Planting Garlic

It's been raining for past 4 days and for a change it's a very good thing - ground has been overly dry and many lakes in the area much lower than I ever seen them in the past. But once it stopped, we went to work - got about 60 cubic feet (2.5 yards) of manure delivered on Saturday. So we spread them out in our large garden, my hubby tilled it all with old soil and then we raked it all smooth. Very tiring job spreading it all as it's very dense. But the mix came out pretty good. Hopefully it will improve production for next year once we start planting in spring. For now I redirected one of my long beds - 22 feet long, that I usually use for tomatoes and onions, to another use. I planted over 120 cloves of garlic planted, including:

  • Inchelium Red, 
  • Chesnock Red, 
  • German Porcelain, 
  • Ozark, 
  • Spanish Rojas, 
  • Vietnamese Red
  • New York White. 

I still have few heads of Music and Spanish Roja to put somewhere but not sure if I want it in  my garden. I might put some into the Community Garden for next spring. And yes, it's a lot of garlic, but my bed really needs a break from nightshade varieties. Maybe I'll add some squash later in June once I pull some of the earlier varieties out.

On not such a happy side, while we were preparing out garden for spring, our neighbor decided she didn't want to see our home from her window so she brought a landscaper with an excavator and planted two huge pine trees - they are expected to grow 40-60 feet tall easily. Right smack in front of our garden on the property line.  Effectively blocking all afternoon sun from my garden. I knew she hated to see my garden from the moment we build it (she never hid that opinion) but never would have thought her to be this hateful. Her ideas of "pretty" is combination of rocks, metal constructions and pines.  Really wish she'd move somewhere to the city where there is plenty of each to satisfy her taste, because clearly anything fresh like fruit trees and pretty flowers are not tolerated by her at all. Pity.

Harvesting Pumpkins

Yesterday afternoon I realized that we're about to get hard frost so I dashed to the farm where I help out and picked my pumpkins. I planted couple of varieties in July - a bit late but still hoped they'd produced. They didn't get enough time or sunshine to fully ripen but were very nice size. The first one was Musquee De Provence pumpkin. it was very heavy for it size! I had one hell of a time bringing it out of the field. I just wish it had enough time to turn orange. 
Then the blue one is Jarrahdale pumpkin - it's origin is from New Zealand and I'm looking forward to seeing how it compares in taste and texture.  It was a medium sized but also pretty dense in weight.
And lastly, 4 Buttercup squash that were bidding their time also got picked and are now curing for the winter. Another baby Musquee De Provence definitely not ripe was found at the end and will be used first as it's not going to last long - skin is very soft and it won't store well.
So now all of these have to cure and will be used in pies and soups for winter. Can't wait to see how they all taste.

Harvest Oct 12

This weekend we cleaned up large garden and started to prepare beds for winter. All left over plants were removed, leaving only 1 bed with some salads, radishes and peas remaining.  Few struggling tomatoes were saved for salad together with one lonely cucumber. In small garden I picked remaining beans from trellis. On the patio, hot peppers still producing so I picked what was somewhat ready and moved couple of the plants inside the house to overwinter - I hope they'll survive so I can plant them in spring and have a head-start.
I still need to see if my sweet potato plant produced anything this year in one bed (it was an experiment). Now we'll have to add more manure and compost to all beds and till it all over. Next weekend will be planting garlic for spring. Visit Daphne's page to see how others are doing with their harvest this week.

Colorful bounty

Fall brings crisp weather, colorful leaves and anticipation of apple picking before Thanksgiving. But it also brings wide variety of fruit and veggies that most people are not aware of.. Sure, you might be adventurous and have tried (and possibly loved) Indian and Mexican foods, but do you know what some of the ingredients that are used in those foods? Do you know what Tamarind looks like? Or a Lemon Cucumber? Have you seen a purple cauliflower? Have you ever tried a Persimmon or Hawaiian Papaya (don't confuse it with Mexican papaya that's not sweet and used in salads) for your desert. Do you know that you favorite Welch's grape juice or a jam is made out of? If you've been to Caribbean area and tried spicy and very aromatic foods, do you know what they use for seasoning? If you hear "Trinidad Perfume" would you think that it's referred to something you spray or eat? What about Lemon Pepper? Pineapple sage? Do you know what fresh Lyche fruit looks and taste like?
Today I introduced all of these beauties to my coworkers. You can never have too much variety in your life.

