Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekly Farm Update: 7/24/11

There was some construction done in the garden this weekend and some small injuries were sustained but nothing major. I will leave that news until next week.

First up is one of the beds from behind the garage. The radishes are getting bigger each day and some may be ready shortly. I haven't had as much growing from this bed as I was hoping, but we'll see how it turns out. The major growth has been radishes but bunching onions have also made an appearance.

I have said that the eggplants have been coming in but no real proof has been shown and that ends this week! These are 3 Black Beauties on one plant but the middle one has been clipped. There are about 5-6 fruits in the fridge right now and we are trying to figured out how to eat them. We grilled the first one of the season and thoroughly enjoyed it. We might be making a small eggplant lasagna or eggplant parmesan. They both sound amazing and we my try both.

Even after clipping one off, there are still another 3-4 on left on the plant  There are also Front Runners have only put out one fruit, and is a little behind, but it may get more.



This is a tiny sampling of how many yellow pear tomatoes this one plant has on it. There are around 10 bunches on it and each bunch has 10-15 tomatoes on it. I have been enjoying these all season, but can't seem to eat them fast enough. I have 5-6 of these plants and they are all producing like crazy! The plants seem to have new branches all the time, but I've tried to keep them under control. I try to keep up on the suckers but they grow quickly.


The Early Girls are not fair behind on production and need to be harvest every other day or so. Each harvest brings in about a gallon size zip lock bag. Tomatoes have been given away to family, neighbors, friends and anybody else that comes by. My wife and I have also taken in bags in to work to share with co-workers.

We know we can be canning or freeze them, but find it easier to just give them away. I know canning is not difficult but we are taking it one step at a time. We may do it next year but we are just having fun with it for now. We enjoy the fresh and organic veggies right off the plant or vine.

I leave you this week with a big, happy bee I caught in a tree that is behind the garage. This tree was came with the house and has been trimmed down to almost nothing but it keeps coming back. It has gorgeous yellow blooms and brings some color to an otherwise monotone area.

I will be back next week for another update!

Luis

This week's update in photos is HERE!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekly Farm Update: 7/17/11

We start with a shot that shows the wooden raised beds and a little extra.  The white "square" on the ground is a 2x2 sq foot frame that was made using pvc. I have since added chicken wire to it and added a small raised bed with bricks. I planted some pepper plants that were in containers and radishes in it. I had to find a way to keep the cats out, but also come up with a way of not needing to buy chicken wire every time.

The 3 wooden beds continue to produce delicious tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. I've had to trim down some of the tomato plants because they are simply getting too big. I will need to add more support for next Spring. The tee-pees worked fine, but only to a certain point, and then it was just nuts.

This is a close up of the Moneymaker tomato plant that was moved into the bbq pit. I thought it was big last week but I've had to trim it. There are more tomatoes that have formed on it.  Hopefully, they will make it.

I check on it every few days to make sure the soil is moist, but leave it alone for most of the time. The grass clippings and shredded paper I am using as mulch seem to be doing the trick.


The next shot shows the radishes that are slowly growing in the raised bed behind the garage area. These are coming in nicely, but it is not the only thing that has sprouted in this bed. We also have bunching onions and what I think are beets. I didn't label the different squares of the bed because I figured everything in it, other than 2 squares, are all root vegetables. The two other squares are spinach and lettuce. I'm not sure how the rest of the season will go, but we hope to get a good yield from this bed.

I decided that I didn't want to waste the empty areas of the garden and started putting in small beds of 2x2 feet. The first bed is showing life with the radish border already popping up. This bed, unlike the one above, gets full sun and heat. It has only been about two weeks since the seeds were sowed and the border is already defined. I don't remember what was planted in this one. I know there are two sections with bunching onions and probably beets for the other two squares. Regardless of what it is, I'm sure they will be enjoyed.

Overall, the farm hasn't changed much from last week, but it is exciting to see everything growing. Tomatoes and peppers are plentiful, but the eggplant is not far behind. The Black Beauties should be also plentiful this season.

