Thursday, August 30, 2012

More Giant Tomatoes

On the other blog I showed you a giant tomato--2 lbs 3 oz.  A couple of days later, I found some more--not quite as gargantuan, but nothing to sneeze at:
 The dark red one is the 2 lb 3 oz one--that's a 2 lb margarine tub behind it.  The left-most one is 25 oz (1 lb 9 oz), the light one in front of the margarine tub is 1 lb 8 oz. and the smallest one to the right is "only" 15 oz.  These all came from the Supersteak plants.  The biggest one, along with a sweet onion made a whole bowl of salad.  The second-largest was a gift to my neighbor, and the smallest one went into sandwiches.
A glimpse toward the garden from the deck.  The Hyperion daylilies are so stunning.  That's an 8'tall rose bush "Rosarie de L'Haie" between and just behind them.

I should gather the onions whose tops have fallen over or dried up (did you know that if you bend over onion necks you are inviting disease into the neck and they won't keep very long, but if they naturally fall over, then that is better).  It sure works.  My friend, when she gets tired of the garden and wants to clean up, bends the onions, and by November they are taken to the dump because they are rotten.  My onions last till they are used up--I usually have to buy onions in June just before we can start harvesting green onions from the garden.  That's how long ours last if we don't use them up.  My favorite onion varieties are (listed in the order of their keeping qualities--first are poorest keepers, last are longest in our storage conditions)  Walla Walla, Kelsae Sweet Giant, Candy, White Sweet Spanish, Red.  I don't like the taste of onions from sets.  Our onions are planted from plants started in the greenhouse.  I use up all the ones that didn't have the full count because the cats lay on them or they didn't germinate well.

Last year the garden flooded, and I thought the onions drowned, but as soon as I pumped the garden and it dried, the onions started growing again--they weren't as big as usual, but we still had onions until February.
  If my knee allows, tomorrow I will edge and cut the weeds out of an out-of-control flower bed, where I want to plant rhubarb and herbs. The grass and clover and poplar suckers are so big that I will just cut them and feed them to the sheep, then when they start to re-grow, I will use Round-up.  As soon as Kubota Man repairs the lawn tractor I can hitch up the sprayer and Round-up all around the farm:  a new high-bush blueberry patch, a new Saskatoon and Haskap berry patch, and a very neglected old raspberry patch and an old strawberry patch.  Also a row where we will plant several more cherry bushes.  I already cut the weeds out of three other flower beds, and the re-growth is just ready for a feed of Round-up.
I'm just debating if I should plant 6-8 grape vines on the south side of the garage--Kubota Man says he approves if I think I'll have time to look after them.  I really want to, but have to do a serious reality check first.  I really want the grape vines--we get such nice grapes (blue ones) on the vines that are left over in the nursery.  And I love grape jam and jelly..........(stop, take a reality break).

A little later on in the season, I will hitch up the 12" auger to the tractor and plant some more trees and shrubs--the ones I planted in late Sept or Oct last year all took except for one tree and one shrub--not bad out of a total of 24 plants. 

Have a great Labor Day Weekend.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Parade of Favorites

Now that my all-time favorite flowers, the daylilies have been revealed (again--I just realized I did that some years ago), here are some more lovelies--be patient with me if this has been done before, but these are THIS YEAR'S:

 Dragon Wing Red begonias,
 Eryngium (sea holly), the most incredible metallic blue,
 Heliotrope (heavenly scent) and Black Pearl ornamental pepper,
 Poor Man's Orchid, pale shade (aka Himalayan Impatiens), related to Jewel Weed.  When ripe, the seed pods explode.
 Center, Joe Pye, to the left, just behind--Sedum Matrona,
 Lychnis Coronaria--the picture doesn't do justice to the deep, rich magenta color of this flower on silver, velvety leaves,
 Pinky Winky Hydrangea--this flower will slowly turn darker and darker pink,
 Another Poor Man's Orchid, darker rose shade,
 Purple Emperor Sedum--leaves almost black,
 Tidal Wave Petunias,
 Yellow Monkshood,
 Ricinus (Castor Bean)--why I don't have moles or gophers in the garden,
This lovely 10-year old Ohio Buckeye (chestnut) drowned in last year's wet weather.  Will have to dig it out and replace it, and hope we don't get flooded again.  Below it to the right--Haskap (honeyberry) bushes.  Wonderful blue tubular berries that taste just like blueberries, very early and very prolific.  We are starting a big patch of these as soon as the weeds there are sprayed.  The lovely little white spot below the tree is Sparky, and the black spot between Sparky and the truck is Dazey.  They are my favorite dogs in the world.

