June 30, 2009: June Harvest Totals

*This is blog #2 for today, please scroll down for the earlier post.

June was busting out all over with fresh produce! Here is how it all added up:

6/1 10 ounces lettuce, 1 ounce sugar snap peas, 3 ounces yellow onions
6/2 2 ounces strawberries & 9 ounces beets (trimmed weight)
6/3 6 oz. (total) onions & shallots
6/4 10 oz. lettuce, 2 oz. strawberries
6/5 20 ounces lettuce & 10 ounces snap peas
6/6 4 oz. berries & 8 oz. onions
6/7 10 oz. snap peas & 7 oz. onions
6/8 4 oz. onions
6/9 7 oz. lettuce, 14 oz. onions, 33 oz. beets, 2 oz. strawberries
6/9 4 oz. broccoli & 6 oz. carrots
6/10 26 oz. cabbage, 2 oz. basil, 9 oz. sugar snap peas, 4 oz. head of garlic, 9 oz. baby carrots, 6 oz. lettuce
6/11 2 oz. strawberries
6/13 8 oz. snap peas
6/14 14 oz. carrots, 56 oz. cabbage , 10 oz. onions, a small handful of strawberries, didn't weigh them.
6/15 42 oz. beets (trimmed weight), 20 oz. carrots (trimmed weight), 6 oz. lettuce
6/16 5 oz. sugar snap peas, 3 oz. parsley, 5 oz. broccoli
6/17 14 oz. green beans, 8 oz. sweet onions, 2 oz. strawberries, 2 raspberries (eaten, not weighed), 1 oz. chives
6/18 6 oz. green beans, 5 oz. carrots, 18 oz. cabbage, 1 raspberry (eaten)
6/19 19 oz. beets, 12 oz. onions (gave beets & 5 oz. onions to Pat), 3 oz. garlic, 3 oz. carrots, 2 oz. strawberries
6/20 42 oz. green beans (2 lb. 10 oz.), 9 oz. yellow onions
6/21 3 oz. berries (mostly strawberries, 3 raspberries), 5 oz. Chiogga beets
6/22 16 oz. of baby red potatoes, 16 oz. of carrots, 6 ounces of purple beans, 8 ounces of green beans, 29 oz. beets, 4 oz. basil, 19 oz. garlic (including stems)
6/23 25 oz. carrots (trimmed), 12 oz, green beans, 7 oz. sweet onions, 8 oz. yellow onions, 4 oz. berries (mostly raspberries), 8 oz. shallots
6/24 48 oz. beets (trimmed weight, the last of the spring beets), 3 oz. peas, 1 oz. raspberries, 6 oz. onions (trimmed), green beans for neighbor's dinner (did not weigh)
6/25 5 oz. strawberries, 1 oz. raspberries, 30 oz. green beans (23 oz. Burpee's Green Pod), 32 oz. cabbage, 8 oz. onions (trimmed weight), 12 oz. carrots (trimmed weight), 10 oz. shallots
6/26 One yellow crookneck squash, peas (forgot to weigh)
6/27 24 oz. green beans, 5 oz. mixed raspberries & strawberries, 28 ounces red potatoes, 11 oz. carrots, 9 oz. onions, 6 oz. shallots, 1 oz. herbs, 2 oz. green pepper
6/28 3 oz. broccoli, 2 oz. berries, 4 oz. peas
6/30 6 oz. berries (mostly strawberries), 24 oz. "Contender" green beans, 56 oz. Burpee's Stringless Green Pod green beans, 16 oz. Royal Burgundy beans,

Total for June: 1071 oz. = 66 pounds 15 ounces
Total for 2009: 82 pounds 7 ounces

I'd have to say the big winners for June were the beets, green beans, onions and potatoes, with lettuce, carrots and cabbage running a close second.

June 30, 2009: Garden Blogger's Death Day

It's the last day of the month, the day Kate and Crew from Gardening Without Skills have proclaimed Garden Blogger's Death Day.

Not wanting Kate and crew to feel badly, but not actually having anything die on its own this month, I ran out to my garden and killed off a few things. Yes I did!

