Rain and Wind, Harvest, Weeding, Preserving!

Rain and Wind

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Corn and Poblanos after an evening storm

With the heat, I have appreciated the evening rains. The wind and ferocity of the rain, I do not appreciate! Saturday morning I awoke to the corn knocked down, and some stalks had knocked down my poblano pepper plants. I am not sure why my corn is not stable. Is this normal? It has happened twice now. Did I not plant them deep enough?

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Corn and Poblanos with support

No, this is apparently common. I was afraid the corn would die (and it still may), but I bought some more steel posts and tied them up with twine to give the stalks support.  This is good to know I will just have to be prepared, even proactive, with my corn in the future. There are already ears growing and I was very concerned I would lose the bunch! So, there is maybe 30 total stalks in the most mature bunch, so that is ~60-90 ears or so possible. I will be interested to see how many we get total with all three beds!

Harvest

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First monster tomato, weighing in at 1.5 pounds
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First flood of tomatoes – Kellogg breakfast, black cherry, Cherokee purple, yellow pear, black krim

After trellising, I went around with a couple of my kids looking for beans, cucumbers, tomatoes…. anything else that looked ready to be harvested. The star of the show is definitely this 1.5 pound black krim tomato. I think I have mentioned this guy before. Well, it is finally ripe and will get cut up tonight, tasted, and added to some nice long beans and bacon. We also collected some of the other varieties we grow, and even ate some straight from the vine. Delicious!

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Long beans!

I really like these long beans. No strings, just cut them up and saute, etc. I planted and harvested some “regular” beans, and they taste good, but these I prefer. There really aren’t any significant seeds when they are this length (~2′). When they start to get to be ~3′, they start to focus on developing the seed and skin gets too thin to eat.

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My kids with the first of the red potatoes!

My son has been very eager to harvest some potatoes, so I gave him the garden fork and had him go for it. And sure enough, we have potatoes! They are about what I would expect for size. I want to do a little more research before I try to harvest any more. I want to make sure I am letting them grow to their maximum potential. If they are ok in the soil, why pull them out?

Not pictured is a huge bucket of cucumbers that scream for pickling, and a sampling of carrots we pulled for fun that are “normal” sized. In other words, they are growing. The onion bulbs also appear to be growing fatter since the weeding last week, so patience!

No Kale Harvest

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Kale, infested with aphids, dust with Sevin

To the left of my son you can see the small bottle of Sevin dust I had to pull out. I had sprayed my Brassica plants with the insecticide soap, but I don’t think it has been much help. Well, it has rained a bit, so it probably has washed off. Anyway, aphids have just stripped my kale and what is left of my rutabaga. Decimated a better word.

I wanted to get away from Sevin because it is a chemical neurotoxin to the insect, and you have to wait a certain amount of time before harvesting the plant/fruit. For broccoli, kale, collards (yes, the brassicas), it is two weeks. As you can see, I either use it or I have no plants. A better practice would be more application if there is rain. As fall is a better season for brassicas, I will need to pay particular attention to aphids, applying the soap, but I will stand by with Sevin if needed.

Weeding

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Pea field, weeded, getting ready for the fall garden

Yes, finally the weeds in the pea beds have been pulled and the area taken back from those plant tyrants. There is still a little bit between the rows to hoe, but for the most part, my son and I did it! Later this week we will finish the weeding, then prep the beds for direct seeding carrots and rutabaga.

 

Preserving

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78 ears, ready for processing
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Corn drying on the trays

It was also a busy weekend preserving. I went to the Farmer’s Market Friday and bought a huge bag of corn. Well, it actually came in four smaller bags as the farmer was out of the large ones. Anyway, I got what amounted to 78 ears of corn for $20. This we all shucked as a family, boiled, cut from the cob and loaded into the dehydrator. A few we ate fresh, so probably about 70 made it into the dehydrator in two batches. In total, we got 5 full quarts of dried corn. This was relatively easy to do and we will try to do this a few more times during the summer months

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~70 ears = 5 quarts

One thing is intriguing: We could grind this corn into cornmeal and use it like that. I don’ t know if it is worth the cost and effort, but I am tempted to grow my own blue corn, dry it and make something from it…

Some of those cucumbers became pickles this weekend. Below is our standard bread and butter pickles, sort of in the “British” style. It is made with cucumber, onion, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, turmeric, ground ginger, mustard seed and celery seed.

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Zesty and British bread and butter pickles

The jars to the left are a more zesty variation. They were made with cucumbers, daikon radish instead of onion, white vinegar, white sugar, shredded ginger, horseradish, and mustard seed. Both are very tasty and will be on the scene at our July 4th family BBQ. Yes, a little early (it is better to let them sit for a month or so first), but I want to eat them!

 

 

 

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