Monday, August 30, 2010

Harvest Monday: Slowing Down

Sunday was my first visit to the garden in almost two weeks, and after we had 4.5 days of horrible rain. My rain gauge was almost overflowing! I felt bad for neglecting my plot and was not sure what condition the plants would be in. I had to pull out my popping corn that had gotten totally devastated by...squirrels? Otherwise, left growing are: tomatoes, basil, peppers, watermelon, eggplant, butternut squash, carrots & potatoes. The butternut squash look great! I have about 5 that are almost ready! Yumm, I can just taste the soups!!

I harvested a few cherry tomatoes, one Roma, lots of short n' sweet carrots and two Italian Pepperocini peppers. In addition, I pulled some of the seeds out of the dried pole beans, hoping to save them for next year!

a small harvest 8/29/30

Black-seeded Blue Lake Snap Pole Bean seeds

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Clean Garlic

I am back...and I finally got around to cleaning my cured garlic!! I harvested it back in mid-July, so it had been curing for a good month! Since I used some of the garlic heads/cloves immediately, I now have 11 nice looking heads for storage, which I hope will keep into the winter.

Organic German White Garlic, hardneck

A while back I saw this article on about onion storage and vegetable keepers. I thought these three bags were great, as I was trying to think about what I would do with all the garlic and potatoes I was going to get from my garden! However, time passed and they stayed on my "wish list." Fast forward a few weeks when I had to go to Crate & Barrel to get a wedding shower gift for a friend. I was just going to get her the kitchen composter that she registered for but next to the composter on display were...the storage bags! I had forgotten that Crate & Barrel carried the garlic & potato bags! So, I decided to get one of each for the bride-to-be...and one of each for me!!

my new storage bags!

cute images on the bags

Monday, August 9, 2010

Harvest Monday: Watermelon!!

I have to confess, I am not a die-hard watermelon fan. However, in my quest like more things, I figured that growing one would help! I picked my first Sugar Baby watermelon today, with one still left in the garden. It was definitely the sweetest and most flavorful one I have ever had!

Additional harvested items include lots of tomatoes and basil (small varieties not shown). The dry, hot weather and my inconsistent watering are taking a toll on my large tomatoes, where they have developed many cracks. However, I am just happy to have so many this year. Last year, my plants did not produce as many and critters always selected the ripest ones to munch on right before harvesting!

My Green Zebra variety is being very neglected. The fruit are so hard to see within all the greenery from neighboring tomato plants, that I keep leaving them too long on the vine. I have to make a more conscience effort to look for them since they are not as easy to spot as the red ones.

Green beans were plentiful, along with some of the last pickling cucumbers. I harvested my first red Giant Marconi pepper and four small Italian Pepperoncini.

It is sad to see signs that the garden is slowing down, but so am I. Sunflowers were pulled and the weeds are starting to win. However, I still have a lot to look forward potatoes (fingers crossed) and butternut squash!

A crooked garden overview, 8/8/10

Monday, August 2, 2010

Harvest Monday: Color Diversity

The beautiful summer weather has been keeping away from blogging, but the veggies continue to come in! I had a great harvest yesterday with lots of tomatoes, green beans and carrots!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Movie: Ingredients

The Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, MA is screening Ingredients, a documentary about the local food movement in the United States, on Thursday, July 29th at 7pm.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Mutant Sunflower

Welcome thyme2garden! Good luck with your SFG!

Last year I planted ONE dwarf sunflower. I guess I was afraid to go overboard. This year I am growing the same variety (actually using leftover seeds), but planted SIX! Ooooh...Ahhhhh! The seedlings barely survived because something was eating them and I feel like they have taken forever to grow. Planted in April, they are now just getting to be about maximum height (3-4 feet) with the sunflower heads starting to form.

Anyway, the other day I was taking a quick scan of the garden and noticed that one sunflower was "not like the other"...

I lost count at 15 heads (some of which are indicated above)! None of the other sunflowers are as tall as this one or has this 'problem.' I wonder if I got a rouge seed of another variety!? Will they all form heads with seeds?

Stay tuned to see what happens!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Red Silk?

Is this normal? As much as I know about gardening, I know way less about growing corn. Overall my two corn varieties appear to be doing well, and started to get tassels, especially the Brocade Sweet Corn. I noticed the first silks starting to appear last Sunday, but then on Tuesday, the were all red! I had assumed that they would stay white/yellow, as you find them on the ears of corn in the grocery store!

The male tassels have red pollen, so does this mean that the silks have gotten pollinated? I hope so!