The broccoli might have sent off side shoots, but it, along with the marigolds that were supposed to grow to 18" and were still going strong at three feet tall, had to go. They were shading my tomatoes, and tomatoes are more important to me than broccoli or marigolds.

Slugs were the death of an entire row of brassicas. They didn't die on their own, but they were ugly (and infringing on my pretty calendulas), so I pulled them out by their roots.

Even a garden gnome can't keep my begonia alive. Technically, it's not dead...but it's getting there quickly.

My $3.95 Blue Wave petunia should be tumbling out of the tipsy pot. Instead, its blossoms are the nightly dinner for bugs. Next year I'll buy a cheaper plant for feeding insects.

Kate and Crew, I hope this makes you feel better about your mishaps. We all have our garden trials and tribulations. Some just have them more often.

June 28, 2009: Hot, Hot, Hot

We're expecting 90-100F weather for the next fifteen days. I picked a few peas today, but I think I might just as well pull the vines and plant something else. The peas have been a disappointment. First the sparrows decapitated the blossoms and robbed me of my first picking, then the wind blew them off the fencing and made them practically impossible to pick. They definitely were not worth the real estate they took up.

Speaking of sparrows, one precocious youngster peeked out of the birdhouse today. In fact, he came out of the hole so far, I thought he was going to try to fly. He has feathers, so his first flight probably isn't too far off. Mom and Dad sparrow were really upset with me when I went out to pick beans last night. Their normally cheerful chirping turned into a real sound of fear and warning until I left the garden and they could comfortably return to the nest. I took my camera to the garden this morning, and managed to get a photo of a baby bird.

Baby sparrow peeks out of the birdhouse.

The east garden bed #1 has been cleared out, enriched with about two inches of home made compost, and replanted. I put in four squares of Imperator carrots, repeating my earlier success with gluing them to paper mats. This time I used some cheap napkins....you know, the kind that fall apart and stick to your face when you use them. I know they will disintegrate more quickly than the newspaper I used last time. The other side of the bed got five rows of 14 beet seeds, for a total of 70 beets. I'm hoping these get a bit larger than my spring planted beets, and maybe be enough for another eight pints of pickled beets. There is just enough room left for a row or two of green onions...the ones I buy from the grocery store and plant for later use.

My bush pole beans are reaching for the sky. I strung lines across the top of the kennel for them to cling to, but they have a mind of their own...they'll go straight up.

Sky high beans.

I did some garden cleanup today. I'm trying to give the determinate tomato row a bit more sunshine, so maybe I can get some ripe tomatoes. That meant cutting back some of the big cauliflower leaves and pulling up a giant marigold (they are double the height they were supposed to get). Otto helped ;-)

Otto helps in the garden.

Sunday's Garden Dinner

Dutch Oven Pot Roast of Pork (onions)
Baby Red Potatoes (potatoes)
Buttered Carrots & Broccoli (carrots & broccoli)
Cinnamon Applesauce

A Bouquet of Calendula, Marigolds & Nasturtiums


June 27, 2009: A Yard of Produce

*Click to enlarge photos*

A yard of food....actually more, as I forgot to photograph the berries. There are two varieties of carrots, the longer ones are Imperator and the short ones are either Chantenay or Scarlet Nantes. That's my first green pepper of the year! Actually, it could be a gold or red bell, but whatever it is, I needed one for tonight's salad. There will be more green beans this evening, it got too hot in the garden before I finished picking them. Shallots, shallots and more shallots! I'm using these fresh, drying some I pulled earlier this week, and there are still a lot of them in the garden! Golf ball sized onions are used fresh. This bouquet of herbs consists of parsley, basil and rosemary. Those four smallest potatoes are already gone...nothing better than a home grown raw new potato with a sprinkle of salt! I noticed a bit of scab on one potato. The bed is rich in composted manure, so some scab is not unexpected.

As they come from the garden. With the pound of potatoes I snitched from a single plant five days ago, and the 2 pounds 12 ounces I dug from the same plant this week, that's a respectable 3-3/4 pound harvest from one potato plant!

