Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Winter Carrots

This past weekend Antonio and I went out into the garden and harvested one of our Nelson carrots. He was so excited as we pulled it out of the ground. He told me that it reminded him of the Curious George episode where he grows carrots. He immediately wanted to go and show Julia what he helped grow and harvest. We were able to enjoy the carrot in salad later that evening.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Garden Progress

We are traveling in Colorado for the Thanksgiving holidays, enjoying
time with family. But here are some pictures of the garden from the
19th of November from before we left.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Eggs with Cayenne Pepper

Wednesday morning I stepped out into the garden to harvest some cayenne peppers. My cayenne pepper plant doesn't seem to realize that it is no longer summer, and is still producing away. I sliced one up and added it to two free range eggs (one a great looking blue egg from an Araucana chicken, the other a nice creamy white egg) and added some cheddar cheese. The eggs were delicious, had a nice spicy kick and flavoring to them with cayenne slices cooked in. It is a great feeling being able to just step out to the garden to find ingredients to a meal that I am preparing. Can't get more local than your own yard.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wintersown Tomatoes

I went ahead and sent in my request for tomato seeds along with some seeds that I had saved from some tomatoes we had purchased from our Farmer's Market to Wintersown.org. They sent me all the ones I had requested, plus the alternates I had listed as well.

Wintersown sent me:

Green Zebra ~ Pretty, 3 ounce fruits ripen to light green with dark green streaking, very tasty, IND, 78 DTM

Black Prince ~ Dark brick-toned fruits about 2 - 3 ounces each, very productive, quite yum, IND, 72+ DTM

Dr. Wyche's Yellow ~ Delicious golden-yellow beefsteaks, most weighing over a half-pound, large plants, IND, 80 DTM

Black Krim ~ Mahogany-brown fruits with green shoulders, have green gel around seeds, delicious, IND, 75+ DTM

Rio Fuego ~ Blocky red paste is known for high sugar content, makes great sauce, excellent for salad too, DET, 75+ DTM

Grightmire's Pride ~ Pink oxheart tomato, mdeium-size fruits, so very yum, a bit earlier than most oxhearts. IND, 78+ DTM

Old German ~ Mennonite tomato has gold and yellow fruits with red and pink streaks, yum and pretty, IND, about 85 DTM

Golden Jubilee ~ Wonderful variety grown for decades, 3" yellow-orange globes, delicious, IND, 70 DTM

Arkansas Traveler ~ Delicious pink tomatoes about 8 oz., good cropper for hot and humid climates, IND, 85 DTM

Luther Burbank's WonderBerries ~ Solanum x burbankii,Historic, garden huckleberry makes small deep blue berries on short plants, best used for pies or jam, DET about 85 DTM

And they sent Lime Basil and Chinese Cabbage seeds as additional freebies. Wintersown is such a great program for keeping the heirloom varieties alive, and helps keep the cost of gardening down as well.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fall Homestead Progress

The fall plants are doing well for the most part. The peas are starting to climb up their strings, and the Garlic 'German Red' has started sprouting already.
The brussels sprouts and cabbage are looking promising. The loose leaf lettuce is sprouting nicely as well. Looking forward to getting some delicious lettuce salads again. The other evening we were enjoying some fruits from our labor, we had some really good tasting homemade bread with homemade butter.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Last of the Fall Transplants

Sunday afternoon was a gorgeous day, couldn't have asked for a nicer fall day, the sun was out, but it was nice and cool due to the breeze. So while the kids were napping I got outside and removed more of the tomato plants that are done for the season, and transplanted the rest of the fall plants that I still had in my seed starting shelves. The transplants consisted of two more Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, and Cabbage. The ones that I had transplanted already are looking good for the most part. A few are being attacked by some leaf eating pest, but the ones along the east side of the house seem to be taking off pretty well.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Antonio Feeding the Worms

Yesterday afternoon, Antonio was playing at "Feeding the Worms." He pretended to eat some letter shapes, and then put them into his Elmo connector container which was his "Compost Crock" (which is the same shape as the ceramic one we have on the counter). Then we went over to a different part of the family room, and poured out the container, the whole time saying "dandole de comer a los gusanos (feeding the worms)." I think its great that he plays at composting, growing up as it being something normal to do as a normal part of life.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Frost Warning

We harvested the last of our sun ripened tomatoes at the end of last week. We had some varieties that we really liked, and others that I may not try growing again.

