Monday, August 19, 2013

Harvest Monday - August 19, 2013

Now that all the tomato plants have come to an end, I am harvesting tomatoes from the community garden. I harvested the coeur de boeuf, san marzano, and some cherry tomatoes (baxter bush and supersweet 100). I was harvested my first ichiban eggplant.
From the container garden, I harvested one of the last golden dwarf tomatoes, several okras, and caribbean habenero. The habenero is not as spicy as I thought it would be...I might have to try one of the ghost peppers next year.
The peppers are turning red and needed to be harvested. I couldn't use it all so I decided to freeze the majority of it. My freezer is getting filled with tomatoes and peppers - it is wonderful!
I am linking to Daphne's harvest monday!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Harvest Monday - August 12, 2013

This past week, I got a whole bunch of tomatoes from the community garden that I forgot to take picture of. I did take a snapshot the last harvest of coeur de boeuf from the balcony as well as the dwarf champion and golden dwarf. The coeur de boeuf is interesting - they all have slightly different shapes. I had 5-6 that were big and wrinkly like the pictures I had last week, but the majority of them are smaller and more tear-drop shaped. There were some questions about this tomato. This plant was started from seeds that I saved from the coeur de boeuf that I bought because I thought was so pretty. Unfortunately, this tomato tasted, well, like crap. But I saved the seeds and planted it anyway to see what kind of tomato I would get. I was happily pleased to get tomatoes that looked like the original tomato and more importantly, tasted delicious! Here is the what the cross section of the largest tomato looks like - I peeled the tomato because all my tomatoes have really thick skins.
Coeur de boeuf tomato peeled
Cross section of the coeur de boeuf  - it looks like a mitochondria...
The tomato is really meaty and sweet. The flavor as not as dense as cherokee purple (which is still my favorite) but they are a really beautiful and tasty tomato. I wasn't sure if the store bought tomato was heirloom/open pollinated but both the tomatoes grown on the balcony and in the community garden looks like the original tomato so perhaps they are OP. Who knows. I saved some seeds from the tomatoes I harvested so we'll see how these plants do next year.

Here is the basket of tomatoes I harvested from the balcony last week.
Mixture of coeur de boeuf, dwarf champion and golden dwarf champion
I have also harvested some okra. I have been harvested about 2-4 a week. Since I don't get a lot, I prepare it by blanching lightly and flavoring with a little soy sauce and bonito flake.
Okra - these got a little too big
Simple okra dish
I've harvested my first 4 habenero peppers - these are Caribbean red habenero. I have 2 plants, so I think I will be harvesting many peppers soon.
Caribbean Red Habenero
I am linking to Daphne's Harvest Monday!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Harvest Monday - August 5, 2013

Last week was another week of tomatoes from the community garden. The tomato plants on my balcony are on its last leg...I think. Maybe with the weather getting cooler it will pick up again. But after cutting off all the dead leaves it is looking quite...sad. The tomato plants in the community garden are still going strong, so I think I will still have a couple of tomato harvests to go. Here are some of the tomatoes that I harvested last week.
Homestead tomatoes on the left and purple cherokee tomatoes on the right
Baxter bush cherry, supersweet 100 and one roma tomato
Coeur de Boeuf tomatoes
I am linking to Daphne's harvest Monday!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Harvest Monday - July 29, 2013

This past weekend, I pulled all the determinate tomatoes to get ready for the Fall garden. I'm thinking of trying cucumbers again this year (last year I lost everything because of powdery mildew), maybe some collard greens and beans. I hate cleaning up, but one upside was the pretty good size harvest of tomatoes - probably the largest from the balcony.
The yellow tomatoes are the golden dwarf champions, the medium size tomatoes on the top right are dwarf champions, the large tomatoes on top are the Coeur de Boeuf, and the little orange, red, and green tomatoes are a combination of Minigold and Husky Red
Couldn't resist a second angle:)
I froze the dwarf tomatoes, made salsa with the green tomatoes, and eating the red cherries and minigold as snack. I'm thinking of freezing some more tomatoes. I still have the cherokee purple, coeur de boeuf and dwarf champion (both red and yellow) variety left. They don't look so hot so maybe they will not produce anymore, but even if it doesn't I think I had a very good tomato season this year!
Very delicious edamame!
I also got a harvest of edamame - these are so delicious! Next year I think I will try to plant more edamame plants.

