Aug 25, 2008

Pumpkin Update

August 13 2008

This is what the pumpkin looked like on August 13th. A beautiful deep dark green and the size and shape of a small squat or oblate cantaloupe.

August 20 2008

Only 1 week later and Pumpkin is now the size of a large cantaloupe , still squat in shape but now starting to come into color.

I am absolutely certain that the color is even more pronounced and orange today. I would have taken another picture to show the difference, but as soon as I was on my way out, the sky opened up for a nice rain shower. I am not complaining though, no way, because even though some parts of my area are complaining of too much rain, I have not been getting rain where near enough for my garden, so I am a happy gardener today :)!

Aug 19, 2008

Tomatoes...They're Whats for Dinner

I was trying to think of something new to do with our fresh tomatoes. I know I can be canning the excess...even though we dont have any where the amount it will take to feel overwhelming...that will come in a few more weeks....but in the meantime....

What to do for dinner.

We have had our Fresh Tomato Pizza ...a big favorite here...and we have stewed them up with our fresh zucchini...we have even added them into our Qeusadillas. But I can never get enough of my love apples , and I like them to shine on the dinner table, and I think tonights dish will do just that!

Pasta and Tomatoes alla Donna

Italian Sausage -use your favorite type
2 large cloves Garlic Minced
3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5-6 Ripe Tomatoes Peeled and Seeded, use a combination of your favorite garden beauties!I used Golden Girl, Cherokee Purple, Olena Ukrainian , Better Boy and a NOID Red.
1 TBS Red Wine
Parmesan or Romano Cheese, Freshly Grated
Salt and Pepper to taste
Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

You can use any pasta you like, I used Ravioli...but even spaghetti will work.

Start by heating a few Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a skillet.
Cut your favorite Italian Sausage into bite size pieces and cook until done.
Add in the Minced Garlic and saute til just cooked....about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes at most. Then add your coursely chopped garden tomatoes and Red Wine,bring to a bubble and cook a few minutes . Now add salt, pepper and optional red pepper flakes.Cook until heated thru , but not too much longer. Remove from heat and gently stir in a few tablespoons of the grated cheese. Pour over your favorite macaroni and sprinkle with a little more cheese and whatever garden herbs you might like.....Enjoy!!

Tomatoes just waiting to be Dinner!

Seed Saving

Inquiring minds want to know my "secret" to successful seed saving.

I like that. :)

Well, there is no real secret. I follow the same method for seed fermenting as I have found many others online follow. Fermenting is for saving of tomato seeds only, as I just harvest and dry all my other seed types, and call it a day.

Firstly,I only do Open Pollinated, so there is always a small chance of cross pollinating. I have tried bagging blossoms but have experienced awful blossom drop that way. Plus I figure there is only like a 5% chance of cross pollinating this way, and I don't sell my seeds on to fermenting....

First pick the best of your favorite tomatoes,Squeeze the seeds and their surrounding juices into a plastic or Styrofoam cup...I save yogurt and sour cream containers for this, the old renew reuse theory . Make sure you label the cup with the name of the seed being saved.
Then add enough water to ensure that after sitting around for a few days the liquid will not have all evaporated...usually I add maybe a teaspoon or two.

Now either you need to cover this with one of those 'Favor Bags' like you see at weddings. You can find them at at craft stores...they are made out of Organza material, and they do a good job of keeping the fruit flies at bay. Or you need to keep these in a room where you wont mind swarms of fruit flies. Then simply let the mixture sit until a nice fungal mat forms on the top...this will look kind of mottled and goopy. 

Now it is time for seed cleaning. Take your fermented mess and gently remove the fungal mat by tipping the cup and helping the mat slide off with the aid of a toothpick, pick any seeds that are stuck in the goop out and add back to the liquid in the cup. Fill the cup with fresh water and swirl a bit, being careful not to slosh out the seeds. pour off the excess liquid , again being mindful of your seeds. Any bad seed should float to the top of the water and be poured away. Repeat this process three or more times until you are left with just clean seeds.
Pour seeds out into one layer onto a clean paper plate or paper towel and leave in a dry spot for as long as it takes for them to be dry. Loosening them from the plate or paper and giving them a stir is a good idea 1 or 2 days into their drying.
Make sure to label with the correct name and date and store out of the light in a cool dry place.

