Sunday, July 22, 2012

Mother Nature's Bounty

6 AM and I was out picking beans and peas before the heat of the day. The yellow beans were ready as well as the green...purple beans are a bit later. A few of the peas were ready and so we picked those too. The surprise was the potatoes as we haven't had much rain and haven't had time to hill the I thought I was just going to check to see if there were small potatoes near the top that needed picking. Lo and behold I had good sized potatoes ready to pick! Lunch today consisted of potato/onion packages on the BBQ with steamed green beans and fresh peas. You just can't beat that. This is one of the main reasons I garden...good food cooked simply.
We also ended up picking potato bugs off the plants. Tonight, when there is no longer a breeze, all the potato plants will be treated. Hungry baby potato bugs can eat a potato plant in short order if they are not taken care of.
The heat has literally made the squash and corn explode over night. There's no more room in the garden even to walk in some places! This year I just have an incredible garden!
 My first baby cuke. He's about an inch and a half long. My cucumbers had a rough start. First of all, I planted 5 different kinds of seed. None came up...probably too cold and wet OR wire worms got the seeds. Planted a second time when it was warmer and they came up really well. In the mean time I planted two greenhouse cucumber plants and the wind decided to beat them silly. So between the seeded plants and transplanted plants, there's not much difference. I find when I seed them myself straight into the garden, that they grow a lot better than the hot house transplants. 

So far, this year, my garden is growing beyond my expectations. Way better than last year!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Making Freezer Jam

It's amazing how quickly one forgets how to make freezer jam when one hasn't made any for a few years. I took out my box of pectins and concoctions ready to make jam. My liquid pectin had turned to gel and was unusable and then I came across an envelope of powder pectin made by Club House for reduced sugar freezer jam. I made a batch of that one I remember how good home made jam tastes! With one and a half gallons of raspberries, I made one full sugar batch and one reduced sugar batch. I had a partial jar from one batch and that one went directly into the refrigerator for tomorrow morning's breakfast! I did take most of the seeds out of the raspberries, hate it when it gets stuck in dental work. With all the moves we've made, it's been a while since I made any homemade anything...I'm back on track now!

I'm hoping to make some freezer Strawberry jam also, with the lack of rain, I'm not getting large crops and the guys I live with, eat them all up. Which is fine, but I'd like enough just to make one batch of freezer jam! Just one! 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Soooo much to pick and eat!

Fresh raspberries from my mom's garden, she brought me over a gallon. I picked a half a gallon this morning and if we get rain, well, let's just say I'm going to be freezing my fair share.

Saskatoons from my mom's tree in town. My trees are only three years old and so are just starting to produce. Tonight my son and I head out to pick more Saskatoons from my mom's tree in town.
Strawberries are quite nice this year, even though we haven't had much rain. I'm currently mulching my patch with coconut husks and then I'll be fertilizing with horse manure tea. They should almost be done producing for now and then they will rest and will produce until a hard frost. 

At this time of year, when the garden is so plentiful, it's hard to choose what to pick first. So much good organic food for the table. You just can't buy this stuff!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fresh broccoli!

Last year it was a bust for any of my cabbage family plants...just did not grow well at all. This year, the plants are crazy! Take broccoli for instance, I have huge heads and they grew over night almost!
I cut them off the plant and then soaked them in salt water for an hour to get those little cabbage butterfly worms that like to hang out in the heads. The plants had been dusted with rotenone (sp?) three days earlier and were safe to eat. Fresh with dip, they are delicious! I'll keep watering my plants as they will now only produce florets, which is OK because they will be produced until it freezes. Lots of broccoli for the freezer to make wonderful soups this winter!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

