..... Mid Summer Update

    19. Wednesday, July 21, 2010
    20. Wow - I haven't written for awhile since life has been so crazy.  Between the garden, kids, work, the house....where does time go? Anyhow- I gotta update this year's 'garden good times' to remind me how each year is SO DIFFERENT.

      First the highlights:
      •  Landscaper fabric is working famously. It has been a very dry season and I feel like it is helping keep moisture in.
      • Early tomatoes! Everything is early this year!  I have been canning for the last two days!
      • Beans doing great
      • Amazing cabbage
      • Lots of garlic
      • Nice and 'clean garden'
      • News beds formed with sheet composting is working FAMOUSLY
      • Topsy turvy peppers and egglplants working GREAT, squash not so great, dries out too much
      • Most amazing BEETS!
      • So far new pumpkin patch looks good!
      • Growing basil on the porch in containers working great
      Garden Pitfalls:
      • Put in soaker hoses too late and they also split.....
      • BUGS......I will dedicate another post just to this.   All I can say is BLISTER BEETLES.
      • Because of bugs, lost alot of 'food'
      • Squash in topsy turvy dries out way too quickly
      • Too many squash?? Is that a problem?
      Pics of topsy turvy and bug story to follow!

      Letting my tomato show its TOMATO-NESS...

    21. Tuesday, June 22, 2010
    22. I hate staking tomatoes- so this year I am allowing my San Marzano to be who it wants to be, and she looks GREAT!!!  In the words of Joel Salatan, I am allowing my tomato to show its TOMATONESS by vining!

      Updated pics of veggies...

    23. Broad Winsor blossoms

      Papaya squash
      My girls.....Mamoth Sunflowers!

      Yellow Pear Tomato

      My prize jewel....Sprite Melons. Tasted these in a market and got seeds from a seed swapper online! A small melon that tastes like a melon crossed with apple and pear!

      Birdseye view of the garden!

    24. Garden pics 2010!  This place is neater than my house!

      Here is a view of the 'main' garden area. I was actually picking cherries and took this pic!  Individual pics below:

      All types of dry and bush beans.

      Long cas see the herb bed, sunberries, sweet potato bed, onons....

      My old composter now potato bed!

      Last year this was my compost bed...I topped it with manure and this year it is for sweet potatoes!

      Liked this piece on cherries...

    25. Friday, June 11, 2010
    26. So I think I am REALLY done picking cherries.... 50 cups in the freezer and I am  cherried out!  Here was some interesting stuff I found online (

      The reasons to add some recipes with cherries to your meal plan go beyond this fruit's fantastic flavor. Juicy, delicious cherries are a great source of fiber, immune-boosting vitamin C, and disease-fighting antioxidants. In fact, a cup of Bing cherries contains more antioxidant power than a small piece of dark chocolate or three ounces of almonds, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. For this reason, cherries are good options for helping to fight inflammation, as well as cancer and heart disease. Scientists believe that anthocyanins, the compounds that give cherries their red hue, can help decrease blood uric acid levels, which may in turn help lower heart attack and stroke risk, according to a recent USDA/University of California study. You can get these anthocyanins from sour cherries, too, as well as cherry juice, and frozen, canned, or dried cherries.
      Eating organically grown food is always smart, but especially with cherries. Unfortunately they’re on the Environmental Working Group's "dirty dozen" list of the 12 foods most commonly contaminated with high levels of pesticides, even after washing and peeling. The chemical pesticides detected in these studies are known to cause cancer, birth defects, damage to the nervous system, and developmental problems in children. On average, conventionally grown cherries are treated with 25 different pesticides, and 91 percent of cherries recently tested registered pesticide contamination above safe levels. So, go organic!

      Cherry- Cheese Crepes


      Serves: Prep: 15min
      Cook: 2min
      Total: 17min

      3/4 cup fat-free milk
      1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
      1/2 teaspoon honey
      1/2 cup whole grain pastry flour

      1/3 cup fat-free cottage cheese
      1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
      1/2 teaspoon honey
      1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
      1 cup pitted dark sweet cherries

      1. To make the crepes: In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg substitute, and honey. Whisk in the flour just until smooth. 2. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours. (This allows the flour particles to swell and soften to produce lighter crepes.) 3. Coat a small nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Place over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles and evaporates upon contact. 4. Ladle in about 3 tablespoons batter and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown and the batter is set. Using a rubber spatula, loosen the edges and carefully flip the crepe over. Cook the other side for 45 seconds. Transfer to a plate. Continue making crepes with the remaining batter. You should have 8. 5. To make the filling: In a food processor, combine the cottage cheese, yogurt, honey, and vanilla. Process until smooth. Add the cherries and pulse until finely chopped but not pureed. 6. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the filling onto the center of each crepe. Roll up the crepes and place them on dessert plates. Spoon a dollop of the remaining filling on top of each serving.

      Loved this article about Fava's ....

