Monday, September 27, 2010

Harvest Monday

Hopefully I’ll remember to link in – but joining in on the fun nonethe less! Daphne over at Daphne’s Dandelions hosts harvest Monday where everyone can link up and share your harvests! Just click here!


Thanks Daphne for hosting!


Mostly just pictures. I’m pickling again! WAHOO, and just in time we had run out of pickles 3 days before my newest batch. I forgot 3 pictures. A colander of green beans, 3 cucumbers, and a colander of Okra. I figure you can just look a little further down to see what the colander full of okra looks like. LOL I made the okra fritters for my Step Mom and she really enjoyed them. J I enjoyed sharing something new and she plans on sharing with her neighbors when she returns home.  Also pictured is my butternut squash. She’s gaining girth and length. Pretty soon she’ll reach full size and then it’s up to me not to take her before she’s really ready. Any pointers? I’ve never tried butternut squash (growing) before so I really don’t wanna screw it up. It’s one of my top 5 favorite veggies!


Well- Til next time!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Flipping MOTHS!

I went into the garden yesterday expecting to find the same things I always do. A moth or two, a stink bug or two, a few aphids, and the norm, okra, peppers, maybe a cuke. Some flowers to hand polinate. And I did! Only problem? I also found hundreds of moths! No kidding! I've NEVER seen this before. Always a couple, sure but when I went to pollinate the pumpkin flower 20 of them flew up at me. And then I noticed that there was already a worm in the unopened flower! ARGH! NO WONDER they keep shriveling before they open for pollinations. I sprayed Bt 10 days ago, but it looks like it will have to be upped to weekly at least for now.
Know what else I found? Squash bugs! And, I found 2 of them doing the nasty on my small sugar pumpkin vine! Can you guess what they found? Instant death. Both of them. I squished the eggs that I could find as well. I'm fairly mortified at the sudden onslaught of bugs. THere was a pickleworm in my both my cukes today. I'm concerned about the pumpkin and butternut squash. Should the fruit actually set (and it looks like the butternut finally has 1!)
Ho hum. So is the life of the gardener. On the hunt for squash bug babies and caterpillars again tonight. Thinking I won't wait until the weekend to spray. I've got company coming and don't want them to see me on the warpath! Believe youme - THIS MEANS WAR!

Monday, September 20, 2010


Happy Harvest Monday.

Joining in on the fun over at Daphne’s. She Hosts Harvest Monday each week where you can catch up on other peoples harvest and how they are using/saving them!
Catch her here: Sorry for not hyperlinking the name, but sending my post via email today. J

This week I am finally able to add green beans back into to my harvest! WHOOT! Not pictured (yet again) are the cucumbers that seemed to have disappeared off the kitchen counter in the time it took me to finish harvesting my okra, wind up the hose and get inside. One my honey made into fridge pickles, and the other two, well I’ll give you only one guess!

The okra is finally tapering off again a bit. It’s been drier this week but moreover the larger plants are just giving up. They are well over head and have produced abundantly for me for months now. Some of you have asked how I can use all the okra I get. I do give away about a  third of my harvest. I eat fresh about a quarter and the rest is blanched and frozen. So- in the spirit of this question I decided to share one of my favorite okra recipes.

Okra fritters!
1 small onion chopped
1/3 c of creamed corn
1 small tomato
1-2lbs coarsely chopped okra
4 pkg instant grits
1/4c cornmeal
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for pan frying

These are all give and takes – I always make mine sticky and pretty crumbly. When frying it seems to hold together better than it should. If the grits are too dry you can add a Tablespoon of water at a time to moisten it – but don’t make it too wet!

Combine ingredients. By heaping tablespoonful, flatten into patties like mini hamburgers. Lightly fry on both sides until golden brown. Don’t deep fry unless you make them into balls like hushpuppies or they will be too dry.

The pictures don’t do them justice. The golden color of the cornmeal the hints of yellow corn, the green of the okra and red of the tomatoes really makes these pop! Wish I had taken a picture before frying as it looks like a party in a bowl!

