Sunday, July 31, 2016

Walking Around. 7.31.16

Bean Raised Bed and Trellis.  7.31.16

First New Bean Pod.  7.31.16
 Random notes.

Beans are looking good.  It looks like there will be a bumper crop of these Chinese pod beans, that were recovered from old seed packets.

Encouraged by presence of several okra flowers, and the okra plants do look vigorous and sturdy. 

Morning Glories blooming.  Seeds from plants that I grew last year from seeds.

The Lattarula that I started from cutting in 2014, planted at Battleground in 2015, now bearing it's first figs.  Nice crop from this tried and true variety.

Maxie pears looking OK.  Similar size to most other Asian pears, including Shinseiki which is a distant cousin.

Turnips, Kohlrabis, Broccoli, Radishes, Chinese Radishes, Carrots, Lettuce, Cilantro seeds have all germinated and growing.  They continued to need water once or twice daily.
Okra Flower.  7.31.16

 Yesterday I finished clearing out the second Fava bean bed, saved the seeds on the remaining plants, and turned the soil.  I soaked the dry soil overnight, hoed and evened the soil, and planted seeds for more turnips,  Chinese cabbage - old seeds, mixed together two packets - Parisian Market carrots, and more radishes.
Volunteer Morning Glories.  7.31.16

Maxie Hybriud Pears.  7.31.16

First Figs from this cutting-grown Lattarula Fig Tree.  7.31.16

Turnip, Kohlrabi, and Radish Seedlings.  7.31.16

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Mt. St Helens. 7.20.16

At Mt. St. Helens.  7.20.16

Panarama view at Mt. St. Helens lookout station.  7.20.16

We drove up to Mt. St Helens last week.  The volcano can be seen from many places in area, but terrain or trees obscure the view from my house.  Beautiful place to visit.  According to Wikipedia, Native American names for the mountain include Lawetlat'la to the indigenous Cowlitz people, and Loowit to the Klickitat. The volcano formed within the past 40,000 years, and the pre-1980 summit cone began rising about 2,200 years ago, growing when Romans were building their empire. Interesting, considering I think of mountains as millions of years old. So much, in such a relatively short time.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sweet Corn, Fruit Harvest, and Prior Okra Experience. 7.27.16

Hollywood and Green Gage Plums, and Figs.  7.27.16
 Mos of todays meals were from the kitchen garden.  Pretty awesome to me.  Lots of fruit.  The first batch of Trinity se+ sweet corn is fully ripe.   Compared to store corn, more tender, sweeter, but smaller ears.  First harvest was almost to the day, the same as last year.  The difference is last year I started in containers, then planted out in the kitchen garden.  This year I seeded directly into the ground.    The seeds were planted about 4.15.16 which gives a bit more than 100 days from seed to harvest.  That compares to 70 days on the seed label, but who's counting?

The difference is that climate here is cooler and nights are cooler, compared to sweet corn country. 

Most of the corn plants have 2 ears this year, which is nice.
Lunch.  Summer Squash for Salad, Sweet Corn, and Lattarula Figs.  7.27.16
 I looked back on growing okra in 2014.  I grew it in containers.  Production was minimal and, looking at the pictures, the plants were rather scrawny.  I don't know how this year will turn out, but I was excited to see the first flower today, on a one-foot-tall okra plant.  Not sure, but I think this Spring was warmer, but this summer is cooler and wetter, compared to 2015.  Starting to make up for it.  Today was 90F on my car thermometer, which is a good okra-growing temperature.
Containerized Okra. 9.20.14. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Kitchen Garden. Another Way to Eat Zucchini. 7.26.16

Basal in Tree Ring Container.  7.26.16

Okra.  7.27.16
Mid Summer is a nice time in the kitchen garden.  Every day feels like a combination Easter Egg hunt and Christmas. 

Basil in Tree Ring Open Bottom container, ready to pick and make a small batch of pesto. 

I'm very surprised to have actively growing okra.  I had given up.  A true Southern gardener would rightly laugh at these puny okra plants.  The first flower buds are forming, and there are still 2 months of warm weather for potential crop.  I don't know which varieties.  I mixed together several packets and planted all of them.

I used tree branches that I saved to construct fenceposts or other garden infrastructure, along with black plastic trellis with 1-inch openings, to construct a rabbit / deer fence.  One might think okra spines would deter these pests, but they eat blackberry and squash growth tips, despite spines.

We continue to get zucchini, of course, and collard greens.  There are occasional peppers.

Use a mandolin with the thinnest blade, and slice zucchinis into leaf-thin slices.  Add the usual salad fixings and dressing, makes a great salad. 

Today the sweet corn appears ready to harvest.  I'm too tired to prepare it tonight, so leaving in the husks. 

I shifted the largest pumpkin to slide a newspaper under it.  That was to protect it from potential rot underneat, something I read about.  BAD MOVE.  The pumpkin came off the stem.  A ripe one is almost red.  This one is golden yellow.   I will see if I can roast it tomorrow for pumpkin pie fillings and pumpkin puree for pumpkin bread.

