Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene Forced Me to Pick My Peppers.

With Hurricane Irene bearing down on us and being expected to hit us today, yesterday we went and picked all the giant green marconi peppers and sweet banana peppers.

There was a nice harvest of banana peppers. They totaled one pound four ounces for 63 of them. Some were on the small size, but I didn't want the weight of them to break the plants in the high winds we were expecting, so we picked them too.

The giant green marconi peppers were looking pretty good for a nice harvest, hurricane or not.

The plants were loaded with nice peppers.

We ended up with a harvest of 65 marconi peppers that weighed in at 5 pounds 8 ounces.

Here are both types of peppers right after picking them. Don't they look nice?

Today I have some blossoms on my Cherokee Purple tomato plants. Hopefully, after Irene they will still be there.

I have a couple of pics of the Cherokee purples that are actually bearing fruit!

They're looking pretty healthy!

Next comes the okra. I was able to pick four of them yesterday and they weighed two and one quarter ounces total. I love okra and I hope these plants produce really well.

Fortunately, I chose to plant six plants in a half-barrel, out on my driveway. The seedlings I bought took off well and are flourishing in there. Now one of the benefits of having them in a barrel is that when the weather turns really bad, we can slide them off the bricks and onto a four-wheeled dolly and roll them into my shop. That's exactly what we did! My son Jonathan helped me get the container into the shop out of bad weather danger.

After I had picked the okra yesterday, I went over and picked the raspberries. I picked a very nice 3 3/4 ounces in one picking.

I actually went out during a lull in the storm today and was able to pick another 1 3/4 ounces of raspberries  before they could be destroyed by the high wind.

That wraps up the current status of how our garden is doing. Hopefully, it will still be there after this wind subsides.

Have a great vegetable gardening day!
Veggie PAK

Monday, August 22, 2011

What's Been Going On In The Garden.

It's the time of year when the harvests dwindle down, so last week I didn't have a new post for my blog.  This year, the tomatoes have done very poorly. I guess I'll attribute that to the heat we had.

This week, I'll share the info on harvests I've picked since my last posting.

Roma Tomatoes     28 each     3 1/2 pounds
Big Boy Tomatoes     12 each     3 1/4 pounds
Patio Tomatoes     4 each    1 ounce
Brown Turkey Fig     1 each     1 ounce
Okra      4 each     3 1/2 ounces
Marconi Green Peppers     5 each     10 ounces
Sweet Banana Peppers     42 each     2 pounds
Jalapeno Peppers     2 each     1/2 ounce
Raspberries     4 3/4 ounces

Now to the garden activities:

Our grandson spent the week with us, so I thought it a prime opportunity to get him into the gardening mode. Here he's helping me rake smooth a freshly tilled area so we can plant Vates collards plants.

Here we are after finishing the raking. He loves to use his own rake in the garden!

Here is a video of me showing my grandson how to use a push-plow, or high-wheeled cultivator as the newer terminology calls it.

Before you watch it, just let me say, don't listen to what he says...

I'm innocent!

Now we have to get those plants in the ground so they can begin to take root while the weather isn't as hot as it has been.

Here we are working as a team planting more collards in the other plot in our back yard.

After they're all planted, it's time to water thoroughly so we don't stress the roots too much. He really enjoys this part.

Here are the freshly planted collards. I'm getting a much earlier start with them this year. Hopefully I'll get a few pickings before Christmas.

These are my okra plants which I have in a half-barrel. They are now doing very well, but during the hot weather, I had to give them a full watering can twice a day to keep the leaves from wilting.

Here are some up close shots of the blooms and actual okra growing. I hadn't grown it before, so I didn't realize that the flowers would be so beautiful!

I hope for a great okra harvest this year.

This is my two year old Brown Turkey fig tree. It's come a long way since I planted it when it was 30 inches tall. It looks like it really liked the compost I blended with the soil before putting the root ball in the ground.

I was amazed to see that my grapes are coming back for a second round! I didn't expect that since all the first crop of grapes have been long gone.

Hopefully the grape vines will produce more this time than they did for their first actual picking earlier this year. The vines are in their fourth year and according to the books, it should be a bountiful harvest. It hasn't been so far for the grapes, but maybe this will change my records since the weather will not be as hot.

I had planted Straight 8 and Marketmore 76 cucumbers three times this year and wasn't able to harvest a single cucumber from either of the types. I suspect the 100 degree temperatures for several days took its toll on them even though they were watered regularly. They were burned to a crisp.

