Monthly Archives: June 2010

Summer Solstice Time Well Spent

With yesterday being the Summer Solstice, I felt it only fitting to spend some quality time in my gardens tending to my plants.  (As if I don’t do that on a daily basis already!)  I pulled weeds, picked peas, and replanted some lettuce, radishes, and beets.  Yes, I know radishes and lettuce are Spring and Fall crops, but I’ve been known to throw caution to the wind and put them in the ground anyway.  True they don’t like the hot summer months, but I’ve found that with a bit of love and extra watering, I’m still able to get a good harvest.  Besides, I’m obsessed with growing plants and I will continue to be in my garden well through November, hopefully December, barring any serious snow.  Of course my camera was in-hand, so here is what I’ve got growing on as of late.

Violet Pole Beans
Romanesco and Green Sprouting Broccoli
Rainbow Chard
Ruby Red Sweet Corn
Cucumbers aka PICKLES!!!!
Stuttgarter Onions
Peas
Spaghetti Squash
Spring Mix
Tomatoes
Zucchini
L-R Sunflowers, Corn, Peas Pole Beans
L-R Pole Beans, Carrots, Radishes, Spinach & Spring Mix, Onions, Beets
L-R Carrots, Radishes, Spinach & Spring Mix, Onions, Beets, more Onions, Broccoli
L-R Broccoli, Bush Beans, just planted Radishes, Golden Beans
L-R Onions, Mustard Greens, Carrots
L-R Carrots, Pole Beans, Peas
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Wordless Wednesday – My Monster Radish

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Garden Growth

6-7 Spaghetti Squash Blossoms
6-7 Amish Paste Tomatoes
6-7 Beans breaking ground
6-7 Peas
6-7 Onions & Broccoli
6-7 Corn & Peas
6-10 Spring Mix
6-10 Beans
6-10 Boston Pickler Cucumbers
6-13 L-R Carrots, Radishes, Spring Mix & Spinach, Onions, Beets, Onions
6-13 L-R Onions, Beets, Onions, Chard, Broccoli, Beans

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Strawberry Scones

I’ve been reading all things strawberry when it comes to recipes these days. Several weeks ago I happened to stumble upon one for strawberry scones posted by Annie, of Annie’s Eats. I was a little apprehensive about freezing the dough, but as it turns out they’re just as tasty right out of the freezer as they are direct from the mixing bowl!

I ended up making a few changes to the recipe, which I’ve noted with an asterisk. I’m also thinking about adding a bit of vanilla powder to the next batch. I had one small issue and had to get a bit creative which you will see in an upcoming photo. 🙂

Strawberry Scones
adapted from Annie’s Eats who found it on The Way the Cookie Crumbles, originally posted at Good Things Catered, with modifications by me. How’s that for crediting the chain of sources! hahaha

1 large egg
1/4 C plain yogurt
1/2 C milk
zest from 1/2 lemon*
2 1/2 C apf* (all-purpose flour)
1/4 C sugar
2 tsp cream of tartar*
1 tsp baking soda*
(You can substitute c.o.t and b soda with 1 tbsp baking powder. I however was out.)
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 overflowing cup chopped strawberries

In a small bowl whisk together egg, milk, yogurt and lemon zest; set aside. In a food processor mix flour, sugar, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Add butter and pulse several times so that butter is cut into flour. Transfer flour mixture to a large mixing bowl, add strawberries and toss to coat. Add wet ingredients to the mixing bowl and gently fold together until a sticky dough forms. Transfer dough onto a well floured surface and pat into a disk approximately 8″ in diameter. Using a pizza wheel cut dough into 8 triangles, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze or bake for 16 minutes at 425.

Here is where I ran into trouble. My dough was STICKY, like turn the bowl upside down and it doesn’t move, sticky. When I made the first batch I followed the recipe (for the most part) and used 2 1/4 C flour. This was not enough, so when I transferred it onto my cutting board it just stuck to my hands. I coated the dough with more flour in hopes to get it to form into a workable state. No such luck. Solution, chill it in the freezer. Problem, my cutting board is quite large and my ice maker is in the way. Solution, creative stacking!

Once my dough chilled, approximately 10 minutes, I was able to carefully remove it from the cutting board using my spatula and individually wrap each scone.
At this point you can either freeze the individual servings or bake them to be consumed in the next hour or so. Due to the high amount of water in strawberries they tend to make your baked good soggy if left uneaten. Not that these tasty pastries will be hanging around your kitchen for long! If you plan on baking direct from the freezer add an additional 2-3 minutes to your bake time.

