Friday, July 23, 2010


The fence is holding against the cursed deer, but now we have squirrels running through the fence and sampling every ripe tomato. Chili powder did not keep them away. Tomorrow we advance to mothballs and chicken wire.

Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way. Maybe I shouldn't look at them as a nuisance, but instead as a possible source of protein. That's right, squirrel. I'm looking at you. Back off or you're going in the stew pot.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Big Pickles

The zucchini is infested with squash vine borers apparently. Gross little beasts. I pulled two good sized plants out. Another one looks like it might have them as well. I think we're close to out of the woods as far as when infestations occur, maybe we'll be ok with the rest of them.

Nice haul of good cukes today. Decided to take another whack at refrigerator pickles (since we're almost out of the initial four quarts). This time used a gallon jug. Here's the video. Here's a still photo and the recipe.

  • 12 medium-sized cucumbers
  • 1 Hungarian Wax pepper
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic (our garlic!)
  • 1 Tbsp Dill Weed (our dill hasn't come in yet)
  • 6 c water
  • 2 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c Kosher salt
  • 1/2 c sugar
Lets see how this one works out.

The Hubbard squash [ed note - I believe it's butternut, not Hubbard] is flowering. If we get average yield, we'll have 175 of them. I'm thinking it won't be that many. But even if we get 25, we'll probably wish we planted some other kinds...

Duncan's pumpkin is thriving. I don't see any baby pumpkins on it at the moment, and the one that was there shriveled (in the heat??). We'll see how it works out.

EDIT 07/26/2011 - Oops, I said 12 medium zucchini! As you can see, it's cucumbers. Corrected above.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


The corn got blown over in a wind storm. We're going to hill it up and see if it recovers. What a pain!

Tried our first Cherokee Purple. It was fabulous.

Just sampled a slice of Hungarian Wax Pepper, whew, HOT!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Beans up

The newly planted beans from last years seed are up. 11 / 20 broke the surface. In-laws claimed none of the ones we gave them sprouted. Obviously they lack the magic touch! Hehe.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

First real harvest

The first real harvest is in! I bought a few baskets at a yard sale and made use of one today. This was a total of 5 lbs of veg.

Our first decent-sized tomato haul, we brought in these beauties:

The Early Girl was maybe a little under-ripe. The Super Sweet 100s lived up to their name. Teeny though. The Mrs' favorite. The rest were all good, but the Super Beefsteak was delicious.

We've got 10 varieties growing now, we're probably going to drop most of those. So far Early Girl has been a bit disappointing - It was not earlier than 4th of July - more than a week and a half later, in fact. I'll try a riper one before officially giving it the axe.

EDIT - Fried up the first zucchini rounds of the season. Half of them with grated Parmesan, half with garlic from our garden. Good stuff. Decided yesterday to try and go through the day only eating locally grown food - preferrably from our garden. Have done well so far, although had to make allowances for parmesan and oil and vinegar.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More plotting

Pulled up the peas and prepped a nice plot a few days ago (see entry on the 6th). Took that roughly 11' x 1' (12 - 15" really, not perfectly striaght on one side).

Lettuce, carrots, and onions feature prominently. Also a spot for dill - need that for pickles. Nothing sprouted yet - hey, only planted yesterday! But I have the highest of hopes. The lettuce, spinach and green onions I planted on the side of the house are looking good.

Jalapenos are popping up.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Another fine pickle

Tried refrigerator pickles again (first batch is almost gone). This time used a bit more vinegar, only one clove of garlic (but crushed it) and added a Hngarian Wax pepper (sliced lengthwise).

  • 1 c water
  • 3 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c Kosher salt
  • 1/4 c sugar
Set that to boil. Stir occasionally. In the mean time take 5 pickling cukes and spearize them (cut in quarters longitudinally). In each of two quart mason jars put 1 clove garlic (crushed in a press), 1 tsp dried dill, and half the spears. I only used 4 cukes, and I really needed 5. Also added half a Hungarian Wax pepper (cut in half lengthwise) in each. By now the liquid should be boiling. Take it off the heat and let it cool for a bit. Then dump it into the jars. Should have some left over. That you can dump. Make sure you cover the pickles.

Let the pickles cool on the countertop for a while, then pop them in the fridge. Wait 2 days preferrably before eating. I will report on taste later.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Hot. Damn hot.

How does one celebrate the hottest day of the year? Why by taking out the mass of dead peas, of course. Then weeding and raking the pea plot, and hauling three loads of compost several blocks in the blistering heat (thanks to Haverford township for the compost, by the way). The rock garden and the pea plot look great now though. I am going to put in some radishes (just because we saved the seed), some lettuce, and some beans (also saved seed). Here's what the plot looked like, including all the biomass I hauled out.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hardneck Garlic Harvest is in

We dug up our hardneck garlic. Some bulbs were small, but a decent harvest all in all.

Our first zucchini stopped growing and started shrivelling! I think it might be due in part to our crazy high temperatures and in part to the black landscaping fabric it's been sitting on.  I spread a little handful of grass clippings, hopefully that will cool it off a bit.

We've had a pretty steady stream of cukes, first from the slicemaster and now the Norhtern Pickling Cukes have started flowing. We couldn't hold off on the refrigerator pickles and we ate a bunch of them already. I think they'll be better after a week or so, but they're pretty good now. Not sure they'll last long.

A few tomatoes, four or five Fourth of July (2 - 2.5 oz) and one Steak Sandwich (5 oz).

One of Duncan's pumpkins is growing. Just an inch across at the moment. We'll see if it's jack-o-lantern sized by Halloween.

Friday, July 2, 2010

First Tomato!

Ate the first tomato, 2.5 oz of Fourth of July hybrid Friday. Good. Had another Saturday. Another couple ready. Picked four cukes and pickled them. Just refrigerator pickles.