Planning a Second Crop in the Kitchen Garden

Planning a Second Crop in the Kitchen Garden

The kitchen garden is busy at this time of year. I have been picking the last of the peas and planning what will take their place once the vines are removed. It is said to always have something planned for when a crop finishes. So when I spotted tiny cucamelon seedlings in the tomato bed I quickly transplanted them to the bed where the early peas had come out.

Planning a Second Crop in the Kitchen Garden

Yes, it turns out that if you happen to have cucamelons drop to the soil or the ground in the fall they will germinate in the tiniest places. This year I had ten cucamelon plants appear  between the bricks of the pathway.

Planting a Second Crop in the Kitchen Garden

Last night I harvested all of the garlic plants. I grew three types this year, Music garlic , a Russian type from a farmers market and some Russian garlic from my own seed. I have been growing Russian garlic for several years so it will be interesting to compare the difference between the different types. I found that some of the Music garlic is small and not near as large as my Russian garlic grown from my seed. I will keep the largest and best of the Music garlic for planting in the fall.

So what do I do with the empty garlic bed now? I know I may have crops in the bed over the winter so I need to amend the soil. I can add compost to it as it’s the best way to renew the soil. Today I decided to try out some organic fish soil and I also had some new soil leftover from when the two new raised beds were filled. I filled the beds with some of the new soil as it was down about three inches from the rainfall over the winter. Remember garlic was planted last fall  and was in the garden for nine months. I worked the organic fish soil into the soil and added some glacial rock dust as well. Glacial rock dust helps with the PH of the soil and adds some minerals.  Normally I add steer manure to the empty beds and work it in. We will see how the fish soil works out this fall.

Now that the bed is ready,  I watered it well to get it ready for new plants and seeds. I have a flat of cauliflower plants waiting to go in. I also have french fillet bean seeds that I finally found at the bottom  of the seed stash. Turnips, carrots, beets and purple sprouting broccoli on my list to grow although they may have to wait until August as most will be winter crops.

(Note to my readers: My blog is now getting a makeover and I hope to be back writing more soon. My photo storage was full so I am looking at redoing the whole blog and adding some new highlights. After all, a garden blog has to have photos. This is definitely the wrong time of year for it to happen but I will be back.)

 

Tomato Harvest in June!

Tomato Harvest in June!

I love growing tomatoes. You could call it an obsession. Tomatoes can be finicky and come with a host of things that can go wrong  if not watched over carefully. Here in the lower mainland of BC  we have a serious problem with late blight which has been predicted to show up in June this year. Our weather is rainy and on the cool side with some sun thrown in. It’s a far cry from our four months of no rain last year. The thirty tomato plants have been in our garden for just over a month and overall they are doing very well.

Tomato Harvest in June!

Everyone looks at this variegated tomato and asks me whats wrong with it. It’s actually supposed to look like this. This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago and this plant has grown a lot since then. Its sister is planted next to it but has more green than white on it.

Tomato Harvest in June!

All the plants have fruit on them now and I am pretty excited to have a harvest soon. The tomato plant above is Victoria Dwarf #1 from the Dwarf Tomato Project seeds I ordered. It’s definitely a stocky plant and is only a foot high so far. The plants range between 2-4.5 feet high so this may grow quite a bit more in the next few months.

Tomato Harvest in June!

Check out this ‘Kellogg’s Breakfast’ tomato. Its huge! It’s an orange beefsteak and I am sure glad I planted some of them in the garden. It was my worst seller this year.  I know a few people bought some so I hope they enjoy them as much as I will be.

Tomato Harvest in June!

One of the tomatoes I am growing for a seed bank is ‘King Humbert’. Named after King Humberto of Italy, this tomato dates back to the late 19th century. These two plants are not happy. The lower branches turned brown and blotchy and I removed the affected branches.

Tomato Harvest in June!

The plants are now producing new leaves and seem to be doing better. Today I noticed the tomatoes are starting to get some colour!

Tomato Harvest in June!

I have the same ‘King Humbert’ tomato plants in another raised bed and they are as healthy as can be. Note the egg-shaped fruit forming in clusters. It is said that this is a wonderful paste tomato for cooking and it will produce its fruit all at once.