Acting like Mr. McGregor

This is "peter rabbit" outside my garden gate....

This is "peter rabbit" inside my garden plot before I chased him away!

He/she was quite cute and not too phased by anything until I started chasing it around! This is the first rabbit I have seen in the garden. I hope he/she stays out!! No munching on my veggies "peter rabbit"!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I love coleslaw..even the kind you get in restaurants! However, the kind that I grew up with was made with pineapple, and without vinegar! It adds a great sweetness and soft contrast to the crunch of the cabbage and carrots! Now that I think of it, I am not sure where this recipe came from, but I feel that it is unique enough to call it Saumsiegle Coleslaw, since my family has been making it for as long as I can remember!

Coleslaw made with first Market Prize Cabbage of 2010

Saumsiegle Coleslaw
~1 head of cabbage
~About 3-5 carrots (enough to balance out the amount of cabbage)
~canned pineapple, chunks or 'tidbits' (i tend to buy the rings and cut them to 'tidbit' size)
~miracle whip

Cut cabbage and carrots. Combine in bowl. Drain canned pineapple and dump in bowl. Add miracle whip until ingredients are coated (to your liking). Enjoy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Harvest Monday: Lots of Garlic

I had a great harvest yesterday! The biggest news, is that after almost 9 months, I harvested my garlic! My pickling cucumbers, sunsugar tomatoes and sungold tomatoes are producing really well. My sugar snap peas are almost exhausted, as the plants are starting to die back. Growing impatient, I picked a few carrots. They were tasty, but all very small. My cabbages are almost all ready, so I picked the largest one...coleslaw is on the menu for this weeks' meals!

I now have 11 heads curing for future use. About six heads had various problems with them, however I am hoping to use a few of their cloves in the near future. Overall, I am very happy with my first garlic harvest. The bulbs averaged about 2" around, pretty close to the size of the original heads of the cloves I planted in November.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Trying to Beat the Heat!

We finally had relief on Saturday after about two weeks of hot, sunny, dry weather. However, mother nature decided to give us the rain to us all at once! It poured for at least an hour, causing some major flooding that made nationwide news. The water had nowhere to go since the ground was so dry. People were stuck under overpasses, cars started floating away, even the Fenway dugouts needed to be pumped out. Unfortunately, it appears that we are now back where we started, with the extended forecast back to hot, sunny, and dry.

Garden Updates

I spent a few hours this morning tending to my back perimeter flower bed. My experiment of trying to grow a few flowers from seed failed miserably. There were just too many weeds, and I didn't want to pull anything, in hopes that the flowers would appear. So, today I pulled everything up. I am still undecided about what I should do here, since weeds tend to come in through the back fence as well.

I am anxiously waiting for a ripe, yellow pear tomato! Overall, my tomatoes are sprawling everywhere and producing nicely. I am still waiting for a ripe "large" tomato. None appear to be turning red yet.

Unfortunately, I discovered about 8 Roma II tomatoes with blossom-end rot. I did some research, and I narrowed it down to two potential causes...calcium deficiency, or drought stress. I sprinkle egg shells around my tomato and pepper plants, so I am not sure if the calcium deficiency fits. However, the we have had drought conditions!

The Black-seeded Blue Lake Snap Pole beans are starting to form as they compete for space with my cucumbers! I was not expecting pink flowers!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Vacationing with Veggies

Welcome Giddy Fingers! Thanks for following me! I hope that everyone had a great 4th of July! I had a wonderful, long weekend in Maine, relaxing and taking advantage of being in the outdoors! Kayaking, star-gazing, badminton, loons and lobster were all I was concerned with, while my growing veggies dealt with an impending heat wave in Boston!

Even though half the jar was eaten, I was inspired to have a photo shoot with one of my jars of pickled sugar snap peas while picnicking in Castine! I highly recommend this recipe from smitten kitchen if you want a break from eating the peas raw! My count is over 300!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Harvest Monday: First Tomatoes!

Gorgeous! As the sugar snap peas keep coming, I excitedly picked my first tomatoes of 2010! Three bright, orange Sungold tomatoes were ripe for picking on Sunday morning!

I also harvested a mix of all my lettuces, sugar snap peas, a forgotten garlic scape and three tiny strawberries.

Plot update (6/28/10)

Saturday, June 26, 2010


(sungold tomato, butternut squash, northern pickling cucumber)

(roma tomato, hansel eggplant, italian pepperoncini pepper, sugar snap pea)

(sugarbaby watermelon)

Seeing baby vegetables form never gets old! I have not been keeping up with reporting on my garden progress, but I am VERY pleased with how my vegetables are growing this year. Being able to plant earlier and having a little more knowledge, compared with last year, has really made a difference! I expect to harvest my first tomato soon!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hot off the Press: Late Blight in 2010?

