Thursday, July 21, 2011

Waiting and Sweating... and sweating some more.

Well the heat has really taken a toll on the garden... especially the tomatoes.  All the plants still appear to be healthy but their production of fruit has slowed, but the tomatoes are all but dormant.  Some fruit is beginning to ripen, but no new fruit is forming with any regularity. The bad part about this is that the existing tomatoes haven't grown real well and are slowly starting to be taken by worms and other pests.  I've refused to use chemicals so far, and my goal is to continue to raise them naturally.  I have a few tricks left to employ, but I think I will wait out this heat and hopefully have healthy plants to deal with when the weather starts to cool.  I'll just have tomatoes later than everyone else, and that's ok.  Meanwhile I've been spending money at the farmer's markets around and supporting other tomato growers.

The cucumbers have been doing great, And Amy is trying some pickling for the first time.  I am really excited about trying the first batch.  With the help of a generous donation of cucumbers from my good friend Kory she was able to try two different pickling methods. The first involves placing the whole cucumbers in a 21 day brine followed by a hot water bath while canning.  These pickles would then be ready to eat.

Get your pickle on

The second method involves cutting the cucumbers into spears and then placing them and other seasonings directly into the jar, placing them into the hot water bath for about 10-15 minutes, and then sealing them and waiting for 3-4 weeks.

Amy conjuring some pickles from cucmbers
The waiting has proved to actually be the hardest part because I am very excited about trying these.  I hope they turn out as awesome as I imagine them.  And I plan on shipping these out to some of my closest homies under the Cactus Jack brand name.  Where our quality refuses to change!

Other good news involves the watermelon.  These have all but taken over the eastern third of the garden.  They have probably quadrupled in size since the last post.  I've noticed a few striped beauties on the ground recently, and this one is about as big as a softball now.

Awwww.... it's so cute.

Meanwhile, this is what I took from the garden today.  Not too bad.  I hope that the tomatoes come around and I have much more to show.

Such a meager feast... but very much appreciated

Sorry the delay in this post.  I will try to get back to the 1-2 times a week status real soon. Especially if we get some relief from this heat.  TASTE THE HEAT!!!

Meanwhile enjoy this if you are tired of being inside.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Picklin' and a Grinnin'

The sky finally opened up this morning and we got some much needed rain!!!  We've been missing every little popup shower that has come around so there was much rejoicing.

Red sky in the morning, sailers take out the garbage... wait...

Even with the heat the plants have been doing fine and are even starting to produce some fruit now.  We enjoyed our first cucumbers on July 2nd and many more have followed suit.  I am starting to get a little concerned with being completely run over by my cucumber crop because if the existing blooms are any indication of what's in store we could have a very busy couple of weeks approaching.

Insert weird phallic comments here_____

We have decided to practice some sorcery and turn some of these cukes into pickles, and by we I mean Amy.  She has been busy with recipes and getting some canning supplies, so I am eagerly anticipating the results of her effort.

Nice title overpaid magazine writer.

Concerning tomatoes, I've always heard... yep Dad, talking about you here... that when the temperature gets over 90 degrees that the plants have trouble blooming.  I haven't found that to be entirely true because I've had some new blooms appear and make fruit during the hot spell... not many... but a few.  So maybe I'm lucky.  The existing fruit hasn't split or anything so I hope I've avoided any crazy heat related problems.

New tomatoes when it's over 90 degrees... who knew?
Lastly, the watermelon are doing great!  Can't wait to eat one of these things late this summer.

Get Big and tasty!

Enjoy this song that I've recently been playing with my good pal Rick here.