The Modern Victory Garden

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Let It Rain

Posted on October 11, 2012 at 10:25 PM

According to the weather forecasts, the real arrival of fall is about to occur.   Up until now we have been enjoying a lovely late summer transitioning to fall with abundant sunshine and unusual dryness.   But now, the more normal cold and heavy fall rains are about to arrive and with it will come the end of the summer crops still lingering in the garden.   It’s time.   I’m ready and so is the garden.   The summer crops remaining are looking ragged and tired while the fall crops are thriving.

                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                                        

It’s time to bring in the pumpkins and winter squash.   Unfortunately not all of them are fully mature so I will have to push them to final ripeness by bringing them in to the warmness of the house.   Earlier this week I began harvesting some of those that are fully ripe and I put them in the relatively warmer location of the greenhouse to cure.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                         

There is also a bunch of unripe tomatoes that will need to be dealt with this weekend.   Some are mature enough that they will be good candidates to ripen off the vine if located in the warm environment of our house.   However, many are just too green and too immature to ripen and will either be made into some green tomato salsa or provide green material for the growing fall compost pile.

                                                                                                                                      

Once the rains do arrive and give the garden a good soaking (it has been very dry so it needs it), I will start the process of putting protective covers (grow tunnels and other protection) in place over the beds of fall and winter crops.   I will also get the garlic bed planted up and protected then too.   Once all the beds that have growing crops in them for the winter are protected, I will then open up the garden to allow the hens to once again have access to it for free ranging.   They do a great job of tidying up the garden of weeds, removing bugs, and leaving behind a little fresh fertilizer along the way.   They have been aching to get back in there and I am looking forward to turning the hounds… I mean hens…. loose.

                                                                                                                                

We have done our annual woodstove chimney and stovepipe cleaning, cleaned the gutters, and the pantry and freezer are bursting with the fruits of the summer garden.   There’s a little work yet to do to clean up the garden and protect the fall and winter crops but really we are quite ready for the coming arrival of the cold fall rains.   Let it rain.

                                                                                                                               

Laura

kitsapFG

Harvest Recap for the Week of Sept 10th

Posted on September 16, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Each Monday Daphne’s Dandelions hosts the “Harvest Monday” blog hop.   Everyone participating submits links to their posts summarizing the week’s harvests.   It’s always interesting and inspiring to see what other gardeners are producing from many different growing regions.   Here’s my contribution to the weekly harvest recaps.

                                                                                                                                     

I was traveling for business much of this past week so the harvesting was very light and concentrated to Friday through Sunday, after I had gotten back.   The weather has been particularly nice this week and the garden is healthy and growing well as a result.   On Sunday, I did some more garden tidying up – removing the corn stalks and putting them into the compost piles.   I also removed the oldest bush bean patch, harvesting them as I pulled the plants out.   There is another succession planting of beans and they are just getting started, so they will fill in for the loss of the oldest patch.   It was looking weary and was slowing down production considerably, so it was time to pull them and put them on the compost pile as well.   I also spent some time on Sunday repairing several of my soaker hoses.   These are all older irrigation hoses and it seems a few of them decided to start failing all at once.   They had sprung some real whoppers of geysers and were unusable until repaired.   One patch was simple to do using some electricians tape but the other required cutting out a section and then finding a suitable piece of metal tubing (from the hodgepodge of things in our shop) to insert as a connector.   Luckily I found a perfect sized piece and made quick work of the repairs.   Having all the watering systems on line is particularly important right now since the weather continues to be quite dry.   Although I got some specific garden tasks done this weekend, I really did not work all that much at it and spent more of my time just enjoying the sunshine and being outside - under the guise of watching the hens while they free ranged in the front yard area.   Sat in the Adirondack chair in the sunshine, reading a book on my Kindle reader, while keeping an eye on the flock.   Summer is really doing a gentle transition to fall this year and I want to soak it up while I can.    Well enough of my ramblings about the lovely weekend.   Here’s what I harvested from the garden this week.

                                                                                                                                                                          

Friday’s harvest was berries (strawberries and blueberries) and tomatoes.   These needed picking first as the warm weather while I had been gone had brought a lot of them to ripeness.   The berries were eaten fresh and all the remaining ones as of Sunday morning were sliced and served with a sprinkle of fine sugar on them as part of our late start Sunday breakfast.   The tomatoes were also eaten fresh with the last of them used on Sunday evening (along with a few large leaves of fresh lettuce harvested that evening) to make yummy BLT sandwiches for our dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                             

I picked the pole green beans on Saturday and they were really in need of a harvest.   I ended up with my largest colander filled to overflowing.   These were all snapped and then pressure canned, which yielded 6 quarts of beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                          

On Sunday I picked the bush green beans.   Not quite as much from those plants as the pole beans but they were largely played out, which is why I pulled them as I did this harvest.   These will be processed for freezing later on Sunday evening.

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                            

I also picked some cucumbers and a couple of zucchini and a patty pan squash on Sunday.    The cucumbers will be eaten fresh in the next day or so and the summer squash were all cut up and frozen for later use.