Welcome John, thanks for following!

Please don't let it be true! I came across a report in Organic Gardening e-newsletter that made my heart sink:Tomato Blight Strikes Again in 2010!

I would
say that I was fortunate last year not to be devastated by this disease. I managed to get most of my harvest in before my plants' presumably affected branches were almost all stripped away.

However, in growing more tomatoes than last year and potatoes for the first time, I am hoping my garden does not get affected! To date, I have not seen any evidence of blight. Have you?

Original Article:

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Anything but the tomatoes! Unfortunately for home gardeners and farmers alike—including some of us here at and our Organic Gardening tomato blight, is starting to appear in parts of the country. And, as before, it's threatening gardeners' most prized possessions—their juicy, homegrown tomatoes. "Unfortunately, I think it's a matter of time before it's widespread," says Meg McGrath, PhD, associate professor of plant pathology at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. "Hopefully, people will be more knowledgeable of the disease this year, realizing it's a community disease. If you end up with it, you have to take care of the problem, you can't let it fester in your garden." colleagues—the funguslike pathogen known as late blight, commonly called

THE DETAILS: Maryland reported the first outbreak this growing season, with Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Canada following suit. The disease is cropping up in all types of settings, from backyard gardens to fields and high tunnels on farms. McGrath says plant pathologists have not been able to pinpoint the source of each outbreak this spring, but notes that the disease needs a living host and can overwinter in potatoes left in the soil or in storage. (Late blight affects potatoes too, and caused the Irish potato famine in the mid-19th century.)

Photos courtesy of Meg McGrath/Cornell University

If a stem is OK, but you start to see nickel-size or bigger olive-green or brown patches on a plant's leaves, with some white fungal growth underneath, your plant has most likely been struck by the disease. The brown areas are likely to first appear in the early morning or after rain. Sometimes the spot is surrounded by yellow, or looks water-soaked, explains McGrath.

A nursery supplying tomato seedlings to big-box stores was blamed as the source of last year's tomato blight outbreak. However, once infected plants are in the environment, things can get ugly quickly, affecting plants far and wide. Tomato blight spores on infected plants are easily swept up in wind currents and carried high into the atmosphere, where they can potentially travel for long distances, even between states. The spores survive up there in ideal weather conditions (rainy, or even just humid and overcast days), and then fall into gardens and onto farm fields with the next rain.

WHAT IT MEANS: This is bad news for this year's tomato crop. What's worse, McGrath says if tomato blight sticks around for a few more years, it could very well become endemic in this area. That's bad news especially for organic growers, who nix the use of toxic fungicides. And while some copper products are approved for organic use, they aren't benign to soil or human health, either. "For organic, copper is the best choice," she says. "But people should make sure they understand that just because it's an organic product, it isn't as safe as water."

While truly blight-resistant tomatoes aren't currently available, some tomato varieties tend to fare better against tomato blight. These include, according to Cornell University's Vegetable MD Online, Golden Sweet, Juliet, and Legend. McGrath says Matt's Wild Cherry has also shown some resistant properties against late blight.

Here's how to deal with the tomato blight threat:
Evict these garden volunteers. McGrath says volunteer tomato plants—ones that spring up from last year's seeds that took root from dropped fruit—are a major concern for spreading this often lethal and very contagious disease. They may be hidden within your dense pea plants, harboring tomato blight without your noticing they're there, so check carefully.

Seek and destroy. Cornell instructs gardeners who find a hotspot, that is, a group of infected plants located around relatively healthy ones, to destroy the unhealthy ones immediately. Also take out the ones directly beside ones infected with late blight of tomatoes and potatoes. Proper destruction practice for plants infected with tomato blight: Pull them, double-bag them, and send them to the landfill. McGrath stresses that it's really important for gardeners and farmers to monitor their potato and tomato crops—ideally, several times a day—to quickly spot and remove an infected plant before disease spreads. It's possible this may save some of your plants, but there's no guarantee.

Spread the word. Give your tomato- and potato-growing neighbors a heads-up on this disease, and forward this article to as many people as you can. McGrath says education is key, so gardeners know to act quickly and remove any plant infected with tomato blight before spores form and spread to other plants.

Additionally, here are two resources with great photos from the University of New Hampshire (my Alma mater):

Best of luck to us all!