Harvest October 6 and Apple Pie

It's been a quiet few weeks in the garden, with the lack of rain most of the veggies died off. I finally was able to clean up my carrot bed and found few remaining - they will be used for dinner meal tonight.  The scraggy pepper and few remaining cherry tomatoes were eaten as a snack :)

In the community I picked few tiny melons and several small butternuts squashes - they're curing now so will post picture of them later.
But since it is a officially a fall season, I'm starting my bake and prep for winter by drying apples, making apple butter and sauce and of course spoiling my hubby and his coworkers with my pie. They are happy and that makes me happy. it's all good.
Visit Daphne's page to see how others doing with their harvests this week.

New Strawberries

My new varieties of strawberries arrived this weekend in 3" pots - these are variations of Alpine strawberries, smaller than usual berry but the taste and fragrance is superior. I will be cleaning out my regular berries in a week or so and transplanting Cabot to another bed (and shipping few to those who asked in summer). But for now, I've planted these beauties in the small garden and hope next spring to have some interesting deserts.
From top left corner: Yellow Wonder; Pineberry; Purple Wonder and White Pine.

Flowers for next year

Ah, the joy of fall gardening catalogs that start arriving every day now. Of course I had to look through them and order some goodies for next year, including some new flowers. JUNG Seeds catalog was my pick for this time. I have to be very picky with my selections not only for colors, but I have to pick flower that deer and groundhogs won't eat as soon as I plant them. So selection was to pick a lot of bearded iris and daffodils for outside, sunflowers for borders inside the garden and few smaller things like asters, rudbeckia and angelonia for mixing into the current border of the large garden.

I haven't quite started to pick seeds for veggies, but i do know what I want to update. While many of the seeds are saved from current plants, I do want to update some that did not do well. That's for later.

Maine scenery and lobster fishing

Few things we did in Maine other than just lay back and enjoy gorgeous sunsets at the beach, was to go fishing (I caught tiny yellow perch and released the bugger back to the lake), and took a lobster boat trip - we got to see how locals prep and set cages for lobsters, and then "harvest" them afterwards. It's fascinating to know that lobsters migrate with the cold and fishermen follow them. And not every lobster gets picked - they must be certain size etc. I took a short video of the explanation of these details. By the way, my lobster was released back to the wild as I no longer eat them, but my hubby had his fresh cooked right on the boat. 
And here are some beautiful scenery that we saw while we were on the boat tour. It's much better in person. Lots of birds migrating, seals on rocks and in the bay going after fish, bald eagle nest, lovely lighthouse views and of course gorgeous shore views with high cliffs.

Gardening in Maine

As I mentioned earlier today, we spent a week in Main in Winter Harbor. Our host had a small garden in the yard, and it's very lovely with the view right into the bay. I thought that it was wonderful that she was able to do such a good job with it given cool winds and much cooler temperatures of this summer.
Later on I will post some very lovely pictures of the surrounding areas and wild plants that I found while we were there, but for now you can browse through some pictures of other gardens and planted flowers in that local area.

Harvest September 15

I've been out on vacation for almost two weeks and we spent out time in Maine - I'll do a series of posts on that later, but for now a quick catch up on my harvests that my sister was picking while we were gone. Beans are still producing, but slowed down. I'll leave the rest of the yellow runners to go to seed.
In the community, few melons were picked, including Crenshaw (i found it to be too sweet), few remaining zucchini's before I ripped all vines out, Cherry tomatoes and the last of the cucumbers. On the vine we still have couple of watermelons ripening, and few small butternut squash - all large ones walked away with someone else.