Everything is washed and trimmed before weighing. Today's harvest had to be weighed in two batches, as my scale only goes to five pounds.

Six pounds four ounces for this morning's harvest.

Saturday's Garden Dinner

Crockpot Meat Loaf with Sauce (onions, parsley)
Pan Roasted New Potatoes with Fresh Rosemary (potatoes, rosemary)
Steamed Green Beans with Sauteed Shallots (green beans, shallots)
Buttered Carrots (carrots)
Cole Slaw (cabbage, onion, green pepper)
Iced Raspberry Green Tea

Evening Treat: Strawberry Smoothie (strawberries)


The pan roasted potatoes, green beans with shallots, cole slaw and carrots were awesome. The meatloaf not so much....it fell apart when I tried to remove it from the crockpot, and it tasted just exactly like the cabbage casserole I had on the 24th, sans cabbage! Oh well, at least I didn't heat up the house by cooking it in the oven.

June 26, 2009: A Fungus Among Us

My zucchini squash looks as though it has a fungus infection, so I mixed up a batch of cornmeal tea and sprayed it today. My neighbor's looks just the same, only much worse. Nothing else in the squash patch is showing any disease......it makes me wonder if seed can be infected. Anybody know? Both mine and the neighbor's came from the same seed packet. The neighbor bought some kind of spray for hers, but I'd rather try an organic method before I resort to chemical sprays. Speaking of squash, I picked my first yellow crookneck today! It will be so good with tonight's "garden dinner".

The yellow crookneck squash has grown up over the top of the ladder. The Waltham Butternut squash (foreground) is spreading rapidly and has female blossoms, but no males detected. The zucchini (right) was sprayed with cornmeal tea this morning to hopefully control fungus (click on photo to enlarge)

My melons and lemon cucumbers were looking a bit puny, so I gave them a good dose of liquid fertilizer. The other (bush) cucumbers are growing like mad now, have quite a few small cucumbers on them, but I can't yet tell if they pollinated. I wonder why they call them "bush". They grow quite large...one of mine is almost to the top of the 6-foot fence, the others are being trained on the wire fence, and had to be tied up again today.

I've counted five pumpkins so far. One is already six inches long, and the vines are really overtaking the north garden.

The "big" pumpkin.

Two more pumpkins.

Pathway through the north garden is blocked by squash and pumpkin vines.

I haven't been pruning the indeterminate tomatoes, and they are getting out of hand. I do have heavy garden twine in there somewhere. In fact, I have it about every 10 inches up the poles! You couldn't tell by the way the tomatoes are growing in every which direction. I really think I'll spring for concrete reinforcement wire cages next year, if I decide to grow the indeterminates again.

Overgrown indeterminates.

Some of the determinate tomatoes in the self watering containers are almost as large.

I wish I could remember what types of potting mix I bought. The two on the left are larger, greener and more lush than the two on the right. I THINK the ones on the left got potting mix from ACE Hardware, and the other two (and all my bucketed tomatoes) got some from Wal-Mart. If so, the Wal-Mart mix was really weedy, the other wasn't.

Another row of eight determinate tomatoes in the east garden.

Lots of tomatoes, none of them ripe.

The two bucket tomatoes that get shade in the afternoon are doing much better than the three that get full sun.

Full sun bucket tomato.

The Yukon Gold potatoes just won't stop growing! They are above the 4' stakes now.

The store bought potatoes that sprouted were planted in an old laundry basket. They are just beginning to peek through their covering of soil and straw.

My cauliflower is heading up. Time to blanch it for a nice, white head.

Here it is, covered with its leaves and tied shut to keep the sun out.

I hope this head of broccoli doesn't bolt on me. I'd like to pick it fresh for Sunday's dinner.

This 4'x4' bed is all ready for planting a second crop. It previously held beets and carrots (and radishes that did nothing), and I guess that's what will go back in there. I can't rotate my crops mid-year, there isn't enough room. And it's beets and carrots we'll be wanting in the fall.

The borage is blooming now. I wish the flowers would hold their pretty heads up.

