Today’s Harvest Basket 8/3/14 v2

2014
08.04

August 3, 2014
Zucchini

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)

FYI

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.

Todays Harvest Basket 8/1/2014

2014
08.02

August 1, 2014

Tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers.

Todays Harvest Basket 8:1:2014II

Loads of cherry tomatoes will be used to make tabouleh.

 Cherry Tomato

Cherry tomatoes are the first to ripen, sometimes a month ahead of the big tomatoes. By the time plenty of beef steaks are producing, Cherry tomatoes can go right into the food dehydrater, becoming sun-dried tomatoes.

I planted a sun gold cherry tomato. A friend sent seed for the white cherry and, the red tomato is a volunteer.

The Sun Gold is sweet and prolific. It would have been all the little cherry tomatoes we could eat with plenty to dehydrate as sun-dried tomatoes. But, they are so good that a lot of them never make it to the kitchen. We eat some of them as we pick them.

Where the Sun Gold grew last year, a volunteer came up this spring. Curiosity is the only reason this little guy was allowed to grow. It may be just like one of sun gold’s parents, but who knows? The volunteer did not grow up to be a Sun Gold.

No surprise there. Sun Gold F1 means this is a tomato hybrid. Don’t save the seed, because there’s no guarantee the plant will produce true Sun Gold tomatoes.

That volunteer tomato is producing loads of 1″ red cherry tomatoes. They are not very sweet but there sure are lots of them.

The white one is a sweet, ivory colored cherry tomato. Not a heavy producer, but it is pretty in a pint of mixed color cherry tomatoes. My best guess is that this white cherry tomato is Snow White.

Traditionally tabouleh uses full-sized tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, mint, and onion, and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. I make it my own by using cherry tomatoes.

Zucchini bread is in the oven.

Zucchini bread is in the oven. Can you smell it?

That dark zucchini hiding under all the other produce, is Raven. Usually I pick them when they are 6 or 7 inches long. This one got away from me while I was away for the weekend.

These dark green, smooth-skinned summer squash are a Renee’s Exclusive. I will use this hefty zucchini grated into zucchini cake and chocolate zucchini bread.

There a dozens of suggestions for using zucchini on my Pinterest page
zucchini & eggplant

Todays Harvest Basket 7/25/14

2014
07.26

Today’s Harvest Basket, July 25, 2024

2 cucumbers, 2 tomatoes, 2 zucchini

Hard to believe these two tomatoes are the same kind, growing side by side on the same vine.

Hard to believe these two tomatoes are the same kind, growing side by side on the same vine.

Today’s basket only contains 6 things. 2 cucumbers, 2 squash, 2 tomatoes. Those two tomatoes are big, and beautiful, weighing in at a combined total of about 2 1/2 pounds.

Gold Medal tomato

Growing just inches from the ground and wedged together against the tomato stake.

Growing wedged together.

There are four Gold Medal tomato plants this year. They are the sweetest tomato I have ever tasted. These two tomatoes were growing together  just six inched from the ground and so close to the tomato stake that the fruit grew into and around the medal support.

It was impossible to pick one without the other. Growing just inches from the ground, wedged together, against the tomato stake.

Solanum lycopersicum) Most of the tomatoes weigh in over a half a pound. By thinning the tomatoes, you will get fewer but bigger tomatoes.

The plants are huge and need strong support. Stake early and try to keep them well supported. This big plant will quickly get out of control.

These big one and two-pound tomatoes can easily snap off a tomato vine. The big yellow tomatoes need the sun protection of the foliage. Don’t over prune these big plants.

In fact,  one of these four big plants was a broken branch from one of the other three. If that happens to you, try this cloning method: How to make more tomato plants for free

Big, meaty, tomatoes good for fresh eating and canning

Big, meaty, tomatoes good for fresh eating and tomato sauce.

Originally named Ruby Gold by John Lewis Childs in his 1921 catalog. Ben Quisenberry

renamed it Gold Medal and listed it in his 1976 catalog describing it as “The sweetest tomato you ever tasted. The yellow with streaks of red makes them very attractive and a gourmet’s joy when sliced.”

