July 1, 2010: A Tomato, By Any Other Name....Part 2

*Tomatoes 1-14 may be seen in the previous post. Please click on the photos to enlarge them.

My determinate and indeterminate tomatoes.

Picture 1: 15-*Spawn of Angora, 16-Cherokee Purple, 17-Brandywine, 18-Cherokee Purple, 19-Eva Purple Ball

Picture 2: 20-Brandywine, 21-Cherokee Purple, 22-Kellogg's Breakfast, 23-Nyagous

These are all indeterminate heirlooms. Nyagous is proving to be a short indetermiate, as you can see by the amount of pole visible on the right side of picture 2. Kellogg's Breakfast is my tallest and stockiest plant, with the Cherokee Purples running a close second.

*Spawn of Angora was from the same seed packet as Angora Super Sweet (AKA Velvet Red), but does not have the blue-gray fuzzy leaves, so I'm not sure what this plant will produce.

Picture 1: 24-Sungold, 25-Black Cherry

Picture 2: 26-Angora Super Sweet (Velvet Red), 27-Kimberly

Picture 1: 28-Market Miracle

Picture 2: 29-Amish Paste, 30-Black Cherry

Picture 1: 31-Cherry Roma

Picture 2: 32-Persey (determinate)

33-Homestead, 34-Homestead, 35-Marglobe, 36-Marglobe, 37-Persey, 38-Market Miracle

I've planted these on "borrowed land", my neighbor's side of the fence, as I ran out of room. I'll share with her ;-)

39-Green Grape, 40-Juliet (volunteer), 41-volunteer, either Green Grape or plain red cherry tomato.

That's the extent of my 2010 tomatoes.

June 30, 2010: A Tomato, By Any Other Name....Part 1

A tomato, by any other name, would taste as sweet. I'm still waiting for my first sweet taste, if you don't count the two rather sour Minigold cherry tomatoes I've already sampled. Following are photographs of all of my tomato plants, on the last day of June. I'll be publishing this in two parts, due to the numerous photos. And it's time to cook dinner ;-)

The Dwarf and Miniature Tomato Plants
(14 plants, all grown in pots)

Dwarf Champion------------Husky Red Cherry

Sibirskij Stambovyj-----------Golden Dwarf Champion

Clear Pink Early----------------Minigold

Golden Dwarf Champion------------Dwarf Champion ?

Husky Red Cherry--------------Gartenperle

Mr. Granny's Gartenperle----------Sibirskij Stambovyj

Dwarf Champion-----------------Minigold

To be continued.....

June 30, 2010: Seed Packets & Garden Blogs

Do you see something different about these seed packets? They are made from recycled magazine pages! Urban Farmer sent me the samples, and I thought I'd pass on the information to my readers since I'm all for recycling and reducing packaging waste wherever possible, and I'm sure many of you feel the same. Urban Farmer uses Eco-Packets to package all its seeds. Eco-Packets are made using old magazines and catalogs that would otherwise go into a landfill.

June 29, 2010: And the Winner Is....Momma_S!

I had a lot of responses to my offer of Mr. Granny, but nobody wanted him except Momma_S, at Gardening With Care. Congratulations Momma_S! I'll stuff Mr. G. into one of those Flat Rate Priority Mail boxes, and ship him right off to you ;-)

Here is Momma_S' winning comment:

Since I won't be blogging much over the next week, I'm doing double duty & catching up on everyone's blogs tonight... This is the best one YET! I read through the first couple comments before the tears of laughter hit! I'll take Mr. G, but only as a substitute grandpa, since I've never had one... Grandpa's are allowed to turn up their noses... ;-)

I almost chose to send him to Robin, The Gardener of Eden, who said:

When you feel like that...don't you just want to sell Mr. G for a nickle and give change??


I've been gone all day, so I didn't get photos of the garden as I'd planned. When I got home, late this afternoon, there were beans to pick, and iced coffee waiting for me at neighbor Pat's. It's a good thing I looked over the garden on my way back from Pat's patio, as I discovered my cucumbers, which are planted in a bucket by the fence, are loaded with blossoms and as dry as a bone! I'd soaked the garden yesterday, but the large leaves of the broccoli were deflecting the water away from the cucumbers. They were terribly droopy, so I pulled the broccoli (it had already been cut, and wasn't producing enough side shoots to be of any importance) and set a sprinkler by the cucumbers. I hope it isn't too little too late, as they are the only pickling cucumbers I planted.

