Friday, August 31, 2012

August disappointments and hopefuls

We'll start with a hopeful. The sweet potatoes are blossoming. They are very pretty. Not a lot of them, but some. We will see how the sweet potatoes do around the garden, I have them scattered all around and they are taking over. Even climbing the tomato cages and the fence between our yard and the neighbors.

This was a very disappointing find. Some critter needed a meal I guess.

And, watermelon end rot I guess.

And the third one as well. All that is left are a few small ones starting off. Don't know that there will be time for those to ripen, I guess we will see. Sad.

And we will end with a hopeful! So far this summer all I have gotten are cherry tomatoes and Early Girls, so I am very excited that this Cherokee Purple is almost ready! And a Brandywine appears to be getting slightly pink too! I check it every day with such high anticipation! I love to show off those monsters! I have already been showing it to neighbors and they are impressed.
We have some new neighbors, and their son is in my daughters first grade class. But they have enjoyed checking out my garden and can't wait to get one started next year! They have expressed their desire for my help and of course I am totally into helping people start a garden! Love encouraging people to start gardens! And I am always up for showing mine off! ;)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Harvest Monday 8/27/12

Join in the harvest fun at Daphne's Dandelions!

I have been getting enough beans to freeze! I have frozen 5 bags of 5 servings so far! The Dragon Tongue beans are coming on the strongest right now.

As you can see, the Matt's Wild Cherry tomatoes are not much bigger than a raspberry! I wish I could find some yellow ones just as small, my daughter just loves the tiny ones and wants some yellow! I have been searching for next year.

Starting to get a couple of tomatoes again. Maybe we are getting ready for a second round!

Raspberries are doing pretty well too. Maybe if I saved them all week their would be enough for a dessert, but they get eaten up really fast! The peppers are picking up a bit too, which is good because my son likes them packed in his lunches. I went out in the dark one morning to get one for him and he thought it was funny. But there are not a lot of vegetables he will eat, at least I know he will eat those and not throw them away!

Cut a bit of purple basil this morning. I had to move it a couple of weeks ago because it began to get too much shade and wasn't growing well. I am glad it has survived the move in this hot dry weather!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fall Planting 2012

I have decided I want more blueberry bushes! This bed, even though looks pretty in this photo from 2 years ago, has been getting pretty overgrown and just weedy looking. So, I am transplanting everything to make room for blueberries!

I transplanted all the lilies up by the wall and lined up the Achillea. I moved one Achillea to the other end of the deck. This bed has been amended for acid loving blueberries and is now waiting for fall when I should wait to plant them according to the UK coop. ext.
This bed has been recently cleared of corn, rota-tilled and amended.  Here, the cauliflower starts have been planted. Still a bit small, I roped them off to keep the kids from stepping on them. Along the fence I put in stakes and strung up a bunch of twine for peas to Climb. This NE side has Super sugar and sugar snap peas, if the birds don't eat them!
 This SW side is where the first corn was cleared out. There are 2 Black Beauty Zucchini that were placed between stepping stones still there. But it has been planted with broccoli on the end closest to you and cabbage on the far end. Along the fence Lincoln peas have been planted around the first 6 stakes and Alaskan peas along the next 6 stakes.

 A close up.

Other seeds that have been planted around the garden are lettuce, spinach, carrots, onion, pak choi and Rainbow Chard. Some of it may be a bit late, but I figure if we have a late warm fall, why not try! But I hope to get enough things to freeze for winter use.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Harvest Monday 8/20/12

This week has been a fairly good week. The beans are coming on pretty good and I will have enough to freeze some. Getting a small bowl of yummy raspberries every other day. And I finished harvesting the corn this week. The tomatoes must be in between one set and the next, because none of them are ripening at the moment after I got that 6+ lbs last week.

I harvested as many carrots as I could find. These are all gone already. Some of them I cooked up and put cold in lunch baggies for the kids at school, and the rest were roasted for dinner one night.

The size of the corn on the NE side of the garden is a good bit larger though still not up to the size it should be. Next year the garden will be rearranged to get more sun.

The rest of the corn! And a lovely red bell, it is ripening up nicely on the table as the kids watch and wait.

Getting a few strawberries here and there. They are yummy.

more beans...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ruby Queen Hybrid Corn

 Several people have been interested in the Ruby Queen SE Sweet corn I have been growing. So far this season I have picked it at different stages checking the flavor and color at each stage.
My first batch of corn I believe is getting too much shade. The corn has been about 4-5 inches long but still full kernels and tastes good. I picked it in two stages, light red or blush and then again when some was a much darker red. While the much darker red is prettier it is not sweet. I find it best and sweetest to pick it when it is slightly red and full. My family loves this corn. They like the colors and the flavors! Last year I had lots of corn, still small, but my step father who LOVES corn ate a TON of it!

This 2nd round of corn which I am in the middle of harvesting now is getting much bigger than the first round.  Although I am having to race the squirrels for them.

This one is from the last round. I let it get darker and most of them are smaller. They were good but did not taste sweet.
I had several of the small dark corn left so I cut it all off and mixed it together with the corn harvested above to make a corn bread side dish. A recipe of my mother in law's.

