cabbage cherries kitchen garden bean support Demo image Demo image

Finally back up to speed- November Happenings

  • Saturday, November 6, 2010
  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Tuesday, July 27, 2010
  • 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

  • Sunday, July 25, 2010
  • 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

  • Wednesday, July 21, 2010
  • 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...

  • Tuesday, June 22, 2010
  • 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...

  • 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!

  • 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...

  • Friday, June 11, 2010
  • 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 ....

  • Friday, June 4, 2010
  • 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....

  • Monday, May 31, 2010
  • 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!

  • Sunday, May 30, 2010
  • 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 :)


  • So my friend Melissa introduced me to the wonder of beets. Before I would just eat the greens and throw the beet out, horrors! This yera I decided to grow all types! Early wonder, golden, albino, detroit red, and chiogga.  Here are some pics of my first initial harvest!

    Here is an Early Wonder specimen :)

    Progression of garden pictures.....

  • Saturday, May 29, 2010
  • Now that things are are some updates:

    Peas- These are growing by the front door and I am excited about this type called Estancia.  I did not provide support and the description says the tendrils interlock and hold itself up.  It is true!
    Strawberries-  New strawberry bed that I built this year....... These are June bearing strawberries, but I am planting everbearing in the Topsy Turvy planters.
    New beds- These are the new beds my dad built. I have all types of things in here: Romanesco, four types of beets (on the sides), rose orach, kale, and new zealand spinach.  Second picture shows how it is filling in - amazing!
    Tomato bed (the one by the house, I have three beds of tomas by the house)  Who knows what I have....all heirloom, all great names.....Church, Green Zebra, San Marzano, Old German......We will see soon!
    Potato bin I turned a compost bin into a potato bin!  Waste not!  I just keep adding straw, and we shall see what happens.  This is my first year of potatoes.
    Collards/Cabbage/Onions- I am in the process of pulling the kale, but this bed has 3 types of onions and collards and cabbage :)
    Cold Frame-  Ally types of things here.  Bok Choi, spinach, kale, and some collards. This cold frame rocks.
    Cherries- Here is our first tree to come into fruit for the season, an old tree but still good fruit.  A nice spring afternoon snack.
    Iris- I took this from our suburban home :)
    Sunberry Patch- As you can see, this is really filling in!

    Poppy- I am assuming this is a wild single poppy.  It loves my garden.
    Cleared Pumpkin Patch- So here is the new pumpkin patch cleared...still need to cover with weed barrier and cover with straw.  It is gonna be awesome!

    Until the next post with the most recent pics!