Three Heads are Better than One

Today I roasted three heads of garlic and then did things with them.  When I put the garlic in the oven, I also put in whole wheat pita cut into eights, and tossed with olive oil, and salt and pepper. The pita cooked for about ten minutes, the garlic for...45 or thereabouts, at 400ยบ.


I chopped onion, basil, and parsley from the garden for bruschetta. But I had to use canned tomatoes. The trade-off is that it will last a few days in the refrigerator, whereas fresh tomato bruschetta wouldn't really be good after tomorrow. DSC_3883


After the garlic roasted awhile, I squooshed some into the bowl with the tomatoes, and added lemon juice, olive oil, and s&p. And also drained a can of cannellini beans. DSC_3887


I mixed the white beans with the remaining garlic from that head, and added a lot of lemon juice and olive oil, and s&p. There is a pattern here, and it pays off. :-)

The remaining cloves of garlic were deskinned and added to a jar with olive oil. They'll stay good for several weeks in the refrigerator, and then there will be nice garlicky olive oil to use after they're gone.

So then I wanted to share this in a really twee fashion, like you would pin to the page of party foods you'll never get around to making. But my photo isn't very good because of how I didn't do it right. DSC_3890

Anyway, as good as the bean dip and bruschetta are separately, when eaten together, they are fantastic. DSC_3891

You can find recipes here and there, but mostly, it's just something you do as you like. When I make white bean dip I like it really basic but really strong. I probably use twice as much lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic as anyone calls for. And sometimes people add a lot of thing to fancy it up. Personally, I do not care for that. I just take things I like that I tend to always have around, and mix them together for my own taste. That's why I'm sharing these pictures; you should do this, too. Have some pantry play.

Tomorrow I'm cutting up a couple of late eggplants.

First of October

After a rather cold summer, September was hot and dry. There are nine more German Queen tomatoes starting to ripen as a result, and many more hot peppers. However, with the weather change at the end of the week, I will probably take all the tomatoes at once, regardless of color. That one cold night, if it comes, could turn them to mush. October

I took some pictures today; with limited success. The camera app which was a lifesaver on the bonkers version of my phone is actually giving me trouble on the replacement. I have to decide what to do about it, read about why it focuses like a nutball. (It might be that I have to turn off the stable shot function.) The orange mint photo, for example, was meant to be a foxglove photo.

Settinggarden Chard Poblanos Jalapenos Jalapenoblossoms Zinnias  Purplepeppers
Autumndaisies Orangemint Snapbeans

Weekly Photo Update

July never felt like July here. It's disappointing because we spend a certain amount of time and money to keep our rented pool in top shape, but haven't been able to use it. And the season wanes. 

But the garden enjoys these cooler temperatures. Not my best year, far from the worst. Which was last year, by the way. I've had tremendous snap bean yield, and quite a few cucumbers. The onions did very well, the leeks look great, the chard is still charding along. Peppers are slow, but much better than last year, when it was too hot too early for them to set fruit. It would have been a banner year for tomatoes if not for the septoria leaf spot on half of them, but I have had plenty to use however I like.

I won't have many tomatoes for salsa once the peppers are fully ripe, because those six plants can't continue to produce, but there'll be some. There was an absurd amount of eggplant to use. And the butterfly and bee garden has been a riotous joy to watch.

Four varieties of tomato, onions, cucumbers, zucchini

The German Queen is a magnificent lady.

She is ripening slowly. Okay by me.

My favorite plant this year appeared by accident. This seems to be a Super Sweet 100, and I don't know how it got to growing there, spreading out all over, except that Nature keeps taking the victory, and I am glad.

The last of the snap bean variety pack.

Conditioned for fall lettuce; snap peas thrown in behind, among the zinnias and cosmos.

Turn, turn, turn: weekly photo update

I cut up the eggplant plants today. Yesterday I realized that many of them were overripe, although only a couple were full-sized. So I picked those, might do something with them, might not. They will be bitter if not done right. Sadeggplants

And today I picked all the rest and cut the plants apart. Now the jalapeno and serrano peppers will spread a bit more, and continue on their merry ripening way. Happyeggplants

A couple weeks ago, I counted 16 tomatoes on the forlorn Lemon Boy plant. It was hit first and hardest by the septoria. Before today I'd picked 4, and today I picked 5, so there are 7 left to ripen on its Charlie Brown Tree remains. As soon as they are sugared-up enough, I'll pick the rest, and pull up the plant. Next to it, the septoria has done far less damage; different varieties are more or less prone to it. But all six planted in that area will have a short harvest life. Lemontree

Did you think about how I appear inconsistent in using words or numerals for numbers? Actually, I am not, even though I don't always follow protocol. I do them a bit like books and chapters, albums and songs.

