We Now Interrupt This Blog… To Pick Fruits and Vegetables

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picking blueberries

Last night The Girl and I picked a whopping 3 quarts of blueberries. Talk about a bumper crop.gathering blueberries

We planted 12 blueberry bushes the second spring after we moved in and this is the first year we’ve been able to pick this many berries. When I planted the blueberry bushes I choose 6 different varieties so they would ripen over several months.

In hindsight, I should have just planted all of the same variety because having a large garden is a lot of work and having to come back every couple of days to check on the berries gets a little tedious. Oh well. Live and learn I guess.

picking pears

Pears. We’ve got them. I thought for sure after last years giant crop we wouldn’t get any this year. mavis butterfield

But I was wrong. We might not have as many pears as last year… but holy cow man, they’re huge. green pumpkin

How are your pumpkins doing? At this rate ours might be decorating our porch by early September. purple cherokee tomato

And heirloom tomatoes? We’re swimming in them.

italian kale plant

Kale? Yep, we’ve got that too.
green cabbage

Would you believe I picked 3 heads of cabbage this morning? Is it just me, or does picking cabbage in the middle of August just seem weird? Cabbage is a cool weather plant after all, I don’t know, it just seems odd.

Oh well, I’m not complaining. Gardening is RAD. Now matter what you’ve harvesting.

Wouldn’t you agree?

~Mavis

 

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Greenhouse Gardening – Planting Heirloom Tomatoes

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magnum glass greenhouse garden

Over the weekend The Girl and I planted a few more tomato plants in the greenhouse. We’ve still got another week or two before setting them outside in the garden beds {we’ve had lot’s of rain lately and it’s just not warm enough outside yet}. Our greenhouse tomato plant count is now up to 7!heirloom tomato plants in the greenhouse

I absolutely LOVE growing tomatoes in the greenhouse and I think later on this week I’ll go around and plant basil seeds around the bases of all the tomato plants. I don’t know about you, but basil and tomatoes are one of my favorite things to harvest each summer.
lucy the puggle dog

Inspector Lucy.

growing lettuce in containers

The lettuce we grew in the giant stock tanks has all been harvested. Now all that’s left is one giant pot of mesclun lettuce and 2 pots of romaine.
growing lettuce in gutters

We’ve also got another batch of lettuce growing in a galvanized gutter as well.slugs

Slugs! Grrr… have they found their way into your garden as well? tomato flowers

Our first tomato flowers.

growing vegetables in a greenhouse

I can’t think of a better hobby than gardening. With the exception of pulling weeds, gardening has got to be my hands down favorite thing on earth to do. Well, I take that back. Eating fresh baked pies and travelling are pretty high up there on the hobby list too. ;)

Gardening is RAD, no matter how you do it.

How is YOUR garden doing these days? Have you planted any tomatoes yet? If so, what kind are you growing this year?

~Mavis

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Greenhouse Gardening – Tomatoes in October? No Way!

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magnum glass greenhouse

Baby it’s cold outside! My goodness. I went out to water the plants in the greenhouse this morning and it was pretty darn chilly.  I need to get a warmer bathrobe if I’m going to be out watering my plants at 10 am. ;)

perennial herbs

So far the sage, thyme and chives I transplanted alongside the greenhouse last month are hanging in there.

perennial herbs

The oregano, rosemary and garlic chives are thriving too.

sun gold tomatoes

But check this out. Sun Gold tomatoes. In October. How cool is that? These are real ones too. ;) Not those tasteless ones you find at the grocery store that were picked last week and then ripened in the back of a truck as they were shipped across the country.

green zebra tomatoes

I’m not sure how much longer the tomatoes will last, but for now, I’m enjoying every one that I can. Even these green zebra tomatoes. Aren’t they pretty?

old barrel water spout

Oh, and thanks to the One Hundred Dollars a Month Reader who suggested I move my rain barrel into the greenhouse. You suggested I fill it up to let the afternoon sun warm up the water {thus warming up the greenhouse}. So far so good.

Okay, so maybe I don’t know if it’s actually warming up the greenhouse at this point, but you know what? I don’t have to drag the hose out there so I’m happy. ;)

growing lettuce in containers

And last but not least, take a look at the lettuce I have growing in a 3-tiered planter. How cool is that?

Looks like salad is on the menu tonight.

Peace Out Girl Scouts,

I’m off to plant some seeds.

