Monday, December 13, 2010

Let it Snow!

I woke up to this yesterday morning! It was nice to see everything white and pretty! It made for a treacherous drive to church though. I'm glad I didn't have to be the one to do any of the driving. Today's weather includes wind chills of -15 to -24 according to These temps and weather make me nervous about the turtles hibernating out in the compost pile. They made it through last year, they should be absolutely fine, but it still makes me nervous. It's amazing how animals can not eat for months and survive incredibly cold temperatures, but they do. My husband always rolls his eyes when he hears me confess my worries about them. Oh well. I hope everyone is enjoying this holiday season!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fun Surprise!

So my husband walks in after checking the mail, and says, "How much do you love me? I have something for you."
And I got excited and said, "Is it a new seed catalog?"
"Even better!" he says.
It took me a second to think about it, but fortunately I was already on the gardening track, and I shouted, "MY SEEDS!"
He goes on to repeat, "Well, how much do you love me?"

He eventually relinquishes a nice little envelope filled with some Cherokee Purple tomato seeds which I am very excited about and have come all of the way from Alabama! Thanks EG for the generous gift of these seeds! I can't wait to try them!

Here is the return gift trying to get ready for me to save... the two biggest Pineapple tomatoes that are currently working on ripening (rather slowly...) on my kitchen table.

Here are a few pictures that I don't think that I ever blogged about of what they looked like in the summer. I'm pretty sure the one that is cut up is not the same as the one in the other two pictures. The other two pictures are in fact the same tomato! They are definitely beautiful!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ripening tomatoes

My tomatoes are working on ripening up! I had to pull a bunch of peppers the other night too, but I didn't take a picture of them, and a lot of them are looking black. I had a LOT of tomatoes to bring upstairs last night. Many of them are only ripening on parts of the tomato which is kind of annoying. I figure I'll just cut off the ripened parts and use them. A lot of my yellow tomatoes were ready yesterday, so those are fun to see again! My garden has officially had a freeze night so the pepper plants out there are the saddest, deadest thing around. Go figure that the high's this week in St. Louis are in the mid to upper-70's. That's just St. Louis weather though.I got my first seed catalog of the year, only to find out they sent me last years catalog. I'll have to request another one in a couple months and hopefully get the 2011 catalog. It won't be long before I'm pulling out the graph paper and dreaming. My grandma gave me her Aerogarden that I helped her set up. She didn't want to deal with it again, but I found out that she let the motor on the pump burn out... so I'll be hoping for a new one of those soon, so that I can grow somethings indoors and feel like I have a little garden.

I'm still kind of dragging with updating this blog, but I'm trying to get better! I'll be needing to do a saving seed post as soon as I get to try that. Some of the Pineapple tomatoes are showing signs of ripening...

I've also been baking a lot of bread recently, thanks to a very appetizing post by Thomas at A Growing Tradition Our Daily Bread I checked out this book at our library, and added it to the amazon wish list! I definitely will be trying a lot of these recipes! The steps are so much simpler than the bread I was baking, and I am very satisfied with the results! I've gone to buying jar yeast now, which I had no idea was so much cheaper. So there will be a post about the bread soon too!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Harvest Monday and Cleaning Out

I finally did it. I cleaned out all of my tomato plants.



I still have a lot of work to do, but at least all of my green tomatoes are wrapped and waiting to ripen inside, without fear of frost. There still isn't any in the forecast, but I didn't want to risk it, and have to do it based on the weather's schedule. I did leave the cherry tomatoes, because they are ripening just fine, and my husband really likes them (so does Heidi!)

I am now LOADED with green tomatoes, and I really hope that they do well inside!

While pulling all of the tomatoes I found several that had just fallen all over each other. This one would have need three of my 4.5-5 ft tall stakes to keep it upright!

Here is one of my amazing pineapple tomatoes, ready and waiting to be saved for seeds for EG once it ripens. These were all incredibly huge, and I got another six or so off of these plants.