This pumpkin was Rouge Vit D'Etamps.  I weighed it - 35 pounds.  What will I do with that much pumpkin?  Annoyed with myself for not letting it ripen on the plant, dammit dammit.  But there are many smaller pumpkins and winter squashes, so there will still be more than we can reasonably use.
Vegetables.  7.27.16
 Some of the radish seeds have germinated at 3 days.   I planted all of the Chinese radish varieties, mentioned earlier.  Meanwhile at one week the first Euro radishes, turnips, kohlrabis, are looking good  one week after sowing seeds.  The carrot seeds have germinated.  I also enclosed this raised bed in netting for deer and rabbits.  I don't know if that will keep out cabbage moths. 

Two days ago, we ate the first Sungold tomato.  Today there were a few more.  I'm impatient for tomato season to start, even though there are so many other things to be happy about.
Okra Cage.  7.26.16

Also noting- We are getting figs every day.  Not enough to overwhelm me, but a really good crop.

Not pictured, I harvested all of the potatoes, other than Burbank Russet, which are almost ready.  Probably 50 pounds total of potatoes.  I harvested about half of the yellow onions.  Maybe 10 pounds.   I pulled out one of the raised bed / cages of favas, and used that bed to plant more Chinese Radishes last weekend.

Sweet Corn.  Trinity is shorter variety.  Bilicious is taller variety.  7.26.16

Trinity Sweet Corn Ready to Harvest.  7.26.16
 Rouge Vif d'Etampes Pumpkin, Harvested Too Early.  7.26.16

Radishes, Turnips, Carrots Seeds Germinating.  7.26.16

The First of the Sungold, by a nose.  7.26.16

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sweet Treat Pluerry, First Fruit. 7.24.16

 This is the one fruit from Sweet Treat Pluerry this year.  It's OK, given this is only the second year of growth. 

I may have harvested a little early.  I did not want birds to steal the only fruit.

The flavor was sweet, with a fruit punch flavor.  Not exactly plum, not exactly cherry.  Nice refreshing flavor.

It's too early to recommend the tree.  The leaves have a leaf-curl-like disease, so it's pretty ugly.  I don't know if that will affect bearing.

Another Zucchini Fritter Recipe. 7.24.16

Zucchini Fritters with Salsa.  7.24.16
Similar to prior recipe but with Mexican feel instead of Italian.

1 1/2 pounds zucchini, shredded.
1/4 onion, chopped.
One egg, stirred.
1/4 cup flour.
1/4 cup shredded cheddar
pepper to taste
salt to drain fluid from zucchini.

I found that hand-shredded zucchini works much better than food processor.  Hand shredding makes thinner shreds, which lose their fluid better.

Shred the zucchini.
Mix in 1 tsp salt.  Let sit 15 to 30 min.  Drain in collander and use spatula to squeeze as dry as reasonably possible.  Mix in the chopped onion.  Mix in the egg, then the cheese, then the flour.
Fry in olive oil.  I dust with black pepper.  Add a spoon of salsa.

The makes a good breakfast.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Kitchen Garden Harvest. 7.21.16

Collard Greens.  7.21.16

Lattarula and Petite negri figs.  7.21.16

Lattarula and Petite negri figs.  7.21.16

From the Kitchen Garden.  7.21.16

Q-1-8 / Salish Peaches.  7.21.16

Illinois Everbearing Mulberries.  7.21.16
Hollywood Plums.  9.21.16

Monday, July 18, 2016

Nitrogen fixing root nodules. 7.18.16

I cleaned out one of the barrel containers for a new crop of greens. This barrel contained fava beans.

I dont think that I inoculated these, although I could be wrong. Fairly sure I did not. So, I'm guessing the beneficial rhizobium were in the container soil already, either from airborne spores, plants in the compost, or prior clover or beans.

Containers are sheltered compared to garden soil, so less likely to have rhizobia without inoculation. I wonder if inoculation is really necessary.

It would not hurt to mix these roots into garden soil for my next crop of beans.
Fava bean roots with nitrogen fixing nodules.  7.18.16

Friday, July 15, 2016

Planting Seeds in Summer for Fall and Winter Kitchen Crops. 7.18.16

Greens and herb seeds for fall kitchen harvest.  7.18.16
 As I clear out the kitchen garden areas from Spring planted crops, there is room for summer seed planting. The greens half-barrel got seeds from old packets of basil, mesclun, turnips, arugula, and nasturtiums, for greens.

Dates on packets:
Mesclun - 2009
Nasturtium - 2016
Turnip - 2015
Arugula - 2016
Basil - 2015

I also harvested garlic.  The garlic production and size of many of the heads, were awesome.  Info to follow.