Nasturtiums in the barrels are tumbling all over.

The beans I picked yesterday have been individually frozen on a couple of large baking sheets lined with towels. The towels absorb the excess moisture, and make it easy to transfer the beans to freezer bags. These nearly filled a gallon bag, and I'll be able to add to it the next time I pick beans. When they are frozen individually like this, it's easy to take out just what I need for a meal and toss the rest back into the freezer. When I was blanching these, I found the purple beans were a perfect timer......as soon as they turned green in the boiling water, it was time to drain and chill them.

Not much of a harvest today. The first crookneck squash of the season, and the peas, will be used in tonight's dinner.

Friday's Garden Dinner

Chicken & Noodles (onions, carrots, peas & parsley)
Yellow Crookneck Squash & Corn (squash)
Fruit Salad of Bananas, Cantaloupe & Raspberries (raspberries)
Cornmeal Muffins & Honey Butter

Later in the evening, we'll snack on.....

Fresh Strawberries on Vanilla Ice Cream (strawberries)

June 25, 2009: The Bountiful Table

I'm not cooking a "garden dinner" tonight. It certainly isn't because of a lack of fresh vegetables, it's more of an "easy on the cook" night. Sometimes Granny needs a break from the kitchen, so tonight it's hamburgers, baked beans from a can, potato salad (home made last night) and banana cream pie (homemade last night). The only garden ingredients are onions.

Today's garden produce; carrots, green & purple bush beans, cabbage, onions, shallots, strawberries & raspberries. All together I picked 6 pounds 2 ounces (weighed after being cleaned and trimmed of leaves/stalks).

Our children and grandchildren always gather at our house on July 4th. We live near the Columbia River, and have an excellent view of the fireworks from our front yard, so we'll have our usual get together for a dinner at dusk, followed by an evening of celebration. It will be very informal, with paper plates and napkins, plastic cups and silverware. We sometimes have a serve yourself taco bar and sometimes we have takeout fried chicken. This is the year for fried chicken. There will be a big pot of local sweet corn, chilled watermelon, and Mr. H's and the kids' favorite potato salad.......I prefer mine with sweet pickles ;-).

Baked Potato Salad for a Crowd
Serves 12

6 medium potatoes (2 pounds)
1-1/2 cups light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 medium stalks celery (1 cup), chopped
1 medium onion (1/2 cup), chopped
4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

1. Bake potatoes the day before preparing the salad, Chill overnight.

2. Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes.

2. Place the eggs in the medium saucepan. Cover with at least 1 inch of cold water, and heat to boiling over high heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Let stand covered 18 minutes. Immediately pour off the hot water from the eggs, then run cool water over them several seconds to prevent further cooking; drain.

3. Peel and chop the eggs. Chop the celery. Peel the onion, and chop enough of the onion to measure 1/4 cup. Wrap any remaining onion, and refrigerate for another use.

4. Mix the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Gently stir in the potatoes, celery and onion. Stir in the chopped eggs.

5. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours to blend flavors and to chill. Cover and refrigerate any remaining salad.

June 24, 2009: Pickling and Replanting

This is post #2 for today, so please scroll down for the earlier one.

Mr. H said "It didn't do a damned bit of good to dig out those bushes behind the shed. They're coming up again already". I went out with him to see the "bushes", and told him he'd better leave them be....if he chops off those two tomato plants, he's in big trouble. See why I don't allow him in the garden?

I pulled out all the beets. Some were still quite small, but I wanted to clear out those rows and get in another planting of both beets and carrots by July 1. See how much lighter in color the Chiogga beets are (on the right)? And one of the Chioggas was pure white! These all came from one garden bed, and I pulled more from another spot. I'll enrich both areas with compost before I plant the next crops.

I pickled three more pints of the beets. They are getting eaten so quickly, I would like to get another crop seeded for more pickles before winter. The Chioggas darkened a bit in the pickling liquid, and I think they'll take on more color as they sit.

