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This time of year my tomatoes have taken over the garden bed and have become unruly. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten very many tomatoes yet. The ones I kept are late producers. I usually try to have roma's or cherry tomatoes to fill in the gap. This year i gave both of my cherry tomatoes away. I do have one cherry tomato that I grew from seed but they take longer as well. All that is left in my garden are the tomatoes and herbs, as well as a couple potato plants to harvest. 

My neighbor has been giving me zucchini and cucumbers so I have been eating a lot of those lately. Hopefully my tomatoes wont come all at once this year. If they do I might have to can some. Last year I froze them and have been adding them to my zucchini and pork roast. I think next year I will try to pinch off the suckers in hopes to get earlier tomatoes. I also want to get tomato cages to support them. Maybe I can grow some fall vegetable too.

 
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I picked some vegetables saturday. As I had a bunch of tiny potatoes and a few small carrots and onions I made a vegetable soup at Becky's. Ruben loved it, he is really getting into trying things from the garden. Ramon started to help make the soup , but missed out on tasting it as he was busy playing video games. 

I decided to try something different with the beets. I made a cold borscht soup. The reviews were not so great. I still have a mess of greens that I plan to saute with onions. 

I still have three potato plants, beets, herbs, onions, and the tomatoes are just getting started. I also have a cucumber plant, but am not sure if it will produce. I added the seeds after pulling what turned out to be false strawberry. 

Previously, I have gotten a handful of strawberries from my hanging plants ,but none from the herb barrel. The radishes did well and the carrots moderately well. Next year plant more, I ended up sharing more than I had planned. 

 
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When I went to pick up Ruben, I decided to grab the mint from my mom's. She has been trying to get rid of it for awhile. I'm drying it for tea. I also decided to pick some rubarb and when I went to the back I found the hanging pot I had given her two years ago. The flowers were long dead, but it was full of moss. I decided to take it, at first I  thought about making a terrerium, but then chose to make a fairy garden.

It isn't finished yet. I plan add a chair and maybe scrolls to the gazebo. I placed asparagus fern in the back for a hedge and ivy in the front drooping over the sides.

 
Last weekend both Mom and I had to work, so yesterday when she called I ran over to visit. I brought two small bottles of elderberry wine and a bunch of radishes from my garden. I sauteed the radishes and greens with onion then sprinkled with a small amount of bacon bits and Parmesan cheese. We snacked on that with a glass of wine while we waited for dinner to be ready and we searched online for fabric to finish the backing of her i-spy quilt. She was making a small rag quilt for my sister, but then sis wanted a twin size.

Dinner was good, she made a mexican casserole that my aunt used to make. It was fun working in the kitchen together, eating and visiting. We never did find the fabric she wanted,
 
Since starting a garden with Ruben I have been trying to show him how to cook and enjoy the items he is growing. His garden is a few weeks behind mine, so when I was thinning my radishes last week, I brought a couple over and decided to make a root vegetable tart. I also brought store bought radishes, carrots, beets, spinach, shallots, feta, and pie crust. I bought the spinach as the store bought veggies did not have the lovely green I get from my home grown beets and radishes. I sliced and saute the veggies in olive oil before layering on a flat crust. Sprinkle with cheese garnish with halved garden radishes with greens intact, fold over edge and bake. My sister thought I was crazy about cooking radishes, but she loved it.

Today I had more radishes that needed picked. I will have to finish that row and reseed soon. I decided this time I would make a radish green pesto with almonds. I brought over the hand crank processor and the boys fought over working it. It turned out very tasty. The radish greens are more mild than basil. We had it on whole wheat crackers and they practically licked the bowl clean.

We weeded and thinned out Ruben's garden while I was there. We sampled the broccoli sprouts we thinned, which had a little bite. Cruz got in on the learning by examining a clean radish. I let him hold it while I was watching him closely. He mouthed the string root and held the red ball, before it disappeared into my mouth.

Cruz learned about color and texture, Ruben is learning about growing and sampling from the garden, and Ramon is learning creativity in the kitchen. Even Mom was learning to try new things. Something I learned today, was that the Victorians never ate their radishes raw. I find it interesting that is now the norm.


 
I have been busy in the garden again. I picked a bunch of green tomatoes. Some became green tomato chutney and some fried green tomatoes. I have a bunch in my windowsill that are ripening and a quart of cherry tomatoes in the fridge. Charles wants to make katsup, I want to eat them. I pruned back the spent vines and pulled the acorn squash. I am baking the acorn squash with some of the carnival squash. I am thinking about making pumpkin bread to go with tomorrows dinner. I may bake the buttercup to go as a substitute for sweet potatoes. We will have plenty of seeds for snacking as well.