First broccoli of the season

One of the vegetables that I enjoy the most in my garden is fresh broccoli. Once the initial head has been picked, only florets will grow for the remainder of the season. That's OK because there is so much to eat out of the garden during the summer that all those little florets get blanched and frozen for winter soups. Broccoli has one disadvantage being the cabbage butterfly larva that can destroy any cabbage family plants in days if left unattended. As soon as I see those cute little cabbage butterflies fluttering around, I take the organic powder out and give all my plants a dusting. The only cabbage member that the larvae don't seem to like at all are the purple cabbage...I never powder them...for some reason the bugs don't like them. I usually soak the broccoli heads in salt water, weighed down by a plate to submerge them to drown any larvae hiding inside the head. Up here, starting cabbages from seed outdoors is a bit pointless as our growing season is so short. The easiest way is to purchase the bedding plants at the greenhouse and set them out in the garden. Otherwise the cabbage heads are too small. The cabbage family is tolerant of cool temperatures so one can set them out really early in the season. If the cabbages don't get enough water, it will show up as dry heads...meaning the cabbage isn't very juicy. Napa cabbage grows very well up here if you buy the bedding plants. This year, my greenhouse did not carry them. Napa cabbage is used in egg rolls and just makes them tastier in my opinion. There's always next year!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Colorado Potato Beetle....Gotcha!

I've been on the lookout for these guys because if you let them get out of hand, they can destroy your potato crop and tomato crop and eggplant crop. The Colorado Potato Beetle female can lay up to 800 eggs under the leaves of the plant it's attacking. You'll know that you have babies if you see little orange bugs with black spots going down both sides of their bodies. They are very prolific because they easily develop insecticide resistance. They're smart too, if you're picking them off the tops of the leaves in the morning. To get away, they immediately drop off the plant so you can't find them and then crawl back up to eat some more. So if you're picking them, you have to make sure you have a container under the leaves to catch them. My grandfather use to have a jar with gas at the bottom and use to pick them and drop them in the gas. Instant dead. When my potato bugs get out of control, I buy an organic but bug deadly powder that I dust on the potato plants. It's made out of rotenone and works really really well. I have so many potatoes that if I do have an infestation, I buy the stuff by the gallon. It doesn't take long before they are eradicated!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

There's Just Somthing about spending time in the garden...

After a long day at work, I retreated to the garden to water last night. Even though there have been lots of storms around us with all kinds of rain, we've been missed so far and spared the ugly stuff like hail. So I was out watering for several hours and weeding in between moving my hose. It was just so peaceful and the air smelled so fresh and my plants were all smiling...yes smiling! The heat has made them double and triple in size in a very short time. I added the last of the soil for my potato barrels last night. So now, all they have to do is flower and produce. My son picked a nice bowl of strawberries. I have lettuce coming out of my ying yang and it is sooooo good. The everlasting spinach is ready...I just have to wash it and it's ready to steam. There was a slight breeze and the skeeters stayed away until the sun started to I put my Off skeeter machine on my belt and started the fan...a couple of minutes later...they were all gone and I finished watering in peace. I'm hoping for a good rain soon, we need it. Garden angels please keep the hail away from my plants!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Yes you can grow grapes in Saskatchewan!

I took this photo on the weekend, these are my jelly grapes growing on the South side of the house. They are planted and mulched and watered occasionally. They love it there!
These are grapes I grew at our old farm. The plants were well established and I picked enough off of two plants to make several batches of the best grape jelly I've ever eaten! I did move my old vines to the new place but the neighbor's dog dug up all the plants that I transplanted that fall and summer. So I started again and planted Beta and Foch grapes one more time. I did add other varieties but those grow the best for me in my climate. The jelly made from these grapes are so flavorful and the jelly is more like a really thick syrup. Just thinking about that jelly makes my mouth water. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Love my Roses

The photograph does not do justice to this dark salmon colored rose, it is truly exquisite.

Hot pink roses that bloom profusely.

Delicate pink blossoms that just bloom forever.

Not sure what this one is, was suppose to be a red climbing rose...this is what I got. Tiny flowers, love 'em!

Nothing as beautiful as a rose bud. There are no yellow roses as I lost them all this winter. Starting again, none have flowered just as yet.