I'm not sure you can really call this a HARVEST since I can't really eat any of this right now, but if you want to see what other people are getting from their gardens, head over to Daphne's Dandelions!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Green Tomato Salsa

Today I turned this

Into this.

Plus a few ingredients like onions, garlic, salt, and honey.

I wanted to do something with some of the green tomatoes I've got still out there. I know there are going to be TONS of tomatoes for me to bring in and ripen inside, so I figured I ought to try to do something with some now. I did one batch of a green tomato salsa recipe as a trial, to see if I want to use a bunch of them like this anyway.

The verdict isn't out yet, there was a nice flavor, but it was still hot, and I prefer my salsa cold. So we'll see. My neighbor is trying to convince me to give my tomatoes some more time outside before I pull them. The weather here in St. Louis can be pretty whacky and we can end up with temps near 80s sporadically into November, but we can also have days where the high is 40. So the tomatoes remain outside for now.
VERDICT- The husband loves it! Me... eh... I should have made it hotter, and I overcooked the garlic which I think affected the flavor. It was pretty sweet, and tangy. I think I'll try a different recipe next time around.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cleaning UP

Okay, so I'm trying to clean up the garden. My husband has the camera with him in PA for a wedding he is attending, so the best I could do was with my iSight. The only picture I took was of some of the jalapenos that I'm still getting from the garden. We've got plenty out there still.

I made an attempt at cleaning up some of the garden today. Mostly I just moved around some of the vines that my center INSANE plants have been throwing all over the place. We've got more green tomatoes on my plants now, than I think we got ALL summer on some of those plants. My Big Boys are loaded, my Pineapple tomatoes are also loaded. Those are the main ones right now.

My Cherry tomatoes keep on trucking with a handful of tomatoes at least every other day. I really like the amount of Cherry tomatoes we had this year. We had four plants, and I think we'll stick to that.

Some of the tomatoes I was disappointed with (and it could be the heat we had this year, so some may get a mercy do over):

  • Brandywine- we only got a few, and I was expecting "knock my socks off" flavor, they were mostly cracked, and I just didn't think they were outstanding enough for the space that they took. (If there is one that I may give another try to next year, it'd be this one)
  • San Marzano- a paste tomato that I was expecting great flavor from, gave me only a few tomatoes that did not have blossom end rot. These plants were FILLED with tomatoes, but most had BER, even though none of the other tomatoes in the area did. They weren't worth the space
  • Caspian Pink- it was fun to see pink tomatoes, but again the flavor I'd hoped for just wasn't there, and they were another to crack a lot and only produce a few.
  • Striped Paste- May be a user's error on my part, because they were hidden under the snap pea vines for so long, and had to STRETCH to the sky, but they never really recovered, and even though they were pretty when they ripened, I didn't feel like they were anything where flavor was concerned.
  • Super Beefsteak- nothing super about them. They didn't get as big as the Big Boys, which they were supposed to, won't waste my time on these next year.
  • Delicious- I think from what I remember, it tasted okay, but the production doesn't come close to that of my Big Boys, and even though this is the plant that produced the world record tomato, I'm not sure my garden had the nutrients to make this plant do much of anything.
Some tomatoes that I will DEFINITELY be planting next year will include:
  • Big Boy- I'm pretty much sold on this tomato, even with the cracking, they felt like the most reliable of our slicing type of tomatoes, and though I'd rather move onto heirlooms, they just can't compete with the amount of tomatoes these produce. They give that home grown tomato I love, and I think we'll be sticking with this one.
  • Pineapple- these were HUGE tomatoes! I'm not sure if I ever uploaded any pictures of these, but they were BEAUTIFUL. I've got several out there still, so as they start to ripen, I'll take more pictures. These were one slice per sandwich, and I enjoyed breaking up colors when we had barbeques this summer.
  • Green Zebra- I was super pleasantly surprised by this one. I only planted one of these, and I'll probably go with two or three next year. They were a great salad tomato, had a really different zingy taste, and
  • Margherita Hybrid- this one put out LOADS of paste tomatoes, and they ripened in bunches, which was great for making batches of sauce and salsa. Another situation where it was a hybrid, and so I got great production, but with such a small garden area to work with, I need more tomatoes for the space.
  • Jubilee Yellow- still my favorite for an open faced tomato sandwhich, flavor is great, and they had a decent production this year, a lot better than last year, though they cracked a lot too with the heat/water fluctuations.
I also will be trying Cherokee Purple, and I'm sure there'll be something I'll want to try once garden catalogs start showing up in my mailbox.

