• Last spring my garden is alive after along winter sleep. Plenty of work to be done. Planted many vegetable seedlings grown in the greenhouse. Lettuce, carrot (sowed direct into the ground), collard, kale, Swiss chard, corn, pumpkin, potato, beet, summer squash, tomato and leek. The garden is doing great. Just yesterday I harvested several zuccinni. Right away I made zuccinni chocolate cake. It is always a joy to be able to harvest from your own garden and cook with the vegetable that you grow yourself. Gardening is an excellent exercise for body and mind. Regardless how big or small your garden is.
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Summer Gardening Tips

Mid-summer my garden still thriving in spite of the heat.  Usually in the month of August here in the McKenzie valley, Oregon warm not overly hot without humidity.  Since late spring when all seedlings are in the ground, I have been faithfully weeding, watering, and fertilizing to keep them healthy until harvest day.

Next summer, if you want to keep your garden growing and being able to harvest a bountiful vegetables from your garden, you might want to consider this.

In addition using well-known water wise techniques such as drip irrigation and mulching, try grouping your vegetables according to their water needs when you plant them.  That way you can vary their amount of water you give different plants of your garden.  In general try giving your crops no more water than they need, rather than as much as they can withstand.

Mulching the plants is also beneficial suppressing the weeds and keep the moisture in.  Use chemical free grass clippings this is important because you do not want toxic substance in your vegetables.  They also can kill your plants.    Compost as well as shredded leaves are good for mulching and an added benefit for the vegetables.

To fertilize  I use a combination or compost tea and 2 tablespoons of fish powder per gallon diluted with water.  I make my own compost tea, you can get them in the nursery, but, do ask how they make their compost.  You do not want to feed your plants with unknown ingredients.

Happy gardening………

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Harvesting Peas

Several days ago, finally, harvesting day at the pea patch.  The pea plants are robust with lots of pea pods hanging on the vine ready to be harvested. 

Thanks to the cool, wet weather which peas thrive on made this summer a bumper crop.  Peas need to be harvested early, if not, it will be tough with bitter-tasting.  Especially when temperature start to reach in the 80’s and beyond.  Peas could not tolerate heat eventually they quit producing peas, then the plants began to  turn brown.   So  keep harvesting while they are at their best.

Green Arrow is my preference in shelling peas.  Sweet with pea taste,  just wonderful,  also easy to shell.  A prolific producer with 10 to 12 peas in the pod.  Green peas have been known to have nutrition value that is good for you.  Vitamins A, B, C, protein, carbohydrates, calcium, iron,  phosphorous, potassium.  Sprinkle fresh peas on salad, steamed, mashed or mix with other ingredients, anyway you use them they are good for you.

A recipe I have used for a long time.  Delicious with home-baked rolls.

 

CREAMY GREEN PEA SOUP

Remove the peas from the freezer just before starting the soup so that when you are ready to process them, as the stock simmers, they will be only partially thawed.  To preserve its delicate flavor and color, this soup is best served immediately.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

8 medium shallots (about 5 ounces), minced

(about 1 cup) or 1 medium leek, white and light green parts chopped fine (about 1 1/3 cups)

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 1/2 cups canned low sodium chicken broth

1  1/2 pounds frozen peas (about 4  1/2 cups), partially thawed at room temperature for 10 minutes (see note above)

12 small leaves  lettuce,  (about 3 ounces) leaves washed and dried

1/2 cup heavy cream

salt and ground black pepper

Heat butter in large saucepan over low heat until foaming;  add shallots leeks and cook, covered until softened, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until throughly combined, about 30 seconds.  Stirring constantly, gradually add chicken broth.  Increase heat to high and bring to boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer 3 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in workbowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, process partially thawed peas until coarsely chopped, about 20 seconds.  Add peas and lettuce to simmering broth.  Increase heat to medium high, cover and return to simmer, simmer 3 minutes.  Uncover, reduce heat to medium low, and continue to simmer 2 minutes longer.

Working in 2 batches, puree soup in food processor until smooth; strain into large bowl.  Rinse out and wipe saucepan;  return puree mixture to saucepan and stir in cream.  Heat mixture over low heat until hot, about 3 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, serve immediately.

Serving 4 to 6   Makes about 6  1/2 cups

Enjoy !

Recipe source:  The Cook Magazine

In My Garden this Year

Every year I would gathered seed catalogs searching for new vegetable seeds to experiment in my organic garden.   I have a soft spot for everything in the vegetable world,  then, I have to remind myself not to go overboard.   In 20+ years of gardening I have tried many varieties  organic and regular seeds.  Some were succesful and some failed, either I did not do the right thing or simply was not suitable for my area.  Nevertheless, I found few that thrived successfully in my garden.  Here are the list of seeds that I grow every year and some new one. 

