Archive for the 'Gardening' Category

Garden 2019 – Update #1

It looks like letting the garden go fallow for a year has made a big difference. All the plants look healthy and strong. I harvested some of the chard last week, sautéed it w/ some crimini mushrooms, andouille sausage and fresh basil then folded it into pasta for a delicious dinner! The tomatoes and peppers are starting to produce, so caprese salads are in my near future. Ahh… the joys of summer!

The following photos were taken on July 5th, except for the one of the Cuore Di Bue tomato which was taken on July 7th.

garden1 7-5-19

garden2 7-5-19

garden3 7-5-19

garden4 7-5-19

garden5 7-5-19

garden6 7-5-19

garden1 7-7-2019

Stay cool!

Bruno

Garden 2019

Welcome to this year’s edition of Bruno’s garden! This year the theme is “less is more”. I decided to reduce the amount of plants so it will be easier to rotate plantings next year. Seeded on April 2nd and transplanted on May 19th, there are 9 tomato plants 3 Cuore Di Bue (an Italian heirloom shaped like an ox heart), 3 Cherokee Purple and 3 Black Krim; 4 chard plants (Five Color Silverbeet); and 3 hot pepper plants (Padron and Early Jalapeno). It’s the first time I’ve tried growing the Cuore Di Bue tomatoes and Padron peppers. If they do well I’ll plant them again next year. The basil was seeded on May 28th. In the large, round pots is Italian Genovese basil and in the rectangular pot is Sweet Thai basil. So far, all the plants are thriving.

With all the rain that’s fallen this year (almost too much) the wildflowers are growing like crazy (and unfortunately so are the weeds!). If you enlarge the photos you’ll notice the blooms are about to burst open w/ color. It reminds me of a fireworks display exploding when all the colorful blooms burst open!

Here are a few photos taken on 6/14:

garden1 2019

garden2 2019 herbs

garden3 2019 veggies

garden4 2019 basil

garden5 2019 wildflowers

garden6 2019 wildflowers

Cheers to a great growing season!!

Bruno

Garden 2018

Well, this year’s garden may surprise you. The last few years have been progressively worse and worse w/ my tomato plants despite efforts at crop rotation and soil replenishment. I decided to let my veggie plot go fallow this year, planting only a cover crop of Dutch clover to reenergize the soil. It was a tough decision, but I was tired of watching my tomato plants shrivel up and die year after year. In the fall I’ll till the clover into the soil and amend w/ some peat moss. Hopefully this will do the trick so next year I will have a healthy crop once again.

As you will see in the photos, I moved the herbs to the sunny spot where I had been growing zinnias. The herbs are now flourishing! In the pots next to the enclosure I have three type of basil growing – from left to right are Italian Genovese, Holy (also known as Tulsi) and Siam Queen (a variety of Thai basil). Looks like there will be plenty for pesto this fall! The perennials are doing great too.

Garden4 2018

Garden3 2018

Garden2 2018

Garden1 2018

Happy Summer!

Bruno

Garden Bounty

garden bounty 10-14-17

Harvested on 10/14/17. The pile of basil on the left is now a big jar of pesto waiting patiently in my fridge for some pasta!

Happy Eating!

Bruno

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