Wednesday, September 29, 2010

fine eating

This is a close up photo these really are tiny
That's a cherry tomato and that squash was only about 6 inches long.
Picked by sunset last night

This is the end of the summer growing season and I have a manta I say over and over....."Harvest each day"

Why? First off you get to eat really gourmet food, it's tiny, it's fresh, tender and yummy.

Second nature is going to take it all back very soon, with all our rain and the cold soon to be upon us the plants will slow down to barely grow.

So every day I'm picking those small green, yellow and purple beans, I'm watching the tomatoes and picking them when pink (they are splitting from too much water if left until ripe) I'm taking those zucchini at 6 inches etc.
I'm harvesting the top basil leaves that aren't spotted from all the rain,
and collecting the newest sprouts on my herbs
which will have to be tucked away soon.

If you don't know what size those veggies should have been for harvest check out this web site. If you were apart of our gardening group you have this handout. Once you know the harvest size reduce that and collect things at a gourmet size and cook gently and enjoy!

look at FS#26

You will do this kind of harvesting once again with the early spring foods.
It really does take a couple of years to see the circle of life and hop onto the Merry go round.

Monday, September 27, 2010

roasted potato recipe

I don't think I can ever match Amy's red tomato that was served to us at our last meeting but here is the recipe for the roasted potato salad I brought.
It's good.

Roasted Potato & Green bean salad
From the book Grocery Gardening

4 med Yukon gold potatoes cleaned and cubed (I used some of each kind of potato I grew)
1/2 cup olive oil plus some for coating baking sheets
1/4 pound fresh green beans, cleaned and trimmed (I used yellow wax beans)
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fresh Thyme leaves, minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the potatoes on a large foil (oiled) lined baking sheet, use two if needed to keep all potatoes flat on sheet. Drizzle (this is not the 1/2 cup of oil) with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (I use sea salt and not a lot) Bake 45 min. or until potatoes are brown and well caramelized.

Blanch the beans by immersing them in a large saucepan of boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove beans from the saucepan and dunk them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and dry the beans.

In a large bowl, combine the shallots, mustard, vinegar and thyme. Salt and pepper to taste and whisk to combine the ingredients. While whisking add the 1/2 cup of olive oil in a stream. This should become creamy as you whisk it. Continue to blend oil thoroughly into the dressing. Add the roasted potatoes and beans, stir and serve.

Note: All fresh ingredients did come out of my garden. I am so loving these shallots!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

highlights of our season end meeting

It was a great gardening season. HORRIBLE weather but what a lot was gained in this season of gardening. I know you each learned something you didn't know. You all worked hard and that in it's self is a big gain. What we learn we can do gets easier to do.

Here are some snippets of what we covered in our last meeting.

To put your garden to bed for the winter:

1. Clean out everything if you don't you invited nasty bugs to winter, plants will keep growing and grow leggy and be attacked by one thing after the other. Don't leave what you aren't growing

2. Don't cover your garden with plastic directly on the ground (mold)
Don't put compost in until spring unless you are planning a winter garden or planting over wintering seeds.
With all our rain the compost nutrients will be nearly gone by spring planting

3. Clean the ground around the garden of gardening debris. You can be your own worst enemy but letting things rot in the garden. The compost bin is for rotting items.

4. If you wish to protect your soil you can put a mulch over your garden. Newspaper, peat moss, straw. Just keep in mind anything you lay down will be a home for some kinds of bugs. Remove straw in the spring it doesn't compost fast enough to leave in your garden. If you cover over wintering seeds uncover them in late Jan.

What if you do want to garden through the winter what do you do?

I planted late summer seeds for fall harvest. They include beets, kale, carrots, spinach, broccoli, choi's, any of your orange cards. I am starting to harvest the kale, spinach and broccoli. I want to leave a lot of things for that kiss of frost which will sweeten kale, beets and many carrots. This means that I have not put my garden to bed yet and I won't be until late Oct or frozen nights which ever comes first. Shockingly I am still harvesting beans that are still producing.

If you did not plant seeds for a fall harvest you can not reasonably plant now and have the plants have enough heat to grow. The only exception I see is that great salad table, which I plant now and grow all winter with a cover and a 60 watt bulb. Yummy miners lettuce etc. You can plant your garlic and Shallots now.

What can you winter over?

Wintering over means planting seeds from varieties that can take cold ground and then spring to life in early spring.
Some plants work very well this way, others it is a waste of time.
What works for me is to plant the kales, chard, beets and broccoli but not the peas they rot and rarely make it. Here are some of the seeds I work from and any with the key words, early, winter, frost etc. will work. You need to protect these seeds with mulch or at least plant them a bit deeper than you normally would. (not so deep they can't ever pop out!)