  

CARROTS – Chantenay red core, 70 days, full flavor, crunchy, absolutely wonderful  (nichols

Health Master, F1 Hybrid, 130 days, chunky carrot, great in soups, stews or just eating fresh.  (nichols

Purple Haze (F 1), 73 days, this is new have to wait whether this will be keeper or not.  (nichols

CORN – Bodacious, hybrid SE 75 days, wonderful taste, sweet, crunchy, this is my favorite a true keeper.  SE (sugar enhance) will slow conversion of sugar to starch.  This means, it will stay fresh for at least 10 days. ( fedco

  

 

TOMATOES – Oregon Spring, 58 days, (determinate) mature in August, mild flavor, almost seedless fruits.  Performing best in cool summer, which Oregon gets most of the time.  (fedco

Cosmonaut Volkov, 65 days (indeterminate) full, rich and mild flavoring.  Great for salads or filled tomatoes.  Named after the famous Russian cosmonaut Vladislav Volkov.  (fedco). 

Brandywine, 90 days, (indeterminate), excellent flavor, flattened fruit, unique I should say.  A potato leaf variety.  (turtleseed

Sungold, cherry tomato, 57 days, sweet with a hint of tartness, deep yellow color.  Delicious eating straight picked from the vine.  Small fruit, borne in clusters.  (fedco). 

 

  

PEAS – Green Arrow, 65 days, great tasting shell peas a true keeper for my garden.  (fedcoseeds or nichols). 

  

 LETTUCE – Simpson elite, 45 days, favorite, easy to grow, delicate taste and tender leaves.   Will last several days in the fridge crisper.  (nichols). 

Buttercrunch, organic, 65 days, another of my favorite.  Buttery taste, heat resistant and slow to bolt.   (nichols). 

Red Deer Tounge, 60 days, favorite, tender, delicate, succulent heads, with reddish tinge on leaves.  (nichols

Royal Oak Leaf, 40 days, another favorite,  leaf resemblance to an oak leaf wonderful tasting.  (nichols

 

PUMPKIN –  Winter squash, winter luxury, 105 days, excellent for pies, light orange color with netted skin, slightly sweet orange flesh.  A long keeper and  will grace your Thanksgiving table. (johnyseeds

Accorn Carnival, 85 days, unique mix colors, green, white, yellow, small size, sweet flavor.  I use a lot in soups or made into puree vegetable side dish. (fedco

 

SUMMER SQUASH – Lebanese white bush, 50 days, new  this year, I don’t know what to expect.  (fedco

Cocozelle, 50 days, light green stripes, rich flavored, prolific producer was last year.  I still have some left in the freezer. 

Golden zucchini, 57 days golden-yellow color, mild flavor.  Fair producer, dependable. 

KALE – Tuscan, 65 days, narrow, strappy leaves deep green color.  Good for steaming or stir fry.  

SWISS CHARD – Fordhook giant, 50 days, broad white stems, leaves dark green, savoyed with white veins.  Excellent flavor.  Good for steaming and stir fries.  (fedco

 

GREEN BEANS – Provider, 50 days, my favorite.  I have grown these for a long time.  dependable, prolific and rich beany taste.  (fedco

  

  

 

PEPPERS – Sweet spot Banana, hybrid 70 days, another favorite, easy to grow, prolific,  they are 8″ long and 2″ wide.  mature from pale green to bright banana yellow.  Use in stir fries or salads.  nichols 

Gypsy,  hybrid,  70 days vigorous plants, large, ripen yellow-green to bright sweet red.  prolific producer in my garden.   (nichols

 

MUSTARD – Green Wave, 60 days dark green, frilled and curled leaves.  Green wave has a delightful, hot and spicy taste.  About 2 feet tall and resist bolting in warm weather.  Add to stir fries or mature leave into stew.  nichols 

  

 
 

Jacob's Cattle

  

DRY BEANS – Jacob’s cattle, 85 days, also known as trout bean,anazasi bean, coach dog bean.  Favorite of mine, good tasting, use in soups, baked beans recipes and vegetarian dish.  Pure white beans with deep maroon splash on 24″ plants.  (VermontBean

Bumble Bee

  

Bumble Bee, 98 days,  large white beans with a black spot.  Another favorite of mine.  Named bumble bee  becauase of its large size.  (VermontBean

Garden Peas

Home grown peas always taste better than store-bought.  Growing your own is easy and you do not need a  large garden to grow this nutritious vegetable.

Pisum Saticum the botanical name for garden peas.  Loaded with vitamin A, B, C, Riboflavin, Protein, Carbohydrate, calcium, Iron, Phosphorous and Potassium.  Adding peas to your diet also has health benefit.  They are excellent nourishment and strength restoring.  Peas contain nicotinic acid reportedly recommended for reducing cholesterol in the blood.  Steam diced carrot and   peas,  mix with meat, or sprinkle on salad.  Anyway you use peas they are healthy and nutritious.  

