Monthly Archives: July 2010

Ode to Zucchini

When first I had a garden

And I planted a zucchini,
The seedsmen said that it would grow -
Of that they’d guarantee me.
So, since I had a lot of room
I planted six or seven -
In hopes that I would shortly be
In high zucchini heaven.
You should have seen the way they grew -
So strong they were and healthy.
If summer squash were in demand,
They would have made me wealthy!
We ate zucchini many ways . . .
For breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
But even so it always seemed
Our harvest grew no thinner.
Zucchini bread, zucchini cake -
At first the prospect tickled.
We ate them fried. We ate them stuffed.
We even ate them pickled!
We sliced them. We pureed them.
We ate them raw in salads.
I lived with them so much
I even wrote zucchini ballads!
We gave them to our neighbors.
(Our supply, it seemed, was endless.)
But them our neighbors all rebelled -
We feared we’d soon be friendless!
Zucchini sticks for snacking and
Zucchini wrapped in pie crust . . .
Until at last I drew the line -
Zucchini flakes for breakfast??
So now I’ve learned my lesson.
From frustration it will free me.
You’ll never ever find me
Planting more than one zucchini!
- Andrew Daughters

Due to the recent outbreak of bacterial wilt that is running ramped through my cucurbits, I am down to one zucchini plant! However, due to the prolific fruit producing nature of this plant, I’m sure it won’t be long until I’m hiding zucchini in unlocked cars and the like!

Image copyright © 2009-2010 Danielle R Limoge.

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Wordless Wednesday – Shelled Peas

Images and content copyright © 2009-2010 Danielle R Limoge.

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Squash Fail

I’m not sure what happened but two weeks ago one of my spaghetti squash plants started to not look so good.
Clearly it was contagious. That sad leafy mess was spaghetti squash plant number 2.
Then one of my zucchinis followed suit.
Saturday after I returned from market I pulled the diseased plants. Hopefully it was done in time to stop any further contamination.
My current concern, should the plant remains be composted?

Images and content copyright © 2009-2010 Danielle R Limoge.

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The Truth of the Matter

You know you are addicted to gardening if:
Your neighbors recognize you in your pajamas, rubber clogs and a cup of coffee.
You grab other people’s banana peels, coffee grinds, apple cores, etc. for your compost pile.
You have to wash your hair to get your fingernails clean.
All your neighbors come and ask you questions…. See MoreSee More
You know the temperature of your compost every day.
You buy a bigger truck so that you can haul more mulch.
You enjoy crushing Japanese beetles because you like the sound that it makes.
Your boss makes “taking care of the office plants” an official part of your job description.
Everything you touch turns to “fertilizer”.
Your non-gardening spouse becomes conversant in botanical names
You find yourself feeling leaves, flowers and trunks of trees wherever you go, even at funerals
You dumpster-dive for discarded bulbs after commercial landscapers remove them to plant annuals.
You plan vacation trips around the locations of botanical gardens, arboreta, historic gardens, etc.
You sneak home a 7 foot Japanese Maple and wonder if your spouse will notice.
When considering your budget, plants are more important than groceries
You always carry a shovel, bottled water and a plastic bag in your trunk as emergency tools.
You appreciate your Master Gardener badge more than your jewelry
You talk “dirt” at baseball practice.
You spend more time chopping your kitchen greens for the compost pile than for cooking.
You like the smell of horse manure better than Estee Lauder.
You rejoice in rain…even after 10 straight days of it.
You have pride in how bad your hands look.
You have a decorative compost container on your kitchen counter.
You can give away plants easily, but compost is another thing.
Soil test results actually mean something.
You understand what IPM means and are happy about it
You’d rather go to a nursery to shop than a clothing store.
You know that Sevin is not a number
You take every single person who enters your house on a “garden tour”
You look at your child’s sandbox and see a raised bed.
You ask for tools for Christmas, Mother/Father’s day, your
Birthday and any other occasion you can think of.
You can’t bear to thin seedlings and throw them away.
You scold total strangers who don’t take care of their potted plants.
You know how many bags of fertilizer/potting soil,/mulch your car will hold.
You drive around the neighborhood hoping to score extra bags of leaves for your compost pile
Your preferred reading matter is seed catalogs
And last but not least:
You know that the four seasons are:
Planning the Garden
Preparing the Garden
Gardening
~and~
Preparing and Planning for the next garden

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Future Intervention?

It’s mine, I own it. This will be a HUGE problem, literally. Especially for my waist line! A candle light vigil is scheduled to take place this evening in memory of my abs. It is at that time we will sadly welcome the stand in replacement, a muffin top.

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Blueberry Butter

This year I decided to try my hand at making and canning fruit butter.  I really really love apple butter, so I assume my taste buds would have the same affection no matter what the fruit.  I found a recipe at pickyourown.org, a long time, go-to source of mine.  It allowed for several variations in the amount of sugar, which to me is important.  The main draw back, however, is that the recipe called for cloves.  I am not a fan of cloves, but I am keeping an open mind.

Low Sugar Blueberry Butter from Pick Your Own .org
10 cups of pureed blueberries
4 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Feeling the need to have a back up spice plan I continued searching and stumbled on this recipe found at Food in Jars, which had even less sugar than the aforementioned.  Score!

Even Lower Sugar Blueberry Butter from Food In Jars
8 cups of pureed blueberries
2 cups sugar
Zest of 1 lemon, I subbed 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

For both recipes I pureed my berries in the food processor and then placed them into my slow cooker on high.  I added the sugar and lemon juice and turned the heat to low once the mix was hot.  I allowed my butter to cook overnight, approximately 8 hours.  It is important to keep the lid propped open to allow the steam to escape.  A wooden spoon works great!  The next morning I added my spices and continued cooking for an additional hour or so.  Once I had my desired thickness I turned the slow cooker off and allowed it to cool a bit.  I then used my immersion blender to bring the butter to a smooth consistency, ladled it into hot sterilized jars. and processed in a BWB for 5 minutes.

After tasting both recipes I’ve come to the conclusion that the cloves are not as distinct as I initially thought they would be.  I’m super happy with both flavors but next time I may marry all three spices together and keep to the 2 cup sugar recipe!

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Attention Fellow Canners

Check out these adorable printables offered by Paper Crave! Best of all they’re FREE! Seriously, how cute are they!?! I can’t wait to print out a set of tags and labels for my freshly canned blueberry butter! Yep, you heard me right, Blueberry Butter, and I made it in two tasty variations. It’s spreadable bliss in a jar!

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Walking Down Your Onions

Literally. Step on them and knock them down. By doing so it breaks the top shoot it keeps the energy in the bulb. The little roots now only have to feed the big root, the bulb itself. Over time they will grow larger than if left vertical. This should be done once you notice the seed head has formed. First you cut it off, then you walk ‘em down!

 

Although, I must admit, they do look pretty sad just lying there.

Images and content copyright © 2009-2010 Danielle R Limoge.

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Garden Update

I’ve been slightly lax in posting as of late, sorry. Every once in a while “real life” takes over. Between weddings, the farm, gardening, sewing and canning, there just has not been enough time for blogging. The pictures have been taken, it’s just finding the time to edit and upload them!
Here are a few garden shots taken July 1st.

Hopefully the rain keeps falling and I can get caught up on some computer stuff! Up until last Saturday it had been over a month without precipitation. Not. Cool. FINALLY the Gods have taken notice and all of my rain dancing has paid off!

Images and content copyright © 2009-2010 Danielle R Limoge.

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Wordless Wednesday – Peas

Images and content copyright © 2009-2010 Danielle R Limoge.

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