Tomato Harvest in June!

My plastic tenting over the beds during the month of June has kept any signs of late blight from the garden. I rigged up a tower of plastic that allows the rain to run down angled sides. It looks silly but its working well. I am determined to have a good crop of tomatoes this year.  I only water in the morning to be sure the tomato plants go into the night dry.

Tomato Harvest in June!

Above is a tomato called Sylvan Gaume which looks pretty tame here when it first went in. I had to stake it right away as it tended to flop over. Over the last few weeks its grown like a sprawling child throwing limbs all over the place. It reminds me of a multi stemmed shrub, not a tomato. I look forward to seeing how this one progresses but may grow it in a container next year so it doesn’t crowd out its neighbours.

Tomato Harvest in June

Okay, Gold Nugget wins the prize for being the earliest tomato in my garden this year. I couldn’t help myself. I ate the first tomato before I reached the kitchen. I couldn’t wait.

What Are Garlic Scapes and How Do I Use Them?

What are Garlic Scapes and How Do I Use Them?

Last week I harvested all of the garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are the twisty stems formed on hardneck garlic about two weeks before the garlic is ready to harvest. I like to pick my scapes when they are fully twirled in a circle. By the time I was finished I had about 100 garlic scapes.

What are Garlic Scapes and How Do I Use Them?

So what do I do with garlic scapes? It seems like many people have never heard of scapes before so let’s look at what I used them for. With so many scapes I offered some up for sale thinking there would be a huge market for them. I was wrong. People don’t really know what they are. Scapes once harvested  keep for about three weeks in the fridge so I wasn’t too worried. Coming from a  retail background I knew if I was going to sell them I wanted them to be as fresh as possible. A few days after harvest  some were sold. I still had lots left over. I hate wasted food so I had to use them up.

It was time to get to work. I made pesto with garlic scapes last year but wanted to make something different. Could I make garlic butter?  I washed and cut the garlic scapes into 2″ pieces and tossed them in the food processor.

What are Garlic Scapes and How Do I Use Them?

I pulsed them until they were quite finely chopped. I emptied the scapes into two small freezer containers. Chopped up, the scapes didn’t amount to much but I could smell the garlic and knew I would use them like this.

What are Garlic Scapes and How Do I Use Them?

I let a pound of butter soften and added about 1 cup of chopped scapes to it and blended it well. Now I had a homemade garlic spread. I rolled the butter into a log and placed it in the freezer. I will slice off what I need for meals.

What are Garlic Scapes and How Do I Use Them?

I still had lots of chopped scapes leftover from the processor. Last night I used them over some sockeye salmon with a sweet mustard glaze. It was amazing! I also made some fried rice from scratch. For this you brown 1 cup rice in butter in a large frying pan. Once it has browned a bit, add 2 cups broth of your choice and add chopped scapes and chopped celery. Let it simmer on low until the rice is done. I call this my homemade rice a roni. So easy to make and you know whats in it.  Use your scapes to add flavour to any dish, even leftovers. Add them to leftover mashed  potatoes or to eggs. Be sure to chop them finely as they can be tough if not cut small.

What are Garlic Scapes and How Do I Use Them?

Today I am pickling the last of the garlic scapes. I found a recipe online that makes 2 pint jars of pickled scapes. That’s perfect for the two of us. I washed the scapes and cut them in short  pieces so they would fit in the jar. It may be a good idea to measure ahead of time.

What are Garlic Scapes and How Do I Use Them?

I had dill growing in the garden so I cut some to place in the bottom of the jars. Be sure to rinse the dill off first! This will give the scapes that wonderful dill flavour.

What are Garlic Scapes and How Do I Use them?

Recipes always make this sound easy. I placed the scapes in each jar trying to fit in as many as I could . Now scapes are not all that straight so I placed curvy ones on top or wiggled them in to fit.

What are Garlic Scapes and How Do I Use Them?

I finally got all the scapes in the sterilized jars. This does take a bit of time trying to get them in next to each other.