Garden peas was discovered at all place in Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand by an archeological expedition at approximately 9750 B.C.  This is a much earlier finding than the peas found in bronze age (approximately 3000 B.C.) lake dwellings in Switzerland and Savoy.  The Greeks also cultivate peas and they were brought to Britain by the Romans.  Peas were the first vegetable to be canned and later deep frozen.

Peas are cold weather crop, so plant them early.  I started mine in the greenhouse in flats early February, then,  transplanted outdoors in early spring depending weather condition.  Green Arrow variety is my first choice shelling peas, they are prolific producer, long pods up to 10 peas per pod, excellent pea taste.  Pick them early when they are still tender.  You can find green arrow here  www.nicholsgardennursery.com or www.fedcoseeds.com.

Many diseases affect peas.  The most common is pea root rot (Fusarium or aphanomyces Euteiches), which causes browning and dying of the foliage from the ground up.  This is what happen to my pea crop last year.  Unfortunately not all peas were effected,  probably, in my opinion, some part of the growing area not well-drained.  This year the pea crop growing in a different site of the garden.  Another pea disease to watch is the powdery mildew, those white powdery mold on the leaves, stems and pods in hot weather.  Choose resistant variety. 

When done with harvesting,  pull the stalks and spread them on the ground in a sunny area of the property to dry.  When they all look brown and brittle use your gas driven mower and mow the stalks into shredded particles.  Dried pea stalks have nitrogen content that is beneficial for compost and the garden. 

Peas are good for freezing too.  Shell the peas, spread on a cookie sheet then put in the freezer for several hours or until peas are frozen.  Fill  one gallon plastic bag with the frozen peas, depending how often you use,  it will last until your next planting or longer.  

The recipe below use fresh peas and home-grown potatoes.  Serve this side dish with fish, meat or chicken.  Delicious.

CREAMED POTATOES AND PEAS

3 pound steamed or boiled potatoes, 1/2 cup cooked peas, 1/2 cup sautéed chopped mushrooms, 1 cup cream, 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons flour, 1 tablespoon butter.

Thicken the milk and cream with flour, braided with a little milk saved out for the purpose, add the butter.  Cook fifteen minutes, put the peas, mushrooms in and pour over the steamed potatoes.  Enjoy !

Happy Gardening.

Cherry-Plum Tree in The Spring


Sunshine, blue sky, wispy white clouds here and there.  Robins chasing the worms and blue jay searching for twigs to build a nest in nearby tree.   Daffodils, crocuses have emerged from their winter slumber.  Spring is in the air.  I love spring everything is fresh and new. 

Another sign of spring is the cherry plum trees in my garden.  They are always the first to bloom showing their magnificent white flowers.  Bees attracted to their strong scent.  I stood one sunny day in front of the trees and listen the bees buzzing along feasting on the cherry plum blossoms it was an awesome sound.   Robins like to eat the fruit too, ripen in late July through August.  To cover trees with bird net it is impossible.  There are plenty of fruit to share around for human and birds. 

Latin  for cherry plum,  prunus cerasifera or the myrobalan cherry tree.  A deciduous tree belongs to the rose family,  (Rosaceae in Latin).  Will grow from 15 to 30 feet.  The cherry plum in my garden is about 25 feet with a spread of 30 feet.  These trees are good for screening neighborhood eyesores.  The flower is about 3/4 to 1 inch with 5 petals.  Fruit size similar to cherry with characteristic of a plum.  Cherry plum taste of a combination cherry and plum.  It has a pit like cherry.  Fruit color is deep red.  My cherry plum tree leaves are deep green, some say they are purple, this probably came from different cultivation.  In autumn the leaves turn reddish-purple.  

Grown in acidic soil, might also be able to grow in mild alkaline soil.   Cherry plum tree prefers full sun and moist soil which is suitable growing condition in Oregon.  The seeds dispersed by wild life.  Walking through my property occasionally I found cherry plum seedlings.  I would dig them out and transplanted in a different place.  A slow growing tree I should say. 

I like eating cherry plum picked fresh from the tree or make them into jam, chutneys, pies and cobblers.  Use recipe as you are making cherry pie.  Last year I made cherry plum jam and taste wonderful. 

  

Cherry-Plum blossoms at its peak.

 

  

Happy  Gardening  

TOMATO SEEDS

These are tomato seeds I used every year.  Most are oganic.

 Cosmonaut Volkov – OG. Heirloom, 72-75 days.  Indeterminate, needs staking.  Mature early in the season.  Very tasty , round red fruit weigh up to 1 pound each.  A wonderful tomato.  Named after the famous Russian cosmonaut Vladislav Volkov.

 Brandywine OG.  Heirloom 85 to 90 days.  Indeterminate.  An old Amish dating back to 1885,  I have been growing these variety for many years.  It has never failed me.  Good flavor.  A potato leaf variety with large red slightly flatened fruit.

Heinz OG.  68 days.  Determinate, a bush type plant.  Heavy yealds, early, sweet taste not tart like some other paste tomatoes.  Ripens all 2 1/2 -3 oz fruits before frost.