I am linking to Daphne's Harvest Monday! I hope all your garden is doing well.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Harvest Monday July 22, 2013

Wow, I can't believe it has been over a month since posting! The balcony garden is doing well, as well as the community garden raised bed garden. I ended up purchasing the fancy texas tomato cage for the raised bed garden - I feel this has probably made a huge difference in the size of the plant. The supersweet 100 plant is like 6 ... maybe even 7 feet tall. And the tomatoes are so much bigger than what I got last year.

The tomatoes I'm growing on the balcony are mostly determinate or dwarf variety that Carol shared with me. I has been pretty amazing. I've been harvest a lot of tomatoes from both locations. It has been just fantastic! Here are some pictures
Minigold tomato..or is it?
This minigold tomato is very curious. After reading about these tomatoes on Carol's blog, I was expecting them to be bright yellow - but it turns out it is bright orange - almost like a sungold. These taste wonderful - but maybe it is some new hybrid variety. I've saved some seeds so it will be interesting to see what kind of fruit it will produce next year!
From Balcony: More minigold tomato and a couple of bush beans before the plant died...
From Balcony: More minigold (so productive!) and dwarf champion and golden dwarf champion tomatoes
From Balcony: Edamame, semi-final minigold harvest, dwarf champion, golden dwarf, cherokee purple
From community garden: Baxter bush cherry, supersweet 100 and cherokee purple
I am sitting here writing while nibbling on the edamame. This is my first time growing it and it tastes SOOOOO good. I love edamame, but these freshly harvested edamame are the sweetest and most delicious ones I've ever had. I'm going to try to grow some more - maybe I can squeeze one more crop before winter? I have to calculate how many days it has taken to get to this point to see if I still have enough time.

I'm linking to Daphne's Harvest Monday! Now that the harvests are coming in very steadily, I'm going to try to document a little bit better.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Harvest Monday June 18, 2013

I can't believe that it is already mid-June! How time flies. Everything has been growing super fast both on the balcony and in the community garden. I've been harvesting mostly greens - kale, mizuna, and broccoli leaf. I'm trying to find different ways to eat the greens and been having fun playing around with recipes. Here are some snapshots of my harvest:
Kale, broccoli leaf and mint
more greens..
And even more greens...
Just tons of greens!
I'm sharing my harvest at Daphne's Harvest Monday!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Harvest Monday June 3, 2013

The snow peas are on its last leg but I am still harvesting handful of peas every other day. These peas are just absolutely delicious, especially when cooked lightly - it brings out the sweetness. I know I am a little ahead of myself but I am cruising the Baker Creek seeds catalog and eying the purple snow pea seeds.
The bok choy is starting to flower (I have three plants). I harvested 2 out of the three and plan to eat the last one sometime this week. I probably should have harvested it a little bit earlier - it was a little bit fibrous, but we enjoyed them anyway.
The endive is really going strong...they are really bitter but provide a nice little kick to a salad. I think I prefer the arugula over the endive. I also have a couple of spinach plants but I don't think it likes the increasingly hot weather. Since I only have a few plants, I've been harvesting a leaf here and there. I will have to plant more this fall maybe.
I'm linking to Daphne's Harvest Monday!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Harvest Monday - May 19, 2013

This past week was a great week for salad greens. I harvested endive, romaine lettuce and arugula. I really like fresh salad but I am sad to say that I'm not sure I love home grown romaine lettuce. I've gotten accustomed to store bought which always is much more crunchy and juicy - and the taste is not as intense - meaning not as earthy - as the ones I have at home. Maybe I'm not growing them right or I don't have the right variety. I still like them, but I prefer to mix it with some store bought romaine lettuce.
I also thinned the cilantro, but the "thinned" plants were big enough to eat. Was very fresh tasting and delicious. I think I'll start a second container so that I'll have more. I just love cilantro!
I'm also getting small, but steady harvest of snow peas. I'm hoping I'll get more before the weather gets too warm. My oldest container of snow peas are starting to yellow at the base.
I'm joining harvest Monday at Daphne's dandelions. Happy gardening everyone!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Harvest Monday - May 13 2013 Snow peas!

I have been continually harvesting arugula to give a little spice to my salads but I have also started to harvest some snow peas. Still a little slow - and I'm worried the the hot weather will come soon and it will die before I get real harvests. But I will just have to see how it all goes. I really love the snow peas...I thought I'd miss the sugar snap peas, but I think I prefer the snow peas. Next year, I might decide to do both but for now I am glad I tried snow peas this year.
Snow peas
Very small harvest but delicious. I probably should have let some of them mature a little bit more but it was nice and tender. I made soboro-don which (my version) is flavored minced meat (soy sauce), scrambled eggs and snow peas over rice. It was really yummy. Next time I would love to have more greens!
Soboro-don - the star of the dish of course are the snow peas!
I am joining Daphne's Harvest Monday with my humble yet delicious harvest from last week! Happy gardening!

