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First cucumbers!

  • Thursday, June 26, 2008

  • wow! Went into the garden and was surprised to have two cucumbers waiting for the picking. The harvest has really begun!

    Other devleopments:
    • Sour Cherries were at their peak two days ago. I can't pick or pit fast enough. Pitting takes the most time... I just hate to let them go to waste, have had several friends over to pick. I did make a cherry pie and it was so DELICIOUS can't wait to have some more in the winter
    • Hydrangeas in full bloom.
    • Planted thornless blackberry plants with the grapes
    • Got lots of Kale and Collards from GCF
    • Got blueberries from GCF :)
    • My dehydrator and pressure canner arrived, just need to learn to use them!
    • Put up first batch of pesto! (have lots of kinds of basil- cinammon, lemon etc)
    • Sunflowers are blooming, esp Moulan Rouge
    • Yellow Yarrow is blooming
    • Tomatoes are forming
    • Peppers are forming
    • Let peas go to see, as well as spinach and lettuce
    For now that is it! No time to anything but pit cherries!

    Today is only Monday?

  • Monday, June 23, 2008
  • So today I FINALLY planted the 5 wine vines Sebastien gave me (had to clear out the scary forest around the grape vines). So phew, that done.

    • I also planted a thornless blackberry where one of the grape vines died.
    • I tied up more of the tomatoes.
    • I picked more cherries.
    • I NEED to harvest more swiss chard!

    In summary, everything is growing VERY well......watermelon looks good, bird house gourds are going up, pole beans have gone up 7 ft already, peas and lettuce and spinach are going to seed so I can save for next chard is ready for harvest #3.


  • OK, so it is mid/late June and the sour cherries are totally ready and totally red and ripe and ready for the picking. I feel all stressed out as every day that I don't pick, I feel I am wasting them! My dehydrator should be here soon- so I plan to dry them as well. My cherry pitter is one of the best tools ever! So next year I need to be better prepared for Cherry season. Pics of the cherries and their #1 fan soon.

    Check out the time lapse of my first batch of fruit leather! (first one are just cherries, which are now cherr-aisins)

    New grape root stock

  • Wednesday, June 18, 2008
  • Just got 5 root stocks from Doukenie winery- here is what they are: Cabernet Sauvignon , clone 2 , Rout stock 101-14. Haven't planted them yet, but soon!

    Worms are in!!

  • Friday, June 13, 2008

  • Sour Cherry Notes

  • Tuesday, June 10, 2008
  • So I know we have Montmorency cherries, and here is some info I found online. They are red now, but they say they usually harvest in July.

    ( Tart cherries, which are sometimes called sour, red cherries, or pie cherries are best known as the key ingredient in desserts. They are also delicious in main courses, salads, jams and jellies, and beverages. Tart cherries are seldom sold fresh in your local grocery store. They are harvested in July and usually frozen, canned, or dried for use throughout the year. You'll need to find a farmers' market to purchase them fresh.
    Popular varieties include the Montmorency, Morello, and Early Richmond. Montmorency is the most popular of the sour cherry varieties the U.S. and Canada providing 95% or more of the sour cherries on the market. They are harvested in July and are light to dark red. This cherry has been cultivated in the United States for more than a century.

    Nutrition Analysis for Cherry Products
    For centuries, the cherry, either as bark, root or fruit, has been a source of medicine for indigenous peoples. Native Americans prized cherries as pain relievers, especially for sore throats. The Cherokees used an infusion of sour cherry bark to treat laryngitis. The Ojibwa used the crushed root for stomach pain. The Forest Potawatomi employed an infusion of the inner bark to alleviate internal pains while the MicMac used black cherry fruit as a health tonic. (I suspect that the cherry flavoring of most cough medicines is a faint memory of this ancient Native American usage.)

    The following information is from the Cherry Marketing Institute.

    The good news about the health benefits of cherries continues to increase. According to ongoing research, Montmorency tart cherries are a rich source of antioxidants, which can help fight cancer and heart disease. In addition, there are beneficial compounds in Montmorency tart cherries that help relieve the pain of arthritis and gout. Other fruits and vegetable do not have the pain relief of tart cherries. While the research on the exact mechanisms that give the pain relief is ongoing, many consumers are discovering that tart cherry juice and other cherry products can stave off pain. The Cherry Advantage Health News Update has detailed information on the health benefits of cherries. The current issue and back issues are available here.
    Many people have discovered that 100% ready to drink tart cherry juice helps relieve the pain of arthritis and gout. Others say it cures headaches and some say it helps them sleep better. Now there is a new brochure all about cherry juice . It's called "The Natural Choice: Tart Cherry Juice." This brochure, produced by the Cherry Marketing Institute (CMI), gives consumers health benefits information, nutrition and usage ideas.

    Freezing Cherries:
    Freeze cherries as soon as possible after picking to ensure a high quality product. To freeze: Stem and sort cherries. Wash in cold water. Drain and pit. Pack into containers in one of the following ways:

    • With sugar: 3/4 cup sugar to 1 cup water; mix to dissolve.