Yesterday I pulled the first of my beets. This was not a good year for them, germination was poor, and they came under attack from birds and leaf miners. A year ago, I was harvesting so many I had to can pickled beets. This year I can't pull enough at once for a meal for two. Most of the beet greens had to be disposed of, due to major leaf miner damage, but the newer leaves were untouched and lovely. Although we don't care for the taste of them, our pet rabbit adores them, so they are included in the harvest weighing. The small broccoli leaves also go into Cookie's dinner bag.

Broccoli, beets and greens.

Our garden dinner last night was delicious. I marinated some thick sirloin steaks in a mixture of soy sauce, ketchup, olive oil, crushed fresh garlic and lots of pepper, then grilled them until they were medium (for me) and medium rare (for Mr. Granny). I baked the two biggest Kennebec potatoes, which were dug on Sunday, and topped them with real butter and freshly snipped chives. The green beans (picked on Sunday) were very lightly steamed, then tossed with minced shallots (from the garden) that had been sauteed in butter until softened. Seasoned with salt and pepper, they were delicious. The usual large garden fresh salad, and glasses of orangeade complimented the dinner. We had a late dessert of pineapple sherbet, topped with a few raspberries. No pie was served.

Monday's garden dinner.

June 27, 2010: Harvest Monday

The week of June 21-27
Click on photo to enlarge, then click once more for full size.


37 oz. bush green beans
18 oz. broccoli
54 oz. cabbage
31 oz. carrots
85 oz. lettuce
81 oz. onions
13 oz. peas
20 oz. sugar snap peas
64 oz. potatoes
59 oz. raspberries
7 oz. strawberries

This week: 469 ounces = 29.3125 pounds
This year: 103.09 pounds

Daphne's Dandelions hosts our Monday Harvest



parsley seedlings
basil seedlings
marigold seedlings (my saved seed)

Red Ace beets, double row in former pea patch, finished rows off with a few Bull's Blood beets.

Kentucky Blue pole beans (my saved seed, may not grow true)

General Gardening:

Monday - Turned the compost pile.

Wednesday - pruned bottom leaves from tomatoes, tied up where necessary. Pulled snap pea vines after final harvest. Pulled all of the smaller onions from bed #4, and planted the parsley that wasn't doing well in a pot, two small plants of basil and five marigold seedlings. That bed is still half empty, and ready for planting.

Thursday - pulled all the Gonzalez cabbages. Forgot to pick the raspberries! I was waiting for it to cool off, and by the time I thought of it, it was already dark.

Friday - got up early and picked the raspberries and peas, then pulled out the pea vines to compost. Added composted manure to the pea bed, dug it in and prepped it for seeding. Cleaned up the entire kennel garden area, as well as the area between the kennel and fence. Deadheaded the yellow rose that's back there, and fertilized it and the volunteer tomato. Prepped the bed where I removed the cabbages yesterday. Wondering what to plant there, and thinking maybe lobelia for some color. I already have marigolds in the back of the bed, so I need something short in the front.

Sunday: Thinned out the raspberry patch, cutting off all the canes that were flopping out over the sides of the bed.

A gold bell pepper, in a pot with alyssum, was being crowded and deprived of fertile soil by the flowers. The other day, I accidentally left a small plastic tub of 10-10-10 dry fertilizer (poultry manure with minerals, etc) in the garden, then turned on the sprinklers. The resulting liquid would be very strong, and I'd hesitate to use it on anything in my garden. The sickly pepper was just the thing I needed to experiment on! I diluted 1/4 cup of the fertilizer liquid in 2 gallons of water, and added 2 Tbsp. fish emulsion. I pulled the alyssum from the pot, and soaked the pepper with the fertilizer mixture. It should either die or flourish. If it flourishes, I'll have plenty for treating other needy plants in the future.


Scott says the onions are the best he's ever had, so I gave him a few more.
Gave Scott a pound of green beans.
Gave Pat a head of Gonzalez cabbage.

June 27, 2010: I've Hit 100!