*I usually sweat/saute my onions prior to making them. I don’t like raw onions, at all. This also imparts a slightly sweeter flavor to them. But, if you like the bite of onion by all means leave them raw.
*Be sure to top and tail your okr
a before attempting this. The spines and the unchewability of the tops makes for rough eating. LOL
*Grits can be plain, or cheddar. I imagine butter would work but I’ve never tried. Also, grits can be substituted entirely for corn meal and vice-versa. I just like the extra coarseness of the grits – and they cook pretty fast, too.
‘Til next time.

Friday, September 17, 2010


A normally splendid day. Somehow today is less than splendid. I have a list of things that I need to accomplish, and a back that will not cooperate. This was supposed to be my weekend to recover from stacking the washer dryer, cleaning out the freezer - bringing it in and out of the sun. But, no. I know deep down that I won't. I've too many things calling me.
My garden beds need tending. The first fall lettuce and spinach seeds are late to be placed!
My kitchen floor is in desperate need of an acid washing - it's due to be resealed and needs it OH so badly.
My normal household chores are still awaiting their day.
The laundry now backed up from said stacking of washer and dryer, well it needs attention too!

It reminds me that not so long ago I was waking up in a hospital room nearly paralized with a very long road of recovery in front of me. See, I'm missing 1/3 of two of my lower vertebrae. I have had major back surgery and it amazes me on most days that I do so well this way. How wonderful I feel compared to the daily agony of just putting my socks on. Days of tears, just from brushing my teeth, mot being able to shower myself or put on my own shoes.

There are days I feel invincible and days I feel 80 and waining. Today is most definatley a waining (and whining) kind of day. Do I let it stop me? No, not unless I am reduced to tears. But it's amazing how doing what you REALLY thought you wanted done can be such a set back. I know my limits. 50 pounds, and not a single one more. 30 pounds if I hold it for more than a minute flat.

So, this begs the question (or three) - WHY when I know perfectly well what my limitations are do I do this to myself? What is it in we humans that drives us to knowingly make bad choices that have dire consequences? Will I ever stop thinking that maybe THIS time it won't be that way. THIS time I will be stronger, more capable?

*sigh* So it is yet another of life's lessons learned. Not that it is the first time I"ve had this lesson. No, certainly not. Let's jsut hope I can remember that while I need to do those things, I also need to rest and remember that I am not inveincible.

Here's to hoping your weekends are bright, and mine is at least mostly pain free!

'Til next time.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


First green bean of the fall season. She’s so pretty…. The girls were fighting over who got to eat it! Then I found this other bean and I’m less than happy about it. I’ve never gotten a bean like this out of my garden before. I’ve apparently never had whatever kind of critter this is in my yard before. I’m not happy and I’m on the hunt for anything even remotely suspicious around my bean patch.


So- with that we begin the very start of the fall harvest. Don’t expect record amounts, but I am hopeful to have enough for a side dish for all of us in another week. J


‘Til next time~




Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Some littles from the garden

We are finally in blossom again. I am so HAPPY to report this. You just don't know.

Unfortunately I am down to 5 tomato plants. 2 of which are Cherry tomatoes so I may have to bite the bullet and go to the big box. *sigh* IF they have something more than just seedlings. I'm afraid seedlings wouldn't be able to produce in time.
The two tomatoes above are on the same plant. It worries me somewhat that they can be such different shapes and if they have the disease that has apparently made off with my poor beefsteaks. I'm determined to pull those plants this weekend. I've given them 2 weeks to show some kind of growth and give me hope but apparently it's useless. :-(

THe picture loading thing is different now than it was on Monday. New problems but I think easier problems to handle and at least for now it's somewhat better.

Love the little fuzzies on the Okra - it's rather benign looking - unless you have recently been spined. LOL

Newly transplanted pepper. WHOOT! I'm in full swing with the peppers. There are a few varieties I'd like to add but I will probably wait until next year for those.