The Royal Burgundy snap beans are the most prolific I have ever grown. This week I'm planting more wax beans, and some Kentucky Wonders, but Royal Burgundy will definitely be back in the spring. Bowl

Indigo Rose tomato plant has done very well, and so has the wild currant tomato. But I am less likely to plant them again next year. I might do the wild currant in a new spot, just for interest. I've picked about a quart of those little guys, but they are more novel than useful for lunch. Indigo

The Cherokee Purple has a few fruits that are just starting to turn. Cherokee
It was kind of an afterthought, and I'll probably skip it next year, as well as the Black Krim. Both are always low-producing for me, and I'll have to focus on heartier, hardy varieties. The Cherokee is hardy but not hearty. If that makes sense. The Krim tends to be neither, although those guys taste amazing. I'll find Rutgers again, and Early Girl, and definitely stick with a Brandywine or two. I haven't decided about the German Queen. It's a gorgeous plant, but also not a high producer, and if I plant fewer plants, I want more fruit from them. The Queens have a little less flavor than the Johnsons, too, although they are still pretty nice, and rather more reliable.

And Mister Stripey, well, I love that guy. He's always hit or miss, but always welcome by me. Hopefully I'll have pictures of what he ripens to next week.

Weekly Photo Update: Gea (Tellus) Big with Seed

Literary references come to mind when playing with the garden. Sometimes, with squash, "it's train up a child according to his way," which is, in a classical sense, referring to "how it's expected to turn out and so how we do, with squash."

Anyway. Today, I was thinking "Molly Bloom, big with seed," which is actually a phrase in The Chosen by Chaim Potok, in which characters are referencing Ulysses. It is ironic only if we think deeper than I'm willing to go at this moment. It's the Gea aspect we're into.










Weekly Garden Update: moving right along

I picked up a German Queen tomato plant the other day, stuck it in the garden on the side of the house. The only German Johnsons I found this year were in six-packs, which is not a thing for me. I think the Queens are smaller, but anyway. Bonnie has a good accounting of most of the tomatoes I'm growing this year.

Only I might have mentioned I mixed up the tags and can't tell which are which for some of them. It won't matter much, but the smallest seedling from a store was apparently rather stressed and is producing itself quite a tomato on its tiny branches. And I don't think it's the Early Girl. Also, hope not. Younggun

I have no idea yet what any of the volunteers are, and I've left them all in there, just for fun. I'm hoping this one is a Brandywine, but it might be Jetstar. Those seem to like seeding themselves an awful lot. At least one Yellow Pear might be nice, but they're all so small, I kind of doubt it; they grow tall rather quickly, in my experience. This one came up next to a marigold, and I'm leaving it right there. It'll be bug-free, at any rate. Those French marigolds smell even worse to outdoor creatures than they do to me. Tomarigold

The Indigo Rose is producing early because I bought it that way. It isn't really the thing to do, but I was very curious about it. They say the skin is a true purple, and has something very healthful in it. Indigorose
They are ready when fully purple and kind of dull all over.

On Saturday, I cut a Red Romaine head, and it's already growing back. So now we can definitely have garden salad every day for awhile, as there are four of those, and the other leafy lettuces are nearly ready, as well. Cutromaine

And the first green beans in the outside space are budding now. There are about 3 dozen plants sown at a two week interval. I was going to add another dozen, but now I think I'll wait until late summer. Greenbeanbuds
You can see the carrots are coming along, and by the time they need more space, the green beans will be there just to fertilize the soil.



Weekly Photo Update

The other day, I noticed one of the three volunteer tomato plants was much too close to a larger one. By the way, I know people call them volunteers when they spring up unbidden, but when you think about how you cultivate and turn over the soil in early spring, and then there they are anyway, volunteer seems inadequate. I call them surprise plants because you really never know where they might pop up.

