August 16. Garden reaches production stage as heat hits 90’s.

Bloged in garden,General Home Life by mark Thursday August 16, 2012
Seems ev August there's an entry or two prefaced with these words: "I'm SO busy, this will just be a diary entry / pics put in quickly with random thoughts....not edited well." **True again today. Here we go: First of all, it's HOT. That has brought about the BIG almost overnight change for a veggie garden taking it from growing vines / stalks to producing fruit. In the NW, we think about these heat waves (95+ for US, is a HEAT WAVE...most of us have NO air conditioning)......so, the even before ends with summer MAC Salad being made....... **Used in this FROM the garden were: thyme, grn onion, red onion, celery. And it's finished....some may be going to a potluck later this week: **yum. If it IS hot, your day begins just after dawn gathering the hose/soaker, taking down the deer fence on one side, and watering / pruning green growth to encourage fruit production. This thing is REALLY overgrown this year.... (NOTE:THE DEER FENCE has disappeared, and everything is taller than the fence is.....) : The "experimental" variety of corn, me dummy, was Golden Bantam. It's about 8' tall and finally beginning the tassel / ear phase: ***Some of this is So green heavy, I've had to tie IT up just like the 'maters and tomatillos. I have begun the tomatillo harvesting.....and just now have enough in the fridge for one batch of the salsa to can: I can now count on harvesting enough tomatoes every day to eat sliced & lightly salted tomatoes for the next 4-5 weeks, PLUS eventually have SO many, we'll freeze some for winter sauces: To go along with those, the SERRANO peppers are really getting ready to be used too: It is PESTO making time ..... to freeze for winter.....the basil plants are BIG.....that is IF, you can see beyond the Marigolds and the PIG waiting for harvest: I just did a harvest of the English Thyme yesterday, and it will lie here drying in the heat wave: This is NOT to forget flower production has peaked......due to some hard work by the rose guy, Rodger, they flourished late into the season despite being eaten early by a deer...... I like this double bloom: The lilies are mammoth, not a good pic by lighting, but dozens of these blooms are now back on the new deck: And then, always a favorite of MINE....the DAHLIAS BEGIN blooming when so MUCH of the rainy Northwest's mainstays fade away, and right now IN the HOUSE are 3 separate vases with differently colored dahlias in them..... I love this color for one: ******* Let's NOT forget the DECK project is just completed, and wow are WE happy with who we chose to do this finish work: ***IT looks much better today with all the plants back on there.....update later. and now to gather together recipes for: 1) Tomatillo Salsa canning, 2) Roasting/Preserving Gypsy Peppers, 3) Preserving Basil via/Pesto, 4) etc.

Garden 2012. Unbelievable grow

Bloged in garden,General Home Life by mark Saturday August 4, 2012
The last 3 "La Nina" summers were cool, sometimes damp. Growing a garden was a challenge...2 years ago the total harvest for tomatoes? About 8. It was discouraging. We're always following the weather science here BECAUSE of the Pacific Ocean being so close. HOWEVER. This summer has been completely different. Watching May/June weather appearing completely different than the last 3 years, it came as no surprise to find La Nina's leaving and El Nino's replacing it. Almost all July mornings began cloudy, damp, cool....BUT....ended up sunny and in the low 70's. WHAT did that do to this vegetable garden space at 1100' in the Pacific Northwest? (****NOTE to friends in parched, drought heat stricken southern midwest and south? I know, don't hate me for saying "low 70's" weather...... I know you're suffering..... I feel horrible for what you're going through and worry with this climate change there be more coming in that area. . What did that do? Unbelievable growth of the plant roots, stalks, vines. For the first time EVER, our rows are NOT wide enough to accommodate the growth. In trying to save ALL the blossoms coming along, I've continued to put in taller stakes and add rope ties for vine support among the tomatoes and tomatillos....it's been a real challenge, and fun at the same time. Since our migratory songbirds were leaving our feeders empty, I took one or two tall shepherd hooks used to help keep their feeders up away from squirrel invasions and placed in two Tomato rows and wrapped baling twine around the vines: AND, from the end, the SUN Gold plant is 7' tall spreading everywhere (this one needs a bigger cage)...while the Stupice on either side are over 6'. You can see this by looking at the deer fence....which sits on this side at 6' up: ***We have 5-6 'experimental' varieties this year and are anxious to see how well they do... The tomatillo vines are also so long and thick, that those not supported by a circle of ties or twine are breaking: The corn's a VERY interesting growth....this crop MUST be rotated every year for sure growth success..so this year it's nearest the huge tall fir tree...the plants nearest the tree do NOT get direct sun until about 11:00....those furthest from the tree, about 9:00. It's a stark contrast....furthest plants? Over 6' and beginning to show tassels. Closest? About 5' and NO sign of maturation yet.... This COULD be fun by giving us ripe corn over a longer few weeks, COOL, if it works. Here's the row getting all the sun: Any Blooming going on BESIDES tomatoes, tomatillos? YES and they're beautiful in my humble opinion. These leeks were held from last year ONLY FOR this purpose....on a warm day these beautiful blooms are buzzing with bees...here's a few of about 10-12 total 'space' allowed: And the French Fennel isn't just pretty, THIS plant now has a very NICE Fennel scent when you're close to it: TRULY, it's fun out there in the first warming of the morning sun....WHEREVER these BEES are coming from is a wonder, and I'm SURE happy they're here doing their work, but the garden is ALIVE with their buzzing as you water.... NOTE: I AM sorry that the pics were taken at sundown and the gazillion blossoms on ALL the plants are not showing....they're THERE, believe me. IF August dries up, warms up, suns up as forecast, we're in for a banner harvest.... and a BUSY time there will be in the kitchen beginning with pickle weekend, that will immediately move to tomatillo salsa canning....a big batch every week through mid-September, and saving/freezing tomatoes. My FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR! SO there! THAT's what's going on UP at about 6' view....ANYTHING going on at ground level? We've NEVER had so much lettuce and keep sharing fresh picked with close neighbors....(the current HEAT wave expected for 2 days MAY wilt some out there now, but there's a continual crop just starting....gotta have lettuce into September for the kitchen!).....Cilantro, harvesting regularly. Green Onion, since May. CELERY...ready anytime as has been parsley, BASIL Genovese. We finally have Serrano peppers awaiting their contribution...and that BEGINS next weekend when Pickle-athon begins with favorite cousins in house! Whoopee times that will be. That's it? NO! The new potato harvest began this week..... How do you know when they're read to harvest? When your vines look like this (and once they've bloomed, make sure you quit watering them): **Yep, when they're wilting down to nothing and sending all the good stuff into the potato. IN the fridge now, is the first Potato Salad made with potatoes, onion, celery, parsley out of the garden and a few of our own habanero pickles. Yum.

Is it oregano, really?

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out,garden by mark Thursday August 2, 2012
THIS week's job was to finally process the oregano hanging in the garage the last 3 weeks...yep, the hanging bundles that immediately drew a neighbor asking how we were brave to dry our marijuana in plain sight. As IF we had any. Remember the oregano ? Yes, pretty simple process, but I was surprised how much actually came through...must be the mild summer. First the bundles placed on the counter: Stems stripped, leaves lightly pressed to break 'em up a bit, and of course, pull out most of the smaller stem pieces: Result in about 1hour? 2 half gallon jars: The biggest demand for the oregano will be in the Tomatillo Salsa upcoming weeks, but maybe I should set up a small box and chair by the road and put up a Oregano Sale sign? hah. That effort brought about the need for a good chewie, so a batch of my M&M Cookies began to replace the space Oregano took up: .

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