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.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

tomato and cucumber salad

My basic tomato, cucumber and lettuce salad. I usually cut up garlic on top and sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ripening tomatoes


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.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Taller and taller

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.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Vegetable garden

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.
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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Vacation packing

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.

Lactuca sativa

Cucumis sativus

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More yellow squashes



























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

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Bean Sprouts









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....

Fabaceae

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Little garden worker



my garden gnome















A garden gnome is working under my basil plants. Looks like his barrow is full of water.

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Solanum lycopersicum












Such a pretty fruit. Soon I'm going to have buckets full of tomatoes, I just know it! (I'm hoping so anyway.) But not quite yet. I'm getting about one ripe one every other day. Still only the Early Girls.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Carrots




















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!

Daucus carota

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Yellow crookneck squash flower

This is a big male flower that just glowed in the morning light.

topic: yellow squash

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Baby squashes



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).

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Pesto

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.

Ocimum basilicum

Skippy's vegetable recipes

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Looking out the window





I can see my tomato, basil and cucumber plants through the dining room window. A cane from a climbing rose brushes against the screen.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tall tomato vines









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.

Solanum lycopersicum

Buttercrunch bibb lettuce

The lettuce is keeping our salad bowl full this summer.

Lactuca sativa

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Early morning marigold



















Droplets from the sprinklers.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Skippy in the garden

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

August garden

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.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Eggplants



























Or aubergines (Solanum melongena).

topic: eggplant

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

More cukes















Cucumis sativus: Definitely an abundant crop this year.


Cucumis sativus

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Marigolds








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.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

morning harvest


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.

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Summer squash









Finally, I have lots of little squashes on the way. This variety is Yellow Crookneck. Described as a warted, heavy producer.

topic: yellow squash
Cucurbita pepo (summer squash)

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sunflowers and bees















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.

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Cornfield







This is a field of corn in Framingham, MA. Its growing like crazy. Three weeks ago it was knee-high, now its taller than me! I know a place in NH with a great corn maze. You can get lost in a field of tall green corn. No tassels yet.

















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