Monday, July 25, 2011

Garden Guest & Eight Ball Squash

We had a wee guest in the garden this morning. Apparently sunning itself on the red leaf lettuce, the little green frog seemed wide awake, yet unafraid of the camera.

Wonder if it likes to eat aphids? We know there are lots of frogs in the neighborhood because we hear their great chorus every evening. But we don't know much about them.... yet.

Yesterday, Robin harvested our first eight ball summer squash, almost perfectly round, but more the size of a softball than an eight ball. She says she's going to halve and stuff it, top it with Parmesan cheese, and bake it for our dinner tomorrow. We've never seen this type of squash before now. They are a hybrid zucchini, supposedly mild in flavor and firm of flesh

We're also getting a lot of yellow zucchinis off our two plants.

We cleared out some of our lettuce and all of the beets and spinach to make space for fall planting. Today, we planted four winter crops: two types of lettuce, kale and beets.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Harvesting Our Summer Squash!

A week or so ago, we ate our first zucchini. Today, three more were ripe and ready to eat.

Robin made a delicious stir fry using one green and one yellow squash from today's harvest. Here's her recipe:

2 medium summer squash, sliced
2T olive oil
1T butter (for flavor)
1/2 ring turkey kielbasa, sliced
1 tomato, chopped
left over couscous
a pinch of dried currants
1/4 c roasted slivered almonds
cracked pepper to taste

Stir-fry the kielbasa until slightly browned and set aside. Heat olive oil and butter in skillet. Stir-fry squash until easily pierced with a fork. Add tomato and stir for about 1 minute. Add other ingredients and kielbasa. Stir to mix and serve immediately.


A week ago we noticed the beginnings of an aphid infestation on some of our romaine lettuce and one small slug. The honeymoon is over. The garden critters have found us.

After researching on the web and finding several home remedies for aphid control (soap + mineral oil + water in various proportions, in a pump-spray bottle), we decided to go with a commercial spray this time around, two of them actually, one with soap and one with pepper, both supposedly friendly to organic gardens.

To compound the issue, it's been raining, drizzling, cool weather, more like April than July. The rain washes off the spray and the aphids continue to thrive on our lettuce. We'll keep spraying.

In the meantime, Robin learned a good trick from our gardener neighbor. To wash the lettuce, fill a large bowl with water, sprinkle 1/4 tsp. of sea salt on the water and stir, and then rinse the lettuce leaves in the salt water. The aphids just fall right off, kaput. All of them.

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July Garden Update

Our strawberries are looking lush.

First yield!!! More on the way!

Squash competing with tomatoes for light.
Looks like we'll have a bumper crop in a month or so.
Now we understand why everybody has zucchini to give away.

Red leaf lettuce is producing more than we can eat
and more than we can give away.
Neighbors, please come and get it!
Robin says it's downright beautiful.

This trough is beautiful too,
marigolds setting off the burgundy and emerald green colors
of the romaine heads.

Kale seems to be growing nicely.
We don't have experience cooking with kale
or know when/how to harvest it... yet!

Gunny sack potatoes doing well.
Almost time to add more dirt... again.
Last time, bag will be totally unrolled.

By the way, when watering tonight, all the troughs took water. We hope this is evidence that the wicking process is finally working. The squash/tomato trough took the most water, a liberal amount. It figures because they'd probably have deeper root systems.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bountiful Beets

Although we've been eating beet greens regularly, we harvested our first beets today. My wife will oven-roast them for dinner!

Our bountiful garden pleases us both beyond words!

There Are Radishes... And Then There are Rogue Radishes!

This is what our radishes look like.

When our neighbor was over picking greens and radishes the other day, we pulled up a radish that looked like one of these...

Quite long, and pinkish (rather than red). None of us had seen anything like that before. We were afraid it might be "woody," but our neighbor said she'd take it home and try it.  Ten minutes later the phone rang with RAVE reviews from her husband about the rogue radish. Best radish he ever ate, he said, great texture and taste!

Fast forward to a couple of days ago when we were at the hardware store and my wife spotted a packet of Burpee's French Breakfast Radish seeds. There it was, rogue no more, our special radish had a name. Based on our neighbor's positive review of the rogue radish, we bought the seed packet and will get them planted soon!