Lettuce-Arctic tundra blend (winter hardy)
mico greens mix (harvest when small )
Arctic King butterhead
Provencal winter mix (a nice mix of winter hardy greens)

Kale- Winter Red

Broccoli- Rudolph early sprouting

Beets-flat of Egypt

Chard- Fordhook Giant Swiss chard

Carrot- Merida
Autumn king

Little Hints

Before I winter over my garden I take a trowel and stir up the soil and destroy any cut worms, or other under the soil bugs! It's worth it to me to keep the bugs under control naturally

Got green tomatoes? if you don't see signs of blight then remove any blooms, any un-needed green and see if those 4 days of sunshine next week do it. I hear it will be in the 70's yeah! If that doesn't work collect the green tomatoes and do one of the following:

1. Make green relish
2. make fried green tomatoes they are yummy
3. dip the tomatoes in a 9/1 water to bleach solution dry and put in a paper bag with one uncut apple.
Check the bag every week removing the spoils or the conquests.

Donna's wisdom: Everything comes in a cycle, Bugs have theirs, air and water currents have theirs, we have ours. We garden with the hope that we can adjust to the cycle already in place without us! We plant everything we love and we only get what can survive the cycle then upon it. We have to love gardening for the hope of possibility.

Fonnell's widsom......don't worry if your garden pays for itself now. If you were hungry and you didn't know how to grow anything then who is going to feed you? By your third year of paying attention to the garden you will have gained so many skills it will pay for itself. Do you think you would have any veggie or fruits to buy at the store if the farmers felt it payed for itself? Good question. Some times it does, sometimes it doesn't

Donna is a senior citizen, once the superintendent of the floral for the Evergreen State fair and a very wise gardening friend of mine.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Savory Pull-apart Bread

Savory Pull-Apart bread

I served this at our get together and it wasn't my best one so try the recipe and make it yummy. This comes off the Bisquick recipe site and there are a lot of other good recipes using veggies.

10 sun-dried tomato halves (not packed in oil)
2 cups original Bisquick mix (I make my own)
3/4 cups milk
a mix of cheeses (what ever you have on) hand 8 ozs
All these items can be substituted with what ever comes from the garden
fresh items should be saute' to remove moisture and caramelize the sugars.
I do it in a big frying pan. I chop every thing finely so the recipe goes together fast. My family loves this for an afternoon snack.

3/4 cup roasted bell pepper (drain the jar and chop finely
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano (1 teas dried)
1 tablespoon of chopper fresh basil (1 teas dried)
Herbs of your choice
artichoke quarters, dried and chopped
1-3 garlic cloves finely chopped
Onions, shallots
2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat over 425 degrees
Grease 9x9x2 pan

Cover dried tomatoes with boiling water. Let stand for 10 minutes, drain and chop finely.

Mix Bisquick mix, tomatoes, half the cheese and the milk in a medium bowl. Stir until a dough forms, be careful not to over mix.

In another bowl mix: remaining cheese, the saute' veggies, the herbs and oil.

In your greased 9x9 drop half the dough by tablespoons closely together in an irregular pattern in the pan. spoon half of the cheese mixture over the dough. Drop remaining dough over cheese and then top with the rest of the cheese mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes of until golden brown. Serve warm

I learn more each year

I went to the Seattle pops with some gardening friends on Sat and I never fail to learn something more. So here is a great hint we talked about.

You have tomato plants with lots of green tomatoes? Start removing any blossoms, and get all the extra small growth off the plant. This makes it easier for the plant to work on only the fruit that is there and unripened. So go pinch those blossoms and see if it works.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I planted German Butterball, an heirloom, Russian Banana also an heirloom, you can see the 4-5" fingers in the box.
There are purple Viking and Yukon Gold in the box also.

I've been spacing out the collection of food
The garlic before fair
The onions after fair
and now two of the cans of potatoes
that seemed to have the hardest time growing.

The plants had been attacked by something, long ago some of the green could barely grow while they struggled they flowered. I only hoped there would be some potatoes to collect. With two days of dry weather I decided today was the best I could do and I got my tarp out and dumped the two cans. One can did very well with a large harvest but medium size potatoes. The other can did very well also but the only potatoes that got very big were the reds. All the rest are new potato size. Because of the infection I saw on the plants I am putting all plant bits in a plastic bag to go out in the trash. NO COMPOSTING

These potatoes could have trouble being stored because of the attach on the plants so I will have to be sure and eat these 113 yummies in the next two weeks. Not hard to do with their size. The soil, in the 2 trash cans, was wet so the potatoes are still holding onto the mel's mix but after a day or so drying I will brush them all off.
I will make sure they are dry and then bag them in mesh bags.

How about you? What are you harvesting?

Sept 23......OK I've now harvested all 5 cans
The one can on the North part of the yard had the fewest potatoes
The cans I gave the most compost to had the biggest
All and all the cans all did well just smaller
My favorite potato so far is the finger potatoes.