Enjoy :)

Aug 17, 2008

Green Thumb Sunday

Seed Saving time again! Okay,so it's not like I don't have enough tomato seeds, of enough different varieties, to supply most of my home town with plants....but I am compelled to save seeds from almost every variety I have growing.
I mean... Who knows who might want some, or when I may have the yen to grow a variety again. I just cant afford to take those types of chances.

Aug 13, 2008

Home Invasion

I was sitting in my living room this afternoon, just minding my own business...maybe even dozing off a bit...when I hear this odd plinking sound coming from my kitchen. I got up , thinking maybe my husband had come in from work and was doing something weird in the sink. I go to the door and look to see if his car is home. Nope, he was not home yet. I slowly creep into the kitchen, leary of the eerie and oddsound emananting from within ....and HOLY CRAP....there is a squirrel, biting his way thru my window screen. Blatantly trying to get into my house, and at the bread I had cooling on the counter. I immediately yelp and yell 'no way' ...there is no way I am having this!! So with the bread relocated to a less tempting area, I call my son into the room and ask him to look for something to patch the screen with. I go out into the hall to the front door so I can look up the street to see if hubby is coming yet. Since I don't see hubby anywhere up the street , I go back into the kitchen to assess the damage, and what do I find...that dang squirrel is halfway thru the now riped screen, and into my kitchen!!! This time I not only yelp, but I flail my self around at the offender, threatening extermination.....but of course my dearest daughter takes umbrage to the idea of me killing her squirrel. Knowing, of course, that this could be the same deaf squirrel we have been coddling all Summer(and it turns out,to which hubby has been feeding Pringles), and she loves dearly. I say, lovey squirrel or not, I will not have squirrels traipsing into my kitchen whenever the mood strikes them. Still invader squirrel lives on, and screen is in need of repair.

Besides I dont think it was our deaf squirrel....he heard me yelping, I just know it.

I Haven't Forgotten the Tomatoes

I know I am usually gushing on and on about my tomatoes. I also know that once upon a time this blog was primarily about those luscious love apples. This year though, the tomatoes are having a slow go of it(maybe because they are putting their effort into size rather than quantity it seems), so my primary focus has been to enjoy each of the veggies as they present themselves to me. So far the ones to do that in any type of abundance would be the zucchini and the edamame. Oh that is not to say that I haven't been enjoying my tomatoes, because I have. Just not in the over flowing piles of tomatoes way that most Summers present.

So , no worries, in another month I will have compiled my tasty tomato facts for this season and I promise to share it all with you!!

Leaving you with a hint of this Summer's Bounty

Pictured Clockwise from top: Aunt Ruby's German Green, Better Boy, Cherokee Purple, Mr. Stripey.

Aug 10, 2008

Green Thumb Sunday

Out of all of the Rose of Sharon that I enjoy blooming in my small yard, this is my favorite. It is another of my volunteer bushes, and the color on it is so much fun. It really is hard to resist taking pictures of her. Of course the photos do nothing to do this flower justice. In real life, the candy cane like effect of the white and rose-red pink are more striking....but I think you get the idea from this shot, as you can see some of the color on the edges of each petal. Mother Nature is one pretty lady

Have a Happy Green Thumb Sunday!

Aug 8, 2008

The Pumpkin Saga

I have been feeling a tad bit guilty here as I haven't updated my pumpkin pictures in a week. Then just when I thought I couldnt feel any worse about neglecting my little pumpkpin gal, Mother Nature decides to teach me a lesson. Last night we had a ginormous storm complete with marble sized hail....I havent seen hail since I was a kid!!!
So needless to say, I was a nervous wreck regarding my many fruit and veggie plants. During the height of the storm when the weather center was warning us of possible tornados, I was at the window closest to my tomatoes swearing out loud that if need be I would go out there and protect them with my body ....of course I know better, but anyone who has watched their beloved 'maters bending in the wind knows my pain.

So here are last weeks pumpkin shots. I dont have anything next to them for size comparison as they are fenced in now(for safety reasons).

In this shot , she is around baseball sized ^

Here you can see how the pumpkin is dangling in the bushes.

Now it is around softball sized.

I know that it is even bigger today, and if dinner(pizza) hadnt just arrived I would be posting more, but got to run ....More pumpkin coming soon!!!

Aug 4, 2008

We had an interesting visitor to the front yard yesterday. In the Shot above, he is drying out and hardening up after shedding his exoskeleton....Ain't he a beauty!!

And here is his Exo....

Oddly enough, his shell is on one side of a garden sign, and he was directly on the opposite side of the sign.

Ahhhh the wonders of nature!