Today’s Harvest Basket 8/18/14

  • Today’s Harvest Basket

August 18, 2014

Squash, peppers, tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes

  • Today in the Kitchen

Canning salsa. I made a small batch of golden salsa with the giant yellow tomatoes and a mild red salsa with all the red varieties.

We need a few (NOT many) hot peppers for the salsa.

We need a few (NOT too many) hot peppers and paste tomatoes for the salsa.

We are eating zucchini every day. You might not always recognize it or know it, but we are eating zucchini every day. The summer squash glut is about to come to a halt. Thanks to the squash vine borers.

The cucumbers are finished for the year. Thank heavens they still have plenty at the farmers market. We have 4 jars of Bread and butter pickles and 4 jars of kosher dill spears.

Eight quarts of crushed tomatoes are canned, and we think we need more for all the soups and chili to come this winter.

2 quarts of cherry tomatoes. This is two days worth of picking.

2 quarts of cherry tomatoes. This is what I picked in two days.  Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson


These cherries will go into the dehydrator. The food dryer is running 24-7 these days. So, I should have plenty of sun-dried tomatoes.

These are extra sweet cherry tomatoes, so when they dry and the flavor is concentrated – each little tomato becomes an explosion of sweet summer in your mouth.

What to do when the garden explodes: dehydrate

Cherry tomatoes are first to ripen


There comes a day

When every flat surface in the kitchen is covered with produce. I need to bake, dehydrate, freeze, and can today. So this is what’s for dinner:

Anti-pasta light supper or party platters is in your fridge


Anti-pasta for dinner. In Italian, anti-pasta means all your favorite (First course) stuff on one plate.


Today’s Harvest Basket 8/16/14


Today’s Harvest Basket August 16, 2014

Tomatoes, squash

A basket full of tomatoes

A basket full of tomatoes. Giant Martian, Arkansas Traveler, Gold Medal.

I planted tomatoes in stages. These tomatoes were planted the earliest.

A month later, I planted a variety of Brandywine tomatoes.  They include yellow and black Brandywine tomato plants. There are green tomatoes on the vines but it will be awhile before they kick into high production.

A few weeks later, I planted six Amish Paste starter plants that looked half dead. These will be the third wave of tomatoes. By that time, I may morph into a tomato zombie. Cut me and I will bleed tomato juice.

Basket of cherry tomatoes. Going straight into the food dehydrator.

Basket of cherry tomatoes. Going straight into the food dehydrator.


As you can see we have all the full-sized tomatoes that we can use. I shared some with the neighbors and the rest of the cherries are going straight into the food dehydrator.

I’ve certainly gotten good use from the dehydrator. It’s running around the clock for days.


Learn more:

What to do when the garden explodes: dehydrate

Make sun-dried tomatoes to use up cherries



Gold Medal tomatoes and Mozzarella slices.

Gold Medal tomatoes and Mozzarella slices.


Big, sweet, yellow tomatoes are weighing in at about a pound each. I have never tasted a sweeter tomato.



GBBD 8/15/14


Garden Bloggers Bloom Day
August 15, 2014

Once again, there are sunflowers in bloom and if I am lucky I will have even more next month.

These are about 10 ' tall.

These are about 10 ‘ tall.

These are heavy flowers an have faced down all week.

These are heavy flowers have faced down all week.


I am guessing this sunflower is 12 ' tall.

I am guessing this sunflower is 12 ‘ tall.



There are lots of sunflowers on my Pinterest pages.

Sunflowers are big, happy flowers. I love them.

The common name “sunflower” applies to the popular annual species Helianthus annuus.

You can buy the seed at Renee’s Garden.




Datura is a night bloomer.

Sometimes they open on cloudy rainy days, thinking it is night time.

Sometimes they open on cloudy rainy days, thinking it is night time.


There are night moths that come when these flowers bloom.

There are night moths that come when these flowers bloom.













So, we have flowers 24-7 at the Hobson Estate in the summer. Datura, sometimes called moon flower, is a “witches weed.”  Datura has a history of causing delirious states and death. It was well-known as an essential ingredient of potions and witches’ brews. The seeds are produced in lots of spiky balls. Fail to pick up every single seed pod, and you will have more every year. They take up lots of space.

