Friday, August 8, 2008

The End of Freddie

Today, I bring you happy news... or perhaps tragic, depending on how you interpret it. Remember my lone cantaloupe, Freddie? I am happy to report that he has been harvested from the garden.

I've been waiting for him to become ripe for weeks. I didn't know when to harvest him, but Luka and I were taking a stroll in the garden yesterday, and as she was trying to chase the grasshoppers. (She was on her walking leash at this time; we had just finished Luka's afternoon walk), I happened to glance over at the Freddie. To my surprise, he had detached from the vine and just sitting there for me to pick up. Of course, there were ants all over him. But I picked him up and brought him inside to splice open!

Below: The ripe cantaloupe, Freddie!

I was a little concerned at first because he was now a yellowish color. Before he was a little green, but I guess this just means that he was ripe. At first, my sister wanted me to wait a few days before splicing him open, but I couldn't wait that long. I've been waiting for Freddie to be ripe for some time now, and I figured it was a good sign that he fell off the vine.

Below: But look, the stem end is still green. I think this is a good sign.

When I spliced Freddie up, I saw the orange goodness that made his flesh and it was yummy! SO juicy and just plain delicious. There aren't any other words for it. It was SO good. The best cantaloupe that I've ever tasted. Good cantaloupes from the store are hard to come by. This was amazing.

Below: Freddie's "body"

In sad news: the Vietnamese Catholic community is a very close-knit community across the U.S. So when we heard about the bus crash in Texas, everyone was extremely sad. My mom is actually at the religious festival that the people on the bus were headed. Here is the news article about the accident. Please pray for the families of those injured.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fall Crops

No new photos from the garden today, but my musings for fall crops. In SFG Box # 3, all of the corn has died from lack of water. Partial my fault, I moved the sprinkler, so it only hit box 1 and 2 and missed box 3 completely. It has been fixed now, but time to pull the dead corn.

And to replace the corn, I have four empty squares. What should I plant?

Here are my ideas:

-More carrots

Anyone have any other suggestions?

I've never planted broccoli before, so it will be a fun experience. I plan to plant the seeds in small containers and transplant the seedlings at a later time. I read that was the best method.

We do have carrots in the garden, but we haven't pulled them. We don't know how long to wait before pulling them. We want nice-sized carrots to eat. So should I plant more carrot seeds? They take so long to grow.

Below: The carrot leaves before the zucchini got huge and covered them up

Tina from In the Garden had an amazing garlic harvest earlier this year. She said they were pretty easy to grow, so I'm gonna give them a try this fall. Tina--When is the best time to plant the garlic?

I grew lettuce in the garden earlier this year, and I had a nice harvest... until the slugs started eating the lettuce leaves. That was rather disgusting. I think this time around, I will not attempt another lettuce head variety. Maybe I'll experiment and grow romaine or iceberg. I love romaine lettuce... Maye red lettuce.

Below: My beautiful and yummy lettuce before it bolted and became inedible

We grew spinach this spring too. They were delicious when we ate them, but sadly, as soon as it got hot, the spinach flowered, and then died. Yikes. I may give it another go-around.

Finally peas. I planted them from seed this summer, but I guess the heat got to them, and they all died. I think they will be better suited this fall.

Below: The healthy seedlings before the heat got to them

Who knows if I'll actually get around to planting all these vegetables, but who knows? I just might!

Thanks to Dan from Urban Veggie Garden Blog for the info about fall crops.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Surprise Zucchini and More Luka Photos

Unlike many other garden bloggers, my zucchini plants are not doing so hot. Although I get tons of new female flowers, they all end up withering and dying. The ends are soggy and brown, and the zucchini never gets very long. It has been very distressing, and I don't quite understand the cause of this phenomenon.

My first thoughts: maybe the soil is lacking some nutrient or it's the humid weather. Then, I did some research online and I have decided that the cause for this is zucchini blossom end rot!

According to this article I read, the reasons for this dilemma is due to lack of lime in the soil, watering unevenly (not enough water, too much water, etc.), and lack of nutrients in the soil. But in June, I had added some organic fertilizer to all of the boxes (plus I added black kow, which helped out immensely!) Is it time to fertilize again?

Oy! Well despite my horrible luck with zucchinis, I did have one zucchini plant that grew to adulthood, with no blossom end rot, whatsoever!

Alas, only one zuc, but it was a tasty zuc at that!

Below: The surviving zucchini

Below: Here's how we ate our lone solider!

I sauteed the zucchini with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and caramelized garlic. Add a dash of sea salt and voila! A delicious side dish! Cam called it "gourmet." I was proud because I randomly mixed some ingredients together. But it was pretty yummy.

The zucchini was delicious. Next year, I will grow zucchini again. But I will also try different varieties as well. Maybe even add in squash. Yum! I am so excited.

And now, I present you more photos of Luka. Carole from Bartoo Backyard Adventures, former co-worker of Cam, requested some new photos. So here you go!

My feisty, hyper, energetic 3-month old kitten is getting big... and sadly, she won't sit still for a photo. These new photos do not display her cuteness because we couldn't get a good shot. She kept blinking and moving. And though, she loves to bite (or nip), she's still a lot of fun. She likes liking my face too. I think it's cute.... And she enjoys drinking out of the toilet, which I find disgusting and try to dissuade.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Random Vegetation

Very strange and random things are growing in my garden. Plants that I had lost hope for are coming back to life and fruiting, and I'm getting all sorts of strange shapes in the garden.

First, let's start with the jalapeno plant. I had bought a six-pack of jalapeno plants, but sadly, I let them sit in their carton for about two weeks unattended because I was too busy with tending to other matters in the garden. Then, after five of the six plants died, I decided to toss the carton. But I saw that there was one plant was still hanging on and it didn't look completely dead. So I planted it in one of the empty squares in the SFG Box # 1. Yesterday, to my surprise, look what I found!

A brand new jalapeno growing!

The plant is still small, and I believe this lone jalapeno has no other brothers and sisters. We had bought the jalapeno in hopes of making salsa. Obviously one jalapeno is not enough, but it is still quite a nice surprise! I wonder if it will grow any larger! Or even change color.

In another SFG box, I found that my pickling cucumber variety has spawn the fattest, strangest looking cucumber I have ever seen!

Below: A picklin' cucumber

It might be fat on the outside, but inside, it tastes just as fresh and cucumbery as the regular variety of cucumber that I've been harvesting from the garden. The picklin' variety isn't growing as quickly as the other kind, but it's still fun to eat. I think next year, I'll give this variety more space to grow and see how it does. I've noticed that my vegetables that have more space to grow tend to do better.

And finally, the last surprise: concord grapes! I had lost hope for the grape vine because it just wasn't producing. In the beginning of the season, there were two bunches of grapes. Then suddenly, one died and only one was left. I lost hope for the surviving bunch, so I stopped looking to see if it actually formed into grapes.

TADA... the surviving bunch of grapes ended up growing and edible. I'll admit, they aren't the most delicious tasting grapes, and they have seeds in them. But they are still cool.

Below: Surviving Grapes

Maybe next year's concord grapes will be better.