Monday, December 12, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
The harvest this week was small. Lots of things around here are in upheaval so gardening has taken a back seat. With the temperatures dropping I decided to take out the eggplants and the two little minibell pepper plants. That constitutes my entire "harvest" for the week.
Still, it does feel satisfying to get something out of the garden.
3 oz mini bell peppers
3 lb 1 oz eggplant
Monday, October 24, 2011
the lovely bell-pepper shaped, small tomatoes of unknown variety. I love them and am saving seed, which I'll happily share. Here are 20 tomatoes, weighing in at about a pound total. They are quite meaty for a tomato of this size. They got good reviews in my office tomato tasting (I don't like the flavor of fresh tomatoes). I love them dried.
I got 2 lb 3 oz of eggplants off the two plants and they are still producing like mad. The variety is Kyoto, purchased as seedlings. I will try to save seed from them as well.
I used some of the squash, a sundried tomato sausage, and a can of my own chopped tomatoes with garlic, herbs, and wine, to make this for dinner. It was divine.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Matt harvested a melon while I was gone and dutifully weighed it. When I got back home, there was a lot to pick, both tomatoes and cantaloupes. Some things had gone a little past their best, and were fed to the appreciative rabbits. Here is what was left:
These are the huge Sunset's Red Horizon tomatoes. Impressive, but I don't think I'll grow them again. Too big for me. It seems to give them more time to split, or be eaten by pests or sag onto the ground and rot. I have seeds, if anyone else is game. They've got great flavor and seem to be good for either sauces or slicing onto sandwiches. Just not my type, is all.
Monday, August 8, 2011
They are yummy, but not seedless. This makes me realize how spoiled I am.
Another item of interest: I love the poolball (or is it 8 Ball?) squash I've been growing, much more than any other summer squash I've had. So, naturally, I let a couple of fruits alone to mature. They are huge now. I picked this one to see if the seeds are ready. Since allowing them to pass softball size, the plant had not been producing any more new fruits. Now that they are large and hard-skinned, the plants have started to flower again. The odd thing is, the new fruits are bright yellow, like crookneck squash, with dark green rims around the blossom and stem ends. Previous fruits had been a light green. Very strange.
Anyway, I didn't count the weight of the large squash, since I'm not planning to eat it, but I will count the weight of the dried seed. I've decided seed-weight is fair, since most of my garden costs come from seed purchases.
This week's totals:
7 oz squash
14 oz grapes
1 lb 1 oz tomatoes
4 oz eggplant
2 lb 14 oz greens
60 lb oranges
13.5 oz kumquats
13 lb cherries
14.5 oz radish pods
8 oz peas
9 lb 9 oz tomatoes
11 lb 12 oz squash
14 oz garlic
4 lb 1 oz new potatoes
2 oz herbs
2.5 oz onions
1 lb 5 oz ornamental plums
16 lb cultivated plums
4 lb elderberries
14 oz grapes
1 lb 1 oz eggplant
Don't let anyone dismiss your attempts at gardening. If I can do it, without prior experience, capital, chemical inputs, or much physical effort, you certainly have an excellent chance. To see some really impressive harvests, visit Daphne's Dandelions
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Here's how this segment goes:
At the beginning of this batch, there was so much fruit in the bucket, I couldn't fit as much water and sugar as I needed to for the recipe. In fact, I had to take out some of the juice after the first day because the wine was bubbling out over the top of the bucket. Now, look how little is left of the fruit in that white mesh bag. The yeast took that fruit apart with relatively little waste. I have it in a colander over a bowl to drain as much liquid out as possible. The soda bottle on the left holds the juice I removed on the second day. The wine bottle holds the remainder of the sugar-water syrup that did not fit in with the fruit in the first place. With the fruit removed, there is plenty of room for both.
Since I added more sugars in the form of the sugar syrup and the unfermented juice, I let the wine stay in the bucket, covered with a dishcloth, for another couple of days until the fermentation died down a little bit again.
Then, I siphoned the wine out of the bucket, into the carboy. It's much better to siphon than pour because a lot of the solids that the yeast pulled out of the fruit settle to the bottom of the bucket (and later, will continue to settle out in the carboy as well). Racking the wine off these lees will help the flavor; leaving it on the lees can cause it to taste "off". In addition to solids from the original fruit, the husks of dead yeast cells also settle out. You don't want your wine to taste like dead yeast.
The easiest way I find to start the siphon is to hold the tubing with both ends up and fill it with water. Then I put my thumb over one end and lower it into the container I'm filling and the other end into the wine. When I let the pressure off the lowered end, it runs just fine.
I also racked the cherry wine, because it had dropped a lot of sediment as well. I made this wine with fresh cherries, which I mashed and dumped into the mesh bag, pits and all. When the primary fermentation was over, there was little left in the bag but skins and pits, so there are a lot of fruit solids in this wine which will need to settle out.
The frustrating part is how much wine is lost when there is a lot of settling like this. I had to stop about three inches from the bottom of the carboy, as the siphon was starting to pick up sediment. There are a couple of options to make up the difference when you rack wine. You can either top off with water, or top of with another wine that is similar to the one you are making. I used half water and half merlot.
Now that the wines are racked, I put the airlocks back on and they are back in the hall closet, working their magic in secret.
Monday, August 1, 2011
The exciting harvest for the week: the first eggplants! These came from seedlings I bought at OSH, a variety called Kyoto. It produces small fruits on lovely purple-veined leaves.
Hunting up eggplant recipes, since I am a newbie to the vegetable, I found eggplant fries. I followed the recipe loosely.
Flour, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, seasoned salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
This week's harvest
1 lb 12 oz tomatoes
1 lb 3 oz squash
13 oz eggplant