Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Garden Companion

The Buzz 

I finally got a picture of this cute little hummer (Buzz), he zips in and out of the garden whenever I'm working in the backyard.  Yesterday morning was pretty chilly, I wore a red sweater to keep warm, this little guy came up to me just inches away from my face, if I hadn't moved he probably would have landed on my head or shoulder.  Buzz is a picky drinker, I clean and change his bottle every 3rd day.  He won't drink from it if the nectar is not fresh, he won't drink the water if there's a fly or bee happened to get inside the bottle and drowned.  This little guy knows a thing or two about fresh food.

Monsoon season is here, the desert is cooling down, and we are getting some much needed rain, it feels like fall weather in the last three days, we are in the comfortable range of mid 70s to low 80s all week before it heats up again. Hmmm~~~ it's time to sow some seeds for fall planting.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Harvest Monday - July 26, 2010

 Slicers - Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple, San Remo.
Cherries - Black Cherry, Green Grape.

 Cherry tomatoes and summer squashes.

Paprikas, filet beans, eggplants.

Tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno peppers.

This week I pulled all summer squash and broccoli plants, they were infested with squash bugs and aphids, I didn't want to deal with them anymore and cleared the beds for fall planting later.

Here's what I picked in the last few days:
Beans 2.63 lb
Cucumbers 2.00 lb
Paprikas 1.00 lb
Eggplants  2.18 lb
Tomatoes 6.53 lb
Jalapeno peppers 0.81 lb
Shishito peppers 1.21 lb
Summer squashes 2.60 lb (final)
Piracicaba broccoli 1.75 lb (final)
Chesnok garlic 1.5 lb (final)
German Xtra Hardy garlic 1.13 lb (final)
Asiatic Red & White garlic 0.30 lb (final)

Total 26.24 lb

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne's Dandelions, head over there to see more harvests by other gardeners.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mid-Summer Garden

A short commute to work.

Rear -- the tomato plants are over 10' tall. 
Front -- 2 pots of Shishito peppers and
 Chinese bunching green onions.

 Cherokee Purple is ripening.

Melons are doing very well, I have to add 2 more trellises
to both ends of the beds for the vines to climb.

Charentais Melon, I spotted 2 fruits, the least productive
of the four melon varieties I'm growing this summer.

Petit Gris de Rennes Melons
There are 8 of them now, very productive.

A closer look at Petit Gris, its skin color is darker than Charentais.

Sierra Gold Cantaloupes

This one should be ready to pick in about 2 weeks.

The BIG mamas - Banana melons
This melon is featured on the cover of Baker Creek Seeds Catalog.
Its mature size is about 16"-24" long,  and weighs in at 5-8 lbs.
There will be some melon smoothies this winter.

BIG mamas in their younger days.

Michihili Chinese Cabbage
They will grow in hot summer, the one next to the block wall
is stressed due to excess heat, the leaves are smaller and fewer,
the front one is further away from the wall with less heat stress,
the plant is bigger with broader leaves, I'm waiting to see
if the head would wrap up.

White sesame, I started 21 cells, 2 cells germinated,
and only one cell survived, not worth the trouble.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sun Dried Eggplants

Slice eggplants into 1/2" thick, no pretreament needed.

After 9 hours in the sun.

Dried - after 14 hours in the sun.
To reconstitute -- soak in water, squeeze dry and cook as usual.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Harvest Monday - July 19, 2010

Red Dragon Carrots, Armenian Cucumber, Sunburst Squashes.

Armenian Cucumber 
Crispy sweet, mild, fine texture, thin skin, no peeling
required, it is everything I expected of a fine cucumber.
(Thank you TK for the seedlings.)

Beauty Heart Radishes, Shishito Peppers, Beets.

Same old same old -- eggplants, squashes, beans, tomatoes.

This week's harvest:
French filet beans 3.20 lb
Summer squashes 2.95 lb
Beets 0.44 lb
Radishes 1.88 lb
Tomatoes 0.88 lb
Rosa Bianca eggplants 2.70 lb
Pingtung eggplants 1.09 lb
Japanese eggplants 1.14 lb
Armenian cucumber 0.73 lb
Shishito peppers 0.44 lb
Piracicaba broccoli 1.63 lb

Total harvest -- 17.08 lb

The garden continues to pump out squashes, and eggplants, the tomatoes are ripening slowly. 
This is the last big green bean harvest I'll get for a while, the next batch of beans will not be ready until September or so, I'm tempted to cut back on the bush beans and try to get a second flush, do anyone of you prune your beans after the first harvest?

Armenian cucumber is beginning to set fruits, I planted it at the wrong side of the garden, it gets about 5-6 hours of morning sun and it is not growing as vigorously as it should, so much for reading about "cool cucumbers" prefer afternoon shade.  I'm wondering white cucumbers can take high intensity afternoon sunlight in the desert?  Would their skin be as crisp and thin?

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne's Dandelions, head over there to see more garden harvests.

CORRECTION:  The white cucumber is an Armenian cucumber, not Sooyow cucumber, sorry for the confusion.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Harvest Monday - July 12, 2010

Swiss chard, garlic chives,
Beauty Heart radishes, beetroots.

Eggplants - Pingtung, Senryo Ni Gou, Rosa Bianca,
French fillet beans Rolande, and Shishito peppers.

Pompeii paste tomatoes, Zephyr and Sunburst squashes.
I have enough squash already, I pulled one plant yesterday,
pretty soon all of them will be gone,
there's only so much squash we can eat.