What are Garlic Scapes and How Do I Use Them?

I placed the really curly scapes on top. I knew not to over fill the jar so I stopped where I knew the brine would come to. Using a funnel, I poured the warm brine over the scapes to about a half-inch from the rim. I placed the sterilized seals and rings on the jars and left the jars to cool. I will store them in the fridge for about four weeks before tasting.

What are Garlic Scapes and How Do I use them?

Here the pickled scapes are cooling off. I hope they turn out okay. I went for the recipe with a bit of added sugar. I know, my sweet tooth made me do it. Its time to label them and mark the date on the jar. I can’t wait to try them out.

I used the recipe from this site on What to Do with Garlic Scapes.  Be sure to add the water to your pot as I almost missed it as an ingredient when making the brine. I had maybe 1/4 cup of brine left which I didn’t use so the measurements worked for me.

So the next time you see garlic scapes, let me know if you tried them and how you used them. We always love new recipes from the garden.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day-June 2016

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day- June 2016

Here it is the middle of June already! Where does the time go? I almost forgot it was Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of the month, bloggers from all over the world showcase what is in bloom in their gardens over at May Dreams Gardens. Let’s see whats in bloom in the garden today. The Hydrangea are all out a month earlier than normal. This shrub had a hard time over the last couple of years due to drought conditions and severe water restrictions.  This year we have a cooler spring. The flower I am holding is bigger than my hand. Is it the plants last hurrah? I hope not as I love the flowers. I took a cutting from this plant and moved it to the front garden and its blooms are purple.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day-June 2016

This year I grew all my own flowers from seed for the garden. What I didn’t think about was which flowers would do best in containers. I had overwintered the canna and got them started in the greenhouse in early spring. The funky plants with red tassels are Amaranth caudatus or Loves Lies Bleeding.  In the ground they can grow to five feet tall so I am taking a chance planting them in a container. Will they look crazy with the cannas? I think the flowers will cascade over the sides of the container later in the season. I was trying to keep with the red tones with this planting combination. I also grew mixed Impatiens from seed. The red and pink flowers have gone in the containers and they love it there. I also added some purple millet grass which was so easy to grow from seed. It will add not only a vertical element but the purple striping will blend nicely with the colours of the other plants.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day- June 2016

The roses, well what can I say, they are rocking the garden arbor. The white and yellow roses are finishing just as these tiny pink roses explode into bloom. Honeysuckle and Clematis are tangled in its branches making this a mass of colour and fragrance. Don’t let that blue sky fool you. Its been raining heavy here and the weather can change in a few minutes. Of course, the sun came out as I finished placing temporary covers over the tomatoes, Murphy’s law, right?

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day-June 2016

I have an extensive shade garden and have looked all over for a hardy white Fuchsia and finally found one. It’s not all white but the Hardy Fuchsia society members said it was as close as I would find. Its called Fuchsia magellanica var. molinae ‘Alba’. I love it. It’s still tiny but seems to like its new home. So why white flowers? White flowers really brighten up a shady garden.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day-June 2016

Clematis hangs casually over old fences and arbors in the garden adding to summer colour. This plant has been here for over fifteen years. Each year it is covered in hundreds of flowers.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day-June 2016

Oh, the sweet peas! They seem fine after the heavy downpour and cold temperatures. It dropped to 9C last night. This one is my favourite with its two-tone flowers.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day-June 2016

As long I keep cutting them they keep on producing new flowers. They should bloom for another month at least. By the time they are done the Dahlias in front will be in bloom. There are so many flowers to come and lots of vegetables to harvest. I am already busy picking berries, picking peas and canning season has begun. The best part of all is being able to bring a bouquet in the home or harvest something for dinner.

Building a Green Roof Bird House

Building a Green Roof Bird House

Over the years I have refurbished several old birdhouses and I still have them in the garden. On my trip to Portland for the Garden Bloggers Fling a couple of years ago I saw a bird house that I wanted to buy. The only problem was it had plants and soil on it and I knew I couldn’t sneak it across the border to Canada. I have always wanted a green roof bird house. This week Farmer Jim decided to try making one of the birdhouses so I could have one. He is truly the best!

