Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.

- Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wrapping Up the Season

The garden is all tucked in for a long winter's nap. I turned the soil and added a bag of organic compost a couple of weeks ago. It's all under a blanket of straw for now. When I cleaned things out, I tried to preserve two sprouting garlics. We'll see what happens in the spring!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mao Mao Haus

Mao Mao is the proud owner of a brand new home located in the Living Room District of Kim and Josh Town. It's a single story, one kitty dwelling with vaulted ceilings, numerous windows, and wall-to-wall carpeting. Mao Mao loves spending time in her new home relaxing, taking baths, and defending her territory from The Pink Mice Cavalry and numerous invasions from The Black Feather Creature. You might not be able to read her expression. She's saying, "I love it here."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Tidy Up the Plot



I pulled the tomato plants, staked the peach tree (spindly thing in the pot), and said goodbye to one of the giant marigolds. I left the carrots and beets until next week. After clearing away some of the overhanging fig tree, I'm hoping the sunshine will encourage them to grow a bit more. I will add compost to the soil before the ground freezes. I swear.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Do you know this corn?

Seneca Red Stalk is an heirloom variety with deep burgundy husks and kernels in red, black, purple, white, and yellow. I've seen it at the markets and at a pick-your-own farm. It's beautiful and supposedly very hardy. I would use it for decoration but I think it can be ground into cornmeal. Along with a giant pumpkin, it's on my long term gardening goals list.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Foray into Canning

1.5 lb Homegrown Hot Peppers

Homemade Hot Sauce

Also in the making is a batch of cran-apple hard cider and a second attempt at the perfect chipotle ale.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Orange and Red


Tomatoes and Carrots

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Racing Frost, Ripening Tomatoes

We're at the end of September and I haven't done anything in the garden lately except some occasional harvesting and trimming of dead foliage. Yes, there are still some things growing but they've all slowed down at this point and I'm just playing chicken with the weather. I'm hoping to harvest a bit more before the frosty nights arrive and then I'll get to the annual soil maintenance (which I never got to last year).

What's growing and what's left? The remaining chard is beginning to look a little haggard from some kind of bug damage but there's probably a couple salvageable bunches in there. I've got a couple dozen carrots that are in various states of ripeness. Half a dozen beets are still in the ground but last I looked they were almost too small to bother pulling. My cherry tomato plant is semi-loaded with small green fruit that may or may not ripen. The yellow bell pepper might be turning the slightest shade of yellow. My volunteer tomato plant is loaded with plum sized green fruit. One or two heads of escarole popped up that could be pulled for salads.

I'm waiting on those tomatoes. The volunteer plant has more fruit on it than any tomato plant I've ever babied in the plot. I've also got loads of anaheim chillies and jalapeno peppers in pots by my front stoop. Salsa may be in my future. Or another batch of hot sauce.

Here's what the garden looked like this morning with one of the resident kitties looking on (and probably waiting to poop in my plot):

A very large spider had made a web beside the gate and was awaiting breakfast.

What's next? Pumpkins of course. My count is already up to 6. I picked up a sack of mini white pumpkins at the store last week.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Farm Show 2011 Recap

It's been over a month since we visited this year's Sussex County Farm and Horse Show in NJ, but I just had to backtrack and share the photographic proof with you.

We caught this bug-eyed little calf and his mommy chilling under the livestock tents at the end of a long, hot day.

So cute!

Now that's one fine lookin' stud with one fine lookin' tractor.

This little lion head bunny put on quite the show.

What an adorabibble little blob of fluff.

We stormed through the chicken, rooster, and duck tents chasing after a two and a half year old on her first real trip to the farm show. Needless to say, there wasn't any time for beautiful fowl shots. I don't remember what I liked about this one. I think maybe his face was kind of blueish.

Who isn't a sucker for baby animals saying, "Peep peep peep!"

Pretty bad picture but this fellow was really imposing looking. He didn't have a characteristically red comb. His was deep brown, black, and maroon.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mystery Melon Missing!

I visited the garden yesterday and found that my Mystery Melon plant had turned brown and the Mystery Melon was gone. I'm a little disappointed; when I saw it a week ago it was a little larger than a baseball and the plant was looking green and healthy. Such potential!