Kabocha winter squash - there are several fruits already set,
I will be cutting back the vines, I don't need that many pumpkins.

Cherokee Purple - this is the largest tomato of the bunch,
there are only 3 fruits on the plant at this time. I don't expect
much in the production department since it is the most battered
plant. CP has overcome multiple limb damages, the main trunk
was severed by strong winds, a tiny surviving sucker grew to
become the "main" trunk.  I'm amazed at how strong it is, if the
flavor is good, it wins a place in our garden.

Hungarian Paprika - I grow 3 different varieties,
but the labels got blown away, next time I should
draw a placement diagram so I know which is which.

All the summer crops are growing steadily and setting fruits, few tomatoes are beginning to ripen, peppers and eggplants, melons are happy, both winter and summer squashes are surviving squash bugs attack, I've been vigilant in removing the bugs and their eggs daily, hopefully they will leave my melons plants alone.

First sowing of fillet green beans are coming in, but the second sown batch is struggling (AGAIN), the leaves are yellowing and drying from the bottom up, some seedlings have keeled over, it seems like early blight or some kind of fungus disease. I've been removing the dying leaves and give them more water, if they don't perk up in a week or so I'm pulling the plug and treat the soil.  I don't have much luck with beans this year, last year was tomatoes, and next year will be something else, c'est la vie!

I saw couple cucumber beetles in the melon patch, they are hard to catch, how do you or what do you use to control these beetles?

This week's harvest:
French fillet beans 2.94 lb
Summer squashes 4.43 lb
Senryo Ni Gou eggplants 1.05 lb
Pingtung eggplants 1.30 lb
Rosa Bianca eggplants 2.30 lb
Shishito peppers 1.05 lb
Tomatoes 0.50 lb  
Piracicaba broccoli 2.34 lb
Swiss chard 2.05 lb
Beauty Heart radishes 0.88 lb
Beets 0.75 lb
Garlic chives 2.45 lb

Total harvest for the week 22.04 lb

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne's Dandelions, head over there to see more harvests from other gardeners.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Pingtung eggplants - very productive, delicious,
non-bitter, great in stir fry dishes.

Rosa Bianca eggplant - another permanent resident in our garden.
We like it grilled or use it for dip and spread.

Albino Rosa, would it turn lavender if it's exposed to sunlight?

Senryo Ni Gou eggplants - Japanese pickle this one in miso,
I may try it someday, I've been roasting and grilling it,
good tasting, not bitter at all.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mystry Melon Solved

Remember couple weeks ago I was perplexed about one of the hand pollinated melon looking weird, it did not looked anything like the other two melons that were hand pollinated at the same time?  Here's weirdo  today, it's a Banana Melon!

Right (large fruit) hand pollinated couple weeks ago.
Left (smaller fruit) pollinated by bugs days later.
Apparently I mislabeled the seedlings and mistook
Banana Melon for Sierra Gold Cantaloupe.

Other melons are here:

Sierra Gold Cantaloupe

Sierra hanging in there.

Charentais Melon

Petit Gris de Rennes Melon


All 4 varieties of melons are growing in the same bed, their vines intertwine and I have no idea which is which anymore.  Since I have limited space they all have to be squeezed into one bed.  This is the 2nd year I grow melons, last year they were grown in containers and the fruits were very sweet and fragrant.  This year they are grown in raised bed, hopefully there will be more sweet melons for us.  If this experiment works well, I'll grow some at the old house next year. 

Berries are challenging to grow in our climate, I'm berry envy of those harvesting bowls and bowls of berries.  Someday, MAYBE someday I can grow some berries, ANY berry! 
(I won't go into how much I spent on berry canes, roots, crowns, plants, etc. etc.........)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Harvest Monday - July 5, 2010

Thai basil, Swiss chard, Sunburst and Zephyr squashes, 
Japanese and Pingtung eggplants, 
Jalapeno peppers and ONE small San Remo tomato.

Curiosity got the best of me, I have to empty out one container
of spuds to taste the new potatoes after they stop flowering
last week.

The first container on the right was harvested, the spuds were
grown from store bought potatoes.

All unripe green plums from the old house were harvested
for making pickled plums.

I harvested 3 ripe tomatoes, actually there were 4, worms got into the Cherokee Purple and I had to throw it away, the other 2 were Green Grape cherry tomatoes, they were eaten before I can snap a picture, the one you see here is San Remo, it's a midget, the regular size fruit is much bigger.

Five out of six tomato plants have set fruits except Green Zebra, don't know why. They are all in the same bed, maybe daytime temperature is too high for this variety, do tomatoes set fruits at night? 

This is the first time I grow chard, I'm not sure when to harvest the leaves so I just cut some for taste test and see how the plants behave, any heat tolerant green is game for me, leafy greens are my favorite veggies. 

This week's harvest:
Chard 1.25 lb
Zephyr squash 2.06 lb
Sunburst squash 0.88 lb
Jalapeno peppers 0.25 lb
Shishito peppers 1.00 lb
Pingtung eggplant 0.88 lb
Senryo Ni Gou eggplant 1.00 lb
Red potatoes 2.75 lb
Piracicaba broccoli 1.25 lb
Green Gage plums 12.20 lb
Thai basil, tomatoes, goji leaves (not weighted)

Total 23.52 lb

To see what other gardeners are harvesting this week visit Daphne's Dandelions, the host of Harvest Monday.