Saturday, May 31, 2008

Garden 2008: Today's Harvest

Just a short post to show what I harvested today: a handful of Yellow Pear and Grape tomatoes, a Roma, a Green Zebra (I think it may be can you tell when a green tomato is ripe?), and a good bunch of French green beans. I'll be cooking the beans tomorrow for lunch. I will post the results then!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Garden 2008: I am a Plant Addict

OK, I admit it. I have a problem. I am a plant addict. I thought everything was fine. I planted all I could plant this year. It is impossible, and too late, for me to plant anything else this year. That was, until I went to the Belknap Farmer's Market on Saturday. There, as I was looking for a friend for my tomatillo, I saw them: two flats of beautiful Bojangles Sweet Corn seedlings. I ignored them... until after I left. I've been thinking about those corn stalks since then. I made up my mind yesterday that I would go first thing Monday and pick out five. So, I did.

The row is a bit off, but here they are! I was able to get 5 pots for .99 each, 4 of which were twins (two in one pot), making 9 stalks total. I may have more corn than I can possibly eat come August!

The cantaloupe are coming right along, blooming and making little knots of melon.

As are the watermelon...

And now an update on the tomatoes. The Roma has, from what I can count, about 30 fruits on it, one which is about to be just ripe enough to pick probably by tomorrow.

The Green Zebra are right behind with about 20 on the vine.

Purple Cherokee have three so far. I've been shaking them like crazy to get more, as well as rubbing flowers together (ya know, fake tomato sex). Not much more, but lots of blooms.

The Mortgage Lifter will not be paying off my mortgage this year, at least not yet. I have one little tomato on it right now. Again, I've been shaking it like crazy and trying to mate the blooms, but no more yet.

This isn't the worst, though. The laziest vines so far have been Boxcar Willie and the tomatillos (the reason for searching for the friend in the first place). There have been plenty of blooms, but they have been withering before they could be pollinated.

But, the garden is huge anyway! The Yellow Pear is at the top of the 6 foot fence now, and the Green Zebra is as tall as me.

The French Green Beans have actual beans on them. Several are probably ready to pick, hopefully enough to have for dinner either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Garden 2008: Smallest Harvest Ever and lunch

These have got to be the smallest ripe strawberries in the history of gardening. Mom and I each had three, which gave us a "taste of strawberry" sensation. Probably the equivalent of a normal size small berry. Oh well, I guess this is what happens when you use a strawberry pot. Maybe next year I'll actually plant them in the ground.

On a better note, this was our lunch today. A mostly organic, mostly local meal.

Here's the rundown:

Tomatoes: grape and pear; organic, from the garden.

Chard: red, hot pink, orange, green, white; organic, from the garden

Chicken: organic, Texas raised from Central Market

Bacon: organic, Texas raised, also from Central Market

Romain lettuce: Origin a mystery, from Belknap (Sayer's) Farmer's Market

Celery: Origin a mystery, also from Belknap (Sayer's) Farmer's Market

The whole thing was especially good because the tomatoes and chard were picked yesterday!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Garden 2008: Harvest and Wait

I decided that today is the day for harvesting my first cutting of Swiss chard. Supposedly, it is possible to continually harvest chard throughout the summer, even here in Texas. It is supposed to have a flavor and use similar to spinach. I had a taste of one of the stalks after I took the picture below, and it really does taste a bit like spinach. You can almost see my latest harvest of grape tomatoes sitting in the spoon rest to the upper right of the bowl. I picked about 7 today.

Here is where the wait comes in. The potatoes have mostly grown over the top of the containers, with the Purple Peruvian being the slowest of the group. I have get another bag of soil to "top them off" and then continue watering. We'll see what happens in September when it is time to harvest them!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Garden 2008: How high will that Yellow Pear Tomato Grow?

That yellow pear tomato plant will grow at least as tall as my mother!

On a side note, I woke up Sunday morning to find this beautiful little bloom pod on my gardenia bush.

By 5:35pm, it had bloomed!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dad's new toy...

So, in an effort to save a bit on gas milage, my dad (who lives in Colorado) decided that the scooter was not going to cut it. He needed "Man Wheels." Hence, I give you this...