I officially went over 100 pounds of garden produce today, eight days earlier than last year. Last night I was at 99.979, and I should have run out to the garden for a head of lettuce or something to put me over a day earlier, LOL!

I picked another big bowl of Contender bush beans and dug around the potato plants, foraging for enough new potatoes for another potato salad. Mr. Granny might not have liked the raspberry cream cheese pie, but he sure did scarf down that potato salad, and begged for more!

A pound of green beans.

Kennebec potatoes are sizing up nicely.

Speaking of the raspberry pie, the recipe can be found HERE. If I made it again, I would make more cream cheese filling, less of the raspberry. I'm thinking Jell-O Cheesecake pie filling (maybe with a bit of cream cheese beaten into it) for a creamier pie, topped with half a recipe of the raspberry filling. Mr. Granny still wouldn't eat it, but our kids would have no problem consuming every bite. Which is what they did with the "stupid pie" today.

The Frugal Side of Me

When the company my daughter, Amy, works for replaced their poolside furniture, I inherited this sturdy chaise lounge. It was comfortable enough, but not so much that Mr. Granny or I could sneak a bit of an afternoon nap on the patio. I priced pads for it, and found them to be in the $65-$75 price range. That's way more than I felt they are worth, so the frugal side of me decided I could make a pad much cheaper.

I found a large, thick comforter at Wal-Mart, on sale for $13. I folded the comforter into thirds, and it was a perfect fit for the chaise. Armed with needle and thread, I sewed up the top and bottom, and tacked down a few places to hold the layers together.

Once I add ties to the top and bottom corners and the center, where the chaise folds, I think I'll have a pretty cute pad, that will also be washable and reversible. And comfortable! I'm sure Annie and Otto will think so.

June 26, 2010: Who Wants the Prize?

I'm giving away Mr. Granny. Just leave a comment on my blog, and I'll send him to the winner, postage paid, after the random drawing.

Can you tell Mr. Granny managed to get on my nerves today? I think it started when I gave him a taste of the pie filling, and he scrunched up his nose in that way men do when they don't like something. Here I'd gone out in the hot sun and picked the 2-1/2 cups of raspberries that the recipe called for (actually, I picked three cups), then I drove to the store for the cream cheese and whipped cream and a Pillsbury pie crust. I baked the pie shell, made the cream cheese filling, cooked the raspberry topping, assembled the pie and chilled it all afternoon, then topped it off with sweet whipped cream. And Mr. Granny had the nerve to turn up his nose at it. You know, I forgave him when he wouldn't eat the butternut squash pie, because he said it didn't taste like pumpkin. It DID taste like pumpkin. I even forgave him when he refused to eat the fresh strawberry pie last summer, and I ended up giving it to my neighbor, Pat, who said it was the best strawberry pie she had ever eaten. But I will not forgive him a third time.

Oh, that wasn't all he did to get on my nerves. While that pie was chilling, I decided to clean the back patio. I lugged all the furniture out to the lawn, moved the saw horses and asked Mr. G to find some place for them besides the patio....after all, it's a patio, not a shed or a garage, and I do not want saw horses living on my patio! I scrubbed both of the sliding glass doors and the kitchen window with hot sudsy water, then I hosed down the entire patio, from roof to floor and everything in between, including the big braided rug. Then Mr. Granny decided to mow the back yard, and the lawn mower threw grass clippings all over the patio and the rug I had just washed! And, when I was about half way through with the second patio hosing, he had the nerve to tell me I should be thinking about cooking some dinner!

I guess I don't have to tell you I wasn't exactly a happy camper by then, but I put the damned hose away, and cooked his stupid dinner. Because I'm a good wife. But I'll send him to the first person who wants him, postage paid.

Here's what I'd harvested for dinner.

I dug the new potatoes for potato salad, picked the raspberries for the pie and cut the lettuce for the hamburgers.

I made the potato salad with the freshly dug potatoes and sweet onion, put sweet relish from 2009, sliced onion and the lettuce on the sirloin burger, and served it with pickled beets from 2009.

And here's the stupid pie.

June 25, 2010: A Good Kind of Tired

I got up at five-thirty this morning, made the coffee and had a cup, then headed out to the garden. Our hot weather has finally arrived, and I had a lot to do before it hit 90 or higher.

