Jul 23, 2009

The Great Taro Experiment

Well....It has been months since I last posted about my sickly Taro. And I guess I should apologise. I am sorry, I left you guys out of the Taro loop. I really didn't think the plant would last beyond being put out into my less than tropical New England yard. Of course the year I play with tropical goodies beyond my durable citrus, it decides to be the dampest coolest Season opener in a dogs age.

So for all of you who are still curious as to whether Taro can grow in New England. And those of you who want to try their hand at fresh Taro Chip.....gahhhh...Taro Chips ....(picture Homer Simpson)....I believe that yes...yes you can grow Taro in New England....and yes even when New England is cool and overcast and damp, you can have Taro chips! Well you can have these things providing that the sun eventually does come out and warms the world a bit.

Here is my proof.....

I took this shot on Sunday...and as of today there is another humongoid leave standing proudly in the middle of the plant. I am thinking I should have put something in the picture for size reference....oh well....next time :)

....Mmmmmm Taro Chips...........

Jul 18, 2009

The Veggie Season Begins for Real

It's not alot, but I am proud of my first real harvest of Summer Veggies. We have already enjoyed radishes in the Spring and Snow Peas as well, but I always feel that the Harvest really starts with the picking of the Cukes and Tomatoes. Granted these are just the earliest of cherry tomatoes, but since I haven't had a tomato since last Fall, I am drooling over these luscious looking little 'Whippersnappers'. They will become part of a small salad tomorrow along with those three pickling cucumbers, 3 runner beans...that I really grew for their beautiful flowers but I cant resist those tasty pods, 2 Yellow Wax beans...my row of beans was almost devoured by some unknown critter, but about 5 vines lived so it is going to be a bean here a bean there this year. Maybe a small onion or two, if I break down and dig them tomorrow, early for sure, but just for the salad....and finally a little bit of lettuce that is growing among the corn. It will no doubt be the best salad I and my family have had in a long time.

As for the 'Whippersnappers', you will have to wait until my Fall blog for the final taste results when I do my 'Tomatoes on Parade 2009' posting. But until then I can tell you that these little plants are real troopers. They survived the cold and damp of May and June. They laughed at my accidentally planting them in hanging baskets of straight Pro-Mix(Love that Pro-mix,and I did finally amend that with a little slow release fertilizer sprinkled on the surface , and regular watering with Fish Emulsion). They threw off the damage of an invasion of aphids. They withstood being let to wilt every day after the rain dried up. And they shrugged off me picking off the yellow nasty leaves those aphids left behind. I hope they taste as good as they grow.

*I had the salad....and man, after almost 9 months with no fresh Summer Veggies, I must say that the salad was divine!*

Jul 8, 2009

Bursting with Berries

This was a shot of last weeks typical every other day Black Raspberry harvest, minus my munching in the berry patch. The pace has slowed down considerably since, and I maybe have only one or two more full bowls left worth of Blacks out there. And maybe one bowl of Golden Raspberries as well. Although, the Golden Raspberries have been few , the larger harvest for them will be coming later in the season on the new canes...I had some trouble with those ...like everything else this Summer..... and will not see as large a harvest as I should, but the Goldens are more of a novelty, and the Black Raspberries are more the mainstay of my berry patch so I am still pleased as punch with the season so far.

My daughter has finally had her fill of the berries for the Summer....not me LOL.... She ate them by the bowlful fresh out of the garden, and then dipped into my freezer supply to make herself Triple Berry Smoothies out of the Raspberries and some Strawberries and Blueberries I have stored away in the freezer for later use(even tho they are a little seedy for me, those smoothies she makes are to die for, and I might ask her to guest blog the recipe here). Luckily I still have enough in the freezer to make a batch of jam come the Fall and the onset of colder days. Let me tell you, there is nothing like warming the house up by making a batch of Raspberry Jam...the aroma is out of this world!!

Once the berry season is over for good , I will have to hold myself to pruning them hard to keep the from taking over the world. It pains me to do so, but they are making their escape out into the road next to my yard....

