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Super Harvest Moon

This past Tuesday in the Northern Hemisphere we were all witnesses to a Super Harvest Moon.  The action began at sunset on Sept 22nd, the last day of northern summer. As the sun went down  in the west, bringing the season to a close, the full Harvest Moon rose in the east, heralding the start of fall. The two sources of light mixed together to create a kind of 360-degree, summer-autumn twilight glow that is only seen on rare occasions.  We won’t see another Super Harvest Moon until September 2029.

Tomatoes, Part 2

Two of my favorite tomato plants this year are the Sweet Pea and Currant Gold Rush.  The tomatoes that develop on these two varieties are delicious and very addicting, we call them “crack berries”.  The fruit is very small, about 1/4″, and by the end of the season we will probably harvest over 1,000 tomatoes from each plant.  The tomatoes are very healthy containing as much as forty times more lycopene than common tomatoes.  The tomatoes are great to eat right off of the vine, but I also use them as a garnish on my summer salads.  As the summer winds down I am hoping to dehydrate the tomatoes and turn them into tomato raisins. Here are some pics.:

Sweet Pea

Currant Gold Rush

Tomatoes

Over the past few weeks we have been harvesting a few pounds of tomatoes every time we go to the garden.  As I mentioned in several previous posts I am growing 8 varieties of tomatoes this summer, two plants of each.   Here are some pictures of 2 of the 8 varieties I am growing:

Austin’s Red Pear Tomatoes

I grew this variety last summer, and the seeds that were sown were harvested from last year’s crop.

Austin's Red Pear Tomato

Austin's Red Pear Tomato

Austin's Red Pear Tomato

Hartman’s Yellow Gooseberry Tomatoes

Like the Red Pear tomatoes, this is the second year that I have grown this variety. The seeds that were sown were also harvested from last year’s crop.

Gooseberry Tomato

Gooseberry Tomato

Gooseberry Tomato

Gooseberry Tomato

Stay tuned for pictures of the other varieties that I am growing this summer…

Pickles

A couple of weekends ago I decided to make homemade dill pickles.  This was my first attempt in making pickles and I won’t know the results for a few more weeks.  The pickles have to marinate for about 8 weeks before they can be eaten.

As I mentioned in an earlier post I am growing 2 varieties of cucumbers this summer in an Earthbox.  To date I have harvested about 2-dozen cucumbers, most of which I used to make the pickles.  I also am growing dill over at the community garden plot.  I think dill may be my new favorite herb,  It looks really cool, and smells great.

Before I made the pickles I had to search for a recipe, unfortunately, I didn’t find one that really stood out so I just winged it.

I started by soaking the cucumbers in a turmeric/water solution.  About 1 tsp. of Turmeric and then cover the cucumbers with water.  Let the cucumbers marinate for about an hour.

Pickles marinating in turmeric and water

Meanwhile prepare you canning jars, dill, and garlic

canning jars

dill heads

dill weed

dill heads and dill weed

garlic

After the cucumbers have marinated for about an hour, place 2 garlic cloves in each jar.  Then place a dill head, and a couple of sprigs of dill weed in each jar.  Finally arrange your cucumbers in the jar.

Next, make your brine.  You will bring vinegar, pickling salt, sugar, and water to a boil.

Then using a jar funnel pour the brine over your cucumbers.

Finally, put the jars in the canner of boiling water for 10 minutes.

Here are a couple of pictures of my pickles:

pickles

pickles

Now the hard part, I have to wait another 6 weeks to eat them.

On the Thursday before our wedding Natalie’s mom (Cindy), Natalie, and I headed over to the garden to harvest the flowers that we would use for the bouquets, decorations, and table centerpieces.  When we arrived here is what the flowers looked like:

zinnias

zinnias

Bells of Ireland

red zinnia

We spent about an hour cutting the best zinnias, bells of ireland, snapdragons, and rudbeckia.  Here are some pics post-cut:

buckets of wedding flowers

buckets of wedding flowers

Rudbeckia and Bells of Ireland

me with the wedding flowers

Natalie and I with our wedding flowers

We then headed home to arrange the flowers for the centerpieces and bouquets.  Natalie’s sisters, Olivia and Lindsay, helped out with this step:

Olivia (left) and Lindsay (right) arranging a bouquet

Lindsay arranging the centerpieces

Centerpieces

Completed centerpieces

Natalie with her bouquet

I’m back…

After neglecting my blog for about a month or so, stay tuned for new posts over the next couple of weeks.

The reason for my absence is because my partner of 9 1/2 years, Natalie,  and I got married on July 24.  Leading up to our wedding I spent many evenings in the garden tending to our wedding flowers (zinnias, snapdragons, bells of ireland, and rudbeckia) along with many other wedding related tasks which left me very little time to blog.    Below is a small sample of how our wedding bouquets and center pieces turned out:

As you will see in future posts our garden is crazy this year.  Due to the very warm weather, and plenty of rain things have really taken off.  Many of our tomato plants got so large they toppled their cages.  For the first time in 3 years of trying I may have a successful crop of peppers.

That’s all for now,  stay tuned for more wedding flower pictures, garden pictures, and more…

“Earth laughs in flower.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Snapdragons

The warm weather and lots of sunshine have really helped the snapdragons bloom.

More than half of our snapdragons now have flower buds.

snapdragon before blooming

snapdragon before blooming

blooming snapdragon

blooming snapdragon

fully bloomed snapdragon

I am growing our zucchini and squash in the little garden bed next to our apartment.  I also decided to use the Earthbox to grow 2 varieties of cucumber (A & C Pickling and Early Fortune).

Here are some pics:

Cucumbers in the Earthbox

Cucumbers in the Earthbox

Cucumbers in the Earthbox

zucchini

zucchini

zucchini w/ first flower

zucchini w/ first flower

Squash

Over the past couple of weeks we have harvested about a dozen radishes and about a dozen onions

Last night we also harvested our first bunch of lettuce.  This lettuce (Jericho) was purchased as  starters from the A2 Farmer’s Market in mid-May.

Meanwhile, the potato plants continue to mature.  Last week I added 2 more boards on each side of the potato box.

Some of the flowers that we planted for our wedding in July are starting to mature.  One of the Goldilocks (rudbeckia/black-eyed Susan) bloomed for the first time yesterday…

The Snapdragons are about ready to start blooming…

The zinnias (State Fair Mix) should start blooming in the next week or so…