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Tomatoes….

September 4th, 2018

I always plant a lot of tomatoes, mostly because we LOVE tomatoes. There are always cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, drying tomatoes, canning tomatoes, and roma type tomatoes. They come in all colors, shapes, and sizes and we eat them with glutenous abandon for the two months they are in their prime. The ones we can’t eat fresh, are dried, roasted, canned, and turned into soups, sauces, and paste.

One of our favorite ways to preserve tomatoes is to roast them. I discovered the delicious jammy intensity of roasted tomatoes years ago when I made Roasted Tomato Passata from the River Cottage Preserves Handbook. Some of the batches of roasted tomatoes we put through a food mill, but many of them dont’ make it that far. We layer these tasty treat on toast in the morning. These also freeze well and can be used in frittatas and other recipes straight out of the freezer.

What garden bounty are you preserving this week?

Harvest, Harvest, Harvest, Repeat

August 8th, 2018

This time of year it seems the harvesting starting in full swing. Not only are all the summer vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers starting to produce in large quantities, the long term storage vegetables are ready to harvest as well. Over the past two weeks I’ve been slowly harvesting my garlic and onions.

This time of year we start getting more rain, so I’m always watching the weather to determine when I harvest these root vegetables. They definitely store best when they’re harvested after a dry spell. That means that sometimes they’re harvested a week or two early to avoid being drenched with an inch of rain during a summer thunderstorm. In fact, my garlic was harvested two weeks early because they were predicting a few weeks with lots of rain.

What are you harvesting this week?

Garden Harvest, Today and Future

July 30th, 2018

Growing vegetables is a rewarding experience. I enjoy heading out to the garden before dinner to harvest lettuce, onions, and other vegetables to including our meals. There’s also the constant planning of replacing harvested vegetable with vegetables for future meals.

Slowly, I’m getting better and better at successional planting. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. There are times when, not matter what you do, all the lettuce bolts at once (especially when the weather decides to turn scorching). Overall, I get better with each passing year. I still plant way more vegetables than we can ever eat, but when crop fails we have extra of another. If it bolts, the chickens turn it into eggs.

I’m focusing on growing a wider variety of vegetables and fruits in smaller quantities over a longer season. Ideally, I’d love to not spend much time blanching/freezing large quantities of vegetables and spend more time in the garden.

This week I’ve been harvesting: bulb fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, lettuce, peas, peppers, and onions. There are also loads of flowers to cut.

What are you harvesting this week?

Giving it a Go

July 26th, 2018

A long time ago, someone told me that if you cut peas back after they have produced, they will regrow and produce more peas. There must be something about the timing of this, because I always cut my peas back to leave the roots in the ground for nitrogen for the following crop (usually cucumbers since they’re heavy feeders and need the support). They don’t usually grow up again.

This year, I waited a bit longer than usual, and I noticed that the peas were starting to regrow from the base. I figured this must be the ticket, a little bit of fresh growth to feed the roots so they will resurrect.

I’ll keep you posted on how they do, I may get another flush of fall peas from these vines, they may not do anything. If they do produce again, I’ll be interested to see the yield. It certainly would be convenient to get a second crop of peas from one packet of seeds.

Have you ever done this or heard of this? Was it successful?

A Winner

July 16th, 2018

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I planted a new variety of pea, ‘Sienna’ from Johnny’s Seeds. Around here, I’ve mostly grown heirloom peas, so this variety was a first for me. Overall, I’m really happy with it. All the pods came ripe at the same time, allowing me to harvest the entire row, pull the plants, and replace with something else. These peas are kind of like determinate tomatoes, very convenient if you want to process them all at once.


It was nice to harvest all of them and not have to be picking peas every couple days. Processing them all at once for the freezer was also very convenient, no small batches to process every week or so. If you’re growing peas for freezing, I highly recommend giving ‘Sienna’ a try. I also appreciate that they are ready to pull from the garden a month or so ahead of ‘Green Arrow’, which means by the time I’m pulling the other variety, I’m already going to be harvesting lettuce from the space where the ‘Sienna’ peas were growing. If you have a small garden, maximizing space is a great reason to consider this variety.

Are you growing any new varieties this year? Do you love them or prefer others?

Seeds and Sundries
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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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