                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                                                               

Good weather week ahead of us again so I am hopeful more of the tomatoes will ripen.   The days have been warm and bright but the evenings are getting longer and increasingly chill so at some point I will have to bring the adequately matured tomatoes in to ripen off the vine.   I am going to wait as long as possible though before doing that.   It has been so warm that I continue to postpone doing the lift of the potatoes from the potato patch.   I may tackle that next weekend, but only if the forecast is then calling for cooler conditions.

                                                                                                                                                                                     

Harvest totals for the week of September 10th through September 16th (rounded to the nearest ¼ pound).

  • Berries 1.75 lbs
  • Cucumbers 0.50 lbs
  • Green Beans 9.25 lbs
  • Lettuce 0.00 lbs (not enough to make harvest tally minimum)
  • Tomatoes 2.00 lbs
  • Zucchini/Summer Squash 3.50 lbs

Total For Week 17.00 lbs

Total Year to Date 368.00 lbs

                                                                                                                                                         

Eggs collected this week – 15

                                                                                                                                                                 

Laura

kitsapFG

Harvest Recap for the Week of August 20th Through 26th

Posted on August 26, 2012 at 9:35 PM

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone submits links to their blog posts summarizing their harvest for the week.   It’s fun to see what people are producing from gardens from so many different regions, and how they are using it.   Check it out and join in too!

                                                                                                                                                         

It was another good week with harvests every day except Monday and Friday.   I could have brought in items both of those days too, but Monday night after work I was busy helping do the twice weekly harvest at the Giving Garden and Friday we did the Kitsap County Fair and were too tired and full of fair food to even think about harvesting or cooking that night.   Much of the harvests this week were used to make the evening meals, but I also did quite a bit of preserving by freezing berries, green beans, and zucchini.   In addition to freezing items, I also did some pressure canning on Sunday, putting up 10 pints of carrots and 6 pints of green beans.   Hit a milestone on Thursday in that I crossed over my financial break-even point for the year for the garden.   I keep track of my costs and the value of the harvests.   It always takes a while to get into the positive financial picture as the costs are all up front at the start of the year.    This year took just as long as usual despite good harvests, because I spent a bit more than usual on my seeds, supplies, and nursery stock etc. at the start of the year.   The hens are always in the financial black, as the egg production and value far outstrips the infrequent and modest costs I incur for their bedding, layer crumbles, scratch grains, and crushed oyster shell.   I track the garden and the hens seperately so that I know how each is doing.    From here on out, everything I bring in from the garden represents money in the bank (savings) as I do not have any garden expenditures planned for the remainder of the year.   Here’s the week’s harvest in pictures.

                                                                                                                                      

Tuesday

                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                             

Wednesday

                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                              

Thursday

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                              

Saturday

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                                       

Sunday

                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                       

Harvest totals for the week of August 20th through 26th (rounded to the nearest ¼ pound).

  • Berries 1.50 lbs
  • Carrots 6.25 lbs
  • Corn 1.25 lbs
  • Cucumbers 0.50 lbs
  • Green Beans 6.00 lbs
  • Peas (snap) 1.25 lbs
  • Potatoes 2.75 lbs
  • Swiss Chard 2.25 lbs
  • Tomatoes 0.75 lbs
  • Turnip 0.25 lbs
  • Zucchini/Summer Squash 6.25 lbs

Total For Week 29.00 lbs

Total Year to Date 297.75 lbs

                                                                                                                           

Eggs collected this week – 14

                                                                                                                                                       

Laura

kitsapFG

Harvest Recap for the Week of July 23rd Through 29th

Posted on July 29, 2012 at 10:10 PM

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone submits links to their blog posts summarizing their harvest for the week.   It’s fun to see what people are producing from gardens from so many different regions, and how they are using it. Check it out and join in too!

                                                                                                                                                             

It was a busy week for me. I did manage a few weekday harvests despite having several evening commitments (Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday), however most of my harvesting was done in catch up mode over the weekend.

                                                                                                                                         

On Tuesday evening, I harvested several nice sized zucchini, five cucumbers, some basil leaves, a red onion, and another pile of snap peas.   The cucumbers went into the jar of refrigerator dills and the rest of the harvest was used to make that night’s dinner – grilled steaks, steamed snap peas (tossed in butter) and Zucchini and Tomato Bake (recipe courtesy of Dave at Our Happy Acres).   I modified his recipe somewhat in that I used my fresh basil in my version, added sliced onions, and used a jar of home canned tomatoes (diced) because I currently do not have fresh harvest tomatoes (of any size anyways!) to use yet.     We really enjoyed this recipe and I will be keeping it on file for future use.

                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                             

Friday’s harvest was a nice pile of snap peas and one lone little ripe tomato.   The tomato was just eaten as a snack while prepping dinner.   The peas were featured in a stir fry with bite size chunks of boneless/skinless chicken breast tenders and a spicy sweet General Tso sauce.   The stir fry was served with cooked rice.   This was a nice meal to finish out the busy work week and to celebrate the start of the 2012 summer Olympics that got underway with the opening ceremonies that evening.

