Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A Few Beets

These have been festering in the planter with the celeriac for a while now. There were more but the ones closer to the celeriac were very small. Too much shade next to their towering neighbours. These ones got more sunlight. More and bigger would have been nice but I had low expectations. These were planted in some extra space created by harvesting a couple of heads of radicchio a few month ago.

I think these will just go in the oven as they are. Easier to peel that way. They will make a little snack for someone. I think I'd like to grow enough next year to make some beet pickles. With the right amount of sunlight I know I can grow bigger beets. Enough for a couple of small jars of pickles I think. I can also save myself some time and just buy a big bag for a few dollars and turn those into pickles. Not as fun that way.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Not over yet

I didn't think I'd get any tomatoes this year, but the brandywine plant I started late did eventually put out some fruit for me. This is the largest and it has lots of visual character. I cut the first tomato from this plant a couple of weeks ago and it was very meaty. Juicy, with few seeds. Just what I like from a brandywine. There is one more large tomato out there I'm going to let ripen for another day or two. Then I'll be ready to take the plant down.

I've also got beets and celeriac to pull. The weather is getting cooler now. Doesn't feel quite like autumn yet, but it's coming.

Monday, August 20, 2018

No Tomatillos.

Getting late in the summer and I'm getting tired of cucumbers. I picked a dozen the other day and turned them into pickles. At least that way they will be eaten. The cucumber plants are getting a little tired looking and they'be been discovered by the spider mites so they're probably done for the season.

I planted a pair of tomatillo plants each in a 5 gallon bucket in the spring. They grew fast and put out lots of flowers. Lots. But I've had a terrible time getting them to set fruit. I've tried hand-polination, taking one flower from one plant and transferring pollen to the flower on the other plant, but it's not producing results. There are only a few tomatillos on each plant and I don't think they'll ripen before the plants finally pack it in. The leaves are yellowing and there are spider mites everywhere. Sometimes I forget to water them. But I do like the smell of the plants and they make the balcony look green and leafy.

The celeriac is still growing though. I think it's time to maturity is something like 110 days. I was reading that the roots don't really fill out until the weather starts to cool off so I might have to wait a while. I don't think I'm at 110 days yet.

In the empty space next to the celeriac I planted some beets. They struggle but a couple might make it and that's all I really need to be happy with them. I had to put up a little fence to keep the celeriac from drooping over on the beets. Does the job nicely.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Bread and Butter Pickles

I've got no shortage of cucumbers. Too many actually. So I decided to pickle a few of them. These are 250ml jars. Kind of small actually. I managed to get three sliced cucumbers into these three jars. The recipe came from my mother but it's not unlike other recipes found on the internet, like this one. I cut it down by roughly a quarter, using only 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of sugar. They turned out fine and the jar lids sealed nicely without requiring a hot water bath. Doesn't really matter though. We'll have these little jars eaten by the end of the week.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Basil and Cucumbers

It was time to harvest some basil. Flower buds were just starting to pop out. The bugs hadn't got around to it yet and it was looking quite nice. These images don't do it justice. So I told my wife to go ahead and take what she needed. She turns it into pesto and freezes it in ice cube trays. If I let her at it too soon, the plants won't have enough leaves for a decent harvest so they get stripped a little to bare, with no leaves for continued survival. On the other hand. if I hold off on the harvest too long, there is always a chance something bad happens to the basil: bugs, drought... something ruins it and my wife ends up with substandard leaves. 

In another week or two the basil will be back to full form with new growth and lots of leaves for another harvest.

I also clipped the first cucumber. I thought this variety (Eureka) would be a little more slender. Not too bad though. Not too many seeds. I think the cross-section below was the seediest part of the cucumber. The skin on these is suppose to be edible but it's a little tough. Overall it was crisp and flavourful. There are quite a few more on the vines, slowing growing to maturity. I might be time for a mid-season fertilizer top-up though.