Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pesto, Beets and Tomatoes

The yard is humming along. The basil is at its peak so I pinched a bunch of leaves and made some pesto to freeze. Much smoother than the dandelion pesto that I made earlier this year!


We're also seeing the beets start to mature. There is an interesting selection of cylindrical, globe and others as I had to do several sowings this spring to get a full bed (lousy weather in May).


We're finally seeing some tomatoes ripen. The cheery tomato plants are loaded with green ones but I found a red one that I'm watching.


There are also some interesting darker heirloom tomatoes ripen out back, but these are a ways of.


And the lilies are out. I am amazed where these appear as I've made a concerted effort to root out the left-behind bulbs and put them in a flower bed. But up in the middle of the carrots they come.


I'm not sure what we'll do this afternoon. The jamming is finished and the splatter has been cleaned up (until raspberry season starts in August). I may just sit down and read a book this afternoon! I also have what looks like wild mustard coming up in the back alley. Must go find a plant identification website.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Jamming

Jess and I went out to T&D's Saskatoon's north of St Albert yesterday to pick some berries. It showered on and off as we drove out and we started in a slight drizzle.


You could hear the heavy rain coming across the fields and it was insane for about 10 minutes. We just stepped further into the row we were picking and continued. Jess thought it was a hoot, especially as her shoes picked up two inches of gooey mud and she stomped around pretending to be Gozilla.


We ended up with four buckets of berries and I started jamming last night. I'm most of the way through 10 or 11 litres of jam. The house smells amazing but I am looking forward to sitting down. I'm making some plain saskatoon jam and some mixed with strawberries from earlier this year. I have also put some saskatoons away to add to the raspberries when we go pick them.


With vacation upon us, I'm eager to get out tomorrow and grab some basil and make pesto. I also have some swiss chard to dry.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Chard, Raspberries and an Urban Food Forest

While the weather this weekend was mixed, it was a busy one. Towards the river, a large number of volunteers put in Edmonton's first urban food forest. I think this is a fantastic idea and wish I had read the invitation a bit more closely about RSVPing. Oh well--bike ride instead.


Closer to home, the garden is coming up with the swiss chard being easy to harvest this week. I have the food dehydrator ready to go. I expect these could also be blanched and frozen.


The raspberry bushes are also getting ready to pick, with a few of the early bushes already bearing.


Similarly, the apple tree seemed to really appreciate the warm weather last week.


We took a stroll over to the river last night and checked on the hawthorn berries. They have come in in a large enough quantity to pick later on for jelly. Must locate some gloves to protect from the insane thorns (bottom right of picture below).


On our way home, we ran across another front yard garden.


This is an encouraging trend (Jess is a bit sick of me saying "imagine what you could grow in that space?") and the Front Yards in Bloom folks gave me a nice "Edible Front Law" sign this week. Now off to pick some Saskatoons.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rhubarb and more basil

The sweltering continues this week, with daily temperatures above 30C! The garden is loving it but I am having to water a fair bit, especially the intensively planted beds.


The rhubarb is still putting out lots of stalks so I chopped some down (it was shading the basil) and jarred it to top oatmeal in the winter.


The basil also got a further thinning. This batch I froze in oil for salads. Next up will be some pesto.


I expect we're about to enter the Saskatoon season which means more jamming. Cooler weather (and maybe even rain) seems imminent which is hopeful!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Peas and dragonflies

We had a lovely hot day, which was a perfect excuse to not mow the lawn and instead fiddle with easier tasks. We picked the first flush of peas and then adjourned to the shady front step to shuck them. 

We had four lovely cups. This was a lesser yield than last year (different soil and weather? or loss of vigour?) but still worthwhile--an early, frost tolerate veggie that is good fresh, frozen, canned or dried and  produces it own seeds. Some I'll blanch and freeze for Christmas dinner and the rest I'll toss in a stir fry this week along with some garlic scales and maybe a couple of daylily pods.


The rest of the day we dried basil, watered the potatoes, did some weeding (in the shade), and tied up the tomatoes.


As I was out front, the dragon flies were sitting on the plants, soaking up the evening sun. Which is my plan as well, except I'll use a chair.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Peas, Corn, Potatoes and Tomatoes

Most of our gardening work this week was light watering and weeding. The heat of the week has really helped move the garden along. 


While none of the spinach I planted n this bed came up, I did have a lovely head of lettuce volunteer. I've let this go to seed to harvest it for next year. The delphiniums are also flowering this week.


Out front, the corn is making up for lost time ad has shot above the peas that are supposed to use it as a trellis (whew!). One spot in the corn beds is struggling. I think this is where the tree stump was ground off and I wonder if the rotting wood (lots of carbon) has locked up all of the nitrogen this year?


Out back the tomatoes are starting to fruit. Lots of little tomatoes and some of the larger roma and early girl are setting. I need to go out and tie up the plants again.


The peas are also ready for the first harvest. If we pick them now, we'll likely get a second set of blooms and pods before autumn.


The potatoes, both out front and out back are really big. Jess is just over five feet and these come up to her chest (minus about 9 includes of lift for the raised bed). No need to weed this bed, really.


We must be getting close to saskatoon season so I think that will be the next big round of canning.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

We got the beets...

Jess and I harvested the first of the beets yesterday. These are in raised beds behind the garage and get a lot of heat in the morning. This thinning should leave a bit more room for the slower maturing beets to grow.


We steamed the beets for dinner (very tasty). We also sort through the leaves and ran the food dryer twice to put some soup fixings aside for winter. We also ate some carrot thinnings and despite being small, these were delicious!