This weekend we had a frost warning, as temperatures were to drop to 32 on Sunday night. It was nice feeling the briskness in the fall air. We lit our fire place for the first time this fall, and the house was full of great warm smells of fresh bread baking, and pumpkin bread baking as well. I had to go out into the garden and harvest the rest of our tomatoes. I pulled about 4 pounds worth. So now, to figure out what do to with all the green tomatoes, Julia may try to pickle some, I may cook some in green tomato recipes, and then I may try to store some wrapped in paper and see if they last us through November that way.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chicken Coop, revisited

Not that I am looking for a chicken coop, but if I was, this is the one I probably would want. It's called the "Little Egg Chicken Tractor" sold by GardenEggs. It would be big enough for us to grow into, (as we are thinking of starting with 3 chickens, when we finally can have chickens) and easy enough to move around a yard.

Chicken Coop

Two nights ago I admitted to Julia that I entered a raffle to win a chicken coop. Not quite sure what I'd do with it if I did win, but, I never win things, so I should be okay. Maybe I can give it to someone who has a yard as an incentive to get chickens if I for some reason do win.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Suwanee Farmer's Market

I am sad, this Saturday was the last day of our local farmer's market here in Suwanee. We ended up going almost every Saturday morning since the first week of May. It was so nice having the fruits and vegetables that we were able to get to supplement what we grew ourselves (the other way around to be honest, someday, maybe, we'll be able to grow more than we buy). But the free range eggs are what I am really going to miss over the colder seasons until the farmer's market opens up again in spring. The eggs were just so much better. They looked completely different, and tasted so much better, and from what I have read, I knew that they were so much healthier for us as well. You can read the facts at Free Range-Eggs.

The idea of not having fresh eggs has us (mostly me, as Julia is a bit more realistic than me when it comes to our dreams and ideas) brainstorming of ways to get our eggs. We both know that we want to have a few hens as soon as we live in a place where that is feasible, but I brought up the idea of guerilla chickens to go along with our guerilla garden (I am sure the HOA would LOVE that). . . Have a few hens, and let them live in the magnolia trees next to our house, and plead ignorance as to how they got there, or how they are being fed if anyone asks. But alas, we'll have to wait to raise our own, and hopefully find a source near us for the winter.

But if there ever happen to be chickens in our neighborhood. . I know nothing about them. . .

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Canning Frenzy

Sunday night Julia got into a canning frenzy, she made a huge batch of spaghetti sauce and canned that. Julia then also made a really good smelling salsa out of our homegrown tomatoes and cayenne peppers that she is going to can as well.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall Transplanting

This past Saturday Antonio and I got out into the garden and sowed more lettuce seeds of various varieties, and some spinach. He really enjoyed pushing the spinach seeds into the soil with his fingertip. And on Sunday Antonio and transplanted about half of our seedlings we had growing under lights. We now have some Brussels sprouts, broccoli (Packman and De Cicco) and some cabbage planted outside. I am excited to see how the brussels sprouts will do, as it is our first attempt at growing them, the surprising thing is that we only last year discovered that we really like eating them.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lemon Basil Vinegar

I finally got down and made some lemon basil vinegar from the lemon basil I had harvested earlier in the week. I wonder how it will turn out. So the jars are packed with the basil, and filled with vinegar, and now sitting on the kitchen counter. I'll have to stir them a few times a week. In a two or three weeks, they should be ready.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Basil Harvest

Antonio and I harvested a bumper crop of our herbs, mostly basil (of all three varieties I grew this year), but also some oregano and mint as well to tide us over for the winter. He was so proud of the harvest, that he would show each container to Julia, so she could see it and smell it. I am in the process of drying most of the herbs (so our house smelled strongly of basil last night). We are planning to make some pesto to freeze with some of it, and I may experiment with making Lemon Basil Vinegar.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sugar Snap Peas