The brussel sprouts are getting tiny buds on them. That is the only thing stopping me from ripping up the garden and getting ready for winter. If I can just keep the kale and swiss chard growing until it is safe to harvest the leaves of the sprouts and I will have greens with Thanksgiving.
 
All around you hear about trees changing colors and the weather cooling. I am seeing some of that hee as well. The most prominant signs for us are Homecoming and the fall play. Try outs are monday and Seniors are already planning decorations for Homecoming. Alex has a dark red dress hat can double for christmas. Both Charles and Alex are planning to participate in the play, either with sets or acting.

With all these signs of fall, it is surprising to see my garden not only still bearing but preparing for a second crop. My strawberries are producing, my kale and brussel sprouts were ravaged by cabbage moth. All that remained were one plant of each with a few chewed leaves. Amazingly both are making a comeback. I doubt that I will get any brussel sprouts, the plant was too sressed. I may end up with some fall greens after all though. At least they will be able to survive any frosts we may have next month.
 
This is your new blog post. Click here and start typing, or drag in elements from the top bar.I have had a few problems with pests in my garden. The kale and brussel sprouts were attacked by white cabage moths. I have a solitary brussel sprout plant trying to survive with leaves laced with holes. I seems to be over the attack. I had pulled all the kale that was near it, along with a fat green catapillar. I decided to plant more peas there as the few I had planted were crowded out by the tomatoes.
Then I discovered my squash was infested by vine boring moth.  I was unfortunate to not recognise it early enough. My buttercup was the first to succumb, before it could bear any fruit. Today I had to pull up my zuccini. At least I was fortunate to gain a handful of zuccini, before it was too weak. My acorn squash is also infested. It seems to be healthy enough to maintain for now. I did have to pick its first fruit. Apparently, they also like to bore into the fruit as well. I am hoping for more squash. I planted the last of the pea seeds where the buttercup and zuccini were.
My tomatoes are doing great. I am trying to use them before they go bad. I am not sure if you can preserve cherry tomatoes. At least it is a healthy snack that we can eat whenever we want.
I did have some luck with the oyster mushrooms, it is working on its second flush now. The shiitake mushrooms produced one mushroom, and then the flies got too bad so I put it in the garden under the tomatoes. Perhaps it will still grow out there. The enokitake have not made any progress. It keeps freezing as my refrigerator is too full. I have a condiment problem. That and i had too much wine and beer in there. I don't drink very often, but I like variety and occasionally use it for cooking. I moved them to a shelf near the a/c unit. Hopefully, the two cans of Guiness will be fine until I can use them.
 
The garden is continuing to grow. What lettuce that did not rot from the rain bolted, the kale and brussel sprouts are ravaged from cabbage moth catterpillars, but still it continues to grow. I have found that if I want my squash to be pollinated then I have to do it myself. I have managed a few zuccini, a couple watermelon, and a single acorn squash so far. The winter squash has been stingy with the female blossoms so far. I have collected some of the male flowers to make soup with.

I decided to grow mushrooms indoors to add to my urban garden. I bought shiitake, oyster, and enokitake mushroom kits. So far the oyster mushrooms are growing splendidly. It is amazing how fast they grow. We have used a few in stirfry. Alex has discovered that she  is very fond of stirfry and Charles has agreed that the mushrooms are passible. He really is not a mushroom person.

Today while looking for a planter to move my strawbrries to I found pottable citrus trees. I purchased a meyer lemon and a washington navel orange. They are mere seedlings and will likely take a few years to mature. However, I have always wanted fruit trees. The challenge is where to put them in the winter, as well as my palms that need to be wintered indoors. I plan to reorganize the front room. I will move the monster of a desk in front of the window so the plants can sit up there. I have costume junk piled on it now. We will have to pull everything out, sort, organize, and weed out a few things. I already had planned to do this as I want to get rid of my storage unit. It will be a bit of a challeng though.

As a bonus, I found a half barrel for 22.50 regularly around 50.00, while looking for my strawberry planter. I was planning to get one next year for my squash and melon bed. That will leave much more space in my 4x4 bed. I also bought a fountain pump for my mini potted pond. Sometimes I just can't help myself.
 
I have not had to take any action to control insects yet. Any loss has been manageable. The latest challenge has been all this rain. I had to pull most of my lettuce due to rot. I was able to salvage most for a salad though. My kale on the other hand is thriving. The squash seems to be spreading out and I have hope for at least a couple zuccini soon. The tomatos seem to be growing tall and blossoming. The one that was prestarted and is potted has several tomatoes. I Enjoyed one that had rippened and sampled a couple more green for frying. Hopefully, we will get enough sun to ripen the others. The strawberries are sending runners. I am concidering replanting them in a seprate bed this fall. I plan to disasemble this planter for winter storage. This year is about learning.