    • In syrup: Bring 5 cups sugar and 4 cups water to a rolling boil. Chill syrup before using to freeze cherries.

    • Plain: Place in freezer quality plastic bags.

    Cherry Pie Recipe!

    Cherry Pie

    1. Pastry for 9-inch two crust pie

    2. 1 1/3 cups sugar

    3. 4 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

    4. 6 cups fresh or frozen pitted tart or "pie" cherries

    5. 1/4 teaspoon almond extract 2 tablespoons butter or margarine

    6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare pie pastry.

    7. In a large bowl, combine sugar and tapioca. Add cherries; stir until well blended. Pour into pastry-lined plate; sprinkle with almond extract and dot with butter or margarine. Cover with remaining pastry and flute. Cut slits in pastry so steam can escape. Cover edge with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning.

    8. Place pie on baking sheet. Bake approximately 45 to 50 minutes or until crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble through slits on crust. Remove aluminum foil during last 15 minutes of baking. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack before cutting and serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
      Makes 8 to 10 servings.

    Cherry Crumble- (thanks Natasha!)

    1/2 cup flour
    1/2 cup quick cooking oats
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 stick butter
    1 tsp cinnamon

    Combine with pastry blender until the butter is chopped in and refrigerate.

    Meanwhile, in a bowl combine 2 cups cherries, 1/3 cup sugar and 1tbs flour. Put into an oven proof dish and put oat mixture on top and bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.

    More peas, please....

  • Monday, June 9, 2008


  • Sunday, June 8, 2008
  • Check it out - fresh peas, stirfried with butter, AND fresh Queso Blanco sauteed in butter, and garlic! YUMM! You can't get fresher than this :)

    Worm Composting, here I come!

  • Just a quick note that my worm composter came in on Friday! The worms should be in a few days! I am very excited about having some great organic fertilizer for my plants. I am starting with 2 lbs of worms, we will see how it goes!

    First Harvest - Swiss Chard

  • Saturday, June 7, 2008
  • Well this weekend is going to be OUT OF SIGHT heat index of 105. So we are staying indoors and I am taking the time to read up on preserving food! Anyhow, this morning I harvested my fist crop of swiss chard. (see pic) It is so great to know that this will serve as two dinners in the winter. If I haven't actually said this yet- my garden's objective is to supply my family with food this winter. I am part of a CSA for my weekly vegetables, so my garden is going to keep on giving -- when the cold winds of the winter has its hold on us! Abit of sunshine I say. Today off to Costco to buy a seal-n-saver.... :)


  • Friday, June 6, 2008

  • Ok- so the tree outside our kitchen is COVERED in cherries and they are golden in color and I had no clue if they were supposed to be that way, or what. Well after eating many of them in their golden state, I found out that is HOW THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE! Yum! Gosh I keep finding more and more things on this property!

    The Royal Ann Sweet Cherry Tree produces huge crops of rosy-cheeked golden cherries that keep their sweet flavor during processing. Ripens in June and is seldom bothered by birds. Any sweet cherry other than Bing can be used as a pollinator. Cherries are an excellent choice for home gardens. The incredibly juicy, bite-size treats begin to ripen to June- earlier than other tree fruits- and the fruit can be used in so many ways! Many varieties are self-pollinating,
    too, so you can pick a bountiful crop even if you have room for only one tree.
    Zones: 5-8.

    Recipe to try later (I froze the harvest I got this year)

    Cherries In Pinot Noir Wine

    1. 1 pound fresh sweet cherries (such as Bing, Rainier, or Lambert)
    2. 1 cup water½ cup brown sugar (or to taste)1 cup red wine (I like to use pinot noir wine)
    3. 2 teaspoons lemon zest
    4. Rinse and drain cherries. Discard stems and pit the cherries.
    5. In a medium saucepan, add water and brown sugar; bring to a simmer. Add red wine and lemon zest. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
    6. Add the pitted cherries; let mixture return to a simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover with a lid, and let cool to room temperature. After mixture has cooled, refrigerate.
    7. NOTE: By letting the mixture refrigerate or a day, the flavors have time to develop and blend.
    8. Serve the cherries either serve at room temperature or chilled (your preference). Spoon cherries and liquid into individual serving bowls. Serve with your favorite wafers or cookies.

    Starting Late!

  • So I am starting late, so I just need jump in and start keeping track of what is going on in my garden. I have a hard copy journal, but it is all over the place and doesn't keep the date handy of when I scribbled in the notes! Hence this blog was started. So here goes everything!

    Things that are going on in my garden:

    • Just noticed my peas are in! It happened so quickly!
    • Swiss Chard ready for harvest #1
    • Lettuce on harvest #3 (probably done for the season now though)
    • pole beans are all up and ready to climb
    • cukes are up (not climbing up yet)
    • squash all looking great (butternut, and patty pan)
    • carrots up (planted 2 weeks ago)
    • okra out of ground
    • Cherries are pink and delicious!

    So all in all a great start to the month of June.

    Things I won't do again: (need to write it down so I remember!)

    • start flowers from seeds
    • start veggies so early (should have started in April, not in March like I did)

    I am sure this list will continue to grow!