Archive for the 'Gardening' Category

Garden 2017 – Update #1

Well, here it is mid-season and the garden is doing so-so. Once again I’m having problems w/ some tomato plants. The San Marzano have all but died and the Cherokee Purple are producing but are on their way out. I discussed this w/ a fellow gardener and they suspect the plants have a fungus. The rest of the tomato plants are doing fine at this point.

The basil, chard and jalapenos are all thriving. My other herbs probably need to be moved to a sunnier spot next spring. The tree they are beneath has grown quite a bit and is shading out the sun. I may move them next to the zinnias which get tons of afternoon sunshine.

As you can see in the photo of what I harvested yesterday, it looks like there’s salsa in my future!

Photos snapped on July 30th:

garden1 7-30-17

garden2 7-30-17

garden3 7-30-17

garden5 7-30-17

garden4 7-30-17

garden6 7-30-17

Good eats and garden treats…

Bruno

Garden 2017

This year’s garden… seeded on April 1st and transplanted on May 22nd. To insure better success I picked items that have done well in past years and omitted items that have not thrived in my yard.

For tomatoes, I chose Cherokee Purple (4 plants); Black Krim (4 plants); Speckled Roman (2 plants) and San Marzano (2 plants). I decided to only plant chard – Bright Lights (4 plants) and 5 Color (4 plants), and to omit kale because of worm infestation in past years. For hot peppers, I chose Early Jalapeno (6 plants).

As you’ll notice in the pictures, I rotated the location of everything in the enclosure because last year I had many tomato plants die or fail to produce. Hopefully the crop rotation will be helpful in reducing or eliminating this problem. After the final lettuce harvest I tilled the soil and put the tomatoes in that spot.

After heavy rains in April and May we finally have dryer weather. So far, all the plants are thriving in their new locations. My zinnia seeds were almost washed away by the heavy rains, but fortunately they are doing well. In the wildflower patch next to the enclosure I supplemented the area w/ a pack of perennial seeds called “Perennial Bloom”.

My herbs, especially the sage, suffered from the cold snap we had in early spring. I added a Greek oregano plant as well as a species of lavender that does well in Missouri. The older lavender plants did not return. Only Genovese basil was seeded this year in the pots in the enclosure. Some of the seedlings in the largest pot were eaten by something early on, but the surviving seedlings are doing well at this point.

Photos taken on 6/21:

garden1 6-21-17

garden2 6-21-17

garden3 6-21-17

garden4 6-21-17

garden5 6-21-17

garden6 6-21-17

garden7 6-21-17

Happy Summer Solstice!

Bruno

Garlicky Fermented Serrano/Jalapeno Hot Sauce

My garden produced so many hot peppers this year I had to think of new ways to use them all! In addition to making several batches of pepper jam, I decided to give this recipe a try. I fermented the peppers and garlic for 7 days before straining and pureeing. The flavor of the sauce is nice, however next time I will save some of the puree I strained out to thicken the sauce a bit more.

fermented-hot-sauce1 Day 1

fermented-hot-sauce2 Day 7

fermented-hot-sauce3 Finished product

Garlicky Fermented Serrano/Jalapeno Hot Sauce (recipe from Feast Magazine)

Ingredients:

4 cups serrano and jalapeno peppers – remove stems and halve lengthwise

10 cloves garlic – remove skins and smash slightly

1 tablespoon salt

2 cups water

Procedure:

1) Fill a 32 ounce jar w/ peppers and garlic

2) In a large bowl, dissolve salt in water. Pour just enough brine into jar to cover peppers and garlic.

3) Place fermentation weights over top of mixture to weigh it down.

4) Cover jar w/ a piece of cloth and secure w/ a rubber band. Allow mixture to ferment for 7 to 10 days. (the brine will become cloudy; this is a normal part of the process)

5) Once fermentation is complete, drain peppers and garlic, reserving brine.

6) In a food processor, puree peppers and garlic until a smooth paste forms. Add 1 tablespoon of brine at a time until hot sauce reaches desired consistency.

7) Run puree through a fine mesh strainer and store in a 12 ounce glass jar or bottle in refrigerator.

Yield: Approx, 12 ounces

Spice up your life!!

Bruno

Pollinator’s Paradise

pollinator's paradise1

pollinator's paradise2

This year’s zinnia patch…

Be the first to spot the Monarch butterfly and hummingbird (hint- they’re in the same photo right next to each other). Click on photos for a better view!

