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:)