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          

On Saturday I harvested that huge red cabbage (Ruby Ball) and picked another four large zucchini.   The cabbage trimmed of its outer leaves weighed a whopping 5 ½ pounds!   I cut the cabbage into quarters, removed the core, and put it in the fridge to use later this week.   The zucchini was cut into quarters and then sliced up into thick chunks.   I put the zucchini pieces on shallow trays and froze them solid.   Once frozen I put them all into a gallon Ziploc freezer bag for later use in soups etc.   I recently read in a blog post by GrafixMuse (Rachel) that she successfully freezes zucchini this way without blanching it first and I really wanted to try it out as I truly detest the texture of frozen zucchini that has been blanched first.

                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                    

The cabbage and zucchini were just the start of the harvesting I did on Saturday.   I also trimmed up the red onions that had been pulled last weekend and which had been drying down in the greenhouse all week.   These were not very big onions, but a nice mix of medium and smalls.   After weighing them, I put them in the shop next to the fan running in there to continue drying down some more before I put them in a mesh bag for storage.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                             

I still have the big bed of Ailsa Craig onions to harvest yet.   Part of them have laid over and were pulled to start drying down but the rest are still upright and I am leaving them in the ground until they finally do lay over.   Finally, late Saturday afternoon I dug up 1/3rd of the spring planted carrot patch – lifting the rest of the Mokum variety and leaving the Purple Haze and Sugarsnax to grow on.   These other two varieties have have longer times to maturity than Mokum.    A small portion of these were sliced, cooked, tossed in some butter and sprinkled with a little sea salt and served with our Saturday evening meal of homemade chili mac and cheese.   The rest were just put in the fridge for fresh eating and for use later in the week for meal preparation.

                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                         

Sunday I picked quite a nice amount of raspberries from our patch of Heritage raspberries and then went on to harvest some wild black raspberries from our property too.     The two combined gave me about 5 cups of fresh raspberries.

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                               

To this fresh harvest of berries, I added another approximate 3 cups of frozen raspberries from last year (which was the last bag of berries remaining from the prior year in the freezer) and made a batch of raspberry jam.   Turned out delicious and set up very well.

                                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                                 

Later on Sunday I dug up some Caribe potatoes to use in making our Sunday night dinner.

                                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                                              

These were made into mashed potatoes that were served with Creamy Braised Chicken which was a recipe that Annie’s Granny shared on her Thursday Kitchen Cupboard post this week (it’s the Monday featured recipe).   It sounded so good I had to try it out, and it was every bit as good tasting as I thought it would be.

                                                                                                                                           

As you can tell, I enjoy reading other people’s garden blogs and I often find useful ideas and wonderful recipes that use the bounty of our gardens.   

                                                                                                                                   

Harvest totals for the week of July 23rd through July 29th (rounded to the nearest ¼ pound).

  • Basil 0.00 lbs (not enough to make harvest tally weight)
  • Berries 1.50 lbs
  • Cabbage 5.50 lbs
  • Carrots 5.50 lbs
  • Cucumbers 0.75 lbs
  • Onions 11.50 lbs
  • Peas (Sugar Snap) 2.00 lbs
  • Potatoes 2.00 lbs
  • Tomatoes 0.00 lbs (not enough to make harvest tally weight)
  • Zucchini 5.50 lbs

Total For Week 34.25 lbs

Total Year to Date 175.75 lbs

                                                                                                                                                

Eggs collected this week – 15

                                                                                                                          

Laura

kitsapFG

One Bite At A Time

Posted on July 27, 2012 at 9:45 PM

It’s late July and the garden is demanding I pay more attention to it.   The larger harvests of the high summer season need to be collected and put by for later use.   Every year it is a challenge to fit the seasonal peak of work into my schedule given the time commitments of my professional life, volunteering at the Giving Garden, and the other routine commitments that come with conducting the business of daily life and providing support for friends and family as needed from time to time.   However, this year for some reason I am feeling just a little more stretched than normal.   I honestly don’t think anything is all that much busier really, but it sure feels like it is.   Oh well, whether I am ready for it or not, the larger harvests are here and I need to stay organized to balance all the competing uses of my time, and still get a decent amount of sleep and rest and relaxation worked in now and again too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                       

I did my usual morning stroll through the garden before work (coffee mug in hand of course!) and started making a mental list of the items that I need to get to.   The carrots are one of the items at the top of the list.   I want to make maximum use of the carrot harvest this year, by putting some by for later use in addition to keeping carrots in the ground for fresh use.   There is a second large bed of carrots growing that will be our fall/overwintered patch for fresh eating needs, so putting by a portion of the spring planted crop will not impact our access to fresh carrots.   I think it is time to bring the pressure canner and some canning jars in from the garage and start processing, and I should also freeze some meal size portions of them too.

                                                                                                                          

One of the Ruby Ball cabbages is getting huge and should be harvested soon.   The outer leaves have been nibbled on by slugs, but the head of the cabbage is dense and beautifully untouched.

                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                    

I already made a batch of Saur Kraut earlier this year and that is more than enough for the two of us, so I will be using this fresh once it is harvested.