I pulled out my broccoli plants that were hiding under my tomatoes. They never gave me any broccoli, unfortunately. I won't give up on that one just yet. I also pulled a bunch of marigolds out. I was sick of seeing the tall ones, because they had fallen all over the place, and the small ones (even though I think they're pretty) had to go because I was having a hard time getting to all of the tomato vines that were all over the place. I picked the jalapenos and pulled a bunch of dead leaves out of the strawberry bed, and that's about all I had in me. I'm covered in that tomato smell, so I think it's time for a shower!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The August Garden, No Wait, It's Almost October

I want to say that this is a picture of the garden in August, but it's not. It's from today. I knew I would get to the point where I would stop blogging for a while. I still feel like it is August, because I still don't have a nursing job. My husband and I planned on me having a nursing job by June. This fall is the first fall since I started Kindergarten that I didn't go to school on "The First Day of School". Even the year I took off, I went to the first 6 weeks before I decided to drop out, and quit paying to make up my mind.

Life is in limbo, and so everything is just too busy. My husband started art school this fall, so he has really enjoyed drawing our harvests. I've been on the job hunt, and substitute teaching and continue to nanny in the meantime.

My blog title fits right now. My garden is VERY messy.

This summer has been a much different experience than last year! We've made a lot of salsa, but I don't feel like we got to that overwhelmed by tomatoes feeling that we did last year, and I think it mostly has to do with the heat.

Our tomato plants are absolutely LOADED with green tomatoes right now. We haven't had a ripe one in about a month. I think the insane heat and humidity prevented the plants from pollinating, and gave us a bunch of cracked tomatoes.

I wasn't very good with watering, or feeding. I just got lazy. We've LOVED all of the peppers we've gotten this year.

I'm going to have to put up another post about what worked and what didn't. For now, at least I made a post for the first time in almost three months.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Harvest Monday and Update

I know it's Tuesday, but I got lazy yesterday. I knew I'd have to upload a lot of pictures this week, which should be a good thing, but it takes a long time with blogger. This week brought the influx of tomatoes! It's just started, but tomato season is going to be crazy, I can already tell!

We've had loads of cherry tomatoes, but from the looks of it, they'll be slowing down for a while, I don't see many new blossoms out there.

I tried my first (and second and third) green zebra tomatoes, and I was VERY pleasantly surprised! I was apprehensive about planting them, something about them being green inside didn't make me want to taste them, and they are fantastic!

We got to taste our first "real" tomato also, and we sliced these two up for dinner next to corn on the cob and some venison steaks last night for dinner. Absolutely delicious!
It's kind of a good thing that I waited until today to show my harvest because I get to show what I did with all of these paste tomatoes! Here is dinner tonight! (Or the beginnings of it anyway) My first stab at spaghetti sauce. My husband made it last year, but wasn't thrilled with the results, so we'll see how it goes! It's been fun to have my kitchen smell like this all day!

Here is today's harvest, besides a few of the Margheritas that made their way into the sauce. Some more cherries, two Big Boys, a Caspian pink, a green zebra, and a few Margheritas that didn't make it into the sauce.
Join in for Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Green Zebra!

All I can say is YUM!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Another Harvest Monday

Welcome Fuat Gencal and Patricia, and thanks for following my blog!

