Friday, July 23, 2010

Stinky Delicious

The red shallots are from our garden. They were very easy to grow. I only planted a few and got good bulbs off each piece I planted. I didn't water them once. The last two photos are garlic from Garden Dreams before and after digging. The in-between stage not pictured is that all the foliage browned and died back, a surefire sign that it is time to dig your garlic. You get quite a bit from a small space and it is easy to dig with a spading fork. Then you just shake off the dirt and eat or lay on screens or hang to dry out and cure for storage.

Garden Bounties

Pictured below are things coming in from the garden. Our first cherry tomato, Matt's Wild Cherry. According to Johnny's Selected Seeds "Teresa Arellanos de Mena... brought seeds to Maine from her family's home state of Hidalgo in Eastern Mexico. It's the region of domestication of tomatoes, and where these grow wild." Below that, cilantro from our farm at Garden Dreams that I am drying to save for seed next year. The little husked guys are not tomatillas but Aunt Molly's Ground Cherries. The fruit are ripe when the husk turns golden brown. You can wait til they fall off the plant to gather them. You shouldn't eat lots of them unripe since they contain the toxin solanine, just as their foliage and that of other nightshades such as tomatoes do. They are not tasty at that stage though anyways! The appearance and texture is similar to a cherry tomato but meatier and the taste hard to describe but delicious in my opinion (a bit more savory than sweet?) Ground cherries are good for preserves, baking and fresh eating. Finally, pictured last is my pickle effort. The three jars contain Mexcian Sour Gherkins and Parisian Pickling cucumbers with shallots, garlic, white wine vinegar, bay leaf, and peppercorn; a less-sweet variation on bread and butters with turmeric, and dills. The pickling recipes are from The Joy of Pickling, a great pickling recipe and reference book.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pickle Bed

Cucumbers! Last year when I tried to make pickles I failed quite miserably. I attempted to ferment a crock of them in salt water, old-school. I didn't get the hang of it. This time around, I am going for vinegar. I made a small batch of 5 quart jars and I will report how they taste or if I didn't screw them up in about a month.

Pictured below: Mexican Sour Gherkins are the teeny watermelon shaped guys. A view of the patch that includes 1 Parisian Pickling for cornichons, 2 Mexican Sour Gherkins, 3 Moscow Bush Pickle, and 1 Armenian cucumber just for fun. The little trouble maker pictured is a cucumber beetle. About 1/4" long, yellow and black and a carrier of cucumber disease. He and his mates have passed something nasty along to my plants, but so far the gherkins are unscathed.


Garden Update

Here are a few photos of what else is growing...

I was very proud of these carrots and so was Jason. He is arranging them just so to have their picture taken. They were in our deepest raised bed and seemed to like it. I'd like to try some blocky carrots in one of the shallower beds this fall.

Red Rubin basil that I started from seed purchased from Johnny's


Again, Cabbage! I grew these in a row down the center of the 4' bed with collards on one side and carrots on the other. I spaced the cabbages about 18" apart. The variety is Red Express. It did well.

Chioggia beets.

Franklin St Garden Update

Two two Waltham Butternut squash plants growing beneath a rickety pole bean teepee.

Matt's Wild Cherry tomato.

Costoluto Genovese Italian tomato. I hear it likes the Mediterranean heat but we shall see if the Pittsburgh heat is enough to make it real tasty.

Costata Romanesco zucchini. Another Italian friend.

Malabar spinach, not an actual spinach but a heat loving vine eaten more widely in China, Vietnam, and India than in the
US. This cultivar is Basella alba Rubra and has a pretty red stem.