Monday, 30 June 2014

Harvest Monday: June 30, 2014

I finally managed to get enough sugar snap peas into the house before eating them that I had enough to prepare a dish with.

I blanched the peas then julienned them for a tasty lunchtime lemony barley risotto.

This week's harvest was pretty similar to last - in addition to the peas, I had various greens including chard, beet greens, several types of lettuce.  It has been so hot (30+ degrees C several days in a row now) that the lettuce wilts in the minute it takes to get from the garden to the house.

I am close to having more variety but just need another few days.  Cukes are on their way along with some hot peppers.

It is very interesting to see what others are harvesting this time of the year in different parts of the world (some close to me, many not).  Check out Daphne's Dandelions Harvest Monday contributors to see for yourself!

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Wood Chip Mulch: Yard Update

A big bonus from having the trees removed is the pile of wood chips.  With a lot of help from friends, I now have a border around the garden.  Not only is it prettier than grass (and weeds), the wood chips will hold in moisture and heat for the veggies.


Thursday, 26 June 2014

Grilled Peppers Stuffed with Shrimp and Boursin Cheese

Although I did have a BBQ on hand for this, I had just bought it and had not had the patience to put it together (arrgghhh with the DIY everything these days!).  So these have been grilled indoors, but I look forward to some awesome outdoor grilling soon.

Super easy, super tasty and only four ingredients:  peppers, shrimp, boursin cheese, tarragon.

I grilled 12 shrimp (31-46 size) until just cooked, then finely chopped them.  Mix with 100 grams boursin cheese (I always buy pepper boursin, so if you use plain, you might want to spice it up a bit) and 1 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon (or basil, if you prefer).

Make a slice (sort of v-shaped to make room for stuffing) into a "snacking" pepper - just little sweet peppers.  I got mine at the SunTech greenhouse shop in Manotick.  If possible, put the "v" back into place to keep the cheese from dribbling out when it heats up.

Grill on medium to high heat on BBQ or cast-iron grill pan on the stovetop. 

You want to cook these on a fairly high heat to blister the skin a bit and soften the flesh.

The boursin cheese should be heated through before removing from the pan.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Beans: Nibbled by Something


This occurred Monday evening ... I watered the garden and harvested some veggies and went inside around 6pm.  The beans were perfectly fine then.  I went out again at 7:30pm to dump some bits into the compost and the beans had pretty much been ravaged.  Bunnies maybe?  I've seen just a few deer in the yard over the past year or so since I've been here, but I'm pretty sure they don't normally come that close to the house.  But wow ... that was quick!

The beans are surrounded by borage (why wasn't that touched), tomatoes (with very little fruit at this time) as well as some volunteer potato plants that came up from last year's crop.  Only the beans were eaten.

Those were the Tarbais beans (white drying bean).  I doubt they will survive - and if they do, they'll probably get nibbled again.  This is only my second planting season here so I think I'll just let it go and see what happens this year.  Then I'll have a better sense of what needs to be fenced in and such since there was no indication last year of anything like this (not a single nibble in any of the gardens last year aside from bugs).

But I did plant a few Tarbais into the Three Sisters Garden after finding most of the Scarlet Runner beans had been eaten by crows. Sigh ...
And the Borlotti beans are looking just fine (knocking on wood even as I write that).

Monday, 23 June 2014

Harvest Monday: June 23, 2014

Welcome to another Harvest Monday (sponsored by Daphne's Dandelions) where I show what I've been harvesting lately. 

With this batch of garlic scapes, I made garlic scape soup.  It was pretty much just garlic scapes, onion, potato, spinach, veggie stock and evaporated milk (plus the usual seasoning).  It was OK, but a bit bland.  I took care of that pretty quick with a drizzle of truffle oil.  Sooooo good!!

It's been a more interesting week for harvest, but there sure are a lot of greens still - just more variety.  

This batch below (buttercrunch, arugula, bit of kale) went into the salad above which was for a friends' party (served with a raspberry vinaigrette which was delicious ... I'll post the recipe when I have a chance).  Alas, the strawberries in the salad were purchased from a local farm (but more on my misery of a strawberry patch another time).

I'm having a hard time making it back to the house with any sugar snap peas as they are eaten too quickly.  But I managed to bring this little bit in:

And some herbs ... I have tons of herbs and just use them as needed.  Some of the basil here went into the same salad above.  But really the tops just needed to be picked so as to avoid flowering ... I just gave the rest away as I didn't have time to do anything myself.  And the teeny bit of cilantro was just thrown into something I was eating at the time ...

And I just got back in from picking this batch of rainbow swiss chard, mixed beet greens, a small amount of spinach and chives that I'll be cooking with tonight.  Plus another small handful of peas that won't last 10 minutes.

Check out what everyone else is harvesting this time of year at Daphne's Dandelions.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Happy Summer Solstice ... umm, yesterday

Summer has arrived!  And so has the longest day of the year (already come and passed actually - I was supposed to post this yesterday but got home too late).  It is a great time to celebrate and enjoy the bounties of the season ... which some friends and I did last night!  I have lots of my own home grown veggies and fruits (check in on Mondays for what I have harvested lately as part of Daphne's Dandelions Harvest Monday blog postings) but here I wanted to show some of the flowers that I found yesterday morning during my garden watering session ...

I'll start off with this: my first squash blossom of the season.  What a difference from last year when I already had a fully productive plant with an actual zucchini to harvest (and made Jamie Oliver's Beautiful Zucchini Carbonara with it), so I guess I got a late start this year.

The wild flowers I have growing here are mostly very common but that doesn't take away from how pretty they are:

And just a few of my own, starting with the sage flowers - I have been growing sage for many years and have never had flowers, but my sage is currently covered with them.  It doesn't seem to make the sage tough the way chive or basil flowers do to those plants so I guess I'll just leave them (unless someone tells me otherwise???).

And borage flowers:

And some of my own potted flowers:

And some of the first nasturtiums of the year ... these are interplanted among the vegetables along with marigolds to attract pollinators.

Sunflowers have a way to go before blooming as do the African Marigolds and Cosmos so I'll share pics of those another time.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Trees Down

For people living in cities, it might seem an awful sight to see trees being taken down.  But I have acres of trees and the ones just back of my house have been creating some challenges for me. They were planted many, many years ago and people tend not to worry what trees will look like in 30 or more years.


I know it doesn't seem as pretty at first glance (there is still some cleanup to do).  But I am so thrilled with the extra sunlight.  And I can actually see the gazebo now!  I used to look out my window and see nothing but a wall of trees.  Now I see open space.  I can even see the pathway to the back meadow.

Many of the trees in my backyard are 80 plus feet tall and some closer than that to my house.  This particular silver maple was right beside the greenhouse space and leaning heavily in that direction.

After (firewood)


They were also so tall and dense that very little sunlight was getting to the greenhouse (or the soon-to-be new greenhouse space).

New trees will most certainly pop up in the open space created by the removal of the ten or so trees.  Many small trees are already there and will spring up quickly with access to sunlight now.

I had about a dozen chopped down.  Lots of hard work involved (by others ... I just watched).

And I now have a big 'ol pile of pine wood chips to mulch around the gardens - my plan is to cover the grass between garden spaces plus about 2 feet surrounding the gardens.  That should kill the grass so it will stop growing into the veggies and save me from having to mow (plenty of other grass to mow!).

And seriously, I have HUNDREDS of other trees ...