                                                                                                                              

The red onions were pulled about a week ago and have been drying on the floor of the greenhouse.   I need to trim, weigh, and bag them up for storage soon.   The Ailsa Craig onion patch has about 1/3 of the group that has laid over its vegetation at this point.   Wednesday night, I pulled the ones with tops laid down so they can start drying down.   The rest I am leaving alone until they lay over as well – so that they can continue to grow as long as possible.

                                                                                                                          

The snap peas are very abundant at the moment, although the harvests have eased back a bit from the first week or so of production.   I am getting such a large amount this year that I am able to feed us generous portions of fresh snap peas for meals, and put at least two more meal’s worth of them into the freezer from each picking.   Soon the bush beans and then the pole beans will be similarly in heavy production.   Both types of beans are flowering now, so I expect the bean harvest will be commencing shortly.   The bean harvests are time consuming to pick and then process but they are a staple in our winter food supply so I will make sure they are attended to once they get going.

                                                                                                                         

The cucumbers and zucchini are producing well and show signs of wanting to increase even more in the weeks ahead.   There is a flush of baby cucumbers on the plants which makes me hopeful that I am about to start getting enough at one time to be able to do a batch of dill pickle relish and possibly some bread and butter pickles too soon.   The cucumbers have been being used to stock our refrigerator dill pickle jar up until now.

                                                                                                                                 

The pantry supply of jam is down to one last jar.   I really need to do a batch (or two) of jam this year.   I am hoping that the raspberries will give me a couple of heavy pickings sufficient to do up a batch.   We have been getting a steady supply of raspberries but so far not enough at any one time to do jam making.   If all else fails, the blackberry harvest is always plentiful and I can just rely on those for some jam a little later this summer.   It would be nice though to have a batch of raspberry and a batch of blackberry jam – to mix it up a bit.

                                                                                                                                               

The potato vegetation is rapidly dieing back.   I will just leave those in the ground where they are (except for harvesting for fresh use as needed) until early September when I will lift the entire patch and prepare it for storage.   I find that the potatoes store better if I refrain from harvesting them until the warmer summer weather has become history.   The cool dark soil is a better holding place for them than my warmish garage in the summer time.

                                                                                                                                                                                            

Last Sunday I transplanted some broccoli, kale, cabbage, and kohlrabi starts in the area that was previously occupied by the pea patch.   If I can manage to keep the slugs off of them (proving to be a real challenge) they appear to be content in their new location and should grow well there.   In another week or so, I plan to direct seed some more kale and swiss chard, followed a few more weeks after that by the fall spinach patch and some lettuces.

                                                                                                                                     

Always something to do in the garden, but right now the list is fairly long and leads to a long list of things to be done in the kitchen (preserving).   When faced with a daunting amount of things to do, I try to stay focused on knocking off as much as I can at any one time and then celebrate a bit before moving on to the next thing to be done.   After all, one bite at a time gets even the largest apple eventually eaten.   I will check back in with you when I have something to celebrate!

                                                                                                                                           

Laura

kitsapFG

Harvest Monday - June 18, 2012

Posted on June 17, 2012 at 6:45 PM

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone submits links to their blog posts summarizing their harvest for the week.   It’s fun to see what people are producing from gardens from so many different regions, and how they are using it.   Check it out and join in too!

                                                                                                                                                   

It has been a busy week around here.   First part of the week was consumed with work and meeting some deadlines before leaving the office late on Wednesday night.   I was playing catch up on more routine matters after concluding a very intensive and prolonged effort on a particularly complex project.   I also needed to get things done by end of day Wednesday because I took Thursday and Friday off from work to prepare for a garage sale we held on Saturday.   I was not able to do any gardening on Thursday and Friday (other than some light harvesting) as I was working hard both of those days to go through the the house, shop and garage to assemble good quality items we planned to sell, put other items back where they properly belonged, and discard items that were no longer serviceable.   Saturday was devoted to the garage sale itself and I was exhausted afterwards so I did not even do a harvest that day.   While it was a lot of work to hold the garage sale, I am glad we finally got around to doing it.   The point of it was to clear out items no longer used and move them on to other homes where they might be of actual use once again.   We were able to move a great deal of it during the sale, and the few items not sold will be donated to charity early this coming week.

                                                                                                                                              

Harvests this week were sporadic as a result of the other demands on my time.   However, I did a little catching up on Sunday because the garden is really starting to produce more now and needs a more steady harvesting regime than I was able to give it this past week.   On Thursday evening I harvested a crisp head lettuce and the first zucchini of the year.

                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                    

The lettuce was made into a simple green salad and the zucchini was sliced and sautéed until tender and just browned – both of them were served alongside pan seared pork chops and rice pilaf for that night’s dinner.

                                                                                                                                                

Friday’s harvest was a little more varied in that I cut some basil (not pictured as it was picked later while I was cooking) some broccoli side shoots, quite a nice bunch of Deer’s Tongue and Merlot lettuces, pulled a few radishes and young carrots, and the first ripe tomato was harvested.

