What have I been eating?

Well, I’ve been pretty terrible about getting content up on my website; “Thanks Obama!” is the saying for that right?

Lets make this a “fruits of my labor” post, with a few pictures:

Blueberries: So many this year, have a lot in the freezer, they need to be netted or birds will eat them all

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Peaches: So many this year, have a lot in the freezer (we need to get a separate freezer I think!). Not as much pecks from birds this year. I thinned them hard and they got really big πŸ™‚

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Squash & Cucumbers: There are usually first things to give me fruits from the vegetable garden. Have been giving a lot of squash away at the shelter, there are quite prolific (and tasty).

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Berries: Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Blackberries. Berries are the best. Even had some currants this year too.Β 

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Grapes & Pluots: These grapes are called “Himrod”. My first time eating them and was very impressed with their sweet and almost floral taste. If I had known seedless grapes would taste this good I probably would have planted all seedless. Will have plenty of seeded concord grapes this year (if the rats don’t get them first).

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Have been eating peppers, eggplants, kale, and lettuce. Some tomatoes are finally coloring up. Growing your own food is fun!

 

Fireblight

“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

I’m not talking about Mos Eisley Spaceport. I’m talking about Fire blight. It’s a bacterial disease that is very serious and really hits pear trees hard. I had planted a “fire blight resistant pear” (seckel) but that hasn’t seemed to help. The past two years the tree has gotten blight and you have to keep cutting those parts out, less you infect the rest of the tree. I was going to have to cut so many parts off I figured I might as well just take the tree out. I put a pluot there instead πŸ™‚

It’s probably called fire blight because the blossoms & stems turn black and shrivel, looking like they were burned.

Anyway, now you know. Don’t get burned by fire blight! Plant something else besides a European pear around here.Β IMG_1994

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Self Seeding Annuals

What is a self-seeding annual? It’s a plant that just lives for one season, but makes seeds and then new plants arise that area (or farther) the next year. So you can buy a packet of seeds once and have plants for many years from it.

Here is some climbing nasturtium. Really cool flowers & leaves. The whole plant is edible, including the flowers. The leaves/flowers are spicy like arugula, good for mixing into salad.


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This is borage. It’s a tiny flower that is edible and tastes like cucumber of all things. Bees really like this plant.

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Here is some calendula. Supposedly got that name from the Romans for always being in bloom on the first of the month. It’s a medicinal & culinary herb though I haven’t tried using it yet.

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I get lots of other self seeding annuals like parsley, cilantro, and peas which are nice to see popping up as I like to use them a lot. I don’t really call them “volunteers” because I intentionally let them go to seed so they come back.

This rainy week is a good time to plant some seeds….get to it πŸ™‚

Avocados

My neighbor has a large avocado tree that is full of fruits now. They taste very good. I took photos of the fruit and posted on a fruit forum. It looks like it is Fuerte variety. The only problem with this tree it is in my southern exposure, blocking a lot of light from the yard. Still, at least the tree gives something back for that πŸ™‚

Avocados oh my!

The Mighty Fuerte?

It’s cold outside!

Last December my passionfruit vines bit the dust because of a week where night temperatures dropped below freezing for 5-6 days in a row. I’ve posted before about growing next to a south facing wall for protection for your frost tender plants, but this post is about lights & blankets.

Looks kind of cool?

As you can see from the pictures I have my new passionfruit vines wrapped up with frost fabric (an old sheet or blanket can work too). Under that I have Christmas lights (not LED type, because they don’t emit enough heat). It’s a good time of year to buy them, post Christmas they are on clearance most places. The idea is the lights emit enough heat and the fabric traps it to keep the plant a few degrees warmer than the surrounding air. Hopefully that will be enough to avoid my vines getting killed this winter. Their first two winters were very mild, and survived with no protection.

I wrapped my lime tree as well. You know why you see lemons planted all over San Jose but not limes? It’s because lemons are much more cold tolerant. Last year I got no limes because of cold damage. This year I’m wrapping that baby up, need it for margaritas later πŸ™‚

This is how it looks at night :)

This is how it looks at night

Fermented Pepper Sauce

If you’ve ever had Tabasco or Siracha those are pepper hot sauces that have been fermented. This means natural bacteria on the pepper are allowed to ferment, creating an acidic environment usually (no vinegar needed). You will need a way to let the gas release form your storage jar, airlock or just cloth top.

So I have lots of peppers, lets give it a go. Put peppers in blender.

Blend 'em up!

Add sugar, salt, garlic.

Peppers, Garlic, Salt, Sugar

Peppers, Garlic, Salt, Sugar

Blend

Blended!

Store at room temp for a few weeks…hope this tastes good!

Pepper Sauce

Tomato Report 2014

So this year I grew 6 tomato plants, six different types of tomatoes…. my wife doesn’t eat raw tomatoes (sick!) so that leaves me with a lot to eat πŸ™‚

These three are Caspian Pink, Brandymaster Pink, and Navajo Moon. The first two are very good beefsteak type heirlooms, nice and meaty. Navajo Moon has a brighter taste along with its very cool orange color. It’s tasty as well, in a different way.

Bigger the better!

Bigger the better!

These three are Flamme, Blush, and a yellow cherry I’m forgetting the name of. Flamme have a very bright taste to me. I like to snack on themΒ out of hand like an Peach. Blush (oval shape) is definitely my favorite of the six and I will look to grow this one again next year. The taste is floral and tropical at the same time. They look great too! This heirloom supposedly originated in Hawaii. The cherry is very prolific and tasty as well.

Tomatoes

Still getting plenty of tomatoes (the best ones come late August/September I find around here)

Snack food....

Snack food….

Tomatillo Salsa

My first time growing tomatillos, and it won’t be my last. I love making salsa with them.

They have husks on them. I pulled them off and washed the tomatillos (kinda of sticky when husk comes off)

They start to yellow when getting ripe

They start to yellow when getting ripe

Some Jalapenos from the garden too.

This variety is called "Biker Billy"

This variety is called “Biker Billy”

Roast ’em on the grill!

Grill 'em up!

Add onions, lemon/lime, cilantro, and salt

Salsa Prep

Put in blender

Just a few short blends, I like the chunks :)

Just a few short blends, I like the chunks :)

That’s it! Serve hot or cold

Tomatillo Salsa

Made some tacos and put it on them….dang!

Tacos