Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Walking Onions

No time to post lately as work and non-gardening life have gotten in the way this past week, but I did receive a lovely gift today:
Gail took a day trip to Maine today to visit some family. While there she stopped by Beach Plum Farm in Ogunquit, ME and visited the community gardens on the grounds. She ended up chatting with 2 gardeners who gave her a few bunches of Egyptian Onions, the biggest one is in the above photo.
Egyptian Onions, known as Walking Onions or Tree Onions are perennial onions which are hardy to zone 3. When a bulb is planted and grows new bulbs form on the step of the plant. Eventually the cluster of bulbs (pictured above) gets so top heavy that it bends the plant and touches the ground, taking root and growing into a new set of onions.
As they are left to grow they will spread or walk across your garden. You can pull each set of clusters off and divide the bulbs in order to plant them. The stalks of the plants can also be cut before the onion clusters form and used similar to chives.
Planting a cluster or 2 should yield enough for stalks, bulbs and to save some for planting next year. Like traditional onions bulbs also will form below the ground. If planted in the fall they can be dug up as spring onions.

I'll be prepping and planting fall seeds this weekend and will most certainly be planting some Egyptian/Walking Onions, so stay tuned for future Walking Onion updates!

Below is the full hall of the 3ish clusters of Walking Onions I was gifted:
(Walking Onions: Some for Eating, Some for Planting, Some for...?)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

First Tomatoes!

Gail and I picked our first tomatoes today!
A pair of black cherry tomatoes. I could have left them on the vine another day or two but the urge to pick them was just too tempting. Their flavor was sweet yet rich, as expected from a 'black' tomato.

They just might be the only harvest this week, but I'm pleased!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Harvest Monday July 19th 2010

We harvested ALOT of Herbs this week:
What's that in the bottom right corner of the above photo? PEPPERS! Here's a better look at the first 2 Hungarian Wax Peppers we harvested yesterday: Each pepper measured about 6 inches long. We roasted them up last night and enjoyed them with our dinner of beans and rice. The peppers were not burning hot but left a slight tingle on the tongue. I'll be letting a few of the remaining peppers mature as long as possibly and picking the rest as they reach appropriate size.
Another pepper note: These Hungarian peppers far outpreformed our bell peppers! We don't have any bell peppers of noticeable size and there are at least 4 sizeable wax peppers with 2 or 3 smaller ones closing up the ranks.
Harvest Totals:
2 oz Beets (not pictured)
10.5 oz Genovese Basil
1.1 oz Chives
1.25 oz Dill
1.5 oz Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper
3 oz Parsley
3.9 oz Red Rubin Basil
3.55 oz Spearmint
Weekly Total: 1.675 lbs/26.8 oz/759.77 g
Season Total: 4.55 lbs/2.065 kg

Tomato Watch: As of 7/18/10: 140 Tomatoes have set fruit.

If you want to see what others are harvesting or share in your own bounty, stop by Daphne's Dandelions the home of Harvest Monday.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Thinking about fall...

Yea, I know it's mid summer and we here in eastern Massachusetts are on the doorstep of another lovely heat wave, but I've started to think about what to plant for the fall.

Truth is I really have no idea.
I'd like to plant some garlic in the fall, and I have some kale from a fellow gardener, but I've got to really think about what to plant soon that will be ready during the fall.
I've come up with: Radish, Carrots, Beets, various lettuces, but besides that i'm not sure.

Any ideas?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dill Pickles & Beet Relish

With an abundance of pickling cucumbers and beets showing up at our local farms/markets Gail and I decided to take advantage. On Saturday afternoon we made 8 quarts of Dill pickles and 2.5 pints of Beet relish.

For the sake of variety we made 3 quarts of whole pickles, 3 quarts of pickle spears, and 2 quarts of pickle 'chips'
Dill Pickles
8 pounds 3-4 in long pickling cucumbers
4 cups white vinegar
12 cups water
2/3 cup pickling salt
16 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
8 sprigs fresh dill
8 heads fresh dill
1. Wash cucumbers and place in receptacle with cold water and lots of ice. Soak in ice water bath for at least 2 hours but no more then 8 hours. Add more ice as necessary. While soaking cucumbers sterilize 8 quart size canning jars and lids.
2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, combine the vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Bring the bring to a rapid boil.
3. In each jar, place 2 half cloves of garlic, one head of dill, and enough cucumbers to fill the jar. Then add 2 more half cloves of garlic and a sprig of dill to the top of each jar. Fill the jars with hot brine and seal the jars.
4. I found many conflicting ways to process the sealed jars in a hot water bath to make sure the seal. I processed them upside down in a sauce pan so that only the lids were covered with boiling water for 10 minutes. 6 of 8 jars sealed this way.
5. If jars have sealed store pickles for 8 weeks in a cool dry place before eating. Refrigerate after opening. Any jars that have not sealed can be kept in the refrigerator. Pickles will keep for up to 2 years if stored in a cool dry place.
We added mustard seed and/or red pepper flakes to some of the jars. We used Dill from our garden, while the cucumbers came from Keown Orchards and the garlic is from Red Fire Farm both by way of our local farmers market.
The real difficulty is having to wait 8 weeks to eat them! We decided we couldn't wait so last night we opened one of the jars of spears just to give them a taste. After a few days the pickles were crisp and tasted good, but certainly needed more time.