Monday, May 6, 2013

First Harvest Monday of 2013 - May 6th, 2013

The first real harvest from the garden is always so exciting! Everything is growing beautifully in the balcony garden. Last year, I grew wild arugula that was just way too peppery for me, so this year I planted the rocket salad arugula. It still has the great flavor of arugula that I just adore, but with less bite. I prefer to eat it with other salad green.
18 gallon with arugula, fava beans and jerusalem artichoke
My container of green and red romaine lettuce and bok choy is also doing well. I harvest a couple of the outer leaves from the romaine lettuce.
Long container with romaine lettuce (both red and green) and bok choy
I was able to harvest enough greens for two salads - it was delicious. I think this is going to be a good year!
Arugula harvest 1
Arugula and romaine harvest
2013 Salad Number 1!
I'm really happy to join Daphne for her harvest Monday posts. I hope the first of many to come for this year.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Potatoes in bags update

The yukon and purple potatoes growing in compost bags are doing really well. In fact, they are growing so fast I've run out of soil to top them off. I'll have to get one extra bag of compost - this works out well for me because some of my other pots needs more soil.
From the left: garlic, purple potatoes, and yukon gold potatoes
I'm not sure if I should be thinning out the foliage so there will be space for the potatoes to grow. I started with 2 yukon gold potatoes so there is lots stems/leaves. I think I may just leave it as is and keep adding soil.
Using every inch of space on my property
I've finished potting up all my plants. Last year I had some baby tomatoes destroyed by birds so I started extra plants as back up. This year, the birds are leaving my tomato seedlings alone (so far) so it looks like I will have to trash my backup plants. This is difficult for me to get rid of the seedlings that I I'm trying to think if I can create more space for them. Maybe I can get a couple of small containers....
My extra vegetable seedlings...hope to find space for them

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Charm city Peru!

My parents and I just came back from a fantastic trip to Peru. This is my first time in South America, and Peru was a perfect country to start. My mother has been wanting to visit Machu Picchu and the Nazca lines for years now and we finally got our act together and planned out (or should I say selected a travel agency) our 7-day trip to the land of the Incas. It was a very busy trip - going from one place to the next but it was one of the best vacations I've taken. Between my mother and I, we took a gazillion pictures. Here are a couple of pictures.
Coca tea - I was so excited to try this. It wasn't the best tasting tea, but it is supposed to help with the altitude
Definite highlight of the trip - Machu Picchu. So gorgeous
Inca backyard garden:)
Nazca hummingbird from the sky. I unfortunately was totally sick on the flight and could barely look out the window
Birds on the Ballestas island in Paracas. This island is FULL of birds, penguins and seals.
They collect guano for every 7 years. Paradise for these animals and also a great resource for farmers.
Usually when I take mini trips, I'm worried about my plants back home. But this time I didn't think about it much. But I was happy to come home to find all my plants happy and healthy. Updates to follow.

Friday, April 19, 2013

On the balcony: peas, arugula, fava beans shoots

The peas have started to sprout, still not big enough to grow up the trellis. I have three 3-gallon containers of snow peas - maybe I'll have enough plants to collect some snow pea tips for one little little side dish of stir fry (I just love snow pea tips).
Snow peas looking lovely
The arugula in the 18 gallon container is looking strong! Compared to the arugula growing indoors, you can really tell that the ones outside are much thicker and stronger. I sowed half the container with arugula and the other half with mache. But the mache (sowed on the far end) hasn't germinated at all.
Arugula, fava beans and sunchoke
I also sowed 3 fava beans and sunchokes in this container. You can see all three in the picture below. Can you spot the fava beans and sunchoke among the tree of arugula? (the sunchoke is really hard to see).
Fava beans, arugula and sunchoke....probably cannot see
The mint is starting to pop up too. You can tell it is root-bound since there is a cluster shoots coming up from the periphery of the pot.
Mint regrowing - coming back strong

Monday, April 15, 2013

Perils of growing indoors - gnats gnats everywhere!

I was being super super careful about watering and trying to get the soil dry in between watering. Here is my mizuna growing indoors. Still little babies but going strong... you can see the soil is dry
But look at my sticky yellow tape fly catcher...
I will continue to try to control my watering and add a little neem to the water. It is actually not too bad...but still. I just don't like bugs...especially in the house.