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Harvesting Popcorn

September 28th, 2016

One of the things I’ve been working on this week is harvesting the popcorn. While you’re supposed to let it dry on the stalks, there’s rain in the forecast and I don’t want it to mold. Plus we’ve had a pesky raccoon that’s been getting in and eating a few bits off of each ear, ruining about a third of our crop so far.
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I grew four different varieties of popcorn this year, hoping for a four color mix. The black popcorn outperformed them all and did beautifully. Amazingly, it was also the least favorite for the raccoons. You can bet I’ll be growing this variety again in the future! Popcorn is one of our favorite snacks, we love making it the old fashioned way in a big pot on the stove with lots of ghee.

Are you a lover of popcorn?

The End

September 26th, 2016

Well, we have our first frost advisory for tonight (Sunday night, which was last night). Luckily, I’ve been out all week harvesting all the remaining peppers, tomatoes, and beans. I’m amazed by the amount of green peppers I had on my plants, they totaled about a bushel. I had about the same amount of tomatoes.
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The peppers already made their way into the freezer, the green tomatoes are laying in wait till they ripen. I may make some green tomato chutney if I have the time.
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The hot peppers (cayenne and Korean bird peppers) are going to be dried for crumbling into curries and stews to add a little heat this coming winter. There’s actually something nice about having a frost, it’s a definite end to the season. Sometimes I need that to get me to finally rip out the tender plants and prepare for the coming winter.

When is your typical first frost?

Here They Come

August 22nd, 2016

Our hot summer has been difficult for some crops, but the tomatoes and peppers are loving it. It’s that time of the year when the tomatoes are fruiting in full. We can eat sliced tomatoes at every meal, enjoy tomatoes on top of a salad, make eggs in hell for breakfast, or in whatever way we want. Having fresh, vine ripened tomatoes is one of the joys of having an edible garden!
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Not only are all the cherry and beefsteak tomatoes coming ripe, the roma types are starting to ripen as well. That means I’ll be making all sort of tomatoey deliciousness for the pantry.
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One of the most wonderful things about seasonal eating is enjoying food at the height of its season. There’s really nothing as delicious as ‘Brandywine’ or ‘Gold Medal’ tomato plucked from the vine and eaten within minutes. This time of year we happily feast on fresh tomatoes knowing it’s a short, but delicious window. Probably our most favorite way to enjoy this bounty is sliced with a sprinkle of salt & pepper, simple and delicious!

What’s your favorite way to enjoy a vine ripened tomato?

Sunset Runner Beans

August 17th, 2016

I’m always balancing production and beauty when it comes to vegetables. Trying new varieties is something I love to do. When I saw the ‘Sunset’ runner beans in the Baker Creek Catalog I knew I had to try them.
sunset runner beans
They’ve proven to be beautiful when they bloom! They’re just starting to produce beans, so I haven’t tasted them yet, but I’m really looking forward to it. If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been last week and this week, I had a friend visiting from out of town. I managed to get a few posts written, but catching up was higher on my priority list.

What new varieties of vegetables did you try this week?

A Beet, is a Beet, is Not a Beet

July 25th, 2016

I’ve grown a wide variety of beets in the past, for the most part they all taste very similar. They vary in color, but the earthiness in their flavor is fairly consistent. After trying a wide variety of beets, I usually grow ‘Red Ace. This year, I decided to try ‘Crosby’s Egyptian’ beet (sources from Baker Creek). Germination was spotty, which was pretty common with the drought this year. The beets that did germinate, grew quickly and sized up before I realized it. When I harvested them, most of them were softball size – EEEK. I figured they’d be a total loss because they’d be woody, but I cooked them anyways.
crosbys egyptian beet
When I cut the first one, I was amazed at how tender it was. At first bite, I was amazed by the texture, sweetness, and flavor of these beets! They are very smoothly texture, none of the woodiness or fibrousness that can sometimes be common with beets. The flavor is very sweet, very beetlike, with none of the earthiness that the major of beets have. These would be perfect for those family members who are against the “dirt” flavor in beets. I don’t mind the earthiness at all, but this beet has a place in the kitchen for sure. We’ve been enjoying them on salads with sheep milk feta, pickled red onions, walnuts, and a maple mustard vinaigrette. I’ll definitely be adding these to my must grow list from here on out. I highly recommend giving this variety a go.

Have you discovered any flavorful new varieties of favorite vegetables?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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