Saturday, August 28, 2010

Home Grown Tomatoes

There ain't nothin' in the world that I like better
Than bacon 'n lettuce 'n homegrown tomatoes
Up in the mornin', out in the garden
Get you a ripe one, don't pick a hard 'un
Plant ‘em in the spring, eat ‘em in the summer
All winter without 'em is a culinary bummer
I forget all about the sweatin' and the diggin'
Every time I go out and pick me a big 'un

Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes
What would life be without homegrown tomatoes?
Only two things that money can't buy
That's true love and homegrown tomatoes.

You can go out to eat and that's for sure
But there's nothin' that a homegrown tomato won't cure
Put 'em in a salad, put 'em in a stew
You can make your own, very own tomato juice
You can eat 'em with eggs, eat 'em with gravy
You can eat 'em with beans, pinto or navy
Put 'em on the side, put 'em in the middle
Homegrown tomatoes on a hot cake griddle.

Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes
What would like be without homegrown tomatoes?
Only two things that money can't buy
That's true love and homegrown tomatoes.

If I's to change this life I lead
You could call me Johnny Tomatoseed
Cause I know what this country needs, and that’s
Homegrown tomatoes in every yard you see

When I die don't bury me
In a box in a cold dark cemetery
Out in the garden would be much better
'Cause I could be pushin' up a homegrown tomato.

Homegrown tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes
What would like be without homegrown tomatoes?
Only two things that money can't buy
That's true love and homegrown tomatoes.

This was one of my favorite John Denver songs. He didn't write it (that may have been a fella named Guy Clark), but he did record it.

I noticed yesterday that some of my green tomatoes are starting to look kinda yellowish...could they actually be ripening? These 40-degree nights (Fahrenheit) aren't speeding them along any, though.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This Just In!

Alert! Join Seed Savers Exchange in helping to save the Pavlovsk Station from development
A Russian court recently ruled that one of the world's most important seed banks near St. Petersburg, Russia may be destroyed in order to make way for a housing development. If allowed to stand, this decision will have a catastrophic impact on global plant diversity. Called a "living library", the Pavlovsk Experimental Station is widely considered the crown jewel of agricultural biodiversity, since 90% of the collection's varieties are not found anywhere else on the planet.

Join scientists and concerned people around the world in petitioning President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin to overrule the court decision. To learn more about this issue and to sign the petition, click on this link to the Global Crop Diversity Trust .

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Hops are Hoppin'

Yes, I grow hops. I have two vines, and this year they are LOADED with flowers:

People ask me why I grow 'em. I don't drink (aside from water and occasionally juices), and therefore have no real interest in brewing. So, why grow the hops? Well...because I think they are pretty nifty looking plants. I love the flowers! And, if I had a pergola, or other structures to surround a formal garden, they'd be great to grow up and over the things. As it is, they are next to the dog fence and grow upon it instead.

I've contemplated doing a harvest and selling them to home brewers, but I don't know where to start. If you live in the Adirondacks and are doing some home-brewing, and you are interested in a local source of hops, let me know!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


This was a mini harvest weekend, and here are the fruits of my labors:

Clockwise from top left: onions, potatoes, beans and peas, garlic.

It all started Saturday evening when I got home from work. On a whim (I tend to work on whims), I decided to get out the spading fork and dig the spuds. After all, the CPB had done their work and the plants were all shriveled twigs. I figured I might as well dig the things up - the odds of them continuing to grow were likely very slim. I planted about 11 pounds of potatoes this spring, and the harvest was about half a bushel. Did I get back my investment? Not this year.

Sunday morning I tackled the garlic and onions. The onions did very well this year, which surprised me. Here's a bushel basket full of onion braids, and I still have one more bed to harvest!

But one can't leave one's onions in a basket...they must be hung to dry. Not having a root celler, or a drying shed, I have to make do with whatever space I can find.

The bundles of garlic have been laid out to dry as well. Some did very well, while others were hardly worth the effort. German white seems to be the strong favorite, with nice large bulbs. Several of the best will be put aside for planting this fall (who knows...I might still be here next year).

Friday, August 13, 2010

Harvest Updates

Two evenings ago I was dumping food scraps into the compost pile when I noticed a fair number of pea pods on the pea vines. I thought I'd pick a few for the dog's dinner, and ended up with a shirt full of peas! When I got them all shelled, I had well over a quart of 'em. Who'd have thought we'd have a pea harvest in mid-August!

Meanwhile, the beans continue to produce, and the zucchini are rolling in. This weekend I should tackle the potatoes - completely naked now thanks to the CPB. There's no point leaving them in the ground now to keep growing. Without any leaves, I can't imagine there's much food source for the tubers.

I'll need to pull garlic, too. The plants are all looking quite brown and deceased - much like the potatoes, actually.

The apples are ripening nicely on the Jonagold and Haralson. Several have dropped to the ground and have been nibbled on by who knows what. I've seen crows fleeing the yard with green apples in their beaks, but I suspect most of the damage is from rodents of one stripe or another. Still, I expect to have several apples this year, if all goes well.

I heard a NYS apple report on the radio this morning. The statewide harvest is down quite a bit (we did get those frosts after the trees blossomed), but they said the apples that did grow should be of exceptional quality. We shall see. I'll have to make my pilgrimage to the orchards early this year! It seems that like many things this season, the apples are ripening about two weeks earlier than normal. Hm...a trend across the entire plant spectrum this year it seems.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Giants from the Garden looks like any normal pile of beans...

...but let's put 'em in perspective:

And it's not like they are old beans - noooo - these are the first beans of the season. I need to check my planting map and see which ones these are. Could they be the Cherokee Trail of Tears?

The same could be said for the zucchinis:

And it's not like I overlooked them! There were no zukes on these particular plants when I checked them a week ago! Hmm...I wonder what I'll do with Jumbo there. Just finished up the first batch of stuffed zucchicni, and I finally tossed all of last year's shredded zucchini from the freezer. Maybe I'll just make loaves of bread this week - use it up right away and freeze the bread.