                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                   

I do not expect many more tomatoes to come along imminently because the weather has been rather cool and damp of late and the heat lovers are pouting.    In fact, I think this one particular tomato just ripened up out of sheer weariness of waiting on the vine for so long.  It was on the ultra-early started Silvery Fir Tree tomato and that fruit had been formed long ago.   The lettuce, tomato, carrots and radishes were all used to make a lovely fresh salad to accompany the steamed broccoli (tossed with a bit of butter and seasoned with salt just before serving) and main dish of pasta and sausage Bolognese with fresh snipped basil served on top of it for the Friday night dinner. (Yum!)

                                                                                                                                          

We were both so tired after working the garage sale all day on Saturday, that we just had leftovers of the Friday night dinner and then put our feet up and rested.   On Sunday morning, I felt much refreshed and went foraging in the garden for some of the first ripe strawberries to accompany our Sunday brunch of French toast (eggs courtesy of our hens).

                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                         

Later on Sunday, I harvested a very large basket of swiss chard, kale, and 8 celery plants.

                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                             

These were the largest of the celery plants and there is still four more growing in the garden.   In addition, I have four celeriac plants growing as well.    I have to say that I really thought last year was my best celery crop ever, but this year’s is turning out even nicer.   Most of the stalks are really thick and succulent and with very little stringiness.   Of this big pile of celery in the picture above, half was so fine that I just trimmed and cleaned it and put it in a produce bag in the fridge for fresh eating.   The other half was also nice but a little less succulent and after cleaning and trimming it I sliced it up and froze it (almost filled a gallon sized freezer bag) for use in cooking this coming winter.   The celery hearts, bits, and many of the leaves, were placed in a separate freezer bag and frozen – to be used later in combination with onion, swiss chard stems, carrots, and herbs to make a homemade vegetable stock. I harvested 11.25 lbs of celery on Sunday and combined with a prior harvest this brings me to a year-to-date total for celery of 11.75 lbs.   I checked my records from last year and found I harvested 9.25 lbs of celery in June 2011 (which was the year-to-date total as well at that point).   My total celery harvest in 2011 was 14.25 lbs and given the number and size of plants I have yet growing - I am certain I will greatly exceed this in 2012, after all it will only take 3 more pounds to tie the prior year total.   I think the primary contributor to the better celery crops these past two years has been my use of composted chicken manure from our hens.   It is really the only thing I am doing differently so it must be given the credit.

                                                                                                                                         

As for the rest of the Sunday harvest, the kale was blanched and frozen for future use and the swiss chard was stripped of the stems (which were sliced up and added to the bag of celery trimmings that was frozen for later use in making vegetable stock) and the leaves were blanched and then sautéed in butter as part of the Sunday night dinner menu: grilled rib eye steaks, sautéed mushrooms, sautéed swiss chard greens, and pasta in a creamy garlic/parmesan sauce.

Harvest totals for the week of June 11th through June 17th (rounded to the nearest ¼ pound).

  • Basil 0.00 lbs (not enough weight to make harvest tally)
  • Berries 0.25 lbs
  • Broccoli 0.25 lbs
  • Carrots 0.00 lbs (not enough weight to make harvest tally)
  • Celery 11.25 lbs
  • Kale 1.50 lbs
  • Lettuce 1.50 lbs
  • Radish 0.25 lbs
  • Swiss Chard 1.50 lbs
  • Tomato 0.00 lbs (not enough weight to make harvest tally)
  • Zucchini 0.25 lbs

Total For Week 16.75 lbs

Total Year to Date 59.75 lbs

                                                                                                                                                        

Eggs collected this week – 17

                                                                                                                               

Laura

kitsapFG

Harvest Monday - June 4, 2012

Posted on June 3, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone submits links to their blog posts summarizing their harvest for the week.   It’s fun to see what people are producing from gardens from so many different regions, and how they are using it.   Check it out and join in too!

                                                                                                                                                         

The garden production and the variety of items coming out of it are both increasing.   I had to harvest more greens (kale and swiss chard) than we could use in the near term, so they were blanched and frozen for winter use.    This was the first preserving effort for 2012.    The lettuces are super abundant too at the moment, but I try to only pick what we can use within a few days’ time, as preserving is not an option with lettuce.

                                                                                                                           

On Monday, I cut several heads of broccoli, a large kohlrabi, and one of the many celery plants.

                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                   

The kohlrabi and celery were cut up (kohlrabi was peeled first) and used as a snack accompanying some hummus.   The broccoli was used as part of the evening meal, which was baked wild salmon fillets in a dill butter sauce, steamed broccoli, and seasoned rice.

                                                                                                                                                       

Wednesday’s harvest was all about greens.   A huge basketful of kale (two kinds) and swiss chard and a colander packed full of a variety of lettuces.

                                                                                                                            

                                                                                                                      

The swiss chard and kale were prepped and frozen in meal size portions for use this coming winter.   The lettuce was in small part used to dress some grilled burgers for that night’s dinner, but was also made into a large bowl of green salad which went into the fridge to be used for making lunches and dinner salads for the next several days.