I will try and grow something new every year and it seems like my wife may have the same idea. I showed some of her gorgeous plumeria blooms last week, but this one is special because this specific cutting didn't bloom at all last year. She was surprised and awed by the gorgeous yellow on the blooms, and the wonderful smell.  Apparently, the white/yellow plumerias have a richer and sweeter scent than the white/pink ones.

That's it for this week, and I will be back next week with more photos!

Luis

This week's photos can be found HERE!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weekly Farm Update! 7/9/11

This week starts off with white Swiss chard, which has now been cut down to only 3-4 plants. I pulled about half of the plants out, as they were getting pretty big and crowding each other out. One of the plants had actually bolted, since the heat here has been pretty constant and the plants are going insane.

The chard is actually the last thing still in the greens bed. All lettuce is long gone but I am not sure if I will plant anything else in the area for the fall...we will see. Heck, I don't know if I will put in a fall garden at all. Then again, nothing is written in stone.



Up next is the cherry tomato plant that has stuck around from last spring. It isn't as productive as last year, but it is still producing a good amount of tomatoes. It isn't taking up any room in the actual garden because it is in a massive container, and it will probably be swapped out for next season. The tomatoes from this year will not go to waste and will be enjoyed.

I will amend the soil and will try something else in the pot. Some beans sound good as they will add nitrogen back into the soil.



The three beds are full of fresh veggies and it seems like they will explode at any second. The main thing coming out of them are tomatoes, but peppers and eggplants are not far behind. I picked 2 more eggplants this last week, but they don't compare with the amount of tomatoes we are getting. We are cooking and eating them fresh as much as we can.



This is a tomato plant that was transplanted about a 2 weeks ago from a container into the bbq pit. It is not actually where the fire would be but it is a section on the right side of the pit that had soil already in it. I've grown potatoes and cucumbers in it already. I can now add tomatoes to that list, and it is amazing as to how big this plant has gotten. It was not looking good in the container, so as a last-ditch effort I moved it, and now it has just about tripled in size. It has many flower clusters that will hopefully put out more tomatoes.  I have a small "fence" around it to keep the cats out, which seems to be working.


The last shot for this week is of the plumerias my wife has growing in containers around the yard. They require work, and she is great with details and sticks to the process. I must say that these are some gorgeous blooms and they smell amazing!

Luis

This week's photos are HERE!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Weekly Farm Update! 7/4/11

I am happy to announce that the first eggplant of the season has finally been harvested! I also picked many tomatoes and a few peppers along with it. It is July 4th and that eggplant may just get sliced up and tossed on the grill with a little olive oil. I believe we have a basket that goes on top of the grill for veggies. We will give that whirl and see how it turns out.

This is not the only eggplant that will be enjoyed this year as there are many more on the plants. We also have a few Front Runners but more Black Beauty fruits are also on the way in. We will have to get creative as to how we want to eat them.



Up next are the tiny radishes that are already popping up in the new bed! I planted this raised bed using the square foot method and is divided with yute and push pints but I also wanted to give it a natural divider. I planted a few different varieties of radishes along the diving lines and there are more than just these two popping up. I also have bunching onions that have started sprouted and will hopefully put out a good crop.


This is a small plant but productive green bell pepper plant. All 3 large peppers on this plant have been picked and will be eaten shortly. Green bells are only 1 of the 3 different peppers on the farm though. Banana and Poblano peppers and are also producing well.

The heat has been good for the peppers and the garden in general. The tomatoes and eggplants have been basking in the hot sun. I water pretty much everyday. The raised beds hold the water much better now that I've added the shredded paper as mulch. It was being dumped into the city recycling but why not find a use for it at home?


I know I've posted a few photos of tomato harvest on the blog before and on Twitter but why not add another one here? We have so many tomatoes that we needed to reorganize everything in the refrigerator. I've given away tomatoes to our neighbors, my mother in law, and my wife gives them away at work. We have made pasta sauce and will be making salsas and anything else we can think of. We need to clear out the freezer and re-stock it with quart size bags of diced tomatoes.

The last photo for this week is of a tomato with an extra "nub" that decided to stick out. I did not use Photoshop it or anything to make it look this way. This is really how it grew and was just as delicious as the rest of the tomatoes.

I will be back next week with more photos!

Luis

This week's photos can be found HERE!