Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tomato, Zucchini, Salsa

It hasn't been a great year for tomatoes (lots of rain but not enough heat). Despite this, tomato season is upon us. So far we've kept up with the ripe ones by eating. The fruits got a bit ahead of us this week and we had some extras.

Fortunately, the zucchini plants have also been producing like mad. The only solution is zucchini salsa. Jess and I made some over our lunch hours the past few days.

So far we've only pressure canned five litres. There are the ingredients for batch of similar size this weekend. Just waiting for the the tomatoes to get slightly riper. The salsa comes in handy during the winter for adding spice to various recipes as well as a condiment. If there are extra tomatoes, we'll maybe sauce some.

While we wait for the beans to mature and begin to dry out, we have the sweet peas to enjoy. Oe of my neighbours has then ten feet high on a trellis.  I have had less luck and am thrilled that a few survived long enough to flower! I will interplant with the beans again next year.

The front yard is half done with the garlic and onions curing. I have planted some buckwheat as a cover crop. On the north part of the lawn (out of frame to the left) we are thinning the carrots and the beets (by eating them) and letting some get larger for storage. I planted mostly cylindrical beets this year and will maybe look at some globe-shaped ones for next year.

The last of the "must do" canning projects this year is crab apple jelly. Today during lunch we dashed out to a local tree and picked eight gallons. I will start to cook these into liquid this evening and maybe make jelly on the weekend.

After that, we'll maybe unearth some potatoes and start some clean up on a few beds. And then there is a wine kit to look into... .

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Rain, radishes, black berries and beans

So, it has been a pretty damp summer, with major rain storms every day at 4 (kind of like living in Calgary...).  This was a few days ago with the sun to the west streaming in as the clouds dumped buckets of water!

The veggies are loving this. The zucchini are finally producing and Jess is baking zucchini bread as I type. I expect we'll have enough to make zucchini salsa again this year.

I harvested a 3x3 bed of long white French radishes. I saved a couple for roasting but the rest I pickled using garlic from the yard and some of the chive infused vinegar we made this spring.

The radishes were lovely to look at. Nice and crisp and snow white on the inside.

The tomato harvest is coming along. We're managing to keep on top of the ripe ones with a salad each night. But in a few weeks we're going to end up with a glut. Some I will juice and the sauce for use in the autumn.

Most of the potatoes are long done flowering and are looking about ready to wilt down and die before the harvest. Out back there appears to have been a rough Russian Blue in one of the best which shot up some flowers while we were on holidays.

In the front, the blackberry plant has more fruit on it that we've ever had and is also pushing out new canes. I suspect the wetter weather this year has helped it.

The bean vines are also really hitting their stride. These scarlet runner beans are up eight feet and are climbing past the top of the trellis onto the liliac bush and up towards a bird house. They are also producing lots of bean pods.

The back garden needs some soil amendments this fall to loosen it up (still too much clay) but the dill seems to have run wild to fill in the gaps. I must dead-head these plants before they go to seed!

Inside, we racked off the rhubarb wine again and will let it bulk age for several months before bottling. Sitting a month has helped clarify it a lot and the brief taste I got while racking suggests it is not too bad! I am hopeful we can open a beer tonight and see how it is developing.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Tomatoes, beer, peas and apples

The first of the tomatoes are staring to bear this week and they are delicious!

We were kept fairly busy with projects. Jess and I bottled the beer we made on the weekend and then tucked it away to carbonate. I'll tackle our wine kit next week (maybe!).

We also harvested the rest of the peas and I froze most of these after Jenn and Jess shucked them on the front steps.

Apple season has started early. Friends invited us to glean their tree and we got 15 gallons of apples.

I spent several hours one day turning them into sauce and then another several hours jarring the sauce the next. We ended up with five gallons of apple sauce and a litre and a bit of apple butter. The preserves closet is starting to look a less barren!

This garden on my bike ride is quite the site. Apologies for the panoramic distortion. The south facing part has numerous raised beds that are filled with veggies and I think they are growing borage in the rocky bed on the left.

We have some fruit to pick this coming weekend as I'd like to try currant jelly and also stock up on crab apple jelly.