Last night I soaked some peas, and today I was able to get outside and enjoy this great fall weather and sowed 50 pea seeds. Hopefully I did not wait too long to do so.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Last Thursday night we opened up the watermelon we harvested early in the week (the 18.8 pounder). It was delicious, and smelled so strongly of sweet watermelon, that both our kids couldn't help themselves and started digging in and eating the watermelon too.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Watermelon Harvest

Today we finally harvested the Watermelon 'Moon & Stars' that was growing huge on the berm. The plant was grown from seeds that my friend Andrew gave me for my birthday (from seeds he saved from a watermelon he had purchased at a farmer's market). We would look at it every time we sat down to eat in the dining room. We weighed it, we couldn't use the kitchen scale, that came up with an error, so we used our Wii Fit. The one watermelon weighed in at 18.8 lbs! (Outweighing our daughter Julia Belén!) We have one more little one growing still up on the berm, hopefully that one keeps growing too.

Thanks Andrew.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Last night we finished the rest of our batch of Gazpacho that Julia had made. It was delicious, and it comprised of all homegrown ingredients other than the onion. We used the typical red but also some of our yellow tomatoes for the batch of Gazpacho. I said that it is gone, and sad that I didn't have the forethought to have taken a picture of it to share with everyone.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September 9th Harvest

Even with the latest attack of the caterpillars, I was still able to harvest a decent amount yesterday.

Blueberry Caterpillars

Yesterday morning I noticed that there were a bunch of caterpillars on my Rabbiteye Blueberry. I am not sure what kind of caterpillar they are, but I made the mistake of touching one, and it definitely hurt my fingertip. They have what look like two eyes that are actually white spots on one end, and bristles on each end, and along their bottom.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tomato Hookworms

This Sunday I went out to water the tomatoes, and noticed a ton of tomato hookworms on my tomatoes, they had been devastating my tomatoes in what seems like just two days. I pulled them all off and killed them. The one good thing that I noticed is that some had white things that are small cocoons of a parasitic wasp that eats the insides of the caterpillar and they soon emerge as wasps where they will go out and start the reproduction and munching cycle over again on more caterpillars. I was in a rush to get out to church, so I did not take a picture of them, but they are pretty mean looking with their red hook.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Homestead Tomato Variety

Today we harvested our first tomato from our "Homestead" variety. A nice 7+ ounce tomato.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Guerilla Gardening battle with HOA

Sad to say, that I may have to pull up a whole section of my garden that I planted, since it was a guerilla garden on land that I don't own, and never had permission to grow on. I made a point of not disturbing the HOA's plantings, only planting where they had mulch that tends to gets washed away by rain. We thought it looked better, and I know it was helping the stop the erosion that their mulch never does on land that is not being used for anything else. Luckily our green bean harvest in that area has already produced a bunch, but really sad about the watermelons. We have one growing really nicely, already a nice size, that I am told has to be pulled out immediately. But I am fighting them over some of my garden, because they are saying that I have to pull everything out, even the garden I have next to our patio under our kitchen window. I told him in no way am I removing that, as I have written permission dating back to Spring 2003 from the former HOA company giving me permission to plant there.

I personally can't stand this HOA company. Last fall a bush that they had planted did damage to our plumbing, and cost us a total of $1300 to repair (which included the price for the removal of said bush). When I asked the HOA company to cover at least the cost of the removal, they said that we were in charge of it, but now that I am taking care of the plants around my house, they tell me to take it out. So they only care when it is convenient to them, or doesn't cost them any money.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fall Vegetable Sowing

Today I started indoors Broccoli, both Packman and De Cicco varieties, some Catskills Brussels Sprouts and Brunswick Cabbage to grow for our fall vegetables. Looking forward to hopefully eating some Brussels sprouts around Thanksgiving.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Friday, July 31, 2009

Carrots and Green Beans

This past week we harvested a handful of carrots that had started to crest up out of the soil. Antonio was intrigued, perhaps due to having seen the episode of Curious George where George grows and then later picks carrots.

Thursday evening Antonio, Julia Belén and I went out into the garden and decided it was time to really start picking the green beans. So I got out a bucket and Antonio started picking green beans and ended up picking 7.8 ounces worth of green beans. I grilled some of the green beans in Spanish olive oil and kosher salt, it came out delicious.