Mid Season Madness!

16 Sep

Thanks to the great Bay Area indian summers, September is mid-season for us. Thanks to all who came out to our first four stands. Half of our profits goes to the food bank, one quarter goes to seeds and other supplies for next year and one quarter is left for our personal spending. Here are some pictures.

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And Now… the Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For…

25 Aug

It’s August and tomatoes are in. Recently we’ve been having to use buckets to get them all into the house. We’ve smashed our annual target with our bountiful crop. While we realize that tomatoes are a mainstream backyard veggie (okay, fruit), who can say no to a big luscious Brandywine?Image

A weeks worth of tomatoes takes up our kitchen counter

This year we planted three different varieties of tomatoes- all of them heirloom: Moneymaker, Pineapple, and Brandywine.

The moneymaker has the basic tomato appearance- round, red, and sizes ranging from golf ball to tennis ball. It has a great flavor and is very prolific.Image

The Brandywine is our favorite. Its knarled shape may be a bit off-putting, but its amazing flavor makes up for any aestetic irregularities and puts it on top of our list.Image

Pineapple is a newbie to our garden. Its friut are yellow and blush to pink around the edges and on the bottom. It has a sweet flavor and looks great on pizza and in salads.Image

Here is a pizza that I made with tomatoes from the garden. Most of it got eaten before I managed to snap a pic.

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A daily harvest from the garden

Where Have We Bean?

16 Aug

The Tomato Boys are back from vacation and the garden is better than ever! Thank you neighbors for taking care of the garden while we were away- we couldn’t have a season without you! While we were away, the beans skyrocketed. We were immediately able to fill our newly constructed garden bench with beans upon arriving.

We highly recommend our veriety of beans to any gardening newbies or any old hands who want a big crop with little effort. The variety of beans that we use is call Blue Lake Pole. They’re super easy to sprout and you’ll reap a huge harvest. 10 plants are plenty for a four person household- we planted 25 and they’re coming out of our ears!

Our bean arbor turned out really well. We tied the bamboo poles together at the top so that the beans formed a green wall on three sides. This made for easy picking and created a shady walk. It’s a little lopsided, but we aren’t asking for perfection.

Mid-June

Mid-August

Full Garden Mid-June

Full Garden Mid-August

A New Bench for the Garden

22 Jul

This week we say farewell to our next door neighbors who are moving away. We always thought parting gifts should be given to the person leaving, but not this time. Using the plans from “The Practical Gardener” along with scraps of lumber and leftover Trex from our deck, we spent 5 hours with our neighbor making a great new bench. Amazingly, we spent absolutely nothing (except time). Of course, we could never have done this without the tools and expertise of our neighbor, so thank you, and farewell Tom and Marcia. We will think of you as we enjoy our garden from our new bench!

Chickens Celebrate Two!

15 Jul

We would like to give a big shout out to two of our chickens who are celebrating their second birthday. Happy birthday Mercedes and Brittany! We came across these two feathery friends in a very peculiar way. It was the Fourth of July and our whole block was celebrating with a yard sale and potluck. We were chatting with our neighbors about the prospect of keeping chickens when a innocent passerby exclaimed, “Chickens? You want chickens? I have chickens and I need to get rid of them!” We immediately held a family meeting. “Please, please, please, can we get them?,” asked Sam. “No we don’t want chickens, they’re too messy.” informed Tom. “We have no where to put them.” concluded Joe. Just then a friend of our neighbor’s pulled up in a station wagon and plucked down a dog crate with a sign that read $10. So it was decided. We acquired three baby chicks that day: Sunrocker, Morocco Mustache, and Scary Mascara. It seemed that our chicken donor allowed her two-year-old granddaughter the privilege of naming the chickens. We quickly changed their names to the much more dignified Brittany, Rachel and Mercedes. After a few months, Rachel started crowing. Yes indeed, Rachel was a Mr. Shuester. We gave him away a week later to a mysterious pet store owner whose shop was later closed for unknown reasons. Rachel/Mr. Shuester, if your still out there, Happy Birthday!

Baby Brittany

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Adult Brittany

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Baby Mercedes

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Adult Mercedes

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Lettuce Trellis

2 Jul

We’ve had a comment asking for an update on the lettuce trellis, so here it is. We had no luck sprouting any from seed, so we got some starts from the crop swap. We stuck them in the ground on an overcaast day, and since then they’ve grown tremendusly, except something has been selectively eating the red leaf lettuce. All of the blank spots you see were once red lettuces.

 

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Roasted Purple Potatoes with Olive Oil and Garlic

20 Jun

We believe that vegetables always taste best when they’re straight from garden. These purple potatoes are a fine example of this philosophy. I plucked a few new potatoes from the shoulders of the mama plant in the garden and whisked them straight to the oven after scrubbing and seasoning. After 30 minutes they came out all golden brown and crispy- ummmm… delicious!ImageImageImage

Swapping Crops

17 Jun

Went to our first “Crop Swap” today with a load of rainbow chard and beet tops. What a neat idea! Everyone brought things from their gardens, layed it out on a cloth and took what they wanted from the display. There were eggs, seedlings of all types, and even worm compost tea. We came away with 9 baby lettuce plants and a bag of lemons. Looking forward to bringing more chard to next week’s swap. Who knows what we’ll end up with!ImageImage

Alien Plant Specimen #1

16 Jun

This alien plant popped up by the brandywine tomatoes about a month ago, but we didn’t plant it. We think it might be a volunteer melon because we planted melon in the general area a few years ago, but melons dont have spines… or do they? ImageImageImage

Race to the Top

13 Jun

All around the Tomato Boys’ backyard garden, plants, are twisting, turning, and shooting upward in a frenzied Race to the Top.

Out in front are the tomatoes (No surprise there- we started them in February). Compared to last year, these babies are gigantic. Some already have green fruits on them.

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Nipping at the heals of the Tomatoes are the Blue Lake pole beans. Although, they’re not currently winning, I would say that they’re the favorites to win. Last year, they out grew our 6′ tall trellis. Who knows what they’ll accomplish with our taller bamboo trellises this year.Image

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Rounding up the rear are the corn and Brussels sprouts. They were started late in the season, but can grow really tall. I wouldn’t count them out yet!

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Here’s a before and after shot of the corn. They have come so far in just over a month.ImageImage