"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Time to Harvest Some Galangal!

It has taken just about 2 years for my Galangal (Alpinia galanga) plant to grow just under 3 feet, and produce enough rhizomes so that I can cut a piece to use in my cooking.  The rhizome, when sliced is that odd, round, firm piece that you find floating in a true Thai Curry dish. It looks a lot like a chunk of ginger root.  It is also an ingredient in curry paste, there is no substitute for it in a recipe.  

Here it is in flower, I didn't notice a fragrance to the flower but the leaves have a mildly aromatic scent. Galangal is a type of ginger and the flower does look similar to a ginger plant that I am growing.  You cut a piece of the rhizome once it begins to flower or just as it buds.  I wanted to wait for the flower to appear since I had not seen one before.  It is spectacular, although small and does not last long; might be the heat we have here.  In Southeast Asia this plant can be grown in the sun but I didn't want to chance that and have planted it where it receives shade most of the day.  It does get filtered sun from the tree overhead and a bit shines on it very late in the afternoon.  We also don't have the humidity found in its homeland, notice the tips are brown, probably from the lack thereof. 

Here is what it looked like when I bought it on June 3, 2012; the one in the center with only one rhizome shooting up.  Now I am off to find a very special Vegetable Curry Recipe!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sunset After the Storm

Storm Ending
Thunder blossoms gorgeously above our heads,
Great, hollow, bell-like flowers,
Rumbling in the wind,
Stretching clappers to strike our ears . . .
Full-lipped flowers
Bitten by the sun
Bleeding rain
Dripping rain like golden honey—
And the sweet earth flying from the thunder.
-Jean Toomer

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cloudy With a Chance of Rain, one hopes

Looking East, enjoying the sound of thunder and a few light sprinkles. The air is cool, damp and smells of sagebrush, it feels wonderful. We have had a couple of nice showers, hope it continues through the day.

Today on my list to do:  roast off some tomatoes and get those in the freezer.  I don't feel much like heating up the house, but at least I can keep the windows and doors open. Yesterday I cooked up a huge batch of random tomatoes and made 4 quarts of juice. 

Zucchini spears soaking in salt water.

 Later on  when I get some time I will post recipes to A Table for Rue, Please  for these Zucchini Pickles and the Panzanella Salad pictured below.  The pickles only take a couple of days in the refrigerator and with the daily harvest you and I probably get it is another way to use them; they taste just like dill pickles but without the wait.

Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad

Monday, July 7, 2014

Garden Update 2014

My typical summer breakfast.  Toast with tomatoes, a bit of mayonnaise and Spike seasoning. YUM!

A nice batch of Dill waiting for me to add to a jar of green beans for Pickled Green Beans .

Tomatoes are coming in very slow this year.  I guess with the earlier months of high heat it has set them behind.  I have lost a lot of blossoms too with the heat spells, and tomatoes are much smaller this year.  I am not sure that I will even get enough to preserve this year, which is a real disappointment.

Two weeks ago I had to pull out one of my San Marzano plants at my community plot because it had so many leaves that wilted and died off that I just gave up on it and bought 3 more plants and set them out.  They new plants were big and look good so far; already forming tomatoes.

The plants here at home seem to be doing so much better than the ones at the community plot, but still behind in production.  My Henderson's Ponderosa is one that always gave a high yield and  even those two plants are sparse. The plants in the grove are healthy and huge with lots of tomatoes on most, but having said that I did not see that many on Goliath and that one always had a high yield.  Could be that it is not getting as much sun as the rest since it is on the end of the North side.

Cherry tomato plants are doing well, but production is low on them also.  The brown oval cherry is super productive though so I could make sauce out of those.

  German Queen looked terrible the other day and I just gave up on it and pulled it out.  These are the tomatoes (green ones) that I pulled off the plant before I trashed it.  They are far enough along that they will ripen but that was all the tomatoes that were on the plant!

Summer squash of course is doing very well, we have 4 varieties at the community garden.  Aphids did move in and I lost one Crookneck plant to them but I have seeded more of it and also Ronde de Nice.  I pulled out a couple of those plants too that looked like they were getting mildew. Don't want that taking over.  I also sprayed the rest of the plants with a baking soda solution to keep it off them.  You can make this solution by mixing 1 teaspoon Baking Soda in 1 quart of water.  Spray the leaves in the early morning.

 The smaller tomatoes in the back are Southern Night, these were some of the first ones to ripen and the plant does have larger fruit on it and looks like I will get a good yield from it.  Super tasty tomato. This plant is at my community garden. 

 Sad and small San Marzano tomatoes.  I do have another plant here at the house which has some nice sized fruit on it and the plant is healthy and still reaching for the sky.  If we could just keep the temperatures down a bit I think it will set many more fruits.

 Here is a few of Dr. Wyche from my community garden, so small compared to previous years.

On a brighter note, we have been picking Kentucky Wonder beans every-other-day now.  This is from just one of the small towers that I planted.  I seeded more a few weeks back to keep us picking all summer.