                                                                                                                                     

On Thursday I harvested some more broccoli.   This was part of that night’s dinner menu which was rib-eye steaks, steamed broccoli, and a homemade pasta in a creamy garlic/parmesan sauce.

                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                          

Saturday I harvested another nice head of cabbage, some large green onions, and a green garlic.

                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                        

All of these items were used to make Crockpot Ground Beef and Cabbage, which tastes very much like stuffed cabbage rolls but with less prep work involved.

                                                                                                                                             

Crockpot Ground Beef and Cabbage

  • 1 lb of lean ground beef
  • 1 head cabbage, cleaned/cored/shredded
  • 1 small onion (or several large green onions!), chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely (or one green garlic)
  • 1 quart diced tomatoes (or two regular commercial cans of diced tomatoes)
  • Broth or tomato sauce – just enough to cover the bottom of the pot
  • Seasonings – salt, crushed red pepper flakes, and a bit of dried oregano

Brown the ground beef and drain.   Shred cabbage and chop/mince the onion and garlic.   Place broth or tomato sauce in an amount sufficient to just cover the bottom of the crockpot.   Layer half of the cabbage, onion, garlic, and sprinkle with a bit of salt.   Repeat layer and top with beef and diced tomatoes (undrained – unless there is excessive amounts of liquid in which case some of the liquid should be drained off) and a dusting of the dried oregano and a sprinkle of the crushed red pepper flakes (omit or use sparingly if you do not like hot pepper flavors).   Cook on high for 1 hour.   Stir everything and turn the crockpot heat down to a lower setting.   In a pan on the stove, cook ½ cup of dried rice in ¾ cup of water on medium/low heat until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed.   Add the cooked rice to the crockpot and continue cooking at least ½ hour more.   Makes 3 or 4 servings.

                                                                                                                                                       

On Sunday I harvested a nice pile of rhubarb, which once trimmed up weighed in at over a pound and a half.   This was made into a very tasty rhubarb pie which combined with old fashioned vanilla ice cream was the Sunday evening dessert.

                                                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                              

I also harvested some broccoli side shoots and a kohlrabi plant on Sunday.

                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                          

The kohlrabi was peeled and sliced up and eaten as a snack.   The broccoli was steamed and served with pan seared pork chops in a white wine reduction sauce for the Sunday night dinner (followed by that rhubarb pie!).

                                                                                                                                                         

Harvest totals for the week of May 28th through June 3rd (rounded to the nearest ¼ pound).

  • Broccoli 1.25 lbs
  • Cabbage 1.50 lbs
  • Celery 0.50 lbs
  • Garlic (green) 0.25 lbs
  • Kale 1.50 lbs
  • Kohlrabi 1.75 lbs
  • Lettuce 0.75 lbs
  • Onions (green) 0.50 lbs
  • Rhubarb 1.50 lbs
  • Swiss Chard 2.00 lbs

Total For Week 11.50 lbs

Total Year to Date 37.75 lbs

                                                                                                                                   

Eggs collected this week – 17

                                                                                                                                    

While having nothing to do with “harvest Monday”, I still want to share with you the pea patch which is in full flower.   I always love it when the pea patch is in bloom - so pretty and so full of promise for good things to come.

                                                                                                                             

                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                             

Laura

kitsapFG

Applesauce

Posted on October 13, 2011 at 9:05 AM

Whenever I travel to Spokane to visit my mom and family members there, I like to break up my long drive home by stopping at the fruit barns in Thorp Washington.   They carry fruits and vegetables that are in season from the nearby Yakima and Wenatchee growing areas and I always pick up a box (or several!) of fruit.   There are actually three of them located in the same spot and if I cannot find what I am looking for at one (or for a reasonable price) the others are likely to have it.   I stopped there a week and a half ago on my way back from a visit in Spokane and brought home two boxes of Jonagold apples.                              

 

    

    

I set them in my kitchen and ignored them until this past Monday.   I had the day off from work on Monday and it was a rainy and blustery day – perfect weather to stay indoors and do some canning.   I must confess that while I love the results of canning, I am less than keen on the “doing” part of it.   The prep work is time consuming and very messy, the kitchen is always a disaster no matter how much I work to “mop up’ after myself as I go, and it always takes twice as long for about half of the output that I imagine should be happening!   As a result, I generally do more freezing to preserve things than canning.   However, some things are just better canned – tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, dill pickle relish, dill pickles, jams/jellies, and most fruits.   So far this year I have canned quarts of diced tomatoes, pints of tomato sauce, and pints of dill pickle relish.   In addition, I have some pints of dilly beans, pints of various jams, and pints of seasoned tomato sauce still in the pantry from last year’s canning efforts to be used up.  The jams will last us a long while as we go through them slowly so I did not bother making any blackberry jam even though it really was a good blackberry harvest this year.   I will use the seasoned tomato sauce first before using my current year pints of tomato sauce.   All in all, the pantry of canned goods should be sufficient for the two of us given the large amount of items I have put by in the freezer and the fall/winter crops I have growing in the garden that will provide fresh fare.      