Colorfully yours,

Bruno

Garden 2016 – Update #2

This post is bittersweet… a few short weeks ago I was thrilled w/ how well my garden was thriving, however now it’s doing so-so. Two of my tomato plants have died (Moneymaker and Gold Medal) and two more (Cherokee Purple) are on the verge of kicking the bucket. On the bright side, the remainder of the plants are producing. Soon I’ll have my first ripe tomatoes and peppers of the season. The basil is coming in nicely and my chard and kale will be ready for a second harvest in the near future if I can continue to keep the leaf munching caterpillars away. Not sure if the 5 days of heavy rain last week was too much for some of the tomato plants. I’ll have to do some research to figure out the cause of the damage. So far the good outweighs the bad and I hope it stays that way!

 Photos snapped at 8 o’clock this morning:

garden1 7-10-16

garden2 7-10-16

garden3 7-10-16 Peppers

garden4 7-10-16 Black Krim

garden5 7-10-16 Speckled Roman and San Marzano

garden6 7-10-16 Cherokee Purple

garden7 7-10-16 Basil

garden8 7-10-16

garden9 7-10-16

garden10 7-10-16

garden11 7-10-16

Hoping for greener thumbs…

Bruno

 

Garden 2016 – Update #1

Wow, it’s only been a couple of weeks since my last post, but I’m very impressed by the progress of the garden and had to share how well it growing! The plants have doubled in size, the tomatoes are flowering and this morning I spotted the first baby tomato of the season. This week I harvested 2 big bags of lettuce, 1 big bag of kale/chard and a large quantity of oregano which is now drying in my kitchen. Lots of fresh greens for lunches and dinners!

The following photos were shot on June 7th:

garden1 june 7 '16

garden2 june 7 '16

garden3 june 7 '16

garden4 june 7 '16

garden5 june 7 '16

garden6 june 7 '16

Doin’ the happy gardener dance…

Bruno

Garden 2016

Well, it’s that time of year again to dust off the gardening tools and get growing! So far this season is starting off w/ plenty of rain. Fortunately there was a 2 day window of opportunity on May 14th and 15th to get everything in the ground. All the seedlings were started on April 3rd and were ready to go into their permanent new home. The basil (Italian Large Leaf and Italian Genovese), zinnias and marigolds were direct seeded on April 16th. The butternut squash had to be reseeded yesterday because the seeds I planted on May 14th were old and didn’t sprout. So far, all the seedlings have survived the transplant and are doing well in the ground. This year I put in 4 Swiss chard (two Bright Lights and two 5 Color Silverbeet), 4 kale (two Nero Toscana and two Red Winter), 2 Early Jalapeno, 5 Serrano Tampiqueno, and 12 tomato plants (one Gold Medal, one Crimson Carmello, one Speckled Roman, one Moneymaker, one San Marzano, three Cherokee Purple and four Black Krim). The Serrano peppers, Moneymaker and San Marzano tomatoes are new to the mix to see how well they’ll grow in my yard.

The following photos were taken on May 23rd:

garden2 May 23, '16 Zinnias (in foreground)

garden1 May 23, '16 The enclosure w/ basil and marigolds in pots

garden3 May 23, '16 Hummingbird and butterfly flowers

garden4 May 23, '16 Wildflowers

garden5 May 23 '16 Herbs

garden6 May 23 '16 Exterior of enclosure

So far it’s green thumbs up!

Bruno

 

Lettuces

lettuces1 2016

lettuces2 2016

This year’s lettuce crop is coming in nicely (along w/ some weeds!). I’m trying out some new varieties: micro greens (spicy mix), mesclun (chef’s gourmet spicy mix) and two types of arugula (regular and wild). The wild arugula is called Dragon’s Tongue and it grows very slowly… probably won’t put this in again next year for this reason.

Happiness is a green garden!

Bruno

 

Peppers Picked and Pickled

pickled peppers 2015

Huge crop this year… mucho pickled peppers for the winter months!!

Lovin’ the heat!

Bruno

Garden 2015 – Update #3: Fading into Fall

Well, summer’s almost over…what a bummer! Besides spring, it’s my favorite season. Gardening has been good this year. I already have a few ideas for next year that I’m looking forward to putting into action.

Here are a few photos that I shot this morning. As you can see, there are many tomatoes and peppers yet to be picked, and a few baby butternuts that hopefully will plump up for good eatin’! If you enlarge the photo of the zinnias and look closely at the top right flowers you might be able to spot a Monarch butterfly that stopped for some nectar to help it w/ the long flight to Mexico.

garden1 Sept 5 '15

garden2 Sept 5 '15

garden3 Sept 5 '15

garden4 Sept 5 '15

garden5 Sept 5 '15

garden6 Sept 5 '15

garden7 Sept 5 '15

garden8 Sept 5 '15

garden9 Sept 5 '15

Enjoy the final weeks of summer!

Bruno