Sunday, August 26, 2012

Juice crazy

Batch #4 for today,
4 stalks of celery
1 large cucumber
3 leaves chard
1 apple

Batch #1-3
2 medium tomatoes
1 large peeled carrot
2 celery stalks
1 lime peeled
1 fully ripe jalapeƱo(red and getting soft)
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Too much squash? Try this!

There comes a time when the summer squash plants produce more than you can handle. From what I have read, and have experienced, summer squash is the most given away homegrown veggie. While trying to figure out what to do with the abundance, I came across a blogger who said it can be substituted for cucumber in almost all recipes. My first thought was "That's dumb, I just ate it raw last week and thought my mouth was gonna turn inside out!". Well, maybe I will try anything but raw. Cucumber substitute...hmmm...Pickles! So I looked up a refrigerator pickle recipe and made squash pickles. I went ahead and pickled some peppers with the same simple recipe. They are delicious after just 2 hours in the fridge. What a great way to use up all of that extra squash.
The reviews I read influenced me to cut the sugar by 75%. Here is the way I made it.
In a sauce pot, add:
1 cup distilled white vinegar 5% acidity
1 tablespoon of table salt
1/2 cup of sugar(altered from 2 cups)

Boil approx. 10 min. Until salt & sugar have dissolved.

Cut the veggies and put in a sealable container:
6 cups of squash
1 cup of onion
1 cup pepper(Hungarian Wax for me)

Pour liquid over veggies(I had to make more brine to cover veggies), put lid on and refrigerate. Eat within 2 weeks. Taste after 2 hrs.
I use my passed prime giant 18" Forty Niner zucchini which turned out great. I crammed as much as I could in the jar so that it would use less brine to cover it. I think I will cut the sugar to 1/4 cup on the next batch I make.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pepper tasting

Just grabbed whatever was ripe and gonna give 'em a try with some veggie dip. Already had a bunch of tomatoes earlier. I am enjoying the different characteristics of the many varieties I'm growing. My favorite remains the Sungold cherry tomato.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June garden pics

Some pictures of my 3 garden beds. Each one is 4'x8'. Middle one is 8" high and others are 6".

Chinese Five Color Pepper

It is a heirloom pepper that I grew from seed. Two of them survived the move. The peppers are supposed to change to five different colors as they ripen. The package didn't say that it had purple flowers. So far, it's the only pepper I've grown that doesn't have white blooms.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

We've moved!

We have moved into a home built in 1913 that now sits on a decent sized lot. While working on the house and moving, I lost about half of my seed starts. There just wasn't enough time in the day to do it all. The good news is that I can try again next year. I have big plans on expanding the new garden which is already larger than last years. This is a picture of my new layout and land. Three raised beds that were double dug. Each bed is 4 x 8 feet.

Japanese Long Cucumber

I read today that these should be harvested at 1" thick, and not by length . I will update this post after I eat it tonight or tomorrow.

Back at it, my first cucumber this year

White Wonder cucumber from my garden. I wasn't sure when to pick it, I just went for it because it seems that it is better to error on the side of underripe. I have let some cukes get too ripe on the vine and they get bitter. I did some research and people say that once the plant produces bitter cucumbers you should just pull/cut the entire plant out because that will be all you get from then on. This was true with my plant. I tried to wait it out but it produced loads of inedible cukes. Well this one was a little further along than I like and I did spoon out the seeds but the flavor was great. I was waiting for it to turn white, but it was still light green when I picked it. Skin is too tuff for me so I peeled it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Get it started!

Check out this video made by someone who spends lots of hours trying to help gardeners like us grow.
This should help you get growing without spending too much.  I'm not sure if the Home Depots near me have them.  Please comment on this blog post if you have seen these products or something similar in the Fresno area.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Goji berry sprouts!

I purchased these seeds online from for $2. A three year old plant costs $25 so I will be saving lots of cash if I can keep even just one alive. They ship you the dried berries, and I received 10. The first berry I opened had 13 seeds in it and the second had 51. So two of the ten berries gave me 64 seeds. The six pack pictured has 24 seeds in it. They are perennial shrubs that I intend to use as a hedge in a couple years in my attempt at an edible landscape. They are also a superfood!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What can I plant right now in the Central Valley?

     I have found lots of sources of info on what to plant in our climate zone.  Most of them had similar planting dates, but for different veggies the start dates could vary up to 2 months.  I had already spent hours trying to merge these sources to create my own simple version.  At a community garden conference, there was a class about what to plant and when taught by a Master Gardener.  She move to the Central Valley to grow year round and has been doing just that for years.  She gave out handouts titled Vegetable Gardening at a Glance and here is a link to its source.  She was very clear in stating that these dates are "direct sow, when you put the seed in the ground."  Her class was very helpful and she taught with a confidence that I have been looking for when asking gardening questions.  She also shared some varieties(listed below) that she grows every year and has always had success with.
  • Spinach - Bloomsdale Long Standing
  • Tomato - Supersonic
  • Eggplant(aka Aubergine) - Japanese
  • Lettuce - Red Sails
  • Pepper - Sweet Italian Frying

     I also came across this more simple classroom education version called Crop Circles.  I really like this layout and could have benefited from this when I first got into growing.  Hopefully someone will remake the more complex Veggie at a Glance table in this circular layout and sell posters for a couple dollars.
So... this is what you can plant in Fresno, CA in February according to California Master Gardeners.
White Potatoes

Where can I get these?  There are thousands of sources of seed online, but my favorites so far are: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Bountiful Gardens, Park Seed. Orchard, Home Depot, Lowes, Fresno Ag, Riverside Nursery, Belmont Nursery, Whole Foods, and many others sell seed year round.  Home Depot, and Fresno Ag have plants already.
There are other things like fruiting trees and berries not on this list, and I haven't done much research on these because I don't have space to plant them.  Have fun!

Monday, January 9, 2012