    27. Friday, June 4, 2010
    28. Taken from the SLOW COOK (

      I am growing fava beans this year and just loved this article so I decided to re-post. I will post pics of my favas once they come in :)

      Fava beans, the original Old World bean, is one of my favorite plants in the garden. The plant itself has a distinctive, almost prehistoric looking architecture. Then it one day it is covered with white flowers that look like white butterflies sitting ever so still with their wings folded, marked only by a black dot.
      It won’t be too much longer before the bean plants, not quite three feet tall and arrow straight, are covered with improbably large pods, swollen, glossy and pregnant looking. And indeed they are. Inside are three or four beans, usually, wrapped snuggly in a furry, white casing. As if that weren’t enough protection, the beans are encased in a thin membrane that must be removed before the beans can be eaten. A few seconds blanching in boiling water usually does the trick. Just cut one end of the bean with a paring knife and it will pop right out, immaculately green.
      These were planted March 8 and are ready to harvest. They could go a while longer, but favas prefer cool temperatures, and it’s feeling an awful lot like summer here in the District of Columbia.

      Favas are best eaten simply. We like them barely cooked in a green salad. Or, mash them up with some peas and pecorino cheese and spread on grilled slices of country bread. Drizzle with a little olive oil and you have a fabulous fava bruschetta.

      Katie's Tomatoes....

    29. Monday, May 31, 2010
    30. So Katie decided she wanted to grow I decided to get her off to the right start with some of Gail's tomatoes! She got hooked too.....and wanted one, but left with three.  I am going to send her home with some compost, and if she mixes it with potting soil and feeds them a few times this season, she should have a good harvest.  Interesting which ones she chose! Here is a pic and a description of what she got:

      Matina- Heirloom. This tried-and-true heirloom from Germany is one of the few early fruiting kinds that has the kind of flavor normally associated with beefsteak tomatoes. Huge plants, with abundant potato-leaf foliage that is resistant to diseases like Early Blight and protects the fruits from sunscald. The globular red, quarter pound fruits are borne in large clusters and free from the green shoulders often seen on others of this type, such as the Czech heirloom Stupice. Indeterminate.

      Akers WV- 85 days. Lycopersicon esculentum. Plant produces high yields of 1 lb red tomatoes. The tomatoes are very sweet and has a rich tomato flavor. Excellent in salads and on sandwiches. The tomatoes are smooth and have very little cracking or blemishes. A heirloom variety from West Virginia, USA. Indeterminate. pk/10

      Mexico- Brought to the America by a Mexican family living in the Midwest. Our Tomatofest organic tomato seeds produce very large, indeterminate, regular-leaf, prolific tomato plants that yield huge sets of 1-2 pound, slightly flattened, irregular-shaped, dark-pink beefsteak tomatoes with terrific bold, tomato flavors. Plenty of sweetness with complementary acid flavors. Several customers who are growers of tomatoes for farmer's markets swear by the taste quality and visual appeal of the Mexico heirloom tomato. A perfect tomato for slicing fresh and thick for sandwiches and sliced up in salads. Once you select this variety it will be in your garden every year. A great showplace tomato for the County Fair. A Gary Ibsen personal favorite.

      So I will have her take pics as the season goes- but I hope it all works out!

      Oh are a bad influence!

    31. Sunday, May 30, 2010
    32. So after a wonderful trip to Crooked Run Cellars (sans kids), we picked up the kids, got icecream, then headed to Gail's to get Katie some tomatoes to grow.  It was, as usual, a magical experience...... great people to meet - great conversations to have with Gail ... and then....her greenhouse. I swear, it must be like the Bermuda Triangle....I always get sucked in!  So here are my casualties:
      • Eggplant Rosa Bianca- Plant produces good yields of rosy lavender & cream colored teardrop shaped eggplants. These eggplants are very delicious, creamy, with no bitter taste. Excellent for slicing, stuffing, and baking. Prized by chefs and home gardeners. A heirloom variety from Italy
      • Eggplant Thai Green- ( variety of Asian eggplant that can range in shape from long and thin to round and stocky. The Thai eggplant may be white, green, or purple in color. They have a deliciously sweet and slightly bitter meaty flesh, tender skin, and may be seedless, which makes seedless varieties highly desirable for numerous recipes.

      The long thin eggplants, typically green in color, are known as the Thai Green eggplants, which grow up to 12 inches in length. With a thin skin and a mild flavored flesh, the Thai Green eggplant is a very common Asian egglant. While some varieties of Thai eggplants are long and oblong shaped, others may be small, round and stocky. The small round eggplants are often referred Thai Kermit eggplants or as Garden Eggs and Bitter Balls, names often associated with a similar eggplant from Africa. Since Thai eggplants are highly perishable, store in a refrigerator for a week or less. They become increasingly bitter as they age.

      • Hot Pepper Anaheim
      • Hot Pepper Jalapeno
      • Anaheim

      So I would like to note that I already have 7 peppers growing, but at the vineyard I had hot pepper jelly and got hooked and just had to buy more  peppers to make sure I could make this tasty treat!  Also, when I saw Eggplant Thai Green, I remembered all the thai dishes that called for of course I 'had to have them'...

      Gail- thanks for keeping my addiction going :)