Resurrection lily, Naked Lady, Surprise Lily, Magic Lily.

Sometimes called Surprise Lily, or Magic Lily.



Sometimes called Naked Lady or resurrection lily.

Sometimes called Surprise Lily, or Magic Lily.

The leaves sprout and grow in the spring, then die back during June. Then in late July or early August the flowers appear.

When I first moved here it was a long time before I got to plant these bulbs. I gave away a lot of these bulbs. The original few I had were given to me by two different friends. Before I moved to Cape, I dug up a small portion the many that bloomed every year in the hottest part of the summer.

If you have these lilies, how did you get yours? I gave about six bulbs each to at least 5 different people. Every year I think of the friends who gave them to me.  It looks like it is about time to divide them again.


“We can have flowers nearly every month of the year.” ~ Elizabeth Lawrence.

Carol at May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. What’s blooming in your garden? Share with other garden bloggers on the 15th of each month. Leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

 Thank you for visiting my blog: Oh Grow Up!


Today’s Harvest Basket 8/13/14


Today’s Harvest Basket August 13, 2014

Tomato, pepper, squash

summer squash, tomatoes and cherry tomato, sweet pepper

Some Gold Medal tomatoes look like they are tie-dyed.

Yellow Tomatoes

Big yellow Gold Medal tomatoes are the sweetest tomatoes I ever tasted. No two tomatoes look the same. Some tomatoes are all yellow, some have a dot or swirl of red. If you are seeing a big red splash on the outside of the tomato, it will look like that on the inside too.

Six tomatoes fill up the basket (+ a pint of cherry tomatoes.)

Six tomatoes fill up the basket (+ a pint of cherry tomatoes.)

It turns out that the yellow tomatoes are the star producers in the garden today. I picked six Gold Medal tomatoes today. Those 6 tomatoes weigh 8 pounds.

One more good thing about the yellow one-pounders, the ripe fruits tend to last a few days longer than other tomatoes once they are picked. Surprising for such a sweet tomato.

First offered to the public in 1921 as Ruby Gold  in John Lewis Child’s catalog in New York. Ben Quisenberry renamed it Gold Medal in his 1976 catalog: “The sweetest tomato you ever tasted.”

Too much water.

Too much water.

Our rainy spring and summer have caused this golden beauty to crack. It is unsightly but doesn’t affect the taste.

Today’s Harvest Basket 8/11/14


Today’s Harvest Basket August 11, 2014

Squash and tomatoes, plus a fruit jar full of herb cuttings. Mint and parsley will go into tabouleh.

Today's Harvest Basket 8: 11: 14

Mint in upper right, Italian flat leafed parsley in lower left.

Baby zucchini

The monster zucchini are now under control. I’m picking them at 7″ or so. Sliced lengthways and brushed with a hint of roasted garlic olive oil, these little tender squash and so, so good on the grill (or roasted in the oven)

In August, when the garden is in high production, I can easily be a vegetarian. That big yellow tomato weighs about a pound and a half.

Late blight has taken over most of the garden.

Late blight has taken over most of the tomatoes in the garden.

Yellow tomatoes

I hope to get one last flush of tomatoes before the plants succumb to late blight. Each of the tomatoes in this photo weigh well over a pound.

Heirloom tomatoes do not have the disease resistance that many hybrids do. But I challenge you to find a sweeter or prettier tomato than Gold Medal.

They are susceptible to late blight. I had the same problem a couple of years a go when I planted them.

But wait till I slice one open for you. Lovely meaty, yellow flesh with a splash of red radiating from the center.

Gold Medal Seedling

Gold Medal Seedling.

Generally speaking, it is not true that yellow tomatoes are less acid than red tomatoes. However, this big yellow tomato is less acid than most tomatoes.

Supertunia® Black Cherry Petunia hybrid


Look for this plant

Coming spring 2015


Proven Winners Supertunia® Black Cherry Petunia photo PBH

This dark and rich red petunia is a hummingbird magnet. Look for this new Black Cherry bloomer next spring.

Supertunia® Black Cherry Petunia

Supertunia® Black Cherry Petunia photo Proven Winners

Black Cherry is self-cleaning, meaning no deadheading. All hanging baskets require regular watering to thrive. Plan on watering daily during the hottest part of the summer. Or, consider setting up a simple irrigation system.

