Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mama Bean is KinderGARDENing - it's Harvest Time!

The other night we harvested our potatoes. We grew three types sold by a local greenhouse as a "gourmet mix" - Norland (red skin, white flesh) purple viking (deep purple skin, white flesh) and Alta blush (an Albertan creation, white to pink skin, and white to yellow flesh). I wouldn't say our harvest was great, only 3 or 4 potatoes per plant, and only the purple ones got large. Papa Bean dug up the plants, and laid the potatoes onto the dirt, where the kids could grab them and put them in the box.
Our harvest would have been better if we'd hilled the plants more diligently. I'd like to build some potato boxes (with layers of planks you add as the plant grows) or else just garbage bins, in the future. It's not really economical to grow them - potatoes at the store are cheap enough. They are ego boosting, though, it's hard to kill a potato plant, and beetles notwithstanding, they just make a gardener's soul happy :) I like growing the "gourmet" types, I really want to try fingerlings next year.
In the box picture, Bean's blurry arm has a blurry worm on it. We found lots of juicy-looking earthworms while digging, and the kids were well distracted by them, having little worm races on the walkway. The worms, alas, did not survive. But their sacrifice helped our sanity survive, and for that, we honour them lol.
This little Sproutlet doesn't meet much that doesn't go into her mouth - green tomatoes, ripe tomatoes, dirt, rocks, acorns, and more tomatoes... She keeps smiling, so I can't see anything wrong with it...
The Prairie Valley City in general, and our family in specific, have been blessed by an amazing apple harvest this year. We've received 50 or 60 pounds of apples from three different sources (!!!) We're going to take about 100 lbs to a local farm that presses them into fresh unpasteurized cider - we'll get about 8 or 10 gallons. Only $5.50/gallon, and they sell their own stuff for $15/gallon. The rest we'll sauce or make pie filling or something. Here's Bean learning to use our peeler. After borrowing a fancy peeler (for over a year, yikes!) I found this cheaper plastic one at Value Village for only $4, and it is awesome!
This is the tomato station in my garage, where I'm trying to sort the types. The giant ones on the left are Hawaiian pineapples, in the middle are a mix of green zebra/Bulgarians, and nyagous (black) tomatoes. Then there's the cherry bounty. At the farmer's market, those suckers sell for $3-4/pint, and I've probably eaten about 10 pints already. I love my garden :)
I have a half dozen montages like this, just enjoying the colours of the harvest. It's been a really bright, vibrant kind of year, and I like that. On the other hand, those Hungarian wax peppers (the long orange one) were waaaay too hot, luckily I thought to put them in salsa, otherwise I doubt we'd have used them. The mini brown peppers were cute, but not terribly tasty. Overall, I'm not sure we'll keep growing peppers - it's one of those rare things that don't taste as good as the store (in our experience, maybe I'm doing it wrong) and often our growing season isn't long enough for them to ripen (colour) fully anyway, plus we only get 3 or 4 per plant, which isn't necessarily economical. But maybe I'm saying that because peppers were cheap this year at the store *shrug*
This is a Hawaiian pineapple tomato sliced up. They have the most beautiful colouring, this lovely peachy orange into bright red, and the streaks go throughout. The flavour was amazing - not really like a tomato at all, just vaguely fruity and very (very) sweet. Mild, not a lot of zing or acidity. It was a pleasure to eat, and it was huge, so I basically had this for lunch haha.
Last but not least, yesterday's caprese salad, with black cherries, sweet 100s, and sun golds/sun sugars, fresh basil from my aunt's garden, and bocconcini. I cannot describe how much I enjoyed this. I used the rest of the basil to make walnut pesto (not quite as good as with pine nuts, but at $6.48/100g, I wasn't buying pine nuts) and used some of the pesto to make a balsamic vinaigrette. I also used 23 green zebra/Bulgarians to learn how to blanch and peel tomatoes (it's so easy!) and make salsa (onion, garlic, lime juice, salt/pepper/cumin, cilantro, corn, red pepper, Hungarian wax pepper, and tomatoes). And then today, I had another caprese-ish salad, with green tomatoes to add some zing (they are such bright happy tomatoes, with a lovely sweetness) and the vinaigrette. Smiling smiling smiling...

[Internal monologue: I talked a lot about money in this post, that's weird. I didn't think gardening was about money for me, but then again, we do this because we're Green Misers, environmentally minded when it costs less lol. Also, it's weird to put something some bright and cheery after serious posts about Depression, but, well, that's life!]

1 comment:

  1. You grew such a wonderful variety of tomatoes and peppers. I have tons of peppers, but mine were grown in a greenhouse (plus they were common bell peppers and jalapenos). I'm going to try potatoes next summer, but you are right. They are cheap enough in the store it probably isn't worth the time, but it's fun to dig them in the fall (for kids anyhow). I've been making tons of pesto with walnuts as well. Pine nuts are $30 a pound here. I've never had them so I guess I don't know what I'm missing. Isn't gardening good for the soul?