I picked the raspberries that I'd forgotten to pick last night, then I picked the last of the peas and tore out the vines and put them in the composter. I added a couple of inches of composted manure to the bed and turned it all under. Then I spread another inch over the top of the bed, along with a handful of 10-10-10 dried chicken poo with minerals and stuff in it, and worked it into the top six inches. I raked it nice and smooth, then made a trench along the back for another planting of pole beans. This time I planted some seeds I'd saved from last year's Kentucky Blue. I don't care if I get Kentucky Wonder or Blue Lake or a cross between the two, they're all good. Since I'd only planted a single row of the pole beans, I had plenty of room in front of them to plant something else. The early beets had not done well at all, so I decided to try another planting. I finished off my packet of Red Ace Hybrid, and had to use a few Bull's Blood seeds to complete the double row.

Future pole beans and beets in the former pea patch. I had five marigold seedlings that needed to find a home, so I put them on each side of the Spacemaster cucumber that's in the bucket on the right. It might be too shady there when the pole beans, cucumbers and morning glories cover the fencing, but I had nowhere else to put them right now.

Once the former pea bed was planted, I tidied up the kennel garden and the area behind it, between the kennel and the neighbor's fence. I deadheaded the Arlene Francis rose, which is doing very well this year. The rose bush is over twenty years old, and has never been over two feet high, with maybe three canes, and it's a lucky year I get more than four or five roses on it. It's still not very big, but looking healthier than it ever has, and is loaded with blossoms. I attribute it to the fact the compost bin sat right next to it last year!

Arlene Francis is three feet tall and blooming her branches off! Both the rose and the volunteer tomato in front of it were given a bit of fertilizer. Those are morning glories in the bucket on the left. They should climb up and cover the corner of the kennel garden in gorgeous blue flowers.

The kennel garden, all cleaned up. There are more morning glories growing behind the park bench, along with a few forget-me-nots that may or may not decide to grow. Some volunteer borage is on the right of the bench, a Red Acre cabbage and some white alyssum on the left. Fortex beans are climbing the left fence. One of these days I'm going to find time to actually sit on that bench!

It was about this time that Mr. Granny called me in for breakfast. He'd cooked sausages, so I had a couple, along with some toasted oatmeal bread and home made strawberry jam from last year's garden. I finished eating, then poured myself a cup of coffee to take back out to the garden, 'cause it was still cool enough to work, and I was on a roll!

I harvested some broccoli, and hoed a few grass blades from the broccoli bed. I fertilized the little Green Grape tomato that is growing by the fence. Then I raked the paths in the east garden. As I was heading back from the compost pile, I decided to check the progress of the Contender bush beans. Eureka! I went back to the house for my little stool and a bowl, and ended up with 1-1/4 pounds of beans! I should weigh Annie and Otto before and after trips to pick beans, as they'll eat as many as I'll give them. I'm sure it would add to my total bean weight!

My first bowl of beans for 2010.

Then, of course, there was lettuce to cut. I noticed the plant I thought was a Buttercrunch actually had headed up and was a second Anuenue! I cut it and another Austrian Red.

The harvest for the day was finished, the entire corner of the garden was spiffy clean, and it was getting into the high 80s. I set a sprinkler to water the newly planted bed, and headed for the house to clean, weigh and photograph all the produce.

Outer lettuce leaves for our rabbit, and tender hearts of the lettuce for Mr. and Mrs. Granny.

A bunch of broccoli, a bowl of raspberries and a cup of peas.

I've decided I'm not planting peas again. I got a total of 18 ounces of shelled peas from an 8 square foot planting (one whole seed packet), and I got 20 oz. of bush beans from just one (first) picking on the same amount of square footage, and used just under one packet of seeds. I can buy a large package of frozen, organic, petite peas at Costco, and the flavor is just as good if not better. Peas are too labor intensive for the end result. I will, however, plant sugar snap peas again.

The refrigerator was full of garden produce, so it was time for another "garden dinner". I decided on stir fry again, as it makes use of the most veggies.

We had teriyaki chicken stir fry, using onions, carrots, broccoli and sugar snap pods. I sliced the sugar snaps and cooked them a bit more for this dish. The crispy ones squeak on my teeth, and it's annoying! I made fried brown rice, using onion, carrot and peas from the garden. Salad was chilled Anuenue lettuce with balsamic vinegar dressing. As usual, I had craisins and walnuts on mine. Lemonade is a necessity on hot days, but only because I ran out of tea. Soon I'll be making iced tea by the gallon.