It’s a beautiful, sweet tomato that is like slicing open a sunrise. Gold medal makes a beautiful salsa, the sweet taste balanced with the heat and spice.

Squash and BLTZ

Keep zucchini under control by picking it every day or every other day. These small, tender zucchini are great sliced length wise and grilled. Salt, pepper, olive oil – a little slice of heaven hot off the grill.

Keep picking them early and cooking them like this and you will never have too many zucchini. Or add the grilled slices to a BLT(Z).

 

Today’s Harvest Basket 7/23/14

2014
07.26

July 23, 2014

zucchini, tomatoes, mixed carrots, red onion

Tomatoes, squash, carrots, onions

Tomatoes, squash, carrots, onions.

Tomatoes and zucchini are picked every day. This is the secret to keeping the zucchini crop under control.

Pick zucchini every day or every other day.

Pick zucchini every day or every other day. The small ones are tender, no need to peel.

Onions are the first thing planted in the garden every year. Planting time is 4-6 weeks before the last average frost date. The garlic was planted last fall. So, onions are the first and last thing planted in my garden.

Most of the onions were lifted a couple of weeks ago. I found a few more of the sweet red onions today. These few onions were planted near cabbage and carrot companion plants.

The only alium remaining in the garden are leeks. I’ll just pull them up, as needed. Leeks can be harvested anytime.

 

Onions

Red Torpedo Tropea: Sweet, red, and mild flavored.

Torpedo shaped onions from Italy.

Torpedo shaped onions originally from Italy.

These open pollinated torpedo shaped sweet onions have a keeping potential of about three months.

This sweet onion comes from Tropea, Italy. Tropea is known for exquisite cooking and locally grown red onions. In Italy, 5 or 6 onions are braided together and tied on a nail for display.

Tropea don’t last long because they are so sweet. We use a lot more onions when we have plenty on hand. These are good cooked in recipes or raw in salad dishes.  To stretch out the Red Torpedo Onion season, make a jar of pickled onions to keep in the fridge.

Pickle these red onions in good white wine vinegar and end up with a jar of pink pickled onions. A perfect side served with sandwiches.

The pink onion flavored wine vinegar is the best thing to happen to homemade salad dressings. Add it to potato salads and coleslaw as well as topping cooked greens like spinach and collards.

Find pickled onion and pickled garlic recipes on my Pinterest page: canning, preserving, smoking.

Carrots

2014
07.24
Grow a variety of carrots to discover which grow best in your garden.

Grow a variety of carrots to discover which grow best in your garden.

Carrots

Grow carrots in the spring garden and again as a fall crop.

If you ever wanted to grow carrots, fall carrots are planted in August or early September in my neck of the woods. (Zone 6A, Southern Missouri, USA.)  I get carrot seed at Nichols Garden Nursery. 

Nichols Garden Nursery has a big selection of carrot seed. The seed is very affordable. That bargain price tempts me to try an assortment of carrots. Check out their online catalog, if you are tempted to grow fall carrots. July and August are the time to order seed and get carrots growing for a fall harvest. If stored properly, carrot seed can be used for up to three years.

Nichols even has few carrot selections that are under $2. Carrot seed under two bucks and it’s enough seed for at least two and probably three years. (Unless you are raising rabbits in the same garden.)

Some days it looks like my back yard is a nature sanctuary for rabbits. They eat and sleep in my garden when I am not vigilant. When I do remember to turn on the Scarecrow motion-activated sprinkler, the rabbits stay away.

ScareCrow

ScareCrow

The Contech Electronics scarecrow motion-activated sprinkler is a humane animal deterrent. The scarecrow detects and sprays any animal movement within a 1000-square-foot area day and night.

When I do not remember to turn off  that little water blast, I suddenly get hit with a refreshing spray. It’s more fun than some of the carnival rides at the state fair. Especially when it is a surprise.

Find the scarecrow locally or online just type “scarecrow motion-activated sprinkler.”

