Sunday, August 26, 2012

Garden Update - End of August

It's been a weird summer.  Up to 90 degrees for a couple days, then 60 a week later.  It's hard on me, but I think it's been even harder on the garden.

This is the outside vegetable bed. It has three zucchini/summer squash plants which are potentially doing better than the ones inside the fence, but they're still pretty small.  The pole beans are probably doing the best of everything in the garden.

I've got a bunch of beans that are starting to plumb up, and a ton more flowers.  They're getting too tall for the fence, so we are trying to train them to go across the top.  It's a daily job, but I think it's working ok.

Here are two of the zucchini plants and the smallest of our sunflowers.  They have lots of flowers, but they're all males.  The one female flower that I attempted to pollinate by hand had a slug in it, so when I reached in with the male the dang flower fell off! Slugs.  Bane of my existence.

On a side note, I'm really mad about our sunflowers.  Last Friday I came home from a BBQ to see the one that was blooming bent about a foot down, like someone had tried to break it off by hand but couldn't and just left it hanging there.  Today we came back from running errands and the other sunflower, the big one you can see near the gate in the first picture, was ripped off about 6 inches from the ground! Oh, SO MAD. It wasn't even blooming yet!!  First the tulips, now both of the big sunflowers.  We're pretty sure we know which kid it is, but I'm afraid to confront him in case he starts doing more damage.  Little butthead. What to do?

The leeks keep growing. I've started to pile up the dirt around them to make the white usable park longer. I think we have a few beets that are harvestable size, but I'm scared to pull them. Maybe next week.

These are my sad zucchinis in the carrot bed.  They're just so small and puny.  I fertilized this week, so maybe they'll get a big bigger, but we are approaching the end of the season so I'm not sure...

I left the rest of the carrot/squash bed unplanted so the squash plants could expand over the area.  Big thinking, eh? Not so much.  Maybe I'll plant some more carrots in here since I know they'll be able to overwinter once the squash are done.  You can see my yellow beefsteak heirloom tomato in the background.  It's about 4 feet tall! It's just starting to get wee tomatoes on it.  It was one of the last ones planted, so I'm thinking that this is the bed my 'maters will go in next year.  Must be the most sun in the whole yard.

Butternut squash! Coming along.  Fertilized and hopefully growing quick and big.

These two are delicata.  The one in the front was the best of the bunch, but when I lifted a leaf to fertilize the whole stalk broke off at the base.  It looked like it was rotting, which was really disappointing.  I plopped the whole thing back in a hole with the hopes it would be able to root (ha, fat chance) but one of the leaves is still perky while the rest have shriveled. Maybe the root system will grow, but I'm not holding my breath.  Now all my hopes have moved to the one in the background.  Keeping my fingers crossed I get at least one squash this year!!

The tomato bed is rivaling the beans.  These guys all have tomatoes on them, either orange, pink, or green.  I get about a cup of cherry tomatoes a day, and the romas are starting to ripen.

Caspian pink heirloom, looking plump and delicious.

Ripening romas.

The shriveled tomatoes are starting to plump up and ripen, too.

Last but not least, Anaheim peppers.  I have six plants in pots and they're going bonkers.  I wish I had more cages to put around them because they're so big they're starting to flop over. The peppers are currently a couple inches long.  Putting them in pots was genius, a move I will definitely be doing again next year.  Looking forward to eating these guys!!

Now, off to see what I can harvest today and check for hooligans running around to have a little talk.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Found a Tomato Winner

Every day I come inside with my hands full of little cherry tomatoes.  They're bright yellow and call for me to eat them, but I have been hoarding them for about a week now.  Why, you ask? Well, I flipped through the August issue of Cooking Light at work the other day and found a pasta dish that called for oven roasting cherry tomatoes and I was dying to try it with the sungolds from my yard.

Unfortunately I ate it all before I thought about blogging about the recipe, so there isn't an accompanying photo, but I'm sure I'll make it again before the tomatoes are done and will take one then.

The proof this recipe is a winner? Mr. Tomato-Hater thought it was really good.  He even said "I'd eat that again." Woohoo!!

Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes
Slightly modified from Cooking Light

12 oz uncooked spaghetti
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups cherry tomatoes
2 heaping tsp crushed garlic
salt and pepper to taste
2 oz parmesan cheese, shaved or shredded
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade

Preheat oven to 450.

Boil salted water in large saucepan for noodles. Cook noodles 10 minutes, or until preferred doneness.

While noodles are cooking, mix tomatoes, garlic, and 2 Tbsp olive oil.  Place on baking sheet and cook in oven for 11 minutes or until browning and bursting.

When spaghetti is almost done, place 6 Tbsp of pasta water in small saucepot.  Add 2 Tbsp olive oil.  Boil for 4 minutes, or until reduced to approximately 1/3 cup.

Drain remaining pasta water once spaghetti is cooked.  Add roasted tomato, garlic, and oil mixture (make sure to include all of the juices from the burst tomatoes); salt and pepper to taste.  Add reduced oil and water sauce.  Add half of the parmesan and the dried basil.

Serve with more parmesan and fresh basil sprinkled on top.

Supposedly served 4, but it served the two of us, with one getting a hefty second helping.  There was plenty of sauce, so in my version the amount of noodles is increased.  If you like a scant coating of sauce, the noodles could be increased to almost 16 oz.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Work Knitting

A lot of knitting has been happening, and almost all of it during work.  I've been spending a lot of time sitting at either a boat ramp or a pull out on the side of a gravel road lately, and have knit up a storm.

I started this short sleeve sweater/shirt back in June and have been making slow progress on it, but progress nonetheless. If I pull it out during a shift I usually get in two stripes or more.  At this rate I might have it done in time for Thanksgiving. You know, just past the time you would want a short sleeved sweater.

A friend asked me to make a baby Yoda hat for a friend's baby shower. Yes, it's a baby hat.  It may be huge right now, but it will be felted and shrunk to 1/4 size.  Knit during about 4.5 hours of a survey one day. I had to buy the yarn, going against my Cold Sheep pact, but I used the entire skein, and she reimbursed me, so I'm calling it a wash and just adding it as a FO.

I've also been working on my stock pile of Husky beer koozies. I keep forgetting my W pattern at home, so I've had to freestyle. They're doing a great  slow job of eating all that purple and gold yarn I bought last winter. But this was the intended purpose, so another check mark for the "winning" column.

I think they have been turning out okay.  I plan to sell them in pairs.

I have approximately 8 field days left this summer during which I can get my knit on.  That means I can either double my sweater, or make about 16 more beer koozies. I also have an order for some purple and gold octopus mittens to get working on.  It's a good thing I get paid for this knitting time, or else the price of these babies would skyrocket!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dear MG

Dear Master Gardener,

My tomatoes look like a half-inflated balloon. What's with that?

They should be roma-type tomatoes, but there are two or three plants covered in green tomatoes, and they all look like this.  Please advise,

Red Bird

PS The rest of the garden is going swimmingly.  My zucchini and summer squash are all super tiny, but they are growing and covered in flowers. I have one super tiny little zucchini that I check out every day.

The green beans have recovered from their bout with the yard guy and are doing their thing.  A squirrel or cat at the tip off of the fastest growing pole bean, but it's growing from the next leaf down, and hopefully will keep growing over the top of the fence. We have harvested about 10 bush beans already.

Our sunflowers haven't quite hit the 12 feet that the seed packet said, but we do have some buds that are getting ready to bloom. We get jealous every time we drive by other houses with 10 ft tall flowers.

Happy gardening!