Saturday, July 24, 2010

Garden Update

My annual resolve to deal with summer heat and humidity is fading away. I try so hard to make the most of summer, but it wears on me. I am feeling sapped physically and mentally too. I am like Detritus the troll in the Terry Pratchett books; I need to be cool to think well.

We are now getting regular, torrential rains, but they seem to just make the air feel heavier. If I wasn't still looking forward to the tomato harvest and other veggies, I would be wishing for snow. I think I would roll around in it with the dogs right about now!

Anyway, I'll try to limit my least collapsing in the air conditioning has given me time to catch up with a fun British show called Being Human, about a werewolf, a vampire and a ghost trying to live like regular people in Bristol, England. There are a lot of laugh out loud moments! The first season came out on DVD here on Tuesday and we watched that and then found season 2 on youtube. Now, we have a long wait for season 3 as it doesn't even air until January, 2011!

I haven't bought any bread since starting to use the 5 minute artisan bread technique. I liked the basic boule so much I made up batches of it a few times in a row, but now I've also tried a delicious rye/wheat bread too. I will try to work through most of the recipes in the book and I am thinking about getting a copy of the sequel too.

Here is one of my rye/wheat loaves.

The garden just gets more and more bountiful as the season progresses. Today, we canned some cranberry pepper jelly flavored with our jalapenos. They are a hot variety this year! Jeff tasted one and when he went to speak his voice sounded like Kermit the Frog being strangled! Good thing he loves hot peppers!!

The jelly is deliciously sweet with a bit of zing from the pepper. I like to put it on sandwiches: roast beef, boursin and jelly or turkey breast are really good. I like it on chicken too, as a glaze/sauce for a stir fry with pineapple and sweet peppers. It goes with Mexican food too, like chicken quesadillas. The classic way to serve it is on cream cheese and crackers. It's SO versatile!

I have a bunch more canning projects planned including pickled jalapenos, flavored with a bit of garlic and honey! Here are some of the glossy green jalapenos I used today.

Here are a couple of the sweet green bell peppers still on a plant.

While I'm showing close ups, how about a look under the leaves at the green beans? They are almost ready!

This is a *very* early pumpkin. I will have to pick it soon!

Some dreaded 'late blight' has been spotted in Massachusetts, so I am watching my plants for any signs of trouble. It affects tomatoes and potatoes and ultimately shrivels the entire plant! I am also starting to use some organic copper fungicide on my tomato plants to prevent the more common humidity/wet related problems like bacterial speck and bacterial spot. I only use organic substances in my garden and only when absolutely necessary. That's why you'll see so many weeds and some bugs in my garden. I plant extras of everything to sacrifice to bugs. I like to keep the beneficial insects happy and healthy, but that means having some of the nasties too. One of the many reasons for the plastic mulch you've seen me using is to reduce potential bacterial harm to the plants. Any bacteria lurking in the soil are prevented from splashing onto the plants during rainstorms.

Here is some of the main block of tomato plants. The plum tomatoes are the shorter, bushy ones. There are a lot of green tomatoes.

Here is the cucumber and tomato 'annex'.

The tomatillos are shoulder high on me.

Here are the beautiful zinnias which have been attracting numerous butterflies and hummingbirds too. The sunflowers in the background tower over me!

The giant Casa Blanca lilies are in bloom by the patio. In the evening, the scent is almost too strong!

Well there now, you've had another tour of my garden and some cooking without suffering any of the heat and humidity =)

1 comment:

2paw said...

I am a troll too!! I can only function in the cold!!
Wow, all your vegetables look so wonderful and I would never have thought of making a chilli cranberry jelly. We have cranberry jelly with our roast turkey at Christmas.
Being Human is great, the second season is just finishing up here.
Oh, nice bread, I am thinking about trying some bread too.
I hope you have some snow soon!!!!