I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with this clutch of cherry tomatoes. There’s enough for everyone to have one or two at dinner.
I harvested 1 lb 3 ounces of kale this morning. Actually, I washed and deveined the kale, then weighed it (minutes bowl weight), so we probably got a little more than that.
I’m going to portion it out into 3 ounce bricks, wrap them in plastic wrap, then freeze them. They defrost really quickly and make for an amazing accompaniment to any dinner. Kale + butter + miso paste.
This is our first harvest of cherry tomatoes–or any tomatoes–this year. They are sweet, round, and perfectly ripe. Happy End of July!
Last Thursday I started a single pint of lacto fermented green beans. Just water, salt, green beans, garlic + dill. It’s just sitting on our wire shelf, literally collecting dust. I could make a lot more lacto fermented green beans, but I don’t want to do up a whole bunch until I know that they’ll be good. Tonight I tasted them. They weren’t boozy at all and they weren’t flavorful either. They’re supposed to be done next Thursday. It’s a two week ferment.
In the mean time, we’re still harvesting more green beans, which are great for raw snacking. I also started another jar of lacto fermented green beans without garlic, just to see if the beans can make it on their own without a rock star in the jar.
I have quite a few lacto ferments going on right now. Fun project!
Welcome to our 2020 garden! Let’s take a tour, shall we? I’ll share some of my favorite garden spots.
Today we got 6 ounces of the curly leafed kale and 12 ounces of the dinosaur kale.
I also did some maintenance on the tomatoes and saw four greenish-orange tomatoes, ready to be eaten this week!!
I transplanted six broccoli plants to take over as my pea plants die back. Heather transplanted a Vietnamese coriander plant.
I picked the first two gypsy peppers of the season.
I picked the first plum of the season. It will be a smaller crop this year, but that’s ok — we had way more than we needed last year!
We got our first cherry tomato of the season!
We also got a handful of green beans and a couple pounds (or so) of some variety of beet.
We picked our first ounce of beans today. 😉 The beans that were barely alive are now looking quite healthy and should produce a good crop. The first cucumber and pepper should be ready this week. My peas are almost done for the season. They weren’t nearly as productive as last year but still provided some good table fare. The chard and kale continue to produce like gangbusters.
Our neighbors’ field was cut and bailed over the past week. They generously gave us some bales for our sheep.
Our other neighbors have us three probably-fertilized turkey eggs, and one of our chickens is broody, so we’re letting her sit on them. It’ll be a couple more weeks before we find out if they hatch.
We transplanted a bell pepper plant and basil today. The pepper plant is larger than the one we transplanted way back in early May. I think we really need to be more patient with planting. Things that are planted too early languish and get ravished by bugs. Now that the soil has warmed up, things are finally taking off: corn, bean, beet, tomato, cucumber, and squash plants are all looking fairly healthy.
On the other hand, I wonder, if we fix the pH problem, will plants do better earlier in the season?
Lastly, today we transplanted an oak tree we got from our friends.
I went and picked more greens because I want to try making green powder. It’s a blend of dehydrated greens that are powdered in a food processor or blender. They can be added to smoothies and…that’s about it.
To preserve the nutritional integrity of the greens, they can be dehydrated on low heat or air dried.
The greens that I’m using are flat leaf Italian parsley, curly parsley, Swiss chard, and kale. I’d love to add more herbs, but my herbs are languishing this year. My fernleaf dill was eaten by slugs, and my sage and oregano aren’t off the ground yet. My chives died, too. Also, my rosemary is struggling with self-worth issues.
I picked 1 pound 12 ounces of greens. By the time they’re dried, they’ll weigh around 2 ounces, I’m guessing.
For the last few weeks Josh has been threatening to pull out the kale if we don’t start using it. The truth is that by the time I’m done making dinner, the last thing I want to do is harvest a fistful of raw ingredient, dirty up another pan and prep a side dish–I’m just mentally ready to sit down and relax. Truly, I LOVE having kale with dinner. When Josh comes in from work with a bouquet of kale and pulls out a pan, I am so grateful.
Late last night as we sat around the table with the kids, Josh started looking up ways to preserve kale. (No way I’m canning it–that’s gross) He suggested freezing it raw or blanching it first then freezing it. Less work is better, so I ran out to the garden in the dark and grabbed some to wash and freeze so we could test it out.
This morning I cooked the frozen kale, which didn’t even need to be defrosted. I put a little water in the pan, threw in the frozen kale, steamed it, then quickly and buttered/salted it. It was PERFECT!
Today I picked, portioned, and processed 2 lbs 12 ounces of kale (both varieties that we have). I froze them in 3 ounce chunks, wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in a freezer bag. I was able to get 9 three ounce pouches of washed, deveined and ready-to-steam kale.
I seeded some carrots and spinach along the center of my row. The peas have been giving us a sparse harvest, and the beans are barely surviving, let alone growing. On the other hand, we’re harvesting plenty of chard and kale.
Our garden continues to languish while we see lots of things growing around us.
We did a red cabbage pH test yesterday, and I think we found a major problem.
From right to left, the first four are the rows of our garden from south to north. All rows are too alkaline, especially #2 and #3. Next is soil from north of the barn, where we plan to plant blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries next year. It’s also too alkaline, especially for blueberries. Next is the only good news in this test: our well water is pH neutral! After that is tap water, which is alkaline. Then distilled water, our pH neutral control.
We also bought an electronic soil pH tester yesterday. I can’t get any reliable results out of it.
We immediately went to the at store, bought 50 pounds of granular elemental sulfur, and spread about 10 pounds on the garden rows (including a little on rows 5 and 6). We’ll spread the rest in the future berry patch area later this summer.
Fortuitously, it rained last night and absolutely poured today, so that will help get the sulfur into the soil… but it will still take months for bacteria to concert it to sulfuric acid and lower the pH of the soil. In the meantime, Heather is experimenting with a watered down vinegar solution to see if it helps in the short term.
My replanting of beans is sprouting.
First pea harvest of 2020.
Today we canned 33 trout that we got from Josh’s parents yesterday. The fish fit nicely into 14 pint jars.
It’s my first time canning fish, but not my first time canning meat. I canned beef and chicken last month.
Our pressure canner has gotten more use lately because of odd food restrictions and outages due to Covid-19. We just want to be prepared.
Slugs decimated my beans, so I replanted most of the row today. I also planted a few additional corn seeds to replace ones that got eaten by slugs.
Today I planted tomatoes that I received from a Yamhill County Barter connection. Someone was looking for two truckloads of wood chips for their garden paths. I offered to give them some in exchange for anything “farmy” (like plant starts, fencing, cages, chickens, etc.)
Anyway, the woman I bartered with had a ton of heirloom veggie starts–so I asked her to pick out ten tomato plants. Here’s the selection she picked for us:
2 German Pink Tomatoes
1 Green Giant
2 Vintage Wine
4 San Marzano
1 Sunshine Cherry Tomato
…aaaaaand, one PURPLE TOMATILLO!!! I’ve never grown tomatillos before, much less a purple one! I’m super excited and I cannot type this without gratuitous exclamatory punctuation!!!!
One of my goals this summer is to grow enough tomatoes to supply our family’s tomato needs for an entire year. We probably won’t quite make it, but we’ll be closer than we were last year. This fall I’ll put more focus into preserving our tomatoes–most likely in the form of sun dried tomatoes, so that I can turn it into tomato powder, which is endlessly useful.