Garden Peas and Snow Peas are up and starting well.
And the Canteloupe may FINALLY have a couple female flowers on it. It's an early variety and yet at 70 days I have only 2 babies that havne't flowered yet. Crossing my fingers it gets into high production soon!
The citrus trees are showing me the love. The lemons are begining to blush and I'm fighting daily with hubby and Troybear to keep them on the tree until fully ripe.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Harvest Monday 9/13/2010

Figured I had better start dating these. :-)

I'm joining in the fun over at Daphne's for Harvest Monday! Stop on by and see what others are harvesting, too.

I have the hardest time with the picture uploader the last 2 weeks - so here goes nothing. Since it is still summer heat here my harvests are still trying to change. I'm still gathering loads of okra every other day, plus the odd cucumber here or there. My girls each grabbed a cuke this week and were noshing with some ranch before I could snap a picture but the rest is here. 3 more trays worth (2 gallons) of okra in the freezer. I don't really need more than that to see me through spring. With the 3 trays already in I'm set until I can harvest next year. More never hurt though so I am collecting and freezing. I did find 2 persons who wanted some so 3 more gallons went that way as well.
The tabasco peppers are stillin full force as well. Now the Jalepenos, and serannos are getting ready to join the crowd it looks like their flowers will finally set fruit again this week. The bells are flowering again, but the blossoms drop by days end still so another 2-3 week for them.

This week my harvest wasn' t all in the garden. Some of the most important things were 'harvested' work done inside. We defrosted the freezer and got it ready to go for the green bean harvest which should ensue very soon, and we stacked our washer and dryer so that I can hang clothes easier as they are done - also allowing us more storage space on either side of the set now. YIPPPEEE - I'm ALL for space AND easier. :-)
This little munchkinite gets her very own cameo - she was mad that her sister stole the spotlight last week by squishing her cheeks. So here is my B girl looking bright-eyed and bushy tailed after getting caught with a stolen cuke!

Grr- yes the picture thing is giving me grief again. You know - I just got settled in on this blog I REALLY don't want to look for somewhere else with better photo stuff.... ugh.

Til next time~

Friday, September 10, 2010

Green (snap) beans

Hmmm…. I’ve got 3 varieties of green beans flowering right now. None of which should be doing so! They are 29 & 35 days from seeding!

I’m not really complaining here but looking for a little more information. The plants are so young that I don’t believe I’ll get the best crop from them. Oh, and I should mention that they are bush beans. Commodore, Roma and Blue Lake. The foliage is beautiful, but small still and the stalks of the plants are still rather puny. What can I do better for the rest of my beans that have already been planted to get them to hold off flowering until the plant is more mature? I’m afraid the plant won’t support the growth flush and will either not set or will abort the pods once they set.

Anyone with any wisdom on this? If not I’ll relish in the fact that I will have green beans fresh from the garden for dinner again soon and get over the fact that they all are going to set at the same time even though succession planted and that they may not produce as much because of it. I have 3 farther spaced out plantings for Burgandies, Romas, and French Filets so hopefully I can count on those to get larger before setting.

Since I’m on the bean patch – the limas are looking great and the few black beans that managed to escape whatever evader attacked both plantings are looking well finally, too! Still didn’t find anything in the garden that should have been stripping all the leaves and killing the plants – and there won’t be enough for more than a side dish or two. But, black beans are definitely one of our favorite mature beans so I will certainly be spacing a lot closer next year expecting that I’ll lose at least half the plants again. It hurts my head to think I’ll be buying cans of these in the winter after planting close to 100 plants. A loss of 90% to something unknown is not acceptable I just hate the idea of a broad and strong insecticide used in my beans. L

Such are the lives and times. B is sick. Pathetic really. Kate had a sniffly nose for a day and B ends up with fever and not sleeping, achey, miserable poor baby. Always seems to happen that way. Hopefully it will be short lived and by Monday I’ll be celebrating a newly healthy household again.

Till next time~



Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Well - I have so many just from today that I think I will start veggie art. HA!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Harvest Monday!

Harvest Monday is hosted each Monday by Daphne at Daphne's Dandelions! A great big *smooch* to her for letting us all join in the fun!
Peppers and okra and beans oh my!

