tomato and cucumber salad
This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. But Skippy always stood by me and was a great friend. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps and garden with me. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees and berry bushes, chickens and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.
My tomatoes are gradually ripening. Its cool outside, so I pick them when they first turn pinkish. I think they ripen quicker if I bring them in the house where its a bit warmer. Tomatoes need dark to ripen and I've read its best to put them in a paper bag in the cupboard to ripen. But who wants to hide their tomatoes? I'm one of those who likes to see them lined up on the window sill.
I've never had my tomatoes vines grow this tall. I suppose they are 7-8 feet and still growing. We have another month of growing season. It must have been that extra fertilizer. The vines have lots of fruits. Big clusters of fat happy tomatoes. I think I'll pick up some mozzarella cheese. Nothing like fresh tomatoes with cheese, basil leaves and garlic. A little bread, a little wine ... yummm. The September supper.
I've been away for a week and the garden has been growing without me. We must have had good growing weather while I was gone. I've never had my tomatoes grow sooo tall! The squash plants are growing onto the carrots. The marigolds are blooming away. The pole beans grew a foot. The carrots are quite big (what am I going to do with all those carrots anyway?). And the basil is quickly producing a second crop. I had scattered lettuce seeds in many areas and the seedlings are growing.
We are leaving for a week in the Maine woods. I picked all the vegetables I could find in the garden, especially the ripe and partly ripe tomatoes. Lots of cukes, a few beans and lots of lettuce. I packed all this up and we brought it with us to the cabin.
The squash flowers always look so bright and fresh. Since there seem to be fewer bees around now, I brought a Q-tip out and pollinated this female blossom myself. Just to make sure.
topic: yellow squash
Labels: summer squash
I planted these beans after I pulled out my peas plants. One package of pole beans seeds and one of bush beans. The package said it plants about 20 feet of row - I squished them into about 5 or 6 feet. They have come up well. Usually we frost mid-October, so I'm hoping they grow fast. They need 50-60 days til harvest. Its disappointing that the summer is winding down....
Labels: green beans
My mom helped me thin my carrots today. The row is sooo thick its taken over half of a raised bed. (It was only one packet of seeds!) I've been pulling a few now and then, but it needed more work than that. I was glad I could recruit some help. The good news is that the carrot roots are getting nice and big now. Edible size. Yum!
Labels: summer squash
I think my fertilizing may have helped to encourage female squash flowers. There are MANY of them budded now (though I haven't seem any blooms yet). At least half of all the youngest flower buds are female (have fruits). The plants still look pretty good - no sign of squash stem borers yet. Its probably a good time to spray the stems and fertilize again (the last time I did was July 27).
Labels: summer squash
We’ve made pesto from our garden basil for maybe 20 years now. Always a slightly different mix of nuts, cheese, garlic, oil and basil. Sometimes we use the classic: pine nuts, sometimes walnuts. Sometimes only parmesan cheese, sometimes cheese mixtures.
For this batch the recipe was:
2 cups of pecans
2 cups of walnuts
2 heads of garlic
10 oz grated cheese blend: grana padano, asiago, pecorino, Romano, provolone
5 oz grated parmesan
1 liter extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste: maybe 2-3 Tbs
1 pile of basil
This recipe made 3 quarts of pesto. It’s a thick paste that we freeze in baggies or ice cube trays and slice off chucks as we need it. To serve, we dilute with warm water (pasta water) and olive oil. It keeps fine in the freezer until next year’s basil comes in.
Skippy's vegetable recipes
The tomato plants are 6 feet tall already this year! Lots of green tomatoes on the vines, just not alot ripening yet. A few ripe ones here and there. I've picked about 3 or 4 so far, plus a number of cherries. I have mostly Early Girl and Supersonic, plus a couple red and yellow Brandywine.
Skippy has decided he will sit still for photos again. For a while, he was annoyed with me pointing that little silver thing that beeps. He would lie down, turn away or even snap at the camera. So I have been giving him treats for being a good sport about it. I guess it probably does seem pretty silly to a dog.
more pictures of skip
There are a couple of places where it looks like there is empty dirt. But not really. Lots of baby pole beans have sprouted under the tee-pee at the right, in front of them is a row of bush bean sprouts. Around the basil and under the big lettuce are lots of baby lettuce and endive seedlings. I'm hoping for a long growing season this year.
I always plant marigolds in the corners of my raised vegetable beds. They usually grow keep blooming into November. The roots of marigolds contain a substance that is toxic to certain types of soil pests (nematodes). Marigolds are considered good companion plants for lots of vegetables, including beans, basil, cabbage and cucumbers. But I mostly like the way they add color to the garden.
I'm going to have to keep an eye on the cucumbers. There are so many cukes on the vine! I picked the last of the peas and pulled up the plants today. I'll plant beans in their place and see if they ripen before the season ends. And I started thinning the carrots. This is a job that I will gradually keep after. I like to eat the tiny ones.
Labels: summer squash
I planted my sunflower seeds too late this year and they didn't sprout. So couple weeks ago I bought some sunflower plants to make a nice row. They are short, about 3 feet tall, but blooming nicely and lots of buds coming. The bees love them. They get sooo coated with pollen its a wonder they can fly.
"A well planned garden
bathed in rain and sun.
A faithful laborer...
and the harvest shall come."
...Nancy Simms Taylor