It's hot (95.2F) today, so I'm "baking" potatoes in the crockpot for tomorrow's potato salad. I was going to try to steal some more baby reds from the garden, but decided instead to use the store bought ones I had on hand. They are this year's crop, so pretty good potatoes. I tossed in a head of garlic that had been drizzled with olive oil and wrapped in foil, and I'll add it to tonight's mashed potatoes. I love my crockpots on hot days, so I don't have to heat up the kitchen by using the oven.

Wednesday's Garden Dinner

Salmon Patties (onions)
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes (garlic)
Buttered Peas (garden peas mixed with frozen)
Pickled Beets (beets & onions)
Iced Raspberry Green Tea

Oh, my....the roasted garlic mashed potatoes were delicious, as were the garden peas, even though they were mixed in with frozen.

I got the compost spread on the 12 empty squares in east bed #1. It's hot out there, I'm tired, I'll wait until tomorrow to replant.

June 24, 2009: Child Labor!

Yesterday my 11-year-old grandson, Kevin, came over to help me remove some sod for the new sitting area next to the garden shed. He did a really nice job, so all I have to do is smooth it out, put down landscape cloth, edge it with some cherry wood landscaping timbers and add bark mulch.

Kevin loves the garden and the food I grow in it. We picked a few raspberries, enough for all to taste one or two, and a few strawberries that went straight into his mouth. He has always been my "strawberry boy", since he was just a toddler. Then we grabbed a bowl, and Kevin got a lesson in picking beans. I hope he becomes real good at that, because it's one job I just don't like! After we had picked the beans, we pulled a good big bunch of carrots and the last of the sweet onions, then I got out the spading fork and we harvested a few shallots. My, how they have grown since I last dug one out!

From there we headed to the pumpkin and squash patches, where Kevin got a lesson on how to identify the male and female blossoms. He had just learned about hand pollinating in school, but they didn't teach him which was which. We found another female pumpkin, so I picked off a male blossom, and we hope we pollinated the female! He checked out the squash, identified the blossoms, and decided they could take care of themselves.

We washed off our garden produce with the hose, then Kevin helped me arrange it all for photos.

When we'd finished, we took the vegetables inside and washed, trimmed and weighed everything. I wanted to show Kevin how the "magic" purple beans turn green when cooked, so we boiled a few and did a taste test while we were at it. Kevin liked his beans cooked for exactly five minutes, while I found them to be a bit underdone for my liking.

Soon it was time to take him home. He left with a big bag of green and purple beans, a pound of baby carrots, half a pound of shallots, nearly a half pound of sweet onions, 2 heads of garlic, a pint of pickled beets and all the leftover pizza from Father's Day. A big THANK YOU to Kevin for helping Grandma today!

Back in the kitchen, I had a small head of cabbage that needed to be used before I cut the next one. I decided to make Hamburger Cabbage Casserole, a recipe I had made and liked before.

Hamburger Cabbage Casserole

1 pound lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1/2 cup uncooked instant rice (I use brown)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed tomato soup
1/4 cup water
4 cups coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage

Heat oven to 400ยบ. Cook beef and onion in 10-inch skillet over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain. Stir in rice, salt, pepper, soup and water.

Place coleslaw mix in ungreased 2-quart casserole.

Spoon beef mixture over coleslaw mix.

Cover and bake about 45 minutes or until hot and bubbly. * I cooked mine for 30 minutes, as we like the cabbage a little crunchy.

Per Serving: 230 Calories; 11g Fat (42.4% calories from fat); 16g Protein; 18g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 47mg Cholesterol; 510mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1 Fat.

Source: Betty Crocker's Best of Healthy and Hearty Cooking

Tuesday's garden dinner:
Hamburger Cabbage Casserole (cabbage & onions from garden)
Green beans & carrots (garden)
Toasted french bread
Iced tea

!!!Isn't This Handy!!!

This was a little gift from General Mills. It's a refrigerator magnet that is actually large enough to write something on! Besides cooking tips, it has room for my daily menus and a grocery list. It has 52 pages, an entire year's worth! I think I might like to take this idea and make a veggie garden refrigerator magnet. It would be so easy to jot down my garden chores each day, with a to-do list.