~Mavis

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Heirloom Tomato Harvest

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purple Cherokee heirloom tomato

Mama Mia! Check out this Cherokee Purple Tomato I found yesterday while I was picking tomatoes.

This gorgeous heirloom tomato weighed in at 1 pound 5 ounces. Not too shabby if you ask me. After I spotted the Cherokee Purple tomato I ran inside and made the HH come out and take a picture of me holding it. Ha! And yes, he thinks I am a total nut.

But I couldn’t help myself. Heirloom tomatoes are beautiful.

Here are a few other tomato pictures I snapped:

speckled Roman tomato

Speckled Roman Tomato. Have you tried growing these? Speckled Roman tomatoes are great for making sauce. {And they look cool} I love, love, love these!
green zebra tomato

Green Zebra Tomatoes. You know these are ripe when they start to turn a wee bit yellow. Green Zebra tomatoes are a little tangy, but oh so good.yellow pear tomatoes

Yellow Pear Tomatoes. I grow these every year for The Girl, and because they are great in salads and add a nice color to salsa recipes too.

Principe Borghese

Principe Borghese Tomatoes. Oh my word are these good. You totally need to add these to your seed wish list for next year. This is my first time growing these and I’ll be growing them next year for sure.

red zebra tomato

Red Zebra. These are great too!ace bush tomato

Ace bush tomatoes are an excellent slicer as well as great for sauce.

Italian Roma bush tomato

Italian Roma Bush Tomato. These are just like the ones you’d get at the grocery. Well, not exactly, these ones taste 180 million times better because they were homegrown. ;)

heirloom tomatoes

Here’s yesterday’s harvest. Pretty stinkin’ awesome if you ask me. Too bad we can’t grow vegetables like this year round in Western Washington.

~Mavis

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Mavis Garden Blog – Late Fall Tomato Harvest

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I’m exhausted.

I’ve been working in the garden all afternoon and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what was taking me so long to harvest and pull up all the tomato plants.

Then I realized what I had eaten today. 11 homemade chocolate chip cookies, and about 22 cups of hot tea. No wonder I feel like such a slacker, I’ve been wandering around the backyard all afternoon in a sugar coma unable to focus.

Yes, some days I eat like a teenage boy.  I mean c’mon, I can’t healthy things like kale and smoothies everyday of the week now can I?  That would be totally boring.

Take a look at these heirloom tomato.  Aren’t they beautiful?

I haven’t gotten all the tomatoes picked yet, but I’m almost there.  Only 6 more plants to go and then I’ll be done.  They I get to plant some Swiss chard.  Geez wiz… That sounds like fun huh?

What did you do this afternoon… Or rather what did you eat?

Hopefully it was a wee bit more nutritious than cookies and tea.

~Mavis

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Ripen Tomatoes on The Vine – Hang Tomatoes Upside Down

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A few days ago I decided it was finally time to get serious about picking and clearing out our heirloom tomato beds.  Each raised garden bed contained about 8 tomato plants, so there was a pretty significant amount of tomatoes to harvest.

After pulling up the plants and sorting the tomatoes into piles {green tomatoes and ripening tomatoes}, I sifted through the dirt for stragglers.

Then, I did something I have never done before, I decided to take YOUR advise, and hang one of our red pear tomato plants upside down in our unheated garage.  According to several readers, this old school tomato ripening method really works.

I have a feeling if I were to hang the tomato plants inside the house where it’s a bit warmer, the tomatoes might ripen a bit faster.  But clearly, there is NO WAY ON EARTH, the Handsome Husband would put up with that.  Not in a million years.

So what do YOU think?  Have you tried this before? Does it really work?

Should I go ahead and pull up the rest of my tomatoes and hang them upside down?

~Mavis

Mavis Garden Blog – 5 Tips for Ripening Tomatoes on the Vine

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Bartering with Mavis – Trading with Mrs. Hillbilly

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This morning Mrs. Hillbilly stopped by to do a little bartering.  She was looking for some vegetables, and I was looking for some sour cream and nuts.

To me it was the perfect trade.  I’m a heavy on Hubbard squash and tomatoes right now, so I was more than happy to get a few heirloom tomatoes off my counter, and a few squash off my back porch.  Sometimes growing your own food is fun, and other times it seems like you’ll never get caught up on processing it all for winter storage.  So when a neighbor comes along at just the right time and wants to barter, I greet them with open arms.

