Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Versatile Blogger ^o^;;

Time flies!!! My balcony garden is pretty much dormant (amazingly I still have to pick some peppers!!). I am very happy with the productivity of my balcony garden. Early in my gardening/blogging adventure, Annie from Annie's kitchen garden was one of the first people to give me words of encouragement and share some seeds that she thought would do well in containers. I was so touched by her kindness and now...(well 2 months ago), she nominated me for the versatile blogger award!!!

I am very honored and humbled to be nominated by such an amazing gardener!

Now following the instructions, 7 random facts about me:

1. I am very surprised at how much I am enjoying the whole gardening experience.

2. I would like to live in San Francisco some day.

3. I speak 2 languages, English and Japanese, but I hope to learn Spanish and Chinese (I haven't decided Cantonese or Mandarin). They say if you are bilingual languages are easier to pick up...but if you learned to speak the 2 languages at a young age I don't think this rule applies.

4. I had been a perpetual student and got a "real" job 3 years ago, but now I am contemplating going back to school. I think the truth is, I just don't want to face becoming an adult with responsibilities.

5.  When I was little I wanted to own a bakery.

6.  I developed allergy to some fruits - apples, pears, peaches, plums. This saddens me. I can however, eat them in pies:)

7. I volunteer with CASA. It is inexcusable that there are children in this country (or any parts of the world for that matter) that do not have parents/guardian.

Now, I don't know 15 bloggers, but to name a few of my favorites:

My initial research started with Bucolic Bushwick. I got ideas about self-watering containers from her.

Diana from Kebun Malay-Kadazan Girls always has beautiful pictures of her harvest and cool recipe ideas for the various veggies she grows. She has something growing all year round. I hope to have a garden like that some day!

A fellow Maryland gardener. Wendy from Greenish Thumb has great recipe ideas. She frequently posts really cute picture of her daughters too:)

A blogger from Portland OR, Holly covers traveling as well as gardening at Tasty Travels. I wish I could travel more too!

I actually have been lagging behind in blogging. I need to catch up with all my favorite blogs! Thanks again, Annie, for the award!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Harvest - October 3, 2011

I was nominated for my first online award by Granny from Annie's Kitchen Garden!! I will comment soon, but for today I will like to post some pictures of my harvest from last week.
First I have a bunch of thyme to dry. Since it getting cold, I need to move some of the herbs inside.
I've got some bok choy, peppers and hot pepper.
The GIANT chinese pepper plant is still producing very cute small peppers.
And some lettuce. These lettuce are slightly bitter, but it also has slight hint of shiso flavor (the herb used to make picked plum).  I really like it!

I'm joining gardeners around the world for Harvest Monday hosted by Daphne!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fall garden update

A quick update of the surviving plants @ charm city garden. I'm already thinking of next year's garden. The last ichiban eggplant. I'm letting it grow so that I can collect the seeds.

Red romaine is growing, one plant is starting to bolt. The lettuce itself is quite bitter but still pretty good.
Red Romaine Lettuce
I have 2 containers of bok choy. These are very good in stir fry. Next to the bok choy, I also have a container of romaine lettuce that I probably started too late because it is not growing very big.
Bok Choy and romaine lettuce (back)
Bok Choy
I have 2 containers of chinese be honest I don't know how big they are supposed to get. I should probably just harvest them and some point.
Two container of Chinese kale
The chinese pepper plant is getting bushy and still producing fruit.
Super bushy Chinese Giant pepper
Chinese pepper of varying size
The supersweet tomato still has many green tomatoes but I think it is too cold for it to ripen.

Both the jalapeno and thai pepper is starting to yellow but still has many peppers. The pickled peppers is so delicious! I definitely will make more pickled jalapeno with the remaining peppers. I'm not so sure what to do with all the thai peppers...
This plant fell over after the storm, so now is supported
The jalapeno is starting to turn red
Thai red pepper - so many peppers still!
Thai red pepper

Monday, September 12, 2011

Harvest Monday - September 12, 2011

The summer season has ended and the Fall vegetables are growing very nicely. I was able to harvest some (not so good looking) ichiban eggplants and a handful of lettuce and bok choi.
Ichiban Eggplant - scarred but delicious
Thai red pepper still producing many peppers
Pak choi used for stir fry
Red romaine for small side salad
Some more ichiban and a green homestead tomato
Linking to Daphne's Harvest Monday. It is so much fun to see what everyone is growing around the world!

Friday, September 9, 2011

cleaning up and fall crop

The summer garden is slowly coming to an end:( From the summer, the ichiban, thai pepper, jalapeno and chinese pepper plants are still producing some fruit. I bought a whole bunch of seeds for the Fall, but I realized cleaning up the container  is really very hard work!!  I wasn't able to completely recycle all the containers.  The ones that I did start are growing steadily. Here are some fall plants:
Red romaine lettuce
From left: swiss chard, bok choi, bok choi (with bug damage)
Chinese Kale
Fall Squash

Monday, August 29, 2011

Harvest Monday - August 29, 2011

Fortunately, the hurricane was not so bad in charm city. The wind was quite strong, but not much damage near us. The balcony garden survived with little damage (just some slanted plants). I think the tomatoes are done though. The leaves are all getting brown and dry. I harvested the last of the tomatoes - many of them had split (probably because of the rain?). I plan to pull the plant this weekend and hopefully transfer chard, bok choy and chinese broccoli. Here is the harvest this past week.
Not so giant, Giant chinese peppers
The last tomato harvest, most likely - some sweet 100s and early girl 50s
Rosemary to dry
Handful of thyme
I am linking to Harvest Monday hosted by Daphne.  Its amazing to see the harvest from other's garden. It makes me excited to expand next year:)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Preparing for Irene