                        

However, unlike vegetables, we are not even close to being self sufficient on fruit and we have to buy fruit to supplement our modest garden production.   In general, we like to eat fresh fruit so I do not try to can or freeze a great deal and just purchase what is in season as we need it.  However, I do like to have some fruit options in the pantry for convenience.    The task on Monday was to convert those two boxes of beautiful apples into some quarts of applesauce to restock the pantry with some convenient winter fruit options.   Applesauce, sliced canned pears, and frozen berries are particularly good to pack as part of my workday lunches.   I still have three full freezer bags of blueberries and raspberries in the freezer to finish using (prior season harvest) and with the quarts of applesauce this fall should really be more than enough for the coming year without having to add canned pears to the mix as well.   I am still trying to adjust the amounts I put by each year to our new smaller family size.   Our daughter moved to Pennsylvania in late July 2010 to attend university there and I have been seriously scaling down the amount of food I preserve as a result.   For the most part I have figured out how much less we need, but occasionally I still way over do it.                      

 

Monday was a day of washing, quartering, and then cooking apples until softened and then running them through my Roma Strainer to extract beautiful sauce.   The strainer does an excellent job of removing the peels, seeds and stems etc. These waste products went into the worm box. The sauce was then flavored with some sugar and good quality cinnamon and brought to a boiling temperature before filling the quart jars and processing them in the canner.   I ended up with 15 quarts of applesauce for my efforts.            

  

      

 

I think that wraps up the canning efforts for me this year.   I am also done with the other preserving efforts other than curing the pumpkins sufficiently so they store well.   The focus now is on keeping the fall and winter crops growing and producing to supplement and extend the frozen, canned, and stored items.   

         

I am linking this post in to Robin's Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard.  Check it out and join in!

     

Laura

kitsapfreedomgardener

 

Harvest Recap and Some Canning

Posted on September 24, 2011 at 11:55 PM

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone submits links to their blog posts summarizing their harvest for the week.   This week I am posting my harvest recap early (Saturday) as I am going to be traveling much of this coming week and will be unable to update the blog.   I encourage you to participate in Harvest Monday because it’s fun to see what people are producing from gardens from so many different regions, and how they are using it.             

     

Tuesday night I harvested some broccoli and a few tomatoes.          

 

   

  

The cherry tomatoes were just eaten as snacks and the regular tomatoes went on the counter to finish ripening up.   The broccoli was part of that nights dinner – grilled pork chops, homemade macaroni and cheese, and steamed broccoli dressed with a bit of butter and a sprinkle of salt.               

  

The late blueberries are finally ripening and I picked a small bowl full of them on Thursday night.                            

  

   

  

They were eaten almost immediately after the photo was taken.   That same evening I harvested quite a few cucumbers, a couple of zucchini, a leek, some bush and pole beans, and some more tomatoes.                

     

   

  

   

  

The cucumbers went into the growing pile in the fridge that I have been accumulating to get enough to make a batch of dill pickle relish.   The cherry tomatoes were gobbled up as snacks and the regular tomatoes went on the counter to finish ripening.   The zucchini was used a little later in the week (on Saturday) for the evening meal, which featured baked salmon and Italian Vegetable Stir-fry.   The leek and beans were used to make Thursday night’s dinner which was ground beef stroganoff (made using leek rather than onion) served on a baked Yukon Gold potato (from our storage supply) and steamed green beans.                     

 

Friday I purchased a box of Yakima tomatoes which combined with all the tomatoes I have been ripening over the past many weeks and stuffing whole into the freezer – provided enough to do a canner load of diced tomatoes (quarts) on Friday and a canner load of tomato sauce (pints) on Saturday.   I tackled the diced tomatoes Friday evening and was up pretty late to get that wrapped up.            

 

    

  

On Saturday I harvested a whole bunch of cucumbers, which took me over the top for what I needed to do that batch of dill pickle relish.   I also harvested some more ripe peppers and tomatoes.             

      

 

  

   

  

The peppers were chopped up and frozen.   The tomatoes went on the counter to finish ripening.   The cukes were processed into 7 pints of dill pickle relish and I had enough extra to make up a batch of refrigerator dills.     In a large glass jar, I place 3 cups of white vinegar, 6 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of canning salt, and 3 tablespoons of sugar.  This is stirred until thoroughly mixed and then some dill seed and 3 whole medium sized dill seed heads are added along with some sliced up onion (some of my limited storage onions) and a large elephant garlic clove (storage garlic) that was chopped up.   To this mixture I added the rest of the cucumbers not used for the dill pickle relish, sliced up into spears.       This then is placed in the fridge and the pickles are ready for use as needed after 24 hours.           

   

    

  

In addition to the dill pickle relish, I also processed the frozen (after thawing them of course!) and ripe tomatoes on the counter into sauce and processed 6 pints.                              

 

  

  

Harvest totals for the (almost a) week of September 19th through September 24th (rounded to the nearest ¼ pound).