Times they are a changing! Well, not JUST yet- but OH so SOON! My (new) cucumbers are gangbusters. My tomatoes are setting fruit, the weather is changing and so I am of course delighted to think that soon my vegetable diversity will be increasing as well. On the okra home front - I have found a new recipe. Okra rellenos. No review yet. I must try before posting it. I'll be looking to let some of them get a little larger than I normally do so they will be large enough to stuff with yummy goodness. Think I'll over fry some as well this week. :-)
This little guy seems to have lots of friends this

year. For some reason dragonflies are super abundant this summer. My girls giggle and squeal as they flitter around. It's so cute!

Okra is still blooming and producing nicely even after letting one of the plants go to seed.

The bees seem to be gone though so I hope the seed is good. Squash is also blooming again!

Of course most of this weekend was spent with these little blossoms.

See how innocent she is......

HA! THat look was AFTER I caught her doing THIS!

All the cowpeas were pulled, they were turning well before the pods were full and well- there is always next year... I needed the room for the cooler weather plants, but really I just got tied of nursing them along. Too much rain by far for them. The pumpkin are suffering from the rain in the form of mold but I think they will pull through. I'm utterly dissapointed in the large pumpkins but I'm still holding out hope. If there is no fruit set by Oct. 1 they will come out. Next year it will be a different type of pumpkin.

Cool weather crops were planted this weekend. Carrots, and peas, cabbage and radishes and such.
*groan* and if I ever figure out the picture thing here my posts wont be sooo whompy!
Till next time~

Friday, September 3, 2010

Main Garden ....

Well, my computer or blogger (or both) were not liking how many pictures I had so here is the second half of my garden tour. In the post below you'll find the rest of my edible wonders.

My main garden started out as a raised bed. Then we got sod. Now it's not raised any more. Once it freezes and the garden is mostly caput' I will raise it a few inches again. We'll add a new layer of timbers and a new layer of compost and cow manure. By spring planting in late February/early March it will be a raised bed once again. It's separated by timbers into 7 planters.
Since I left my last post on on the playground side of the house we'll start on that side of the main garden. Strawberry plants and a struggling to recover from the freeze Key Lime. It's not really recovering well enough. If we get a hard freeze this year it will have to come out. Probably to be replaced by a Persian lime.

Next to that is the cucumber patch. In here is also my teeny baby broccoli, a small Jackpot Zucchini and a square of carrots and one of cilantro that are both refusing to germinate.

There is a grapefruit tree in a small section missing. there is room for a cabbage in front of it and behind it that will be seeded very soon!

Just on the other side of the grapefruit section is the Okra:
Before you freak out that I planted them too closely this started as 7 plants in 6' of space. the plants are propagating. Each plant has a few 3-4' suckers that are also now producing okra. Smaller, softer, less fibrous - dare I say....better okra! The largest plant has been left with 2 okra that are now 8" to seed save for next year.

And on the other side of the okra is my bean patch. There is a pathetic little cucumber in a cage there. I can't stand to rip it out as it always seems to have at least 2 cukes. But, the new cukes are hell bent on world domination so this old one - it will be gone by Labor Day.
Beans in here: Lima, black turtle
Snap beans in here: Blue Lake, Commodore, Roma, Burgandy and French filet. There are several dozen of each type, all sucession planted. 4 more squares begging to be planted. I'm trying to wait until next week, but with the weather change I'm afraid they won't grow as well so something will be done this weekend. Either a couple zuke that can produce faster or I'll jump full in with the bush beans and be done with it.

From there the fruit tree in the last post with it's 3' section and then this lovely little small sweet pie that I had nursed after accidentally cutting the wrong vine. I get too connected and I couldn't banish it to the trash heap. It had 3 pumpkins on it. That was the end of July. It's now flowering again so there is still a chance for a pie!

This is one I don't even want to post. Any idea what happened? This plant was fine - BEFORE the 2 weeks of rain. The rain killed back most of my cowpeas, and annihilated all the seedlings - and this. It looks like my tomatoes have (3 of 6) I dunno - mutated. Time to do some research here and decide if I need to pull them. I hate to do that because there is no time to start over. NONE of my Nonna's took they were all killed in the monsoons. I'll cry if I have only the 2 little plants on the patio. :-( The 2 plants that have it the worst are beefsteaks.

