Busy, busy, busy

I have two activities I try to do each summer in the kitchen, both of which are pretty time consuming. One is to can some green beans and the other is to make some zucchini crisp. For some dumb/smart reason, this year I decided to do both in the same afternoon/evening/night. Needless to say, I am looking forward to going to bed tonight. On the plus side, I got them both out of the way.

Making use of the giant zucchini

Making use of the giant zucchini

Final product being sliced up and made ready to take to work

Final product being sliced up and made ready to take to work

Fat chef supervising the loading of the mason jars

Fat chef supervising the loading of the mason jars

Quite the production

Quite the production

Ten new jars of green beans

Ten new jars of green beans

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July Update

Umm… ya. It has been a month since the last blog post. Sorry about that but it has been busy. Here is a catch all post with pictures from the past four weeks or so.

First up are some pictures of the garden from June 13th before we left on vacation.

Here is a shot of the corn.

Here is a shot of the corn.

Three cucumber plants starting to climb

Three cucumber plants starting to climb

Sweet potatoes are taking off. Starting to leave the raised bed.

Sweet potatoes are taking off. Starting to leave the raised bed.

Golden egg yellow squash still look like two separate plants.

Golden egg yellow squash still look like two separate plants.

Some nice green tomatoes on the Brandy-Boy.

Some nice green tomatoes on the Brandy-Boy.

This year we headed back to the mountains. We spent 10 days in Colorado visiting Denver, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Boulder, Ft. Collins, Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak, Canon City and many other points in between.

Pet turkey at one of the Airbnbs on our trip. Kids loved it.

Pet turkey at one of the Airbnbs on our trip. Kids loved it.

Panoramic shot of Emerald Lake in RMNP

Panoramic shot of Emerald Lake in RMNP

A stop along Trail Ridge Road in RMNP

A stop along Trail Ridge Road in RMNP

Eventually, as with all vacations, we had to come home. Also, as with past vacations in June, the garden grows by leaps and bounds while we are gone. This year we had over 4.5 inches of rain while we were away and the temperatures were in the 80s-90s. Very good growing weather as is evident by the next couple pictures.  I didn’t bother showing the rest of the garden as it is just a overgrown jungle.

Corn after vacation

Corn after vacation

A ripe cherry tomato!

A ripe cherry tomato!

Nemesis bugs, Japanese Beetles

Nemesis bugs, Japanese Beetles

A week or so after getting back, it was time to start harvesting some vegetables! So far I have gotten peas, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers and green beans. The peas just finished up but I expect the rest to continue producing for a bit longer yet. At least until the bugs and disease start killing the plants. Squash vine borers and spotted blight seem to shorten the squash and tomatoes before they are ready.

Not too bad a harvest.

Not too bad a harvest.

And finally that takes up to today. The shots below were taken in the garden tonight.  Bush green beans are moving into their second week and pole beans are just about to be ready. Corn is fully tasseled and producing ears. I’m guessing another week or maybe two until we get to try some.

They don't call these cargo shorts for nothing. Pocket full o' Green Beans.

They don’t call these cargo shorts for nothing. Pocket full o’ Green Beans.

Spring planting for 2018

Over the last two weekends I was able to get all but one vegetable planted in the garden.

First off though, is this years diagram of the planting plan.  Nothing too radical this year, pretty much most of the same from past years just rotated so I don’t have things in the same spots.

Garden plan for 2018

Garden plan for 2018

The first weekend (May 5/6) was a bit rushed because I had to first get the second garden bed replaced.  I also had to move the lettuce from the back two beds to the second replacement bed.  All of that took a while. In the end, I had time to get the peas and radish planted and get the tomatoes out of their tiny pots and into the ground where they can have all the root and head room they could wish for.

In the years past, I never provided the peas and beans anything other than water and occasional fertilizer.  This year I am giving an inoculant a try.  When ordering seeds this year I threw Burpee Booster into the cart.  We’ll see if I notice any difference.

Giving the beans and peas a boost

Giving the beans and peas a boost

All six tomato plants with ladders

All six tomato plants with ladders

Two Brandy Boy tomatoes

Two Brandy Boy tomatoes

Two Happy Day tomatoes

Two Happy Day tomatoes

Two Happy Day tomatoes

Two Cherry Baby tomatoes

Pea tower with a few left over lettuce plants I did not move

Pea tower with a few left over lettuce plants I did not move

Transplanted lettuce and bean tower

Transplanted lettuce and bean tower

For the second weekend (May 12/13), the goal was to get the rest of the garden planted. The weather forecast looked like this.

Not a good forecast for planting

Not a good forecast for planting

As a result, I was up and in the garden before 8 am in an effort to get as much planted as I could before the rain arrived.  I’m happy to report I was able to get the garden planted.  In fact, it didn’t actually rain until Monday afternoon.  I had time to go to Lowes and get some sweet potato plants and get them in as well on Saturday. Between the vegetable garden and other needed yard work, we ended up being out until dark.  I was beginning to wish for the promised rain so I could be chased inside.  🙂

So, what all was planted this weekend…

  • Sweet corn
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Squash
  • Green Beans – Pole
  • Green Bean – Bush
  • Cucumbers
  • Basil
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes
Twelve sweet potato plants

Twelve sweet potato plants

All that remain are the onions. I’m still waiting on Burpee to process that portion of my order. I am tempted to just cancel the onions and try and find some locally.