Read more about carrotsHow to troubleshoot problems growing carrots and cabbages and University of Missouri Extension, Frequently Asked Vegetable Questions is very helpful. Extension recommends planting a 5 to 10 feet per person for fresh eating. Plan to grow 10 to 15 feet per person, if you are going to process carrots for year round eating.

Bright orange Baltimore Carrots picked 6", but would continue to grow to 12"

Bright orange Baltimore Carrots picked 6″.

Baltimore carrots are beautiful, bright orange carrots. They are sweet  and crunchy. These carrots are about 6″ long.

Harvest Carrots: any time their color is bright. This is when their flavor and texture are optimum. Carrots can tolerate a light frost. Irrigate well the day before harvest to ensure the roots have absorbed their maximum capacity of water. Store at 34°F and 95% relative humidity.

All of these carrots were pulled up at one time. They ranged in size from 2-inches to 8-inches. I’ll toss the baby carrots into a mixed vegetable refrigerator pickle jar.

I like raw carrots. Homegrown and picked after only a couple of frosts, carrots are sweeter than any grocery store carrot you have eaten.

Cooked carrots have their advantages. Some of the nutrients in lightly cooked carrots are more available to the body than the raw carrots. Cooking carrots will break down the tough cellular walls of carrots, making some nutrients more useable to the body.

The first batch of full-sized homegrown carrots, are a celebration of carrot growing success. That means carrot cake or morning-glory muffins. If there are more fall carrots, they will go into  beef stew, vegetable soup, pot roast.

So, come grow carrots with me this fall. If you grew up with a clay soil garden, You’ve probably never had much success with carrots. But building a raised bed for your raised bed, well that is a carrot’s dream come true.

Carrot Boxes – The Raised Bed for Raised Beds

In this Missouri Gardener Magazine story, I write about carrot boxes. That is the secret to long straight carrots.

Build a raised bed fast!

Yaya carrots had the widest size range. All the seed was sown at the same time.

Yaya carrots had the widest size range. All the seed was sown at the same time.

If I could have left these Yaya carrots in the garden, it would have been great to stretch out the carrot harvest over a few more weeks.

Learn more: Grow 2 crops of carrots this season

 

 

 

 

 

Todays Harvest Basket 7/21/14

2014
07.22

Todays Harvest Basket July 21, 2014

Tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers

The green and gold pepper (Low Left) was completely gold the next day.

The green and gold pepper (Low Left) was completely gold the next day.

I have a small garden. It has just a little of a lot of vegetables and flowers. But when zucchini starts producing, it does not seem like a little garden.

I hate those waxy, slick cucumbers in the grocery store. ‘don’t even like to touch them. So now we have lots of cukes in the garden and we eat them fresh at least once a day.

Crisp Cucumbers

The crunch that we all love is easy to get in home canned pickles. Use this tip along with your favorite pickle recipe.

 

white cucumber

Cut cucumbers from the vine instead of twisting and pulling.

For crisp cucumber pickles, rinse the cucumbers thoroughly and snip off 1/16-inch of the blossom end. The blossom end of the cucumber harbors microbes that can cause softening. Cut at least a 1/16-inch slice off the blossom end of the cucumber. That enzyme in the blossom end can make the pickles unsafe to eat.

The stem ends of the cucumbers above are on the right. The blossom end is on the left for both of these cukes.  The blossom end is the opposite from the stem end.

Cucumber season is too short. This time of the year, there is always a bowl of sliced cucumbers in herb vinegar in the fridge.

Today’s Harvest Basket 4/17/14

2014
07.18

Today’s Harvest Basket, July 17, 2014

Zucchini, tomatoes, onions, carrots, bell peppers, cucumber

More food than we can eat. Starting to can, dehydrate, bake.

More food than we can eat. I am starting to can, dehydrate, bake. photo PBH

That GIANT CARROT, the one that is over a foot long, (top right) is a Scarlet Nantes. As I pulled these carrots, most were 6 or 8″ long with deep orange color and are sweet. I just have no idea why this one foot long carrot is so big, or the others are so normal.