Next to the maters is my peppers. This beauty is by far my favorite. You can hardly see the lush green foliage for all the peppers on this tabasco plant! The bean trying to climb it will meet it's match this weekend. There are a few little pepper plants i tried to nurse through the summer, but as of yet it is undetermined if they will begin to flourish. A giant bell, a Hungarian, a jalapeno, and a Costa Rican sweet
I apparently also failed to take a picture of my poor onions. I'm down to 7 or 8 of them from twenty. Next year I'll move the bed to a more shaded area. The carrots were on the other side of the onion bed, but were recently pulled to make room for my fall plantings.
That's it. All I've got. I find it every so delightful when people are absouletly awed when they ask what all I grow and I start spouting off so many things. It's amazing that this is allin my landscape. There are no traditional garden plots. No large amounts of land taken to grow these things. And, while right now there is a major lull in the action we do eat entire meals from this yard! Another project I'm going to work on during the winter duldrums - canning. I'm going to learn darn it. I want to be able to preserve all this work. I love eating fresh from the garden, but I'd rather store what I've grown rather than giving it away when it is abundant. Of course the freezer problem does not help...but that is a whole other story.
Till next time~

Too many Pictures - A Tour!

Ah - I've really enjoyed looking at every ones tours now that the gardens are turning into Fall gardens. I realized that I haven't posted pictures of my garden here on this site! So, Welcome to my home! This year I am only gardening edibles in the back yard. Next year I'm looking to expand into the front.
Coming out my back door and onto the patio are a few small pots:

Coconut - this is my very favorite type of coconut palm and it's about 18 months now. We actually have 2 of these, the other is over by the pool, but looks identical except it has 2 angels residing at it's base rather than the floaties that flank this one. LOL

Corn, and Tomatoes, too. Patio and an indeterminate that I've decided was tagged wrong. Both are flowering now. YEAH! I'll be back in the 'maters soon!

Just behind the patio is my little teeny Peach grove. It's not much but I absolutely LOVE fresh peaches. We had our first crop this spring. They were MUCH earlier than expected. Then again I didn't expect to harvest any until next year - so BONUS! They are doing wonderfully and require only quarterly maintenance so far. The fruit on these trees is small, but super sweet!

Here we are at the exit to the patio is the pool pump - covered by lattice. My lovely trellis climbers are here! The empty space has peas that are just emerging planted. The cow peas (beans all over trellis) are being pulled this weekend.

These are Kiwi that according to the tag 'love full sun' HA! They are only doing well on the back side of the trellis....

That brings us to the kids playground - yes, I'm crazy I have that planted too! The pumpkins reside there!

And directly next to the playground on each side are the apple trees. Amazingly the tags are still on them and readable even after a year! 1-2 more years before they will bear. We'll hope for just a couple for harvest next fall, knowing that the first harvest is always the smallest. Time to do some reading up, they keep flushing new growth and then losing it. :-~ I know, I know - Apples, in FLORIDA? Well these apples are bred for bermuda so I thought I'd give it a try!
Here is another shot with the apple in front, pumpkin in the back behind the sand box. :-) Those are blueberry bushes at the bottom of the apple trees.

What you don't see is the actual playground and then a beautiful cedar playhouse my Honey and I put together for the girls But, attached to the playhouse are these lucious grapes. These are also first year, so I'm thinking I might be able to harvest early next summer if I"m lucky. They seem to enjoy this spot.

If you look closely to the very left at the bottom of the picture you'll see my baby butternut plant - and here is it's close up!

It's really quite striking with a wonderful VARIGATED leaf! This isn't mildew. :-)

Here is the main part of that bed. Currently planted with corn. Unfortunately I don't believe this will be harvested. We don't typically see a change in the weather until October and it's already changing. :-(

And this is Sierra Gold and Alaska Hybrid (a 65 day canteloupe I can't wait to try!)
That brings us to the main garden.... New Post time! Bogger isn't loving all the pretty pictures so I'll start anew for the main garden.
Hmmm... and a picture of one of my citrus trees. Hey- the slide on the playground is back there! HA!