Building a Green Roof Bird House

He has a ton of scrap lumber that he wants to use up. He had a plan to go by that he found in a garden magazine. We sat and looked at different designs online and came up with one he liked. I wasn’t sure if I liked the roof. It looks out of scale with the bottom of the house. He got busy cutting pieces for the birdhouse while I planned what would be planted on the top.  Farmer Jim found an old drawer pull and fastened it to the front like a perch. I love repurposing things. The base was an addition to the original plan. It has been built so that the bird house sits on a 4″ by 4″ post.  All you have to do is add an edge along the roof that is deep enough to plant. Our edge is two inches deep.

Building a Green Roof Birdhouse

Okay, it was time to do some magic. I lined the inside of the roof with roofing paper. Farmer Jim drilled holes in each of the corners so water will drain easily. Metal flashing under the roofing paper covers the peak so our feathered friends will stay dry. We have so much rain here, drainage holes are a must. I used masking tape to hold the stiff roofing paper in place. It isn’t perfect but it will work. I think next time we will forego the roofing paper and use metal flashing on the whole inside of the roof.

Building a Green Roof Bird House

Next I filled the roof with a layer of good potting soil and added some organic 4-4-4 fertilizer. I realized that once the plants go in, this two-inch layer of soil will be in place for a long time. I want the plants to flourish. I moistened the potting soil with some water.

Building a Green Roof Bird House

Now it was time to add some moss to the top. I placed it carefully over the soil trying to cover every inch. The moss will keep the soil moist.

Building a Green Roof Bird House

Farmer Jim attached  poultry wire to the top and stapled it along the sides. He used wire with one inch openings so its easy enough to insert a plant. He watered the moss and said the drainage holes worked perfectly. Now its time to plant the roof.

Building a Green Roof Bird House

I love using succulents in the garden. I was able to buy a few ‘hens and chicks’  plants from a friend. The rest of the succulents I found in the garden. I carefully poked a hole through the moss and inserted the stem of each succulent. Using a pencil or widger  worked to open up a planting hole.

Building a Green Roof Bird House

Succulents grow slowly so I will see how it does over the summer. Whats great is it’s so easy to propagate succulents with a bit of stem. They root very easily.

Building a Green Roof Bird House

Here is the view from the top. Once the plants were in place I placed the bird house out of the hot sun. It tends to dry out the soil quickly and we want our plants to root and grow well.

Building a Green Roof Bird House

Now all I have to do is wait for the plants to grow. Once I see that they are rooted  the bird house will be placed on a fence post in the back garden. Did I say he has 15 more bird houses already cut and waiting to be put together? Yes, he is excited to make each bird house a bit different from each other. Its fun to use your imagination and recycle old wood to create something fun for the garden. I still think this first bird house needs a bit of colour so some painting may happen. After all we don’t want the birds to have a boring house, now do we?

For some great ideas on how to build your own green roof bird house, Check out the sites below.

Green Roof DIY Birdhouse by Birds and Blooms

Green Roof Bird House Tutorial  by Garden Therapy

Rebecca’s Bird Gardens for some cool ways to decorate your new bird house. Love the creativity on these bird houses.

Tayberry Cream Cheese Pie

Making this again as its so delicious!

That Bloomin' Garden

I am cooking with locally picked tayberries this week. I made tayberry jam yesterday and have lots of berries leftover. I was surprised at how few recipes there were for this lovely berry. Tayberries are a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry and are sometimes a bit tart. I think the tartness is what I like about them. Here is a recipe I am making for dinner tonight. The kids are coming over for a barbecue so they will be my guinea pigs. I used to have a great strawberry pie recipe but after searching the house I have come to the conclusion that I tossed it out. Today I took parts of other recipes and changed them to duplicate my original recipe. You can make your own pie shell, I just happened to have a pre-made one on hand.
Recipe
1 pie single pie crust, baked as on…

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June in the Kitchen Garden

June is a wonderful month in the garden. Flowers are in full bloom and I am able to bring in a bouquet to enjoy every week. I am almost finished planting the flowers I grew from seed. I have one large container to get done and that’s it. Time to put my feet up, not.