Start with a slow release fertilizer when you build your baskets. Give the new roots plenty of moisture holding soiless potting mix.

Black Cherry makes a beautiful in a hanging basket. It slightly mounds in the basket and then tumbles over the edges, spilling nonstop blooms  over the basket Spring to first frost.

Proven Winners sent Supertunia® Black Cherry Petunia and several other plants for trial. I love the rich colored flowers that draw butterflies and hummers all summer. Once these petunias are available locally, I can imagine a row of these hanging baskets bringing birds and butterflies to the patio.


Indigo Charm photo Proven Winner

Black Cherry Petunia hybrid is one of the newest Proven Winners Supertunias®. Make a note to look for Black Cherry in the spring. I am also looking forward to seeing the new Supertunia Indigo Charm. Here is a preview.

Last year I had a trial sample of a Torenia hybrid that was meant for shade. Once I found a shady place for it, I kind of forgot about it.


Grape-O-Licious Wishbone Flower PBH

New this year

is a plant Catalina® Grape-O-Licious Wishbone Flower (Torenia hybrid) I learned just what a valuable landscape plant this is when I visited the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.

This plant is so much more versatile than I imagined. It was planted in shade, but also part shade and part sun. This low growing annual spreads out along the sidewalk, as a beautiful groundcover and splash of color that could compliment an endless variety of gardenscapes.




Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. PBH

Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens

Catalina® Grape-O-Licious Wishbone Flower Torenia hybrid

Look for new Wishbone Flowers this spring

Todays Harvest Basket 8/5/14


Today’s Harvest Basket August 5, 2014

Cucumbers and tomatoes

Juicy cucumbers and tomatoes.

Juicy cucumbers and tomatoes.

Big tomatoes are coming on everyday. BLTs are on the menu every week. Tomato sandwiches are a lunch specialty. Fresh sliced cucumbers in vinegar are always in the fridge.

This long Japanese “Tasty Green” cucumber is thin-skinned (no need to peel) and is “burp-less” Cucumber season is much too short, so when they are growing in our garden, we eat them every day. Slice up one of these cucumbers, put in a covered container.

Cover cucumbers with herb vinegar or apple cider vinegar diluted with water, if the vinegar taste is too strong. Sometimes we add sliced onion, separated into rings.

Once the cucumbers are gone, reuse the vinegar water and add another cucumber. We  have two cucumber vines. A White Wonder and the Tasty Green.

Days are getting shorter...

Days are getting shorter…

I also planted a F1 English cuke which did not come up. I’ve grown them for years, so this was an anomaly. When the seed packet arrived, I took half and sent the rest to my mother in OK. “This is the best cucumber you have ever eaten,” I wrote in a note enclosed with the seeds.

“They didn’t do any good,” she replied last week. Who knows what happened? We both grew other cucumbers as well,  and have more than enough to share with neighbors.

I’m gambling on a late crop of little Kirby type cucumbers. The late planted cucumbers are just seedlings now.

Our unpredictable weather and extra seed make planting late crops a gamble but to a costly one. The cucumber seedlings are cheered on by the long slow rain today.

Cherrie's sweet tomato flavor is concentrated by dehydrating.

Cherrie’s sweet tomato flavor is concentrated by dehydrating.

All the cherry tomatoes are rinsed, cut in half and put in the food dryer. Here’s how: Make sun-dried tomatoes to use up cherries.













Today’s Harvest Basket 8/4/14


Today’s Harvest Basket

August 4, 2014

Leeks, peppers, Roma tomatoes, white cucumber.


Just dived into the garden to grab leeks.

These are Lancelot Leeks. I just go out and pick the leeks as I need them. Leek starts were planted the same time as onion starts. Onions were harvested in July, but leeks can just stay in the ground. I like not having to store the leeks in the refrigerator taking up space for months.

The leeks I harvested today will be used in a herb vinegar.  Using a well seasoned herb vinegar will bring back a taste of the garden flavors at the peek of garden season.

Leeks bring a suttle onion flavor to any dish.

Leeks bring a subtle onion flavor to any dish.



Lancelot Leeks. They get 12 – 16 inches tall with blue-green foliage. My leeks have not had any disease or pest problems. They are always tender. While they are small, they can be used as scallions.

