Thursday, September 30, 2010


This week we went to Rousters to buy some of their popular Krispy Mac apples!  I wanted to buy double the apples but I don't have the space to store them.  I have been having lots of visions of homemade applesauce, pies, and delicious snacking!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


While my garden is still going and I hope to have some productivity this Fall, the garden is starting to wind down.  So I have already started thinking about next year.  In order to start planning, learning more and coming up with new ideas to implement I have checked out a handful of books from the library.  While it might be nice to buy all these books who really wants to spend all that money.  This way I can look through the book write down notes for items I am really interested in and then maybe buy one or two that I think will be excellent references in the future.  Here is my current stack that I am working through:

Monday, September 27, 2010


This is our 7 day forecast and I am excited!  Cooler temperatures and some much needed rain.  I am a little concerned about it getting cold fast since we have dropped from 90s to 70s over the weekend and are dropping into the 60s quickly.  I won't complain because last week we broke a  record high but I hope Mother Nature doesn't decide to skip Fall altogether.  Here's hoping that my lettuce takes off in this weather!

Friday, September 24, 2010


At Trader Joe's I found this fun find.  It's fresh Edamame grown locally sold on the stem in bouquets.  I can wait to steam it up and eat it!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Today's Harvest

Here is today's harvest.  The tomatoes are still doing extremely well and I am ready for a bunch of large green ones to ripen.  I picked a radish to see how they are doing and it seems they are coming along well.  I picked some of our arugula that was shading the new lettuce seeds I replanted last week since all the other varieties that failed to come in.  However our arugula is shockingly peppery because of the extreme heat and lack of water we have been having this season.  I can only put a leaf or two on a sandwhich, the extreme peppery flavor is too much to eat in a salad.

On My Windowsill

This picture of my windowsill illustrates perfectly the oddity this Fall.  It's finally Fall but today we will tie the all time record of 92 degrees and might even surpass it.  Here in Cincinnati we are also 5 inches below the normal rainfall.  I am ready for the cool crispness of Fall and the crops that it provides.  I am happy that my basil, tomatoes and other items are still doing well but I'm ready to move on.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

First Day of Fall!

It is officially the first day of Fall!  My favorite season and I am excited!  I just wish Mother Nature got the clue and stopped giving us 90 degree weather in September.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tomato Cages

Next year I need new tomato cages.  This situation is not working out.  I have about 4-5 bamboo sticks trying to support it above the top of the cage but it's still so big that hanging over it's almost touching the ground.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Basil Harvest

Our basil is getting out of control and needs a major pruning.  I made lots of pesto for the freezer and if you can imagine we still have plenty on the plants still going strong.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Asparagus in a Container

I bought this asparagus about a month ago in a moment of delusion.  Then when I got it home realized why this Spring I had decided against asparagus.  It needs to stay put in the same spot for years.  In my little plot and needing to rotate year to year there just wasn't a spot.  But we love asparagus and I got carried away.  I am going to see how well it does in a container.  Some have said that asparagus does just fine in container.  I found this container for free at a local garden center ready to be thrown away so after a month the asparagus finally gets a home that is about 6 times larger than its previous one.  We will see how it goes.


My seedlings have not been doing well.  The arugula and radishes are the only 2 items doing OK.  My cilantro has just started to peek out of the soil.  But the other 8 varieties of lettuce have done absolutely nothing.  I was planning on replanting today but for the next 5-7 days we are going back into the high 80s and 90s.  Being my first year for Fall crops I was excited but nothing will grow in this heat!

Pumpkin Hunting

It's September and while it's not officially Fall until the 21st the entire month has always seemed like Fall.  Last weekend our schedule was wide open and decided to go on our annual outing to the pumpkin farm and apple orchard.  I wanted to get our fall decorations out and I use real mini pumpkins and gourds.  I was a little disappointed that when we got there we were a week early for the farm animals, hayrides, and mountains of pumpkins.  They did have a small selection out, we were able to get what we needed, and got in and out faster than normal.  We had a good time but  next year will go a week or two later to get the full Fall experience.

