Friday, April 30, 2010

Tomatoes planted!!!

It seems as though the weather has stabilized.....I hope!! My garden helper and I planted the balance of our tomato plants in the garden today. I am not taking any chances with this crazy weather we have been having. So, all of the tomatoes that are not planted in the greenhouse bed are in Kozy Koats. My tomato plants were way too big and getting a bit stressed. Next year I am going to start the tomato seeds later.

Tomatoes planted to date:

1 - Brandywine
2 - Cherokee Purple
1-  Matt's Wild Cherry (my grandson's plant)
2 - Howard's German Red
2 - Unknown Italian - Seeds my in-laws got for me 4 years ago in Italy
2 - Lancaster County Paste
2 - Paulina
1 - Pineapple
1 - Eva's Purple Ball
1 - Tiffen Mennonite
1 - White Tomesol
1 - Winter Long Storage

My litlle helper and I also planted 4 tomatoes in large containers for my in-laws. These will be placed on their upper porch. Their garden gets way too much shade and the plants hardly produce anything.

I will do a complete garden update of this past week tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Seeds from Italy!!

My in-laws have returned from their trip to Italy. They brought me seeds!! I am so excited and can't wait to germinate and plant them!

Tomato - Pomodoro - S. Marzano
Tomato - Pomodoro - Early Pack 7 (These are green at the top. They said that they are served in the restaurants in Italy)
Eggplant - Melanzana - Lunga Violetta Di Firenze (A long slender type)
Chicory - Cicoria - Rossa
Spinach - Spinacio - Matador
Lettuce - Lattuga - Quattro Stagioni Sel. Rossina Di Pescia
Escarole - Endivia - Scarola verde fiorentina
Arugula - Rucola - Coltivata

I did a little research and this is what I came up with.

Tomato - Pomodoro - San Marzano
     Classic Italian plum tomato used mainly for cooking as it has very little water inside, few seeds and is very meaty. Use for making Passata, cooking, sauces and passata. Indeterminate. Fruits typically of 70-100g each in weight.

Tomato - Pomodoro - Early Pack 7
     I have not found any information on this tomato. I think that it may be a beefsteak type of tomato.

Eggplant - Melanzana - Lunga Violetta Di Firenze
      Long purple. 8 inch long rustic deep purple eggplant. Classic rich eggplant taste. Good producer, reliable. 70 days.

Chicory - Cicoria - Rossa
     Has very good colour contrast between the red leaves and white ribs and veins, is fairly easy to grow and consistently forms nice heads. Nice taste and texture. Sow to mature in autumn/winter about 75-80 days after planting to get the best colour and flavour.

Spinach - Spinacio - Matador
     Spinach Matador Dark green plant, very smooth leaves. Excellent taste. Nice for salad mixes. 47-50 days.

Lettuce - Lattuga - Quattro Stagioni Sel. Rossina Di Pescia
     A 'butterhead' variety with soft round, medium sized hearts for sowing and harvesting throughout the spring and summer. The outer leaves and heart show an attractive bronzed-red colour. Lettuce is very suitable for inter-cropping between taller, long-standing vegetables , such as beans, tomatoes, peppers, etc.

Escarole - Endivia - Scarola verde fiorentina
     Probably the most widely used in Italy. Large, splaying head with golden coloured heart. Sow Jun-end Aug and harvest till mid Dec.

Arugula - Rucola - Coltivata
     This is a herbaceous plant found in the wild in Italy. It is quite short and has thin, serrated leaves which are bright-green in color and have an intense aroma. Owing to its strong but pleasant flavor it is particularly suitable for mixed salads or on pizzas. The plant grows well in any type of soil and requires little care.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Harvest Monday

I harvested two more heads of romaine lettuce last night. This lettuce made it through the winter under two feet of snow. We had a wonderful ceasar salad with dinner last night! Only two heads left :(

Ceasar Dressing Recipe

1-2 Cloves Garlic
1 Egg
1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/4 tsp. Dry Mustard
3 Drops Tabasco
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce
3/4 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp. Lemon Juice
Pepper & Salt

Finely chop garlic, add remaining ingredients and blend well. I use a mini chopper/grinder. You could use a blender or food processor.

Top fresh greens with your choice of grated cheese, bacon bits, croutons or anchovies....what ever you desire! ENJOY!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Busy day in the garden!

Yesterday was a busy day around here! The day started off with a successful trapping of a feral cat. I am a cat lover to say the least. I have two cats, Alvin and Miss Banana. This feral cat has been causing havoc in the neighborhood! He has attacked my cat Alvin two times in the past year and cost me $500. in vet bills! Alvin is a special needs cat. He is about 80% blind and has brain damage since birth.

This is Alvin enjoying our wedding reception at our home.

 We are trying to get everything ready outside before it's time to plant all of the peppers, the balance of the tomatoes, all of my flower pots and the other warm weather crops. My husband has been trying to get the deck pressure washed! He was only able to get a small area finished before "date night" last night. It's now raining and will continue to rain for about two days. We do need the rain!

I planted 107 onion seedlings! 30 Copra, 19 Patterson, 36 Redwing and 32 Prince. I still have 22 Redwing seedling left to plant. I can't plant those until the hubby is finished pressure washing the deck. The deck comes right up to the bed were they are going to be planted. That pressure washer will take them out in an instant!