We didn't eat the raspberries today. I'm saving them to make a raspberry cream cheese pie. We won't get many more berries this year, so I wanted to make at least one special dessert from them before they're no longer producing.

Blue borage blossoms

Man, I'm tired tonight. But it's a good kind of tired.

June 25, 2010: Now You See Them, Now You Don't

Four little cabbages, all in a row. Now you see them....

Where did they go?

The Gonzalez cabbages were cut today.
Another fine dinner is coming my way!

Groan.....that was pretty bad, huh?


I took a few random garden photos today. You can click on them to make them larger. Enjoy.

June 24, 2010: The First Tomato

Last year I picked my first tomato on July 10. It was a cherry tomato, from what was supposed to be a Tumbling Tom. I say "supposed", because I grew two of them from seed, and neither looked a bit like a Tumbling Tom. The vines grew huge, and the tomatoes they bore were just plain old cherry tomatoes, with no sweetness, nor anything making the flavor special. Of course, they fruited non-stop. Anyway, the first of the season was a disappointment, as most "first" tomatoes seem to be, rather tasteless and mealy in texture. I've always assumed that was because it took them so long to reach maturity in the cooler weather, as the flavor and texture never fail to improve as the weather warms.

This year I've picked my first tomato a full 16 days earlier. It is also a cherry tomato, from a Minigold plant.

Isn't it pretty? I've only tasted one yellow tomato I really liked, and that was a big Kellogg's Breakfast, which had such a special flavor I've planted it again this year.

It's not very big. About average for a cherry tomato.

Should I share with Mr. Granny, or should I just pop this entire morsel into my mouth and not tell him?

I ate half of the tomato. It wasn't very good, quite sour and the texture was rather mealy. It was about as disappointing as most of my first tomatoes have been. I can only hope the flavor improves as the weather warms.

Mr. Granny gets the other half.

June 24, 2010: Another Productive Day

*Note: It's actually June 23, in the early evening, as I write this. However, I've already blogged today, so I'll save this one and publish it tomorrow.

Whoa, doggies, it got hot today! I'm not complaining, I'm rejoicing. I spent almost the entire day in the garden, harvesting lettuce, onions, peas, carrots, snap peas, potatoes and raspberries. I pruned bottom leaves from several tomatoes, and tied them up where necessary. I pulled all the snap pea vines after a final harvest, and put them in the composter. I pulled all of the smaller onions from bed #4, and in their place I planted the parsley that wasn't doing well in its pot, two small plants of basil and five marigold seedlings. That bed is still half empty, and ready for planting something else, but I've not quite decided what. Maybe some beets.

I happened to be checking on my zucchini, when I spotted this. Twin male blossoms! I've never seen two blossoms on one stem before.

You have to look closely, but there are at least three female blossoms almost ready to open. There are also a lot of male blossoms, so pollination will hopefully take place naturally.

I cut two heads of Austrian Red lettuce, and one huge head of Red Sails. That's not my laundry basket holding the Red Sails, but it is a pretty good sized basket, and that one head of lettuce fills it completely. The last of the sugar snap peas were picked, blanched and frozen. I found several more after this photo was taken, while pulling the pea vines, so I'll be using them fresh. These are the last of the Chantenay carrots. Oh, how I wish I'd planted more! The tops broke off of the two Walla Walla onions as I pulled them, so they were cleaned and trimmed and stored in the refrigerator. The large scallion was flopping over into an adjoining bed, so it also got pulled.

A second trip to the garden gave me new red potatoes, a container of raspberries, and 2/3 cup of peas.

Quite a bit of today's harvest went into tonight's dinner. The Hamburger Cabbage Casserole contained cabbage, carrots and onion from the garden. The peas and carrots and the baby new potatoes were as fresh as they could possibly be. Of course, I had to have my favorite salad of freshly picked lettuce, cranberries and walnuts, with an oil/vinegar/sugar dressing. No, I never get tired of it! The meal was served with a crusty baguette and ice cold lemonade.

It will probably be a few days before I publish another garden dinner. Sometimes we just have to eat the leftovers!