Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hot salsa

My neighbor gave me a packet of this salsa mix for canning -- cheating I know, but my kids won't eat my fresh uncooked salsa and a little "fast food" processing (and packing it into old salsa jars might just trick them into thinking it's from the store. I didn't strain out the seeds though, so I don't know how tricky I'm actually being. It didn't yield enough to worry about hot water processing, so I just stuck it in the fridge.

The weather has been gorgeous - and not too humid - so I've spent no few hours in the garden over the past couple of days pulling wheelbarrow loads of weed out of beds and pathways. It looks almost passable now. I'm thinking about breaking out the Mantis and tilling some newly empty beds to replant for fall -- I still have enough good weather left and God knows I have enough seeds.
I've also been pouring over my stock of old garden magazines and books looking for ideas for next year. I'd like to make some major changes, but it seems like so much work -- and expense. I suppose I could launch a major nursery operation for the perennials I would need. and put down layers of newspaper and mulch to kill off the grass by spring. Patience is also my problem. It's hard to envision the end product while making due with tiny plants and piecemeal design. Well, I'm going to try to actually develop an overall plan before digging in. I spent a lot of time planning the layout of my herb/veg garden, but not so much its placement. I plopped it in the middle of the yard -- just extending the old veg patch the previous owners left. With the result being that it visually cuts off the yard, making it seem much smaller. I do want to break up the yard, but in a way that keeps pulling the eye back. Maybe I'll start with clearing out the brush growth along the creek -- I'd really love to be able to see the natural limestone/sandstone walls that edge the creek and that would do a lot to visually extend our space -- we do own the land to about 20 feet beyond the far bank of the creek. Here's a little slide show that walks your through the yard - from the view from the deck, back behind the garden, down to and in the creek and up toward the house from the far side of the garden. All my wasted spaces crying out for love (and cash and labor).

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Crazy Hyacinth Bean Vine

This vine is reaching out its tentacles with a view to world domination. If you check my archives you might see the bare, 10-12 foot tuteur teepee thingy I built a few months back. 2 Hyacinth bean plants have totally swamped it and are spreading toward the beans and the potatoes. So much for the "Death Square."

Speaking of potatoes I dug some today and found 11 from one plant! My usual yield from one plant is about 6. I wonder how long you can leave them in the ground once the vine withers? I'd hate to have to dig them all at once -- they'd go bad for sure.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Fruits of my labor

I'm back. I've been ignoring this blog a bit in favor of the one I just launched about my eBay business. At any rate, I have been doing a bit a weeding, but mostly enjoying my harvest. Check out these gorgeous tomatoes. They were supposed to be Mr. Stripeys, but they didn't develop any stripes -- just the most lovely peachy-yellow color. They're delicious to boot -- I've been eating a lot of tomato sandwiches standing over the sink to catch the drips.

I also have to show off my dinner from the other evening -- my golden baby belles (some no bigger than a quarter) stuffed with herbed cream cheese and topped with black olive slices, my Jolly Elf tomatoes and some green beans vinagrette. Yum. Tonight I fried up a bunch of sweet red Italian peppers, onions and Italian sausage. I also tried slow roasting my romas -- so rich, like eating a spoonful of tomato paste. I think I'll roast some peppers to save tomorrow -- I have a giant bowl of jalopenos.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Finally moving again

I have been too ashamed to post anything. I have been really neglecting things outside -- mostly heat and humidity related, partly because I've been obsessing about growing my ebay business with a few marketing ploys. I finally did get out there for a few hours and cleared about 7 wheelbarrow loads of weeds from the herb/flower garden. I also harvested a sack of tomatoes, peppers, beans and squash. I have been making plenty of my favorite salsa fresca but I have quite a few peppers and squash I haven't gotten to yet. I'm going to make a big tray of poppers this afternoon. I need to make some squash and oregano or freeze some squash soon too. I had some beautiful Italian red peppers that I fried up with Italian sausage the other day I need to pick up some more sausage for subs.

I've also been thinking of moving my garden around to better fit my yard. I'd keep the herb garden where it is, but turn it into an annual flower/butterfly garden, then move the fruit/veggies all along the right side of the yard. If I'm going to change things up, I need to do it before I'm too decrepit to wield a shovel.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Back from vacation -- Yikes

We'll I returned from Michigan to find weeds had triumphed and my automatic sprinkler set up failed -- the water just squirted out from around the gasket. Per usual, I have found myself to be a fair (but not too fair) weather gardener. As the temps went into the 90s and held, I stayed inside. For a few days it wasn't much cooler inside - but that's another story. Weeds (and Hyacinth bean vine) must love the heat because they flourished while my cucumbers, squash, pumpkins and lettuce gave up the ghost.

I had to spend one day getting my front yard into shape -- the rose hedge looked awful and the shrubs were all overgrown and the hostas weed-ridden. Plus we're still technically on vacation so I used up valuable weeding time going with the fam to the Newport Aquarium (we got to pet sharks - very cool), to the Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom water park and to various movies. All good stall tactics in 98 degree weather.

I have harvested more green beans, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes -- though I am disappointed with the tomatoes -- small, not many and not too flavorful. I had such high hopes for this year and I feel like a flop. Maybe next year I'll give up and plant the whole thing with annual flowers! Well, I suppose not. I did go out and weed a bit tonight. I suppose I'll clear out the dead stuff, add a bit of compost and get it ready to plant for a fall garden. Usually things are going so well into September that I don't have the space for fall plantings. The power of positive thinking, right?