Friday, July 27, 2012

Mega Update

Well, I've been terrible about updates this year. So here is the mega super amazing update that's overdue. I've been distracted by other real life events, so the garden took a bit of a hit this year. But there's still a lot going on. Here are the highlights and low lights.
A good portion of the tomatoes and peppers sewn indoors in early March.

Garlic -

Went in to NYC to the Union Square Green Market to get my hands on some hardneck garlic varieties from Keith's Farm (the guy that wrote "It's a Long Road to a Tomato"). Planted around Halloween at Keith's suggestion. Mulched with leaves run through the mower. In the spring they came up nicely. Weeded a few times, but weeds LOVE that side garden. Got a slew of scapes that were really tasty a month or so ago. Harvested one bulb already for some pickles, the cloves were small but nice. The plants have finally yellowed in the heat, I should harvest and see what I have. Last year I harvested a load of garlic but will probably end up throwing a lot of it away - it's pretty iffy at a year old. I think I'll harvest and peel what I got this year and pop them in the freezer.
Garlic! The leaves are all brown now, will harvest this weekend.

Peas -

Peas were a total disappointment this year. I planted a LOT and only a few plants came up. Honestly not sure what the issue was. Possibly critters. Possibly low germination rates. I did get enough for one really nice meal of sugar snap peas. that'll have to last me until next year.
Peas and garlic scapes.

Pumpkins -

I never imagined pumpkins as weeds, but apparently they are. Haven't planted them but they keep coming up. Nothing too exciting from them, but do have a couple the size of a canned ham. Also kind of wondering if I can eat the flowers, they seem to have a lot of flowers. Last years pumpkins mostly rotted away except for a few that went into pies. I should try at least to roast up the seeds.

Community garden -

Tomatoes ready for transport and transplant.
I got myself into the queue for a local community garden this year. As luck would have it one of the plots opened up and I ended up with a quarter plot, 10' x 12.5'. As I had a lot of seedlings by the time I got into the community garden, I was able to hit the ground running - planted 10 tomatoes, started 5 hills of zucchini, and set out about 10 pepper plants. The garden is great, it gets a lot of sun, there's an old-timey water pump conveniently located on site, and there are dozens of other gardens to gawk at and get ideas from.

And in the ground!

Zucchini -

My burning hatred toward the squash vine borers rages on. I figured that squash was a waste of effort at home - the vine borers keep laying waste to me. So I didn't bother planting anything. At the community garden I figured I might not fall prey to them, so decided to try them. My zucchini is doing great so far, and I've actually even gotten several, with maybe a dozen more baby zucchini coming along. But then I saw it. The frass at the stem. They're heeeeeere. The plants themselves aren't unhappy yet, but soon enough I'll probably be wiped out. What a shame. I think next year I'll try growing some under row covers and pollinating them by hand. Total pita, but the price to pay for enjoying zucchini I guess. I've also really enjoyed the zucchini flowers for the first time this year. Lightly dipped in egg and sprinkled with flour, then pan fried in butter. Delicate and tasty, a real treat. Have not started the Zucchino rampicante this year, getting close to too late to bother. If the zucchini is wiped out, I may plant some beans or move in some tomatoes. Or possibly basil.

Basil -

Tried planting basil in 2 liter bottles this year. Did pretty well, considering. Dries out pretty fast though requiring daily watering. Should be able to put away lots of proto-pesto in the freezer (just basil, garlic and oil, add walnuts/pine nuts and parm to use). Going to plant some more shortly and keep a photographic record of its progress. 2 liter bottles seem sub-optimal and require more attention than other methods, but I like the idea of reusing them.

Onions -

The onions never got very big last year. Or this year either. Didn't do anything with them, just left them in the ground over the winter. They're small but usable.

Beans -

Pulled out the peas after the one small harvest and put beans in their place. For fear of critters I laid some welded wire fence over the plot I planted them in to prevent critter dig up. Not sure if this was successful, if there weren't any critters at all, or critters like beans less than peas, but most all of the beans sprouted. I tend to harvest a few crops of beans then forget about them, ending up with massive quantities of seed for the next year. So this time I was smart and planted just beans that would dry well. The plants are flowering now, and I expect a decent crop. Varieties - Red kidney, ummmm, several others.

Peppers -

I've gotten a substantial amount of enjoyment out of growing peppers, far out of proportion to the actual number of them I've grown. This year I decided to grow a bit more in bulk as well as increasing the variety. I accumulated a number (seventy some-odd) of 2 gallon plastic buckets (for free!) that I've used as pots. My peppers seemed to do well in similar pots last year. I've had one small harvest so far and a few grabs as well. My favorite use for the banana peppers is pickling, they stay crunchy far better than cucumbers. And they've got a bit of a kick to them. Jalapenos are starting to come in as well, they will be pickled mostly, with possibly some poppers. Also have a lot of Anaheim (New Mexico) chiles that I'm going to roast and freeze. Then a number of miscellaneous types to sample, grind into powder, and making into hot sauce.

More on tomatoes soon.
Amish paste