Pumpkins waiting to be picked

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Fabulous Beekman Boys

My new favorite TV show is The Fabulous Beekman Boys

The show is about a couple from the city who buy a farm and attempt to get it and their business going.  Brent on the right was a VP at Martha Stewart and Josh on the left is a writer and advertising executive.  I enjoy the show because they promote local, sustainable farms and living.  The humor of their relationships and life in a small town adds character to the show.  You can find the show on Planet Green in reruns and in the winter they will be back with a second season!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fall Seedlings?

My current seedlings are not doing so well.  I waited until the weather dipped back down into the 80s and it seemed that it would stay.  But last week it again soared into the 90s and my lettuces and cilantro have not been doing well.  A few lettuce seedlings have come up and the radishes.  It seems the thistle doesn't mind the heat. 

Over the weekend it dipped back down into the 70s but this week it will return to the high 80s again.  The up and down of the weather isn't allowing the ground to cool for the seedlings to grow.  I am considering covering the unplanted areas with newspaper to block the sun and help the soil cool over the next week before I get the second planting in.  I want to get at least two more plantings in but I am afraid that based on the weather to do so now would be unproductive.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I have been getting extremely frustrated with my 8ft tomato less wonder, tomato plant.  About 2 weeks ago I was looking at it contemplating riping it out amidst my frustration when low and behold I noticed a tiny tomato growing.   It felt as if everything in the universe was right in that moment, needless to say I was excited! 

Everyday I would check on the tomato to make sure it was still there and check the plant for anymore.  A couple of days ago looking at the plant there was a limb whose foliage was mostly dead.  I decided to prune this branch off and as I was snipping the branch realized 2 seconds too late my tiny tomato was on this branch.  I've decided the universe does not want me to have a regular red tomato from my garden this year.  But I am still leaving the plant in the ground for now in case I get a second miracle tomato.

Friday, September 3, 2010

He's Back

The mole is back.  He has been back for a few days.  And I have given up on trying to get rid of him.  He comes and goes most of the time burrowing holes but seems to leave most of the plants alone.  I don't like it but at this point in the season I am not sure what else to do.  Next year if he comes back I might invest in the sound sticks.  I refuse to put poison in the ground and he always get by our traps so I feel that I have exhausted the options.

A Good Read

Last week I read The $64 Tomato by William Alexander.  I came across this book not in the fiction section of my book store but among vegetable gardening books.  It only took me 5 days to read the book cover to cover.  When I read the synopsis on the back about the daily struggles of an everyday gardener I knew I wanted to read it.  The book did not disappoint.  For anyone who gardens you can relate to the daily work and expenses incurred to cultivate and protect your bounty.  As a gardener at times you might feel that you are the only one with garden issues and this book made it known that everyone has their own garden drama.  I thoroughly enjoyed the humor and comedic relief of the garden.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Storing Pesto

During the summer I make large batches of pesto with my homegrown basil.  For long term storage I freeze the pesto in small quantities for use when fresh basil isn't available in my garden.  However some of the pesto doesn't get frozen and is kept for short term use.  Pesto unfortunately turns brown easily due to the basil.  I normally would use lemon juice to keep my pesto green but have also been told to seal the pesto with a layer of olive oil.  I decided to test both methods out to determine which was better.

In two identical containers with similar amounts of pesto from the same batch I covered one container with a layer of olive oil and in the second container put enough lemon juice to coat the top of the pesto. 

Here are the containers ready to go in the fridge.  The container with the layer of olive oil always being on the left.  The container with the lemon juice looks brighter from the get go, but the oil gives it the darker appearance.

24 hours later: Both have had a little bit of browning at the top.

48 hours later: Not much change since 24 hours.

I decided to stop the experiment 48 hours in because I wanted to use some of the pesto.  Essentially both methods worked about the same.  The container with the oil looked darker because of the color of the oil but the actual pesto was about the same.  The top layer of both containers darkened slightly but it was an extremely thin amount that you could either skim off or mix in.  I still prefer to use the lemon juice because it doesn't add extra fat and brightens the flavor of the pesto.  Pesto should really only be kept for a couple of days in the fridge beyond that I would suggest freezing it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Gift from the Garden

We recently had dinner at a friend's.  I was assured I didn't need to bring anything for dinner but I still don't like to go empty handed.  So I cut a bunch of herbs from the garden to make a bouquet that could be used in future cooking for our hosts.