Kitchen side of gardening

While the garden has been enjoying the abundant rain this past week, I spent some of my time in the kitchen turning a few of the vegetables into tasty dishes.

Old Fashion Green Beans

First up is some Old Fashion Green Beans. Not that fresh, steamed green beans aren’t good enough, but if you add in some bacon and brown sugar they can be even better.

You know when the recipe starts off with Bacon, it does not really matter what follows. :-)

You know when the recipe starts off with Bacon, it doesn’t really matter what follows. 🙂

Bowl of green beans for dinner.

Bowl of green beans for dinner.

Trimming green bean tails.

Trimming green bean tails.

Fresh picked and cut green beans.

Fresh picked and cut green beans.

Final product. Green beans, bacon and brown sugar.

Final product. Green beans, bacon and brown sugar.

The annual zucchini crisp

At work we have a breakfast club where each member of the club takes turns bringing something in for breakfast on Fridays. Most of the time there are donuts, bagels or muffins among other tasty treats. While technically not a breakfast food, I thought I’d bring in Zucchini Crisp. I’ve detailed the making of this dish a few times before (click here for the original posting with link to the recipe) but figured I’d capture a few more pictures of the process again this year.

This year I started with a 16 inch long zucchini. I wanted to capture how much I used for future reference.

This year I started with a 16 inch long zucchini. I wanted to capture how much I used for future reference.

Peeled and sliced.

Peeled and sliced.

Removing the spongy, seed core from each slice.

Removing the spongy, seed core from each slice.

Amount of zucchini remaining.

Amount of zucchini remaining.

The zucchini magically turned into apples and mixed with a lot of sugar and cinnamon.

The zucchini magically turned into apples and mixed with a lot of sugar and cinnamon.

Next pour the zucchini mixture on top of the bottom crust.

Next pour the zucchini mixture on top of the bottom crust.

Sprinkle the rest of the crust on the top.

Sprinkle the rest of the crust on the top.

Finally, before cooking, we sprinkle some more cinnamon on top.

Finally, before cooking, we sprinkle some more cinnamon on top.

July Garden Update

I’ve been a bit busy since coming back from vacation, but that hasn’t stopped the garden. This post is a summary of the various gardening activities taking place so far in July.  The garden has been getting plenty of rain recently, with just another inch today, so as long as we continue to get sunny days in between the showers the garden should really continue to take off.

Zucchini and squash from the garden

Zucchini and squash from the garden

Sauted Zucchini

Zucchini sauted in butter and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Sweet corn in fill tassel

Sweet corn in full tassel

So far so good, but the ears are what counts.

So far so good, but the ears are what counts.

First red tomato of 2017

First red tomato of 2017

A few bowls of green beans so far this year.

A few bowls of green beans so far this year.

Broke out the pressure canner again this year after skipping last year.

Broke out the pressure canner again this year after skipping last year.

Just eight jars of green beans canned so far this year.

Just eight jars of green beans canned so far this year.

Just tonight I picked some cucumbers, yellow squash and zucchini. Ill give you one guess as to what the one on the right will be used for later this week.

Celebrating a milestone

This post marks the 300th post to Matt’s Garden Blog!

Who would have thought all those many years ago that I’d still be writing posts about that small patch of ground in the back corner of the yard.  My first post was all the way back in early April 2010.  The posts were not as detailed or consistent back then (that hasn’t really changed) and the images were not quite as clear.  The first image posted was a couple weeks after the blog was established using a now old and retired iPhone 3G.

First garden image posted to the blog.

First garden image posted to the blog.

The gardens have certainly grown and evolved since then. Most notable expansions are the two new garden beds and the perimeter fencing.

Installing the two new expansion beds

Installing the two new expansion beds

Garden with new perimeter fence

Garden with new perimeter fence

I’ve tried to grow a few different vegetables over the years.  I tired Broccoli a couple times, Brussels Sprouts a few years, Carrots most years, Lima Beans a couple, Onions most of the time recently, Yukon Potatoes once, Spinach quite a few times, Sunflowers, Sweet Corn for the second year, Sweet Potatoes quite a bit recently and Yellow Squash pretty consistently now that I started.

The permanent fixtures of the garden have been the Cucumbers, Green Beans, Lettuce,  RadishTomatoes,  Snap Peas and Zucchini.

I have to admit, if someone asked be how long I have been updating this garden blog, I would not have believed that this is now the start of the seventh year.  Will I make another 300 posts and/or seven years?  I guess you’ll have to stay tuned/subscribed and find out.

Happy gardening!

Post frost update 

After a very cold morning, the garden seemed to do well enough. In addition to getting the garden supports all back in place, I also decided it was time to put in a second planting of green beans. This time I planted a single row of bush green beans between the bean and pea towers.

Bush Green Beans to supplement the pole beans

Bush Green Beans to supplement the pole beans

The cucumbers were also not looking happy and I already lost one of the plants and one of the seedlings. I planted a few more seeds in the hopes that the warmer weather now will be kinder to them.

The rest of the garden is looking pretty good. Below are a few status updates.

Tomato glad to be past the frost and ready for the 80s next week

Tomato glad to be past the frost and ready for the 80s next week

Sweet corn a bit patchier than I would like

Sweet corn a bit patchier than I would like

Lettuce and radish looking good

Lettuce and radish looking good

Onions perked up

Onions perked up

Peas still looking good.  I think they liked the cooler weather.

Peas still looking good. I think they liked the cooler weather.