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The Sweet Taste of (Almost) Summer

I’ve been berry busy this week making sure all those tasty strawberries I picked last Sunday found their way into delectable edibles.  Translation: quality time with my canner!  I also ended up with my first burn of the season.  Unfortunately, I know it won’t be my last.  One day I will have a large kitchen with a nice big stove.  Then, I won’t be reaching over my canner for the back burners and constantly cooking the skin on my forearms!

Ask anyone their favorite fruit and I’m willing to bet 9 out of 10 give the answer strawberries.  Unfortunately, the growing season is wicked short, especially for Early Glow, which happens to be my favorite variety!  It lasts about 10 days, so if you blink, they are gonna be gone!  Since this particular jam is a favorite among the members of my family, I decided to make 3 batches this year.  I’m also making a conscious effort to cut back on my sugar intake, so I decided to try the low-sugar pectin.  It reduces the required amount of sugar by 3 cups, and I was delighted to find the end result was still a very sweet and tasty jam!

(Can’t tell it’s) Low-Sugar Strawberry Jam
1 box Sure-Jell Pectin for less or no sugar recipes
6 cups mashed strawberries
4 cups sugar
Mash strawberries and place them in a large pot on the stove.  Mix 1/4 cup sugar with the pectin and add it to the strawberries.  Bring to a boil.  Add remaining sugar and bring back to a hard boil for one minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and ladle into hot, sterilized jars.  Wipe jar rims, add lids and rings.  Process in a boiling-water bath according to your current altitude, 10 minutes for me.  Remove from canner and place on wire rack to cool.  Allow seals to set, 12-24 hours.  Remove rings and store.

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Sunday’s Harvest

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Guess What I’ve Been Picking?

Today I spent several hours on the farm picking strawberries. Can we say jam, shortcake and smoothies!!

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Testing My Endurance

How’s that old saying go? “What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.” Well Mother Nature is testing that theory out on my garden for the SECOND time this week. Once again we are in the middle of a fierce storm with 60 mph winds, 1″ hail and flash flooding. Go figure because I just put cucumbers and beans in the ground as well as another planting of spinach and beets. Can we say, Seed Displacement!

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Spirit Crushing Devastation

Mother Nature clearly had a few fireworks of her own planned for Memorial Day. We received approximately 10″ of rain in less than 2 hours, which in turn lead to some SERIOUS flash flooding! There was ground shaking thunder, fire starting lightning, horizontal rain, uprooted trees, washed out roads and that was just on my street! Here are a few before and after shots of the havoc that was unleashed upon the little plot of heaven I call my garden.

5-31 Sunflowers and corn. My second planting of corn has broken ground!
As you can see phase II of the garden is tilled and the fence has been built. It took a bit longer than anticipated since I had a severe case of food poisoning the day before and my stamina just wasn’t there!
Up next, heart wrenching devastation.
6-1 Horizontal Mint
Hail Damaged Sunflowers.
Broken Beet Greens
Botched Bok Choy. Thankfully the remaining plants will be harvested later in the week so I won’t have to keep looking at their punctured leaves!
Swiss Cheese Rainbow Chard
Sad Sweet Corn. I carefully repositioned them into their former upright state.
Broken Onion Tops
You can see from the hole in the ground the 40 degree angle to which my stakes ended up in. They were originally hammered into the ground at least 18 inches!
I could not bring myself to take pictures of the pea trellises that were resting on the ground. I’m crawling into the corner now to lick my wounds.

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The Garden, Last Month

Happy Tuesday all! I hope you enjoyed your extended weekend. Here are the updated pictures of my rapidly growing garden. I wanted to have this post up by Sunday but do to a violent case of food poisoning (worst 12+ hours of my life) things got a bit behind schedule. Guess that’s what happens when I consume food I did not grow! :/

5-16 The first pea flowers of the season!

5-23 (L-R) Onions, Bok Choy, Romanesco Broccoli
5-23 Lone Surviving Garlic
5-23 (L-R) Peas, Pole Beans, Carrots (too small to see), Radishes, Spring Mix, Spinach (top middle of picture) Beets, Onions, Bok Choy (top Left of picture) Rainbow Chard, Romanesco (top Left of picture) Broccoli. Next time I’ll label the image. 🙂
5-23 View from the East end. In front of the pea lattice are 4 rows of corn and a border of sunflowers.
5-26 Ruby Red Sweet Corn
5-26 My new pea trellis is on the right. So far they have (almost) blown down twice due to being a top-heavy structure clearly unsuitable for high winds. Anyone else have a design idea they’d like to share? I’d like to bamboo teepee them but can’t find poles, nor do I want to take up that much space.
5-26 Spring Mix
5-27 Beet Greens
5-27 Onions, Bok Choy, Romanesco Broccoli

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