I'm giving it one more try this year with Burpless #26 cucumber plants from Norfolk County Feed-n-Seed. Perhaps the blistering heat is over for this year. We'll see how these do. While my grandson was here he watered them each morning and night using the watering can.

Here are my giant marconi green pepper plants. Notice the lightweight clothesline rope that I have on each side of them to help support them from falling over in the wind.

The sweet banana pepper plants continue to load up with really nice peppers. They have done very well this year. I also have them tied up with the lightweight clothesline rope. Like the fencing and the green posts, I put the clothesline away inside during the winter. I have been using most of this clothesline rope for four years. Storage out of the weather really pays off in the long run. As I recall, the clothesline rope is about $12 for 100 feet of it.

Now you know that if I get cucumbers from the new plants, I've got to have tomatoes to go with them! These are three Cherokee Purples that I found available at the feed-n-seed, so I bought them.

I hope to get even a few tomatoes off these vines.

They're blooming and there's even a marble-sized tomato on one of the plants already.

It's cleanup time in the bean patch. It took about half an hour to clean the vines off these two rows of fence. Four more rows to go, then I'll pull the fence and roll it up and store it in my shop for next year. The same with the posts. I'll pull them because it helps them stay in good condition longer when they're out of the weather when not in use. I've got to protect my investment.

That's the current status of our garden. I'm aiming to get some broccoli and cauliflower in there as well as some cabbage in the next couple of weeks. It should end up being a good year for the garden.

Thanks for stopping by and for your continued interest in my back yard organic vegetable blog.

Have a great vegetable gardening day!

Veggie PAK

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Our Weekly Harvest for August 7th, 2011.

The bountiful harvest continues for us from our back yard organic garden. This week we were blessed with the following for our food supplies:

Roma Tomatoes     8 pounds
San Marzano Tomatoes     2 Pounds
Big Boy Tomatoes     5 Pounds 11 Ounces
Park's Whopper Tomatoes     1 Pound 8 Ounces
Sweet Banana Peppers     3 Pounds 8 Ounces
Giant Marconi Peppers     1 Pound 8 Ounces
Brown Turkey Figs     5  1/2 Ounces
Heritage Raspberries     6 1/2 Ounces
Patio Tomatoes     3/4 Ounce

I'm trying my hand at making Sweet and Hot Banana Pepper Jelly. I used a standard hot banana pepper jelly recipe, but substituted sweet banana peppers for the hot ones. To give it some zing, I used one jalapeno pepper in it.

Here are five half-pints of the Banana Pepper Jelly. I put the other jar in the fridge because I can't wait to use it. It tastes pretty good if you like banana pepper flavor like I do.

These are just some of the tomatoes that I used to make the pasta sauce that we like so much. It's a pre-packaged mix from Mrs. Wages, but we think it's very tasty.

I bought this antique food mill for only one dollar at a church bazaar in Hudson, New York. I wasn't sure what it was, but I liked the looks of it so I bought it. As I was carrying it around, an older woman stopped me and said "Oh! I remember when my mother used one of those to make tomato sauce and applesauce." Then I knew what it was for and it was going to work well for my needs. I've been using it for three years now. It is VERY sturdy.

I positioned it to straddle a Pampered Chef 2 quart measuring bowl, and went to work rolling those tomatoes through it. I actually thought at first I might need a hand-cranked food mill, but I believe this one worked even easier and faster. Look at that beautiful red tomato sauce!

All measured out and being cooked according to the Mrs. Wages Pasta Sauce package directions. It smelled great!

I ended up with 10 pints of pasta sauce for our food storage.

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this since I'm so proud of canning all of it. Most of what I have canned this year is on this shelf, but there is a lot more. I need to make another shelf in order to have enough storage shelf space.

That completes the latest Weekly Harvest for us.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great vegetable gardening day!

Veggie PAK

Monday, August 1, 2011

Our Harvest Monday for August 1st, 2011.

Our harvest this week was pretty good. I haven't had time for pics, but here are the statistics:

Big Boy Tomatoes     23 each @ 8 pounds

Parks Whopper Tomatoes     26 each @ 6 3/4 pounds

Patio Tomatoes     3 each @ 1 1/4 ounces

Roma Tomatoes      18 each @ 2  1/2 pounds

San Marzano Tomatoes     31 each @ 2 1/2 pounds

Heritage Red Raspberries     4 ounces

Brown Turkey Figs     12 each @ 7 1/2 ounces

That's it for this week.

Except for one more thing. I got a Mantis Mini Tiller for my birthday! I love it! Look out weeds!

Have a great vegetable gardening day!
Veggie PAK