Jul 2, 2009

Around the Garden

Well the weather has finally started co-operating a bit. There have been a few days were there has been more sun than clouds, and the temperature has gotten up above °70 on those days too, and that is a big plus.
In the big garden the tomatoes are finally flowering and a few even have little baby tomatoes growing.I have also noticed a bit of blossom drop. This is a first for me, and seeing that the weather has not been very hot, I have no clue what is doing it. Although in all reality I have never watched as closely as I am watching this year so this may be a normal occurrence in the garden. All in all, I have said to myself many times this year that if I even harvest 1 tomato per plant I will be thankful. I attribute this general less than hopeful feeling to how the weather and the killer aphids have wrecked havoc on the plants. I really hope that everything plays catch up over the next handful of days and I can look forward to canning up dozens of jars of sauce....but I am not holding my breath.
Also coming along in the big garden are the zucchini. I planted a variety called Parthenon for the third time this year, and for the third time it looks like I will be harvesting zucchini. Now this may sound strange to some, but before I found this particular variety I could not for the life of me get zukes to do their thing. Most people have to dress in black and creep under the cover of darkness leaving their zukes all around the neighborhood, like a reverse cat burglar. But not me. Nope. I am the scourge of anything summer squash. Not with Parthenon though!

Around the rest of the gardening yard, I have been starting to pick my Black Raspberries in earnest. We eat about half of a cereal bowlful in the morning and then I freeze around the same amount for jamming in the Fall. The berries will be coming in full force by the beginning of next week, then I may have to make some Raspberry shortcake...yum! I am thinking that this is going to be the year I have to aggressively prune back my berry patch...it is getting too tall and mighty rowdy. Can't have a rowdy bunch of berries now can we.

The wild blueberries are bluing up, but I am having a hard time beating the birds to them. The regular blueberries look as if they want to start bluing up but just cant make up their minds.

The Pole Beans are still trying to overcome the damage made to them by the mystery bug. The Yardlong beans are just waiting patiently for hot Summer weather to finally grace us with its presence. Also, I have this runner bean that is absolutely covered in gorgeous bright red flowers, and growing like nobodies business. It is a variety called 'Insuks Wang Kong' Runner Bean. I received this bean from a very generous gentleman whose wife the bean is named for. I wasn't going to plant it this season, but I took a shot as I have heard such good things about it, and man am I glad I did. Now I cant wait to eat them .I will get a picture of them up soon.

The corn is starting to actually grow....it hasn't reached knee height yet, but it's growing. The Tomatillos are covered in blossoms, as are the extremely stunted cucumbers. I even spied a few baby cukes, that makes me extraordinarily happy. I don't think I will have enough to pickle, but seeing as there are still about a dozen jars of dills left from last year I think a year off from pickling might not be a problem. The Edamame have had a tough go of it because of squirrels. I had to replant the seeds three times already, and now they are finally taking off ...but Arghh (picture me ripping out my hair) I have had enough of them darned squirrels this year. The watermelon flopped...too cold for them this Spring(must make note to start them inside next season), and the three sad tiny cantaloupe seedlings are down to one sad 4 inch tall seedling...squirrels again ARGHH (Again note for inside start)

The peppers and Eggplants are in various states of growth. The Poblanos are big and flowering. The sweet cherries are next in line with a batch of nice buds. The Cubanelles and Bananas are still trying to catch up, and the Habeneros and Lemon Drops are waiting on the hot weather along with the yardlong beans. Eggplant has only done well for me once, but I keep trying anyways. This is not looking to be a good eggplant year for me.

In the pumpkin patch , the winter squash vines are small but thriving, and the area where there would have been Cinderella pumpkins now has stunted Brussels Sprouts. To my surprise I do have one pumpkin growing big and strong, and as of this morning I believe it is sporting a newly pollinated pumpkin. Of course I have no clue how the plant got where it is. Oddly enough it is growing in my horseradish patch. I didn't amend that soil this year , or last year either, so maybe a dreaded squirrel planted that seed....maybe....and maybe that is why I pull my hair out but still tolerate those furry menaces. But they had better stop eating my baby apples.