Sweet and hot peppers are loaded up on the peppers plants out in the garden. Today, these blocky bell peppers would be perfect for stuffing.

Carrots

All the other carrots grew as described in the catalog. Anyway, the seed came from Nichols Garden Nursery.  If you are interested in growing carrots, you still have time to order seed and plant a fall crop. Fall harvested carrots are even sweeter and they can take light frosts.

Scarlet Nantes is an heirloom. It is sweet and it stores well. The big news item here is that the seed is only $1.65. Amazing to find a reputable seed source under $2. I plan to grow these again this fall. What a bargain.

Nichols has a great variety of carrots, some that are under $2 a packet. There is also good carrot growing info on that website.

Cherry tomatoes

Under the “you get what you pay for” category, this variety of cherry tomatoes is in full production. The white cherry tomato was supposed to be Great White tomato. Oh, well. The seed was free and the little cherry has a good flavor.

The tangerine colored tomato is exactly what I expected from a F1 tomato. I grew it from seed. This Sun Gold tomato is as sweet as can be.

And the almost red cherry tomato is from a volunteer plant that came up where the Sun Gold cherries were last year. It was a curiosity. I wanted to see if it would come up like Sun Gold, but instead the tomato plant came up as a long-lost member of the family tree. It is not very sweet. I think it takes after the prolific side of the family, not the sweet side.

It’s no surprise

When I want to use up mammoth amounts of summer squash, I make Zucchini cake, zucchini pie, and salsa.

The zucchini pie was originally from an old Taste of Home Zucchini Pie  recipe.

As a herb gardener, I had to change-up the recipe a bit. My Zucchini Casserole recipe is on Hub pages. The Sweet and crunchy grape picnic salad is there too.

 

 

GBBD 7/15/14

2014
07.16

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

You can never have too many flowers.

IMG_9856

I love sunflowers.

So do the birds and the squirrels. The sunflower-seed-loving  gold finches are here.

IMG_0056While practically standing on my head, I took this picture. The yard is exploding in lilies. I didn’t know I had taken a selfie and until I saw me attempting to photograph this lovely orange lily after a rain.

IMG_0045

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thousands of unusual orange daylilies.

IMG_0003

I have a gazillion of these double daylilies. Their name is a mystery, I haven’t a clue. If you know, please educate me. I’ve looked and looked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0259

IMG_0263

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yucca Plant in bloom above.

IMG_0115

IMG_0106

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bachelor buttons and nicotina (L) and Coleus (R)

 

IMG_0281

Did I mention the food garden is blooming and blooming? This Green Tiger zucchini plant is huge, about 4′ tall.

 

IMG_9828

IMG_0132

 

Radish seed (L)  from the white icicle radish that is blooming non stop. (R)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lavender flowers of Little Prince container eggplant from Renee’s Garden

IMG_8776

If I didn’t eat eggplant, I would still grow it because of the flowers.

IMG_8857

IMG_9432

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many more flowers in the yard and gardens that I would love to share. But I think I better go out and pick the zucchini while it is still small enough to carry.

Get ideas about eggplants on my Pin:  Ratatouille, or loads of garden vegetables ready now.  and zucchini on my Pinterest sites.

The Tomato Pages here,  on Oh Grow Up!

 

“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 visitiing my blog: Oh Grow Up!

Today’s Harvest Basket 7/13/14

2014
07.14

July 7, 2014

Eggplant, zucchini, onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots and, onions

This is my Ratatouille harvest basket. The harvest basket filled with everything needed to make ratattouille. These vegetables, along with the onions and garlic that are curing on the covered porch, make ratattouille.

Julia Child’s Ratatouille is online in a gazillion places. The recipe is from her book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking

The Ratatouille harvest basket.

The Ratatouille harvest basket. photo PBH

The cucumbers and summer carrots will go into salads and antipasta. These are the “test carrots”, pulled to see how they are growing and coloring up. The big carrot crop will be planted in the carrot boxes shortly after all the summer carrots are harvested.

This time of year, all I can say, is “What in the world was I thinking when I planted those few “extra” cucumber seeds?” If I made pickles with all these cucumbers,  there would be a shortage of canning jars in Southeast MO.