  • Beans 0.25 lbs
  • Blueberries 0.00 lbs (not enough to round to ¼ pound)
  • Broccoli 1.00 lbs
  • Cucumbers 5.25 lbs
  • Peppers 1.00 lbs
  • Tomatoes 3.00 lbs
  • Zucchini 1.50 lbs

Total For Week 12.00 lbs

Total Year To Date 321.50 lbs                           

 

Eggs collected this week – 23                        

  

  

  

Laura

kitsapfreedomgardener

Harvest Monday - September 5, 2011

Posted on September 4, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Each Monday, Daphne’s Dandelions hosts “Harvest Monday” where everyone submits links to their blog posts summarizing their harvest for the week.   It’s fun to see what people are producing from gardens from so many different regions, and how they are using it.   Check it out and join in!          

    

Wednesday’s harvest included a couple of zucchini, a medium sized leek, and a nice bunch of snap peas.    I had quit picking the snap peas to let them set and mature seed but the plants (Cascadia) kept producing some young crisp pods along with the fattening seed pods so I could not resist doing yet one last harvest from this planting for the year.                  

           

  

  

All of the Wednesday harvest was used to make that evenings meal - spaghetti with a garden vegetable and meat sauce served with steamed snap peas (dressed with butter and a little sprinkle of salt).   

 

Thursday I harvested some ears of corn.                   

      

    

   

These were eaten for dinner that night.    The menu was baked salmon fillets with dill, oven roasted/crisped potatoes (harvested last week/baked and were in the fridge – I just sliced them up, tossed them with oil and a sprinkle of salt and crisped them in the oven) and of course… corn on the cob with a little butter and salt.  

 

My intention was to spend Saturday doing quite a bit of harvesting and preserving so that we would have the day free on Sunday for a planned trip to the seashore.   I put in some volunteer hours at the Giving Garden on Saturday morning after which I immediately got out in the garden and harvested a cucumber, a zucchini (yes there is one in the following picture it is just buried!), some tomatoes, and two artichokes.   I also harvested some peppers and a little basil.          

           

   

    

      

  

Before I could proceed with the rest of the harvesting to be done, I was interrupted by my husband who it seems had managed to badly cut his hand with the machete - doing some brush cutting at the edge of the garden.   It was a very deep cut and partially cut some tendons.   Needless to say, everything was put on hold and we spent the afternoon and evening in Bremerton at the Emergency Room at Harrison Hospital.   The injury occurred at around 2pm and it was 8 pm by the time he was discharged and we made it back home.   I will spare you the picture of the actual cut (yes, I took one with my cell phone) as it makes the stomach turn to look at it, but here he is on Sunday morning sporting his outrigger splint/cast combo that keeps the hand immobile to protect the damaged tendons.             

     

    

 

We were starving by the time we got home that night and enjoyed the leftover spaghetti from Wednesday for a late evening dinner with the artichokes I had picked earlier in the day – steamed and served with a little Caesar dressing to dip it in.   Yummy!   Nothing else was done with the harvest from Saturday though until Sunday morning when I cut the cucumber and zucchini up into spears and put them in the refrigerator dill brine in the fridge.   The tomatoes were put on the counter to ripen more, however the ripest ones were used to dress our hamburgers we had for dinner Sunday night.   The peppers were chopped and frozen for later use.   The basil had wilted too badly to be usable and was tossed into the compost pile.

 

The original plan was to spend the day at the beach on Sunday, but with his injury my husband was really not feeling up for that.   Instead, we just hung out at the homestead and I picked up where I left off on Saturday when the injury interruption occurred.   Sunday’s harvest included an overflowing colander of bush beans, quite a few beets, and a large number of ears of corn.        

  

    

  

   

   

    

  

    

 

The beets were roasted on Sunday and then chilled in the fridge.   They will be used on Monday to make a chilled beet salad by slipping the skins off and then slicing them up and serving them with a drizzle of olive oil and quality balsamic vinegar and a sprinkle of sea salt.   The green beans (well purple really!) were blanched and then frozen.   The corn was blanched and then the kernels were removed from the cob.   I got a large bowl of finished kernels from this harvest, which was bagged in 5 smaller sized zip loc freezer bags with about 1 and ¼ cup of corn in each freezer bag.  Just the right amount for us for a meal and for several recipes that have sweet corn as an ingredient.  

  

   

  

I still have quite a few ears of corn left on the plants for fresh eating harvests in the coming week.   My cat Sid enjoyed helping me harvest the corn – soaking up the warm late summer sun.                  

               

     

 

Harvest totals for the week of August 29th through September 4th (rounded to the nearest ¼ pound).             

  • Artichoke 0.25 lbs
  • Beans 2.50 lbs
  • Beets 3.00 lbs
  • Corn 9.00 lbs
  • Cucumbers 0.00 lbs (not enough to round up to ¼ lb)
  • Herbs (basil) 0.00 lbs (not enough to round up to ¼ lb)
  • Onions/Leeks 0.25 lbs
  • Peas (snap) 0.75 lbs
  • Peppers 1.00 lbs
  • Tomatoes 2.25 lbs
  • Zucchini 0.75 lbs

Total For Week 19.75 lbs

Total Year To Date 223.50 lbs                              

      

Eggs collected this week – 21                                  

          

Laura

kitsapfreedomgardener