For the recipe I needed creamed corn. So, I took half of it and mashed it and cooked it down with some milk , salt and pepper.
 Her recipe calls for mixing the corn(15oz) and creamed corn(15oz) with a cup of sour cream, 2 eggs beaten, 1/2 cup of butter melted and a package of corn muffin mix, baking on 350 for 35-45 mins. I did not have corn bread mix so I tried to make a mix with my corn meal. It came out much thicker and heavier than normal. But it was still good. My son who loves it ate every bit. It could have used some honey I think! What is corn bread without honey?

We also used the carrots harvested earlier in the week for honey roasted carrots. I used the rest of the honey on them. But they were yummy and the kids ate a bunch!

Burpee's Description of the Ruby Queen corn:

Corn, Ruby Queen Hybrid

Really Red, Really Sweet.
Burpee Exclusive
Customer Favorite!
Hybrid SE Sweet Corn. Ready to harvest in 75 days. An amazing new sweet corn color it's really red! You won't believe how appetizing a red corn can be until you see it on your plate, then bite into the extra-sweet, tender kernels. You can enjoy Ruby Queen at two stages. Pick it when it's blush-red for maximum SE sweetness. Or let it ripen to full red so it can develop its rich, old-fashioned corn flavor. The meaty ears are 8" long with 18 rows of juicy, very tender kernels. Plants are 7 ft tall and often bear 2 ears apiece. No need to isolate from other corns, but we suggest that you grow another SE variety with Ruby Queen to help with pollination. (Our Breeder's Choice corn is a perfect companion.) Steaming or microwaving are the best cooking methods for enhancing the delectable color. An added bonus the red tassels and stalks make fantastic autumn decorations. Grow in full sun in rich, fertile, well-drained soil.

Product Details

Sun: Full Sun 
Sowing Method: Direct Sow 
Days to Maturity: 75  days
Height: 7  feet
Spread: 12  inches
Thinning: 12 inches 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A little cayenne pepper for the squirrels

This is more of an August tour, but the first thing I noticed this morning was another shredded piece of corn and a mess on the ground.
Last night I put cayenne pepper on all the corn silks after seeing one piece or shredded corn to try to deter the squirrels or whatever is eating my corn. But I could not reach this one. Stinky squirrels.

I am not sure which tomato plants made it in this bed, but I am thinking this is going to be pink brandywine, it is pretty large.

The sweet potatoes are taking over the bed. I only planted 2 in here and I can hardly keep the vines in the 4X8 bed.

There are several more sweet potato plants in this smaller bed and they are taking over too. The corn behind are getting close to being ready.

This is the Early Girl on the right and the Chocolate Cherry on the left with beans around the bottom, and 2 more sweet potato plants. I planted them anywhere I could find room.

The bean bed. They have been giving me beans pretty good the past couple of weeks but the plants are looking quite rough so they may be ending soon. The peppers behind are doing quite well. The plants are full and large and have been giving me a few peppers here and there but there are a lot of green ones and a lot of blossoms. The kids prefer them to have color other than green.

Sugar snap peas are climbing the vines, though they have not enjoyed the heat lately. They all are surviving being transplanted in newspaper pots. I have tried to keep them shaded as much as possible.
There are a few small watermelons out their. I don't know if they will have time to make it but we will see. There are lots of vines, but I think something was eating the babies as soon as they got about golf ball size.
The August garden seems to be doing well even though some things have been started late. I am sure my harvests will grow larger in the weeks and months ahead before frost in October. And I plan to try to extend some things with my pop up green house and maybe some covers.
Happy August Gardening!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Harvest Monday 8/13/12

We all enjoyed camping along Lake Michigan last week, until a big blob of rain planted itself right over Michigan for the rest of the week. But before the rain we got to enjoy the beach, a few light houses and Silver Lake sand dunes. Fun, fun!

When we returned home I brought in over 6 lbs of tomatoes and over 2 lbs of beans.

I figure this may be why my cucumbers were not growing so well. I found these buried behind all the vines and the raised bed. Though I am sure the bugs and disease did not help either.

And we picked more beans today, including a few overgrown ones.
Thanks for all the comments last week. I am sorry I couldn't get to yours, the signals was very limited up there.

Join in the Harvest Monday fun at Daphne's Dandelions.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Harvest Monday 8/6

I am going camping this week along Lake Michigan. I am posting this Harvest Monday entry as we travel. 
The beans, Chocolate cherry tomatoes and corn are coming in regularly. I get a couple of peppers every couple of days. And raspberries are slowly getting going again, though they are not as big and healthy as the earlier ones. I think the bugs are taking their toll, especially the Japanese Beetle.
The cucumbers are not doing well. The vines are full and there are a lot, but their are few cucumbers and they are disfigured and do not taste good. Wonder if it is caused by a bug or disease or both. The beans are picking up though and looking better.

Picked a few carrots, they are looking better, hope they taste better too! Finding a bit of insect damage and rot in a few though.

Taking all this stuff on our camping trip. Picked a bunch of corn from my first planting, after waiting a bit it is getting much darker red. When I get back the later planting should be getting close. It looks much fuller and healthier, maybe because of the amount of sun they get. Might have to consider moving the garden a bit next year to get the most sun. I picked any tomato that showed the slightest pink to take along and hope nothing gets over ripe while I am gone.
and one more early morning pick before hitting the road!

I have about 100 brassica starts! Cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.  I think I am going to be giving some away.  They were old seeds and I did not expect them all to germinate. I spent a long time yesterday separating them and putting them in their own cell packs.
Join us at Daphne's Dandelions for Harvest Monday!