Besides the few cherry tomatoes that Heidi ended up with, here is what we harvested this week.

We picked our first (and second) Margherita hybrid tomato this week, and though it wasn't the BEST tasting tomato I've ever had, it was definitely the best tasting I've had in a WHILE! We were going to put it on a salad, and I talked my husband out of the salad, and we ate the whole thing with a little bit of salt. It could have had another day or so on the vine, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be my favorite for eating. I'm hoping to make sauce out of these later.

We also harvested the first anaheim pepper, but we haven't eaten it or used it in anything yet, so I'll have to remember to document how it tastes later!

Not a lot of garden news. I do have some more ripening romas, and one of my Green Zebras is turning yellow. I've got an eggplant out there the size of a grape tomato, and still no broccoli. Not a lot else is going on. We had a bit of cooler weather that was a nice break from the upper 90s, but we're headed back that direction again! Makes me wonder when I'll ever get some more fruit to set on my tomatoes, because they don't seem to set when it's that hot outside.

Be sure to check out what other people are harvesting at Daphne's Dandelions!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Harvest Monday!

I actually had a harvest this week, and it actually was photographed! We harvested these Cherry tomatoes (both Sweet 100 and Sweet Million) It looks like we'll be getting the bowls full now!
I'm still waiting on a big tomato to turn red, it'll probably be a while. We have a Margherita tomato turning color, but I'm pretty sure this one still won't taste the way that I am hoping for, since this tomato is intended more for sauce.

Here are some pictures of some of the other tomatoes in growing the garden.

I'm really excited to try this one- Pineapple- it's getting really big!

Here is a goofy looking Brandywine that didn't get all of the way pollinated. This will definitely be an interesting looking one when it's ready!

My zucchini plants that I mutilated this week (I had either an overwatering problem or a nutrient deficiency) are looking really really sad, and I don't think it is just because I removed many of the leaves... I think some sort of pest has gotten to the vines. Could be the squashbugs? I guess I may be out of luck for zucchini this year.

Here's a peek into another adventure of mine this week, not garden related- I baked macarons. They can be a finicky little treat. I had these in France when I went in 2005, and was craving them, so I decided to make them. This is my third attempt (first one failed, second one was successful and eaten!). I made these for my church. There are kids in my church with Celiac disease (no gluten-wheat products) and these cookies are made with almond meal! So it was fun to share a treat that I love, and have it be one they can enjoy too! I made coffee flavored, strawberry, and chocolate ones! Not a single one was left over, so it looks like I'll be making more if I want a stash at home!

I'm off to go tie up my crazy tomato vines, I've let them get unruly, and it's actually a bit on the cooler side of 90 this morning :)

To join in on the Harvesting Fun- head over to Daphne's Dandelions!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Creepy Crawlies

So I've finally fed my garden, it's been a while, and I'm really really really bad at that, because it is an overly stinky job. But I did it. I knew I needed to, my tomatoes are getting some yellowed leaves and my zucchini was looking crazy weird. I can't stop all of the water from the crazy storms we get from this heat, but I can feed these plants if it is a potential nutrient deficiency. So I did that this morning.

This afternoon, I went out to check on everything. I saw a lot of little cherry tomatoes turning color, but I'm saving those for my hubby when he gets home from work. He likes that size more than I do. I also found these:

I ran inside to look up squash bugs because EG mentioned a potential for them if I didn't remove all of the leaves from my zucchini plants. Sure enough. Squash bug eggs. I didn't remove all of the leaves like I had been told. I took off a lot of them, but I felt like I was greatly destroying my plants by doing even what I did. Well, I hacked away at them after I saw this. So they are some scrawny zucchini plants out there. I have yet to get a zucchini from them, so what will it hurt I guess.