Basket ingredients and the ingredients for ratatouille are: eggplant, zucchini, onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, garlic, parsley.

As a herb gardener, you know I’ll make a few additions. There’s fresh thyme, basil and parsley added to my version of this classic French vegetable dish.

Eggplantseggplants

This is the perfect eggplant for me. They weigh about four ounces each. One patio plant is plenty for me. Eggplant does not freeze well, so fresh eating is best.

These are ccontainer eggplant, “Little Prince” from Renee’s Garden. I grow eggplants especially for ratattouille, and eggplant parmesan.

Stealth garden strategy – In my garden, eggplant is planted in a couple of undisclosed locations. The location changes every year and the plant ideally starts out under ccamouflage ( a bucket or top hat, for example.)

The goal is to slow down the flea beetles that turn the beautiful velvety leaves into what looks like a screen door.

The other thing you can do is stagger planting times, just like the planting locations. Tell no one. This has worked for me. I’ll get a good harvest of small, container grown eggplants growing on the deck.

The one eggplant in the garden was sacrificed to save the other eggplants in undisclosed locations.  By the time the flea beetles discovered the plant on the patio, um, I mean on the deck, the Little Prince eggplant was in full production.

These 3 and 4 ounce eggplants are all grownup and ready to fledge by the time the flea beetles arrived.

Carrots

Usually, fall harvested  carrots are even sweeter than summer carrots.

Usually, fall harvested carrots are even sweeter than summer carrots.

If you ever wanted to grow carrots, fall carrots are planted in August or early September in this neck of the woods. (Zone 6A, Southern Missouri, USA.) This is news you can use: I get carrot seed at Nichols Garden Nursery.

Nichols has a big selection of affordable carrot seed. Check out their online catalog,  there is time to order seed and get carrots growing for a fall harvest. If stored properly, carrot seed can be used for up to three years.

There are a few selections that are under $2. Carrot seed under two bucks and it’s enough seed for at least two years. It only takes 70 to 85 days from planting to eating.

Remember to plant extra for carrot cake and muffins. Plan on about a 10 foot row of carrots per person.

Pink Coneflower Echinacea ‘Magnus’

2014
07.11

Today’s Harvest Basket is full of flowers.

IMG_9826

Todays Harvest Basket is filled with Echinacea. A long keeping cut flower.

I believe these are Pink Coneflower or Echinacea ‘Magnus’ .  The tag is long gone. These are the oldest coneflower in the garden. I planted them a few years ago. They faithfully put on a show with little of no attention

Like all coneflowers, these love full sun and well-drained soil. Once established they do not need extra fertilization or irrigation. Plus, you get birds, bees, butterflies. The garden is mulched with chopped leaves during fall garden clean up.

Cut flowers and deadhead blooms to encourage more flowers.

Cut flowers and deadhead blooms to encourage more flowers.

They will grow just about anywhere. They don’t need additional fertilizer, and, once established, will even grow well without additional irrigation. Deadheading faded flowers will encourage the development of more blooms, but it’s a good idea to leave some of the old blooms later in the season as they provide food for birds as well as winter interest in your garden.

And these are hardy pink coneflowers. In Missouri USA, some cone flowers are native. The natives are a bit paler than these.

Last summer I had five or six coneflowers in this bed. Summer had a lot of record-setting hot days. It was an unusually long and harsh winter, too.

Missouri Coneflower, Rudbeckia missouriensis, is commonly found on the limestone glades in the Ozark region of the State MO.  The leaves are very hairy and may stay green through the winter. This perennial coneflower is beautiful grown as a native, cutting garden or in the flower bed.

Native Missouri Coneflower, Rudbeckia missouriensis

Native Missouri Coneflower, Rudbeckia missouriensis

It makes a good cut flower and has a long bloom period in the June through  August. It will attract insects, bees and butterflies.

Native perennial blooms in zones 5-9, full sun.Grows two to three feet tall. Tough drought tolerant belongs in all Missouri gardens.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...