The history of that raised bed:  Strawberries 2013, 2014. They pretty much died and were almost all weed by Summer  2015.  Then bush beans for the summer 2015, then garlic last fall and winter.  Now will be mostly brassicas for fall.
Vegetable seeds for fall and winter kitchen garden.  7.18.16
I planted the following seeds in short rows across the 4 foot width of the bed.  I alternated big-growing plants with small-growing plants which should be ready sooner.  That uses up the space and I hope I'm not overcrowding the big leaf plants.

Kohlrabi - Purple Vienna - 2015
Kohlrabi - Green Queen - 2012.  I interplanted the purple and green Kohlrabi so if the older green ones don't grow, there are still the purple ones.
Ideal Purple Top Milan Turnip - 2016
Radish Cherry Belle - 2015
Carrot Paris Market 2015
Radish Hailstone 2010
Broccoli Waltham 29 - 2013
Cilantro, I saved the seeds - fall 2015

According to Washington State Extension Service, now is good time to plant bush beans, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, carrots, lettuce, mustard greens, radishes, rutabagas, swiss chard, and turnips.  There are still more that can be planted later, to overwinter.  According to Oregon State Extension Service, I can also start collards and Brussels sprouts.

Baker Creek seeds has a beautiful website, with suggestions for fall planting.  I ordered some of the Chinese radishes, which look like they will be similar size to turnips and I am told have excellent flavor, to be used for cooking instead of just radishes for salads.  I ordered seeds for " Chinese Red Meat Radish", Qingluobo radish, and  "Misato Rose radish.

Starting seeds now, they need watering at least daily and possibly twice daily.  Or cover with cardboard or newspaper, so they don't dry out, until germinated.

Fruit. 7.15.16

Some nice fruit now.  I look forward to these all year. Lots more figs enlarging on the tree - Lattarula.  This is the last of the yellow plums -Shiro.  There will only be a few of the red plums - Hollywood.  More than I expected.  

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Shiro Plums. Lattarula Figs. 7.14.16

Shiro Plums.   7.14.16
 Today's treat was a handful of Shiro plums.  The big blueberry bush is producing too.
Shiro plums and blueberries.  7.14.16
First Lattarula Figs.  6.14.16

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Walking around. 7.13.16

Mulberries "Illinois Everbearing".  7.13.16

Collard Greens "Vates".  7.13.16
 It's been raining more than usual for SW Washington summer.  As a result, there are more weeds and things are looking unkempt.  There is more humidity than usual, so I don't feel up to as much outside time.

Mulberries are looking great.  Great flavor.  I thought deer would eat the tree and birds would strip the berries, but neither has turned out to be the case.  Each day, I can stand under the tree and pull off berries and eat them on the spot.

The collards are growing vigorously.  Since the rain slugs have made their presence known.  I put out some more slug bait today.

The resurrected Chinese beans are growing rapidly.  Last week I put in a trellis system, with strings tied to sticks that are stuck into the soil.  Some of the beans have climbed 3 to 4 feet, others 1 foot.  I may need to add taller trellis, which is already a hybrid of Rube Goldberg and Davy Crockett.

As I clean up the front flower beds, the main flower that I will leave in place will be daylilies.  They are the most rewarding for least effort.

The Johnny Jump-Up (viola) plants, that I grew from seeds this spring, are blooming nicely.  They
Chinese Beans.  7.13.16
 can be expected to self-seed for future years.  This location can use the brightness.
Daylily "Strawberry Candy".  7.13.16

Daylily "Luxury Lace".  7.13.16
 Shasta daisies dominate the wildflower meadows now.

The pumpkins are ranging well beyond their garden beds.  This area of grass can go without mowing until fall.  There should be a good crop of pumpkins and winter squash this year.  Even the spaghetti squash are producing  many squashes - about 2 dozen squashes on 3 vines.

For pollinating cucurbits, I'm following the following rule.   Each is pollinated with its own species, so C. pepo gets C. pepo - that's zucchini, summer yellow squash, and spaghetti squash.  C. maxima gets C. maxima.  That's mostly Pink Spaghetti Squash, French Pumpkins, and Golias Pumpkin.  The only C. moshata is Butternut Squash.  They appear overrun by the bigger maximas, and so far I have not seen any blossoms or developing squashes on those.
Johnny Jump-Up from seed.  7.13.16
Shasta Daisies.  7.13.16

Pumpkin Patch.  7.13.16

Unknown Summer Apple. 7.13.16

Unkown Stripy Neighborhood Apple.  7.13.16

Stripy Apple.  7.13.16
 I ran across this apple tree while walking the dogs in my neighborhood.  It looks like a neglected tree.  Even so, it's covered with apples.  There were lots of apples on the street, most were smashed.  I picked one up from the street, washed it off, cut and tasted.  Sweet/sour with floral notes.

If I think if it this winter, I'll knock on the door and ask for some scion.  Doesn't look like they would mind.
Stripy Apple Tree.  7.13.16