So after hacking away at the zucchini leaves, I scraped these eggs and threw them into a tupperware of soapy water, and just as I was going to throw the leaves away I spotted a potential egg laying monster. I'd hate to think of someone watching me do this, (fortunately, my neighbor ladies left town today) but I jerked around like a little girl as I dunked this guy as quickly as I could into its soapy death. I wanted to be a bug scientist as a little girl actually, so the description is a little off, but considering this bug wasn't out to get ME, you'd think I could have calmed down a little. It's dead. I'll be on the look out from now on. I really really hope I'll get some zucchini this year though! I had horrible experiences with squash vine borers last year, I don't need something extra to hinder me.

So, now I've got this crazy feeling like something's crawling on me. Like the lice lecture in nursing school. I think my arm actually got irritated from rubbing against the zucchini leaves, but I'm having a hard time shaking it. This gardening stuff can be gross.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Harvest Monday!

We have harvested our first four cherry tomatoes this week (Three from a Sweet 100, and one from the Sweet Million) and the first two were popped into our mouths before I had an opportunity to take a picture, and the third into the dog's, and the last into the hubby's mouth again. I also harvested some scallions to put in some little quiches that I made yesterday.

Here's what we'll be picking today, since I'm certain they won't make it inside either.

The temps have been in the upper 90's for the past week, and it appears this week will be no different, in fact the highs for the next two days according to are 100.

It's so hot outside that I just don't want to be out there anymore! There are definitely some weeds gaining leverage I've even got a cantaloupe (I think...) plant growing among my pepper plants that has begun to blossom. I haven't been able to bring myself to pull it out, even though a plant can be a weed depending on its location.

My eggplant put out a bloom. It's pretty neat looking, I've never seen an eggplant growing before, so I'm pretty excited just to get to watch.
I can't wait to be bringing in bowls of tomatoes daily. That'll be when I'm taking loads of pictures for harvest monday :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Harvest to Come, I guess!

**Thanks Erin and Ribbit for following my blog, and welcome!**

It has been crazy hot outside for several days now, and doesn't look like we're going to have any relief any time soon. I was outside at 7 am, breaking a sweat chasing away the neighbor's "pet" baby bunny. I don't think I could have killed it myself, but I couldn't regardless, out of respect for my neighbor ladies. They've named it, and it lives in their shed. I looked like a crazy fool running up and down my garden yelling "GET OUT!!" at this baby rabbit, and chasing it with an extra tomato stake I had laying around. I finally opened part of the chicken wire up to get it out, but I still can't figure out how it got in, since it certainly wasn't finding its own way out!

I will have a few cherry tomatoes this week! I'm extra excited about these! These are Sweet 100, and we grew these last year. Very exciting to see the first tomatoes turning colors! My husband especially likes to bring these in his lunches, and Heidi (our dog) will learn soon enough which end of the garden hosts them this year, as well.

These are Green Zebra tomatoes, and you can already see some of the striping! I don't think they get much bigger than this, the catalog said 3 oz. So maybe they'll be getting the yellow and bright green coloring soon!

Here are two of my Brandywine tomatoes that have finally started to set some fruit! They sure are funny looking!

This tomato is from one of my two Caspian Pink tomatoes. This is definitely one I'm looking forward to!

Here is a picture of my most prolific plant and largest tomatoes out there (currently)- these are from a Margherita Hybrid tomato plant. I'm hoping this little guy is a friend too...

This is the first fruit set on my most anticipated tomato of the year- Pineapple. Doesn't look like much now, but I was REALLY excited to see that it had finally set some fruit! There are blossoms all over this thing, and it is my biggest, healthiest, stockiest plant out there. I couldn't figure out what was taking so long!

Here is one of my first either Anaheim peppers or jalapenos - and hopefully another "friend" that I couldn't see when I took the picture. I can't remember where I planted what of my peppers...

I have a definitely pollinated yellow squash growing fiercely out there, and another coming up right behind it!

Finally, I can't figure out what the deal is with my zucchini plant. The bottom leaves look bad... any ideas?