It is really raining today, so tomorrow is not a gardening day--it will be a laundry and reno day--maybe I'll get the bathroom downstairs finished--this report will be on my other blog.  If you haven't visited there yet, you are welcome there, too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How can you tell that these flowers are my favorite?

 This post will tell you.  I am sorry to say that I have no room for more new daylilies (Hemerocallis).  I love these flowers.  They grow under neglect, are relatively pest-free (unless a colony of ants takes a liking to one), most are not invasive (there are some that walk in the flower bed, but most just keep a tidy clump), and they can be divided any time of the year (although I try not to disturb them while blooming).  They are also good neighbors to most other plants.  I have them in sun and part shade, but haven't tried them in shade-something with that many flowers seems to want lots of  sunlight.                                                                       Flava--wonderfully scented flowers on tall, thin stems (that's the one above--formatting is also not a strength I possess).

 Frans Hals--when the flowers first open, the orange/yellow contrast is much stronger.
                                           Hyperion.  Huge flowers.
                                          Canadian Border Patrol
                                          Strawberry Candy

                                          Red Stella
                                          Summer Wine

I also have tons of Stella d'Oro, a white one with a center ring, and apricot double-flowered one, and a few others that have finished blooming.  Some I've had so long I forgot the names.  This incompetent photographer doesn't have the know-how to set the camera, so the subtle color differences are more obvious. The un-named red ones are all different, distinct shades.

I just realized that I don't have a pure white one, nor a mauve one.  Must check out the spring catalogue and do something about that.  Which weeds will have to die to make room for these?  quackgrass?  dandelions?  clover?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Reaping the Bounty I

In the long interval since my last post, everything has grown well, since we had a lot of rain and heat.  So, today I froze half the beans.  We like 4 kinds of beans:  yellow wax, green Romano, yellow Romano and Purple beans.  I froze the yellow ones and the green Romanos today, about 20 lbs., but didn't get pictures. Will do that tomorrow when I finish the others.
Besides the beans, I did 20 more cobs of corn.  I don't freeze whole cobs because they take up too much freezer space, and the blanching/chilling process is very critical or else the corn gets the taste of the core of the cob, so I kernel the corn.  I don't blanch the corn to do this.  I put on a huge pot of corn--way more than we can eat:
How to cook the best corn cobs:  
Place cobs in a pot large enough to cover with cold water.  Bring to the boil.  When it reaches the boiling point it is ready to eat.

After we have eaten our fill, I let the remaining cobs cool in the cooking water (or you could drain and cover with cold water).  When cool enough to handle, use a sharp paring knife to kernel the corn.  I tease out one row of kernels with the tip of the knife. Then the other rows are cut down with a downward motion of the knife, one row at a time.  Nice clean whole kernels.  They are fully cooked, so they can be just reheated.

I stopped bagging the corn (and beans and peas) in individual bags.  I now use the large heavyweight Ziploc freezer bags, put 8 cups in, sqeeze out the air as I zip, then flatten the package out.  It stacks neatly in the freezer, and it is easy to break off as much as I need for the meal or for the soup.

And when the corn freezing is all finished, the window and cupboards will need washing--corn sometimes squirts.

Here is a little  peek at my cold storage room.  Some of these tomatoes are from last year and the year before.  If properly canned, they keep for a long time.

Tomorrow I will finish the beans and do another pot of corn.  Oops, nearly forgot, there are tomatoes and cucumbers to pick, also.