Baltimore is preparing for hurricane Irene. I drove by Fells points and all the stores were lined with sand bags. Although I don't live there, the sight of the mass of people shoveling in sand alarmed me and I got 3 bags. As I was lining my basement window with sand bags, my neighbor looked popped his head out asking if I was ready for the storm. He then reassured me that we are on a hill and we should be fine. I think we should be fine but I feel a little bit better that my basement window is sort of protected... I did however bring in some of the fall season plants inside. I thought about it for a while since I didn't want bugs in the house, but I decided that my desire to have veggies in the fall was greater than my fear of insects in the house.
Romaine lettuce
Swiss chard and bok choy
For those of you on the east coast, please be safe!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Harvest Monday - August 15, 2011

It rained over the weekend and some of the tomatoes were starting to split so I quickly picked all the ripe tomatoes.
from left: Homestead, early girl 50, supersweet 100 (including the tiny tiny ones on the far right)
I think I will have a couple more harvest of tomatoes but most of the plants look like they are nearing the end. The supersweet 100 definitely do better in full sun - you can clearly see the difference in the size of the tomatoes from the plant growing on the balcony versus the plant up front in the shade. The taste of the tomatoes from the balcony is also better than the ones from the front of the house.
     Here are the first set of not so giant, Giant chinese sweet peppers. They are small but they are beautifully red.
The hot peppers (thai and jalapenos) are still going strong. I'm not sure if the jalapenos will produce more peppers after this harvest. But I'm really happy that I discovered pickled jalapeno. I'm really liking the salad dressing made using the jalapeno-infused vinegar.
I also had a small harvest of eggplants. So I used some tomatoes and thyme from the garden to make some pasta sauce.
Fairy tale, gretel, ichiban eggplants, thyme and early girl 50s
The gretel and fairytale eggplants just get very mushy. I have yet to discover the best way to use them....maybe fried. But unfortunately, I probably will not get any more harvest this year.
     I also made some oven-dried tomatoes using supersweet 100s.
I definitely over-dried them, but the ones that dried just right taste wonderful. I'm going to try to make one more batch.
I'm linking to Daphne's Harvest Monday and Wendy's garden to table challenge! Thank you both for hosting every week:)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The peppers are turning red!

The peppers have been shaded to prevent sun damage so I didn't notice until today that some of the peppers are turning red! I thought that they might get a little bigger since they are called "GIANT" Chinese peppers. I'm excited to taste these peppers!
The oregano is getting bushy. I should try trimming them and making some dried oregano.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Harvest Monday - August 8, 2011

Here is my harvest from last week. First for the red veggies:
There are actually more thai peppers, but I'm not sure what to do with them. I think I will try to dry them. I've been munching on the tomatoes (the larger 2 on top are early girl, and the rest are supersweet 100).
The first 2 homestead tomatoes - I haven't tasted them yet. I still have 3 more ripening on the plant. They just aren't doing well on the balcony. The supersweet 100 are doing well. If I can find time I would like to make oven-dried tomatoes. If not, i will probably try to snack on them or freeze them.
I'm not sure if the eggplants are almost done. I don't see any more flowers, but again, maybe it will have another go. I'll just see how it goes.

I'm linking to Daphne's Harvest Monday - farmers all around the world is harvesting many beautiful fruits and veggies.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Selecting tomatoes for next year

I went to the Baltimore Farmer's Market today. My co-workers have been telling me that it is very good, and I finally got around to going. There were many stands with a wide variety of heirloom tomatoes. I decided this was a great way to explore varieties I can grow next year. I bought chocolate cherry, pink brandywine, Mr. Stripey, purple cherokee, and moon glow tomatoes.
From top (clockwise) pink brandywine, Mr. Stripey, chocolate cherry, purple cherokee, moon glow
I bought some purple cherokee from Whole foods last week and was completely unimpressed but I thought I'd give it another go. And I am glad I did.
Flavor aside, these tomatoes are beautiful!
I liked Mr. Stripey and purple cherokee. The chocolate cherry tasted good when I was munching on them on my way home, but when tasting them side-by-side the flavor paled in comparison to Mr. Stripey and purple cherokee. There were so many other varieties @ the market, so I will have to go back again next week and test others.  I think I will need to find a community garden for more wish list keeps getting longer!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tomatoes all tangled up!

I think the early girl 50 plant is on its last leg. There are still a bunch of green tomatoes - hopefully they will  ripen before the plant dies.
I've been having some problems keeping the tomatoes from falling over. I've been using bamboo sticks to prop them up but as the plants get bigger the weight is too much. I've been adding more bamboo sticks and tying them together every which way.
I have exactly 4 homestead tomatoes growing on one plant and 1 on the other. They are ripening which is great! I don't have much hope for more homstead tomatoes on the balcony. I have one plant in the front of the house that has more fruits so hopefully that will give me some harvest.
Supersweet 100 on left and homestead with 4 tomatoes on right
The thai peppers are getting red. The stinky bugs seem to like this plant. Besides the fact that they are nasty they aren't doing any visible harm to the peppers (which by the way are SUPER HOT). I think they like it because the plant is bushy and they and they can keep out of direct sunlight. I'm getting may red beautiful pepper and I have no idea what to do with them...
The jalapeno plant is amazing. It is still making tiny jalapenoes. Maybe I'll try making poppers as Ben suggested in my previous post. Another thought is to make some base for curry.
The chinese peppers are doing well in the shade. There are about 4-5 peppers in each plant (I have 3 plants). Next year I would like to grow a variety that produces more fruit. But I'm still looking forward to eating these peppers:)