A new 2 pound tub of sour cream, 1 pound of almonds, 12 ounces of peanuts and 5 ounces of shelled pistachios.  Hot diggety, I’m happy with that.

Do you barter with your friends and family too?  Well you should. Don’t be afraid to ask, the worst thing they’ll tell you is no.

~ Mavis

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Recipe – Sweet and Spicy Heirloom Tomato Jam

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Have I ever told you how much I love it when you send in recipes for me to try? Last week Lauden sent me a link to a sweet and spicy tomato recipe that called for only 1 pound of tomatoes. Which was perfect of course because our tomatoes are still just trickling in.

Since we have so jars of jam in the cupboard already to enjoy this winter, I was rather relived to finally find a small batch recipe to try out.

Although the original recipe says you can can it, I didn’t bother. The recipe only makes {1} 8 oz jar of jam. I just bottled the tomato jam up and placed it in the fridge. Technically the jam should last a few weeks, but I have a feeling it won’t make it to next Friday because it’s so good!

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

1 lb  tomatoes, roughly cut
1/2 c  sugar
1/2 Serrano chili, seeded & finely diced
4 whole cloves
2″ stick cinnamon
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1  1/2 tablespoons lime juice {I used bottled}

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and simmer over low heat. Stir about every 5 – 10 minutes or for about an hour, or until it reaches a jam like consistency.

Pour jam into a hot sterilized 16 oz  jar, and let it cool for about half an hour.  Cover with a lid and place in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

I plan on using this heirloom tomato jam on toast with a wee bit on cream cheese.  Yum!

*Thanks Lauden for sharing this awesome recipe with me!

Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple

See More Canning Recipes

If you are looking for a food mill, Amazon has the Mirro Foley 3.5-Quart Stainless Steel Food Mill in stock and ready to ship.

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Recipe – Homemade Pizza Sauce Using Heirloom Tomatoes

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Last night I fired up the crock pot and made a batch of homemade pizza sauce while everyone was sleeping.  When we woke up this morning the house smelled like a pizza parlor.  It was awesome.

Our heirloom tomatoes are trickling in at a rate of 5-10 pounds every few days or so.  And while there isn’t enough to break out the canning equipment just yet, there are plenty of tomatoes to snack on and to make a few batches of pizza sauce to use later this winter.

This recipe will yield 10 1 cup portions.  Depending on how thick you like to pour on your sauce, each bag should be enough for 2 homemade pizzas.

Ingredients

8 pounds heirloom tomatoes
12 oz tomato paste
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 mysterious hot pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Toss all of the ingredients into a large crock pot {if you have OCD please take careful consideration to the placement of your tomatoes to best represent the color of your heirlooms}.

Turn the crock pot on low and cook overnight for 8 hours to 10 hours.

Remove lid and cool sauce for a bit.

Run the sauce through a food mill or a Victorio food strainer to remove seeds and peels and any excess pulp.

Pour 1 cup portions into freezer bags, and store in the freezer for later use.

That’s Amore!

Have you seen Mystic Pizza?  Amazon has it on sale right now for only $7.99!

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Mavis Garden Blog – Heirloom Tomatoes

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Last night, right before dark I went around to all the tomato plants and picked as many near ripe tomatoes as I could.  As much as I would like all my tomatoes to ripen on the vine this year, it’s just not going to happen.

We are already a week into September and although there are plenty of green tomatoes in the garden, the red ones are a little harder to come by.  I figure I have about 3 more weeks for these babies to ripen.

So by picking the almost ripe ones, I am actually doing the rest of the tomatoes a favor by freeing up the plants energy to concentrate on the other tomatoes.

Maybe it’s time to start playing classical music, or giving them a daily pep talk and telling them it’s okay to ripen.  Dear Tomato, please ripen so I can eat you. Because if you don’t, I will leave you on the vine to shrivel up and die a slow, moldy, frost bitten death.

Roma, Hartman’s Yellow Gooseberry, Super Sweet 100, Brown Berry, Amish Paste, Italian Heirloom, Sun Gold, Moonglow, Red Pear, Green Zebra, Beefsteak

C’mon tomatoes… get your act together.

This is your chance to be something great…

Like pasta sauce, or salsa.

Let’s get the show on the road before I get hauled off to the loony bin for talking to produce.

By the way, how are your tomatoes doing?

Have you started cursing talking to them yet, or am I just losing my mind?

~Mavis

The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook  ~ Amazon

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