Leeks are the earliest crops in my garden and they are the last to be harvested. Plant leek and onion starts in February or March. Starts are small transplants. Poke a pencil or chop stick in the ground, then drop the little leek plants in the hole. Leave the top just barely showing above  the ground. Gently firm the soil and water.

Leeks are related to onions, chives garlic and shallots. If onions are just too strong for you, leeks may be a good replacement in recipes. I’ll dig up the leeks this winter as we get into cold weather and soup season.

You can keep them in the garden, just heavily mulch after it gets cold. They are long keepers and can stay in your crisper for a month or two. If you don’t thin you will use them up by then, Just freeze them for later use.

Freezing leeks is easy.  Cut off the tough green leaves. Trim and save only an inch or two of the green part. Trim off the roots, wash, slice  lengthwise or chop and blanch for 1 minute in boiling water to set the color. Drain and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and dry leeks on cotton flour sack or paper towels.

When the leeks are dry, put them in plastic zip bags. Dried leeks will freeze in loose pieces.  They will be much easier to use when frozen.

Use leeks, still frozen. Add the leeks to soups, stews, roasting vegetables. The best known recipe is potato leek soup, which is wonderful using frozen leeks.

Beautiful Italian Tomatoes

"Italian Pompeii"

“Italian Pompeii”

These paste tomatoes are from Renee’s Garden.  I grow them almost every year. Pompeii grow well in my big containers. I’ve been growing these for years. This season was the first time I’ve ever had a problem. Early on, this plant got blossom end rot.

It rained so much this spring, I was thinking of building and ark. Once things got back to normal, no more BER. As you can see. they are beautiful. All of the tomatoes are over 4 ounces, some are over 5 ounces. They are meaty paste tomatoes that I freeze. This winter I’ll have time to slow cook them into a rich tomato sauce. There are more ideas like this on Renee’s Garden site.

Plum Tomato “Italian Pompeii”

Today’s Harvest Basket 8/3/14


Today’s Harvest Basket August 3, 2014

squash, cherry tomatoes, peppers

spaghetti squash, peppers, cherry tomato

spaghetti squash, peppers, cherry tomato

The new torpedo shaped peppers look a lot like big ol’ jalapeno. The fun thing is the peppers look like they would be hot but they are not. The walls are thinner than a bell pepper but every bit as sweet.

They start out as shiny, clover green peppers. They gradually turn dark and finally turn red when fully ripe. There is not a hint of heat in the Felicity pepper.


Sweet red raspberries are coming on. They are so fragile, so easily crushed, that the raspberries never made it to the harvest basket. I hand carried the berries inside, gave them a quick rinse and put them in a ramekin in the refrigerator.

Chilled raspberries were served to the chief hole digger and raspberry bed builder tonight. And, OK. I admit it, I may have had one or two.

We planted 5 raspberry plants last year. This year, I am reaping the rewards. These delicate and sweet berries are the first, and it looks like more are coming.

first harvest raspberries

First few Heritage raspberries.

Today’s Harvest Basket 8/3/14 v2


August 3, 2014

The big zucchini best used as an ingredient in compost.

The big zucchini best used as an ingredient in compost.

Just Kidding.

This is the zucchini that got away. It’s so big it stretches from end to end of the harvest basket. These monster squash  are seedy, not good and almost impossible to cut. Pick these giant squash as soon as you discover them. Otherwise, the plant will have accomplished its job and stop producing little zucchini.

Get rid of this squash. Bury it in your garden, chuck it in the compost, or, if your neighbor leaves his car unlocked, put it in his backseat, on the floorboard. It could be weeks before he discovers it and by then, you will have forgotten about it. That perplexing look on your face will help convince him you did not do it.

There are more and better zucchini (and eggplant) ideas on my Pinterest Courgette and Aubergine (zucchini & eggplant)


Zucchini Heaven tells about the best zucchini cake on the planet.

This salsa recipe uses a lot of grated zucchini: Enchilada salsa with zucchini

Homegrown and homemade Ratatouille

eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers

Ratatouille home-grown and homemade  – my version of Julia Child’s classic vegetable stew. You can grow every ingredient in this French classic. Double the recipe and freeze half for a cold and snowy day.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...