Anyway, I moved this little lady, but left the other two where they began. Stillcorrect



The eggplants are producing beautiful blossoms. If I can keep them from being eaten, I'll finally have a "real" harvest of them. Last week I had to blast off aphids, and I stuck a nicotiana plant nearby. Then I found a caterpillar, which I removed, but something still wants to eat bits of leaf. However, they seem well for now, anyway, and the hot pepper plants I put in with them look great. 20140519_162319
And look, matching chives! It looks nice in that area, though I have a lot of very bad-smelling ivy to keep battling. 20140519_162414

We did end up having a storm late last night, but nowhere near as badly as was expected. There appeared to be some hail, but not much. And everything looks swell. The plants in the garden are still growing slowly but steadily, yet I'm sure they're about to take off. 20140522_075221



The End of the Tomatoes

Tomorrow night will drop below 40 after a day of clouds and rain. By Monday night there looks to be actual frost, so why delay any longer? It's time.

Last year at this time I had two large bowls of green and ripening tomatoes. This year, I could hardly have filled one of those bowls all season. So it isn't a bad ending, considering the rest.

In this picture from left to right, a Mister Stripey, two small Early Girls, and two Yellow Brandywines that are ready for action.

And in this picture there are more of each of those, plus a couple of Purple Cherokees and a Rutgers. I could force some of them to "ripen," but I think I'll use them all green.

Wrapping up the garden on the last warm day for now...

I rarely used this blog page this summer because it was a very odd and disappointing garden season. I understand this was so for many people. My soil isn't tired, the weather was a little strange, but not terribly so. I don't know. Next year I am planting more varieties of flowers among the vegetables to see if that will help. The flower gardens were actually pretty great this year.

But you see, then in early September, everything took off. If summer began then, I'd have had a normal tomato and pepper crop, and probably more other things, as well. Because of course, there's only so much to be expected from autumn tomatoes and peppers. I've had more in the past month than all summer long, but not like it could have been had they gotten going two months earlier. Of course, the leeks and chard grew like mad this whole time; if you can't get those to grow and produce, you have to choose a new hobby.

The photos here are from one of the garden patches and a few things on the deck.

The two pumpkin vines grew and grew, produced two fruits, and one survived. It dropped off the vine in early September, though, with a diameter about half normal size for its variety. Only a couple summer squashes appeared from three plants; none matured. There were three undersized eggplants. Two Brussels sprouts plants grew tremendously, but only one has sprouts on it and they are probably not going to mature. The winter squash had only a few blossoms and no fruit. And the cucumbers had a short early season, not as prolific as last year, but not bad.

Of all the varieties of peppers, I got two-three each until recently. Four of them began producing last month, and I've had several bell peppers and Marconis to enjoy, but I've been picking them under-sized. I don't even remember the pepper variety that is in the bowl with the bells; they aren't full-sized, but also, it's the first I have seen of them all year, and I'd never planted whatever they are before.

Three strange and sudden occurrences; the tabasco pepper plant began producing about a month ago. Now, that just doesn't like to be too hot, but we really didn't have a huge heat wave this year. There is a second wave of blossoms on it, but later this week they will probably drop off when the nights turn cold. I'll have to pick the peppers undersized and unripened, and drop them in a jar of vinegar.

As well, two tiny mysterious tomato plants appeared among the leeks. It's a mystery because only one of their varieties were planted in that area the year before; the Jetstar, which produced half a dozen tomatoes in the past month, two of which ripened nicely. But also a yellow Brandywine appeared, and though it is tiny (Brandywine plants trend huge,) it produced three beautiful full-sized tomatoes which ripened on the vine, and there are two more still out there.

The Purple Cherokee, Early Girl, and Mister Stripeys all have a couple tomatoes each on them, after producing almost nothing all summer. (Actually, there were a few purples, but a chipmunk kept taking one bite out of each.) I did have quite a few of two varieties of cherry tomatoes to enjoy, but that was all. Today I picked three Early Girls and a Mister Stripey that looked mature enough to ripen on a window sill, and I'll pick the rest as soon as there is a frost advisory.

Also today as I was clearing away some vines, I found that a small Thai basil plant had grown, apparently from seeding itself last year. That's pretty crazy, man. Growing basil from seed on purpose is hard to do. I think I will pot it and see if I can keep it alive. I potted my Greek Columnar basil already, and I'm pretty sure that will be okay through the winter. It's kind of an amazing variety.

Marigolds seeded themselves everywhere. That'll probably be fun next Spring.