When I visit tomorrow I'm going to do a thorough search under the surrounding plants. Hopefully it fell off somewhere so I can at least crack it open and see what color flesh it has (had). The other possibility is that the Garden Thief stole it. The Garden Thief is perhaps the most difficult pest to deal with in a community garden.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Post Irene Gardening

The tomato plants fell over and there were a few decomposing figs in the plot, but otherwise everything made it through the storm. I was expecting all my unripe cherry tomatoes to be on the ground, the plot to be flooded with a foot of water, and the gardening season to be over. We were spared!

My Mystery Melon that popped up in the corner of my plot continues to grow. Can anyone identify this guy?

The bell pepper plant has decided to start producing, just in time for fall weather.

I've been dead-heading the sunflowers and getting great successive blooms.

Tomatoes, basil, and a fat carrot for salads were gathered Sunday after the storm blew through.

Beets, beet greens, a funny looking carrot that didn't taste so great, and some figs were harvested yesterday.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Finest Carrot in All the Land

This is the mess I lovingly refer to as "the garden." It's not as bad as it looks. Marigolds are in front, sunflowers and a cucumber are in back on the trellis. From left to right there are beets, carrots, chard, and beans. Interspersed are three tomato plants and a pepper plant. It's a little overwhelmingly green at this point and I wish I had planted some flowers earlier in the season.

I pulled the most beautiful carrot I've ever grown out of the ground today. It's 5.5" long, 1.25" wide, and a perfect shade of... carrot.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Amidst Heat Wave Garden Persists

Last week I harvested another bunch of swiss chard, 2 crystal apple cucumbers (that's what they're called!), a carrot, 5 beans, and a bunch of salad greens.

This week the garden practically turned to mush in the heat. After being away for the weekend and receiving little to no rainfall in the past week or so, the garden suffered. I arrived on Wednesday morning to a withered mass of green. Luckily a little hose work perked everything up except the poor mesclun mix. We are officially out of salad greens. Today I picked 4 beets, 2 carrots, and a mess of beet greens. There is still plenty of chard, carrots, beets, cucumbers in the making, and cherry tomatoes in the making.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Plot News and Let's add a cucumber to the mix...

The Jungle

12' Tall Sunflower

Salad Time (that's a little cucumber on the right)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Daily Salad

The beans and carrots are coming in and they're adding a nice sweetness and a crisp crunch to our spicy mesclun greens.

We'll eat as much of the leafy stuff as we can before the summer heat really sets in and everything bolts. A few things in the mix (escarole, arugula) already bolted but we ate them anyway!I probably didn't plant nearly enough carrots this year and the second sowing in late May is just beginning to grow. Hopefully they'll survive the heat or it's off to the farmer's market we go.

The burgundy beans are from the same seed packet I've been planting from for the past three summers. Despite the warnings about decreased germination rates in old seeds, I haven't had any problems. I'm also growing corn at the office that expired in 08!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Beets, Baby Cukes, Swiss Chard Yum

Lemon Cucumber plants are flowering and covered with tiny cucumbers. Pickles, anyone?

The beets are doing fine and providing a mild supplement to the spicy mesclun mix salad greens.

The Swiss Chard is enjoying the rain and sunshine. I've got ten or so plants growing in succession (happened naturally somehow) for some excellent side dish portions.

The plot is in fine health despite the overwhelming numbers of woodlice (pill bugs) rolling about. In researching the problem, I've discovered that they are crustaceans, not insects, and they thrive in damp conditions. I'm hoping they'll be content to munch on my bolting radishes and leave the rest alone.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Garden, It Grows!

May 6, 2011

May 12, 2011

May 27, 2011

June 9, 2011

June 15, 2011

So far I've been very remiss in posting updates. It was a slow start to the gardening season with the rainy, cold spring and it wasn't until the most recent heat wave that things really took off. We've eaten the wintered over escarole, lots of mesclun salads, plenty of tiny radishes, tasty fresh peas, and even a few little carrots. I'm holding off on the chard until it gets a little bigger, and I haven't dipped into the beet greens yet. My heirloom cucumber plants and heirloom tomato plant are doing well (thanks sis) and I've got burgundy bean plants flowering.