Some of the extra Beet relish was eaten the next day in a sandwich.
Beet Relish
3 lbs raw beets
1 tsp superfine sugar
1 lb shallots, finely chopped
2 cups cider or white wine vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
1 tbsp pickling spices, place in a cheesecloth or spice bag
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1. Place the beets in a large saucepan. Pour over enough water to cover them, and add the superfine sugar (I used plain granulated sugar as it would be dissolving so to me it doesn't matter). Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour or until the beets are soft and cooked. Drain and leave to cool. When cool enough to handle peel and dice the beets into small, even pieces.
2. Put the shallots and vinegar in a pan and cook for 10 minutes over low heat. Add the chopped beets and the bag of pickling spices. Stir the mixture, add the granulated sugar, and cook gently until the sugar has all dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook at a rolling boil for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes or until the mixture thickens.
3. Remove the spice bag, then ladle into sterilized mason jars, leaving 1/4in (5 mm) head space and making sure there are no air gaps. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove jars and let cool. Store in a cool, dark place. Allow the flavors to mature for 1 month and refrigerate after opening.
Relish should keep for up to 9 months.
We were expecting 4 jars of relish but ended up with 5 so we decided to set 4 aside to mature for a month as the recipe calls for and enjoy one right away. Gail enjoyed some on a veggie burger and I've had it with chicken salad in a sandwich. We used 5 of our own golf ball sized beets, the rest of the beets as well as all the shallots came from Allandale Farm.

Pickle recipe can be found at AllRecipes.com & the Beet Relish recipe is from Preserve It! which is a very visual excellent introductory cookbook to food preservation full of great tips and recipes for novice canners and preservers covering everything from fruits and vegetables to herbs, fish, and meats.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Harvest Monday - July 12th 2010

We pulled the last of the Romaine this week and some golf ball sized Beets:

There were some more beets pulled but they didn't make it on camera. I also ended up pulling and throwing out the last 2 massive heads of romaine because they had bolted and were very bitter.
Totals for the week:
Beets 5.55 oz/157.34 g
Romaine 8.9 oz/252.31 g
Weekly Total: 14.45 oz/409.65 g
Season Total: 2.88 lbs/1.305 kg
Tomato Watch: As of 7/9/10: 87 Tomatoes have set fruit.

Harvest Total and Tomato Watch widgets in the right-hand column have been updated.
One of my Sunflowers opened up on Friday as well:
If you want to see what others are harvesting or share in your own bounty, stop by Daphne's Dandelions the home of Harvest Monday.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Garlic Scape Pesto Pizza!

No cooking related posts in a while so here is a quick one.
It was finally time to put some of the garlic scape pesto to good use. I made a garlic scape pesto, zucchini and ricotta pizza for dinner:
Probably not as impressive as Thomas' pizza making skills, but the pizza came out light and fluffy with a nice crunchy crust. Very simple and delicious. Dough from the bread maker (if there is interest I will share the super easy recipe), 4 'cubes' of garlic scape pesto, grated zucchini, and ricotta cheese. Light and delicious. Perfect for a nice summer evening.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Grown Away on the Radio!!!!

Last Wednesday I mentioned I had been interviewed by my local NPR affiliate's afternoon program Radio Boston. The story on the Fenway Victory Gardens aired this afternoon. It featured Mike Mennonno, a fellow gardener who has a gorgeous plot full of flowers and bee's, Meg Muckenhoupt author of Boston's Gardens & Green Spaces, and yours truly!!!

You can CLICK HERE to find the story. Click the listen now button once you open the link. The story is a little over 8 minutes long and I am in the last 3 minutes.

Feel free to pass this along to anybody who may find it interesting!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Signs of Things to come...

It's hot out. 6 days of 90F/32C or higher. Before watering the plot I took a few shots. Here is what is (hopefully) coming in the near future:
(This Sunflower is nearly ready to burst with color)
(The first Yukon Gold potato has started blooming. At least I think it's Yukon Gold)
(The Ottawa Cranberry Beans I got from Daphne are flowering and setting pods)
(Black Cherry Tomatoes are on their way)

(Early Girl Tomatoes?)

(Looks like there might be a Zucchini in there somewhere!)

(Blurry but wonderful looking Hungarian Wax Pepper)

Everything is growing so fast I'm barely able to keep track of it all!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Harvest Monday - July 5th 2010

We harvested more greens and herbs on Thursday:
(Top: Basil, Mint. Bottom: Romaine, Dill, Mesclun)

I was off to Cape Cod for the long weekend so did not get much gardening work done. We came back late Monday afternoon and made a quick stop at the plot so we could water everything after 3 days of 90F and higher temperatures they needed it. We were finally able to harvest some non-greens as well! We pulled the 2 surviving carrots from the poorly germinated first seeding as well as a test beet to see how things were looking:
(2 Baby Carrots & 1 Baby Beet)

Totals for the week:
Dill - 2 oz/56.70 g
Mint - .5o oz/14.17 g
Basil - .90 oz/25.51 g
Mesclun - 2.75 oz/77.96 g
Romaine - 5 oz/141.75 g
Beets - .70 oz/19.84 g
Carrots .95 oz/26.93 g
Weekly Total: 12.80 oz / 362.86 g
Season Total: 1.975 lbs/31.60 oz/895.84 g

Tomato Watch: As of 7/5/10 62 tomatoes have set fruit

Harvest Total and Tomato Watch widgets in the right-hand column have been updated!

If you want to see what others are harvesting or share in your own bounty, stop by Daphne's Dandelions the home of Harvest Monday.