Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012

Tomatoes Opalka paste (top, bottom); Amish paste (left); and Big Beef (right).
I don't remember needing to can green beans this early last year.  No, I checked; we're a full two weeks ahead of schedule.  Fourteen quarts are put up for winter so far, and that's just the beginning.  We also picked the first vine-ripened tomato - four of them to be exact; and, the first nectarine. 
14 quarts of green beans canned for winter.

The humid days of summer are here where that settled regularity of temperature--low 70 F and high 90 F--and sunny with hit-or-miss afternoon showers forecast makes everything grow with wild abandon in South Carolina.  In June, we love the settled weather; by August, we're itching for a change.  Sweet corn is fully grown and silked out; we are expecting first corn harvest around July 10.

Juicy, home-grown nectarine.

We're really pleased with the progress our pumpkins are making so far.  Vines are stretching out five to seven feet and will begin flowering soon.  We're still hoping for that 100-pounder by September.

Next Monday July 2, we will take a break from blogging to get our hands dirty: look for our next post on July 9. We wish y'all a happy and safe Independence Day USA!
Sweet corn is silked out.

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18, 2012

Green beans by the gallon.
A softball-sized green tomato.
When green beans start coming by the gallon, it is our tradition to have "veggie meals" supplied entirely with food from the garden:  a plate full of steamed green beans, dill pickles, a garden salad, broccoli, fried zucchini and carrot sticks, or whatever else may be fresh. 

Why do we love this time of year?  Is it because we can pick blueberries to add to breakfast pancakes, or pick a green pepper to season meatloaf?  Maybe it's the long daylight and energized feeling we enjoy.  The last weekend of Spring according to the 2012 calendar was a lot more like summer; everything is producing abundantly in response to plentiful rain and moderate temperatures.  Last week I reported our sweet corn was waist-high; in one week it doubled in height, and tassels are emerging from the crowns.
'Jonathan' apples sizing up.

We put up a batch of refrigerator dill pickles (recipe here).  We're happy to report that zucchini and pumpkin vines have not been attacked by vine borers so far, which usually means they will make it.  We're seeing softball-sized green globe tomatoes and stuffing-sized green peppers; we're hoping it won't be July before we see the first vine-ripened tomato!
Parsley (in bloom) and 'Opalka Paste' tomato in foreground, beans, onions, melons, dill, and corn

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012

Pickling cucumbers just four weeks from planting.

Cucumbers are amazing - just four weeks from planting we're filling buckets with this fruit that complements salads and that pickles well.  We grow only pickling cucumbers because they are just right for multiple purposes and are so prolific we end up giving them away in bags.  In harvest now:

Soft baby pumpkins.
Green Beans
Red, black, and purple raspberries
Bell peppers
Dill, basil, other herbs
Soft pumpkins

Sweet corn waist-high.
Zucchini are coming quickly, and after experimentation, we decided the best way to preserve it is to bake it into zucchini bread and freeze the loaves; they make a tasty holiday hors d'oeuvre at parties.

Our peaches and apples look about half-grown; we also have nectarines that look almost ready to eat.  Melon vines in the patch are spreading out, and corn has reached mid-waist.
Peaches look half-grown.
We turned these into triple-berry jam.
Won't see brown much longer - melon vines spreading in the patch.

Monday, June 4, 2012

June 4, 2012

Peas on the fence in the foreground, followed by sweet corn, and the main vegetable garden.
Cinder blocks to the top left mark where our lofted barn will be built.
A volunteer sunflower growing
in the pumpkin patch.
We're just sixteen days away from the Summer Solstice, which usually marks the beginning of peak harvest in our back yard "hobby farm market;" right on schedule, green beans and cucumbers are flowering and will produce this week.  We added zucchini to our list of vegetables in harvest.  Broccoli, peas and berries continue to fill our buckets.  Tomatoes and peppers are loading up with fruit that should ripen before the end of this month.  Melon vines have started to spread, and pumpkin sprouts are putting out their first true leaves.

A gladiolus flower framed by green beans.
June first's planting of sweet corn and sunflowers marked the end of planting until July (when we start brussels sprouts and cabbage indoors for fall).  We're trying to be vigilant with weeding, but for the moment we are preoccupied with the soon arrival and construction of a lofted barn on the property that will give us comparatively unlimited space to dry herbs, cure garlic and onions, and store winter squash.  Speaking of, dill weed was at its peak this week, so we cut and dried enough to last a few years.

Cooler weekend mornings were the perfect opportunity to cook up a country breakfast featuring blueberries and raspberries.  Anybody up to home-churned blueberry waffle cone ice cream?

The vegetable garden in June.

About Me

My photo
Dedicated to the responsible production and preservation of healthy home-grown food to the glory of God. Isaiah 55:10 The rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater. Organic, or not? We try to raise vegetables organically, using compost and manure. The addition of chickens to our hobby farm means plenty of organic nitrogen to compost! This site gives credible reference to planting information contained in the Farmer's Almanac (