I also planted some parsley, basil and marigolds. I companion plant, so there are onions everywhere there was a spot to put one! Hopefully the onions will do better then last year. We had a very wet spring and they were very small.

The Pak Choi is looking great. They did have an encounter with I believe slugs, when I first planted them. I added some diatomaceous earth and the nibbling has stopped. The Pak Choi is planted at both ends of the garlic bed.

The mixed lettuce is also looking good. I think that it is about time to thin it.

My favorite lettuce, Buttercrunch! I can't wait until it is time to eat it! Next year I will have to start some lettuce inside.

The snow peas are looking good. My English peas aren't doing as well as the snow peas. I guess I will have to try those rootrainers that Dan used this year for his peas. Hopefully we will enough peas to freeze this year. Last year, that darn groundhog ate 3 crops of peas! 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Today in the Garden

Today I added some mulch around my potato onions. They look good. This is my first time planting them. I planted them in the fall along with some shallots. The shallots rotted in the ground. We will see how the potato onions do.

There are lots of dandelions in the yard....maybe I should have my little helper pick them and make another batch of dandelion jelly!

The potatoes are coming up nicely in the bags that I made. This year I planted Cranberry Red, Yukon Gold and Caribe Purple. We thought it would be nice to have red, white and blue potatoes!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Artichokes arrived

The artichokes arrived yesterday not looking very happy. I have been trying to grow artichokes for the past two years with no success. The first year I started them inside from seed. They germinated, looked good for awhile and then died. Last year, I purchased plants. I don't think I planted them in their containers (very large containers) soon enough. They did not get very big, did not produce and then I killed them over the winter!

My new husband (the cook) is Italian and really really wants some fresh artichokes!!

I called "The Tasteful Garden" from whom I purchased the plants. We decided to give them 5-7 days to see how they do. They will send me more if I am not happy with their progress. They have really great plants and are wonderful to do business with. I used to purchase plants from them before I started everything from seed.

I also purchased 2 Cherokee Purple tomato plants from them. I have purchased Cherokee Purple seeds from two different suppliers in the past few years. None of the Cherokee Purples that I have germinated taste nearly as good as the ones I have purchased from The Tasteful Garden. I decided to purchase just two plants from them and save some seeds for next year.

The tomato plants look great. They are a little curvey from being shipped. But will straighten out just fine.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Got Dandelions??? Make Jelly!!

Two weeks ago while looking for some new and interesting jelly recipes. I found this great recipe for dandelion jelly! Why not.....what else can we do with all of those dandelions my grandson was picking in his yard? He has a lot of dandelions since we are against using chemical sprays.

It takes quite a few dandelions to make a batch of jelly. But it was well worth it.

I am posting  the recipe below. Hopefully I will soon figure out how to add pages and categories on the side of my blog! Does anyone have a book on blogging for dummies?

Dandelion Jelly Recipe

This is a golden clear, delicate tasting delicious jelly. Avoid the bitter milk in the flower stems it is UPLEASANT. This jelly is great on cheese!

1 quart of tightly fresh organic bright dandelion flowers (try to use only the yellow petals). I cut most of the green bottoms off with kitchen scissors.

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, zest of (I used a microplane)
5 1/2 Cups of sugar
1 (1 3/4 ounce) package dry pectin
1 split vanilla bean

1. Using a stainless steel pan, boil the flowers in 2 quarts of water for 10 minutes, cool, strain, pressing the liquid out of the flowers, then restrain through a coffe filter
2. Measure 3 Cups of the liquid, add the lemon juice, zest, split vanilla bean and pectin
3. Put in to a deep large pot and bring to a rolling boil, then add sugar and stir to mix well.
4. Stir and boil hard for 1 1/12 minutes, or until mixture sheets from a wooden spoon, skim, carefully remove vanilla pod, pour into hot clean jars and seal

Makes 7 jars (half pints)


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Harvest Tuesday....didn't get to it on Monday

Here's some Romaine and a red winter lettuce named Eva's Burgendy that I picked this morning. This lettuce overwintered under 2 feet of snow! We were planning to put a cold frame over the bed. However, we didn't get to it before winter arrived. I was very surprised to see that it made it through the winter.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Finally seasonable weather!

Our weather here has been so crazy! Two weeks ago it was 90 and two days ago we had a frost. I am hoping that the weather is finally stabalizing! The cabbage is very happy now!

Here are some beautiful tulips in the herb garden with the oregano. That makes the cook Happy!

These are bags that I made to grow my potatoes in. I ran out of room, so I made the bags and placed them along side of my son's shed next door. I covered them with netting to keep the squirrels out. As they grow, I will keep adding straw.

The strawberries have quite a few flowers already!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Lilacs in April!

Starting this blog

This is my first attempt at starting a blog so please bear with me! I am sure the layout will change from day to day!

The garlic is growing very well this year. I can't believe how big it is already!

Here are some tomatoes in Kozy Coats. This is the first time that I have tried them. Hopefully we will have early tomatoes!

I have a temporary greenhouse that my husband bought me for my birthday two years ago. These are my peppers in their temporary housing. I am so glad that I have the greenhouse this year. The plants were too much to tend to in the house.


On the left is the basil and on the right is the parsley, cilantro and summer savory. They are all in the greenhouse for now.


We placed the temporary green house over one of the smaller raised beds. This is my grandson's cherry tomato plant.