This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. But Skippy always stood by me and was a great friend. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps and garden with me. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees and berry bushes, chickens and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

today's harvest

harvest IMG_1020

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

winter tunnel

My winter tunnel is pretty much full of greens. The lettuce is edible size and I've started thinning it. Spinach and escarole need to grow a bit. But it's ready for winter. When temperatures fall, I'll cover this bed with a layer of plastic and a layer of heavy row cover. Hopefully I'll be able to eat these greens all winter.

winter bed IMG_7166

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my pantry

pantry IMG_0597 pantry IMG_0602 pantry IMG_0601 pantry IMG_0650 pantry IMG_0659 pantry IMG_0664 pantry IMG_0720

This is my pantry that doubles as a root cellar. I store my jars and vegetables here at a cool room temperature. Vegetables I have here are shell beans, popcorn, coriander, garlic, potatoes, and winter squashes.

I spend a lot of time in the pantry. It has a little work shelf. Also storage shelves with garden books and garden supplies. In the middle are plant shelves with lights that I can wheel around. The room is off the garage, well vented, and has its own temperature control. It's a tight space but it does the job.

Other things I've stored this year are,
Freezer: green beans, basil pesto, roasted chiles, pizza sauce, raspberries, and dried pears
Refrigerator: carrots, beets, cabbage, and winter radishes
Kitchen: dried beans and dried chiles
Boiler room: honey

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

growing Belgian endive

I'm trying something new this year. Belgian endive! I grew it from seed starting mid summer. Last Friday I harvested the roots and now they are curing in the garden under leaves. They'll stay out there a few days or so, then the leaves get chopped off and the roots are stored like carrots - in plastic in the refrigerator. In a few weeks I'll take out one root and plant it. It should take 3 weeks for it to start producing chicons. What an odd thing to do. I can't wait to see how (if?) it works out.

Belgian endive IMG_0684 Belgian endive IMG_0691 Belgian endive IMG_0694 Belgian endive IMG_0698

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Monday, October 23, 2017

my best tomatoes this year

I'm almost out of garden tomatoes. Two weeks ago I picked the last of the green ones on my tomato vines. They’ve been gradually ripening indoors. Yesterday I made a batch of sauce, probably my last one after a summer of making nearly a batch a week. I only have a couple tomatoes left :-(

I’ve been thinking about which were my favorite varities this year. For slicing tomatoes, it was an heirloom variety called True Black Brandywine (seeds from Baker Creek). It’s not related to Brandywine and doesn't have that mealy flesh. Its flavor and texture are fantastic and it's beautifully colored - deep purple with green shoulders.

true black brandywine IMG_0618 true black brandywine IMG_0547 true black brandywine IMG_0573

My best sauce tomatoes were San Marzano and Opalka. San Marzano gave me a huge number of middle sized tomatoes. Opalka had fewer tomatoes but they were enormous and perfect for sauce.

I grew about 20 varieties this year - a couple of each. Next year I'm planning to grow many fewer varieties. Probably slicing tomatoes: True Black Brandywine, Orange Blossom, Pink Beauty, Cherokee Purple, and Mortgage Lifter. Sauce tomatoes: San Marzano and Opalka.

I'd love to hear what tomatoes did best for other gardeners.

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no frost yet

I didn't get a frost last week in either of my gardens. My mom's garden frosted and many others around, but no frost yet in my area. And none are in sight for the next week and a half. That means I'll have a VERY late frost this year. At least 3 weeks late. Wow. My plants summer plants have stopped growing anyway, because there isn't enough light for them.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

celeriac

celeriac IMG_0537

It's the first time I've grown a good sized celeriac. This one is softball size. I've never had one bigger than a baseball before. I gave them more space. I guess they like to spread out their roots. I put 3 or 4 in a row - about a foot or so apart. And compost, lots of compost.

frosty night

I'm wondering if my garden got it's first frost last night. I covered some baby lettuces and picked the last of my peppers, eggplants, and popcorn - just in case. My thermometer now says it's 33. Brrr. Once it's light and warms up a little, I'll go down and check.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

pickles, jam, jelly, and sauce

pickle and jam jars IMG_0588
This is a line-up of all my canning from this fall, so far. From left: tomato sauce, End-of-the-Harvest pickles (Ball book of canning), Daikon and Carrot pickles (Food in Jars), Bread and Butter pickles (Food in Jars), Sandwich pickles (Ball), Apple Sauce (Food in Jars), Raspberry Jam (Ball). And on the top: Apple Preserves and Crabapple jelly (both from the Ball book of canning).

pickle and jam jars IMG_0585 pickle and jam jars IMG_0578 pickle and jam jars IMG_0592

Saturday, October 07, 2017

backyard colors

backyard view IMG_0514

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Thursday, October 05, 2017

today's harvest

harvest IMG_0490 harvest IMG_0488 harvest IMG_0486

I picked my first ears of popcorn today. The variety is Calico, the same as I grew two years ago. That crop would never pop for me but was very pretty. I'm leaving the ears on the stalk longer this year - until the husk is fully dried. And I'm hoping it will pop.

I also pulled a bunch of shell beans - Black Turtle Soup. I'll hang them til they dry, then shell them. I have a lot more still waiting for harvest.

And I picked all of my pepper that were close to mature. I want to have as many as I can for roasting and freezing tomorrow.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Charley and my potatoes

POTATOES AND CHARLEY IMG_7162

I dug a bushel of potatoes this year. Pretty good for me. I had three rows about 6 feet each. Probably 18 plants. I grew only two varieties this year. I dug one row of La Ratte fingerlings early and we've eaten them all already. These are Green Mountain. A great producer, storage, and all purpose cooking. They are delicious baked, fried, or sauteed.  Charley likes them a lot!!

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