June in the Kitchen Garden

You see the kitchen garden is starting to produce. The new kitchen garden beds are thriving. They were going to be fruit beds but we got them in too late for berries so we will transplant the blueberries next spring. This year the beds are home to tomatoes, basil and peppers. We are going  to work on finishing the front edge of the two beds this weekend. Hopefully we can round off the edge with bricks as this weedy dirt area meets up with the lawn. We need to get some good supports in place for the tomato plants. Tomato cages are never tall enough for the indeterminate tomato plants.

June in the Kitchen Garden

I rarely grow sweet peas but decided to plant some along one of the raised beds and along a fence in the dahlia garden. Am I ever glad I did! The fragrance is divine and I have hundreds of flowers to share. I hope they are still in bloom for a friend’s wedding in July. As long as they are picked every couple of days they should continue to bloom.

June in the Kitchen Garden

Below the sweet peas I have carrots and beets on the go. I had hoped for some beet greens but leaf miner larva is eating the leaves. That makes the leaves unappealing for salads. It looks like the carrots will be ready in a few weeks. I have some celery in this bed as well. I am trying out a red celery this year. At the far end I have some pumpkin plants for the grandkids to enjoy.

June in the Kitchen Garden

The garlic bed is full of scapes waiting for me to harvest them. It’s only a couple of weeks before I harvest the garlic. I have a flat of cauliflower seedlings waiting for this bed. Remember the crazy price of cauliflower last year? I will add some aged manure and organic fertilizer to the soil between crops. After all, the garlic has been here for almost nine months. The soil will need some feeding for new crops to do well.
June in the Kitchen Garden

The tomatoes have never looked better. I spent last night tying in loose branches to the support system. There are tiny tomatoes forming on the plants. In behind the tomato bed is a bed full of onions. The idea is to have enough onions and garlic to last all winter.

June in the Kitchen Garden

This variegated tomato is producing a striped fruit by the looks of it. I love the tiny hairs along the stems. I am growing this variegated tomato for a seed bank. Its variegated leaves look odd for a tomato plant. As a seedling in the greenhouse I kept thinking there was something wrong with it.

June in the Kitchen Garden

It’s a good thing I took a photo of these tall peas as the wind came up and they all fell over. I should have had a stronger support system for them. What worked for the Lincoln Homesteader peas, does not work for Alderman Telephone peas. Okay the word ‘telephone’ should have told me they would be tall. I am growing them for seed  so I need to figure out how to right them back in place. For now a trusty length of baling twine is holding them up. I am now harvesting peas every couple of days. The Lincoln Homesteader peas only grow to 3′ and are almost finished. The Alderman peas mature later so picking hasn’t begun yet. It’s almost better to have them mature at different times.

June in the Kitchen Garden

I am one of the worst lettuce growers but this one makes me happy. I had some small harvests from my first crop and then the temperature got too warm and things started to bolt. Luckily I had planted successively so more lettuce was on the way. It’s now cooled down and the salad crops are happier. Today I planted more chervil and arugula to add to our summer salads.

June in the Kitchen Garden

The raspberries are reddening! I am enjoying my daily serving of fruit while in the garden. Yes, not one berry has made it inside yet. It’s the same with the strawberries in containers. We tend to eat them while in the garden.

June in the Kitchen Garden

I love onions and grow them from both sets and from seed. Sets are easier but they don’t always work out. I planted some sets last year and harvested most of them. I must have missed a few. I now have four onion sets looking like this. Yes, it’s going to seed but it’s so pretty.  I am a big seed saver so its okay that this onion is bolting. I may have to experiment with the seeds from the plants.

June in the Kitchen Garden

I am also growing a tomato called ‘Sylvan Gaume’ for its seeds. So far this plant doesn’t have a strong stem. It tends to flop over sideways. It’s supposed to produce fruit up to 3 pounds but its branches could never hold that kind of weight. Time will tell if this is a good producer or not. Hoping this is another good tomato year as we are low on salsa and that can’t happen.