The Harley gets 50 miles to the gallon. Dad has named it "Hoggy Ferguson."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Garden 2008- Vegetables and so much more!

This is my second ripe tomato (a Grape). Just after taking this picture, Mom picked it right off the vine and ate it. Sadly, no pictures were taken of the act.

Finally, the long awaited strawberries!

This is the smaller pot of the two.

This is the larger. If you look closely, you can see the starts of a few berries!

This is the giant so far. The Yellow Pear tomato is almost 4 1/2 feet tall. I'll have to get my mom to stand next to it (at 5' 2") so that the size can really be appreciated.

Gabbie loves the new cedar mulch.

Now, I do have other things growing besides my food garden...

The dwarf pomegranate (technically a food, but almost too small to eat) is blooming and developing pods.

The clematis is beautiful and creeping more around the fence by the day.

The scarlet magnevailla weathered the winter well in the greenhouse.

And... glory of all glories... the Confederate Star Jasmine is in full twinkle. At night, when the wind blows just right, I can smell it through my open bedroom windows.

Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Food Review: Unfortunate Name or Unfortunate Ice Cream?

Okay, so I was in Braum's yesterday to get some cheese and I was drawn to the Light Ice Cream section. I've seen this in the cooler the last few times I was there, so I finally had to satisfy my curiosity.

As the title of this post states: is this an unfortunate name or unfortunate ice cream? I say maybe a little of both. The picture on the tub has Andie's Candies type mints on it. I like Andie's Candies, so I thought, "Why not?"

I had a hard time getting past the name though. Mojito and ice cream do not scream combination of success. Especially with chocolate. I started thinking of the ingredients in a mojito and it confused me even more. I get the mint, I get the rum flavoring. Those work with chocolate. It is the lime that was throwing me off. Lime and chocolate? I don't think so... but that obviously didn't stop me since it is sitting on my stove in the picture.

I took some time with this one. I didn't immediately dig into the tub. I'm not the crazy ice cream eater most people are, but I do go for the strange flavors. Once I scooped some up though, I noticed the chocolate sauce swirl mixed in. It turned out to be where the rum flavoring was added. The chunks of mint were nice. From what I could tell, there was no lime flavor anywhere to be had in this ice cream. The mint was overpowering, though. It was like having a frozen creme de mente grasshopper.

It was "okay" but probably nothing I would ever buy again. It was, basically, After Dinner Mint on steroids. Not really a "mojito." So, my conclusion is that there is a definite unfortunate name game going on at the Braum's plant in Oklahoma.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Garden 2008 Update: What happened while I was writing papers for finals!

With finals ending on Friday and getting my life back in order, I have completely ignored posting for the past two weeks! Ooops! Anyway, so much has happened. It seems as if the tomatoes grow a foot a day, so my pictures here are probably already out of date.

Two Saturdays ago I bought some strawberries, watermelon and cantalope plants.

I planted the watermelon and cantalopes in the driveway. I was afraid they would get ran over because the fence is brown (you can't even see it in the picture, can you?). So, I placed old, dead CDs on strings to act as reflectors. They work very well and have an eerie glow at night.

Um... I should have a picture of the strawberries in the strawberry pots placed right here. I don't know why I didn't take a picture of them!?!

This is pretty close to what the garden looks like now, but I've added cedar mulch (local!) and, with all of the rain, everything is probably about a foot taller now.

Mom and I stopped and had a nice pot of tea (not local- Harrod's Earl Grey #42, YUM!) and blueberry scones from the Artisan Bread Company purchased at the Cowtown Farmer's Market. This was on an unrealistically cold last Sunday in April (27th).

We also had a fire. I wonder if the burn ban is still in effect?

I bought this terribly expensive organic potting soil from the feed store. It's from Austin. I had no clue that Miracle Grow now made an organic potting soil (but now I have two bags of 2 cubic feet each which cost the same as this lovely 1 cubic foot Lady Bug stuff). The potatoes are now not going to be nearly as expensive to grow as they once were.

The potatoes do seem to be growing several inches a day, though, so it's good I finally found something cheap and organic!

The Swiss Chard is finally looking like Swiss Chard!


My first ripe tomato was picked today- A Yellow Pear!

It was delicious!