Sunday, June 28, 2009

Garden Update

Herbs, Peas, Lettuce (harvested), Tomatoes & Kale

So, it's been nice not to have to water my container garden very much, what with the crazy amount of rain we've been receiving. It's really making me wish we had a rain barrel. I really think it would be half-way full by now.

Anyway, I have a total of 5 tomatoes growing (finally!), I've harvested lettuce twice - once being an emergency harvest after the hail, and I've gathered some of my purple kale for a yummy kale, onion, and bean sauted salad. The purple is so pretty in a dish! Strangely, my peas have finally flowered, so who knows if my sugar snap peas will ever arrive. At long last, I transplanted 2 of my tomato plants into bigger containers (a.k.a. large plastic buckets with holes drilled in the bottom).

I had one bucket left over and got a little ambitious... And now I have a compost! I have no idea what the heck I'm doing, but I always feel so sad throwing away perfectly good kitchen scraps and grass clippings that I don't use as a mulch cover for my plants. So, I drilled one hole in the bottom of the plastic bucket, chucked in some old dirt, grass clippings and some fruit skins, etc and voila! Compost. I am really excited! I have no clue if it will work. I'll probably have to abandon the noxious mess when we move, but at least I'm trying!

And as soon as I get some more dirt I'll add it and then go buy some earthworms at the store. Unless it rains again and I can pick them up off the sidewalk somewhere. Does anyone know if you have worms in your compost that you don't put a cover on it? I don't want to bake them, but I don't want to attract flies either. I guess I'll find out. Yipee!

2 Brandywines sharing a tub

A Brandywine tomato!

Bloody Butcher Tomato plant and my Miracle Jalapenos
(doesn't "Bloody Butcher" sound awesome for a tomato name??)

Monday, June 22, 2009


I finally made some homemade butter thanks to a very descriptive and simple blog post from The Mobile Home Woman. I went over to a friend's so that we could make it together. My cream was about a month over the expiration date, but it hadn't gone bad yet. So, I decided to use it.
We discovered really quickly that it was indeed important to have the cream at a little cooler than room temperature because the butter just would not come while it was really cold. My friend, Clair, had read the instructions more closely and had warmed her cream in the microwave and her butter came really quickly. So, I warmed mine up a tad and it worked like a charm! We used a spoon and our fingers to wash the butter and I think using fingers got more of the buttermilk out. I added salt to mine, folding it in really well on a plate and pouring off the extra water as it came out. This really helped a lot.
Now, I don't know if it was because my cream was really aged, but my butter had a wonderful flavor - nothing like the store-bought stuff. You should give it a try. I spread this butter on a slice of homemade bread and there's nothing like it in the world!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Storm

It's been pretty rainy and cool here in Cache Valley. I am a huge fan of this! However, I've never had a small starter garden in pots before and the last storm that howled through did not treat my little plants very nicely. With the thunder and rain came pea to marble-sized hail. Earlier that day I had harvested some of my butter crunch lettuce. But after the storm, my last two heads were completely thrashed (a great before and after!), my once-wimpy tomato plants were quite wounded as well - limbs sliced off, holes punched through leaves or slightly shredded. My Miracle Jalapeno plants weren't too badly hurt - they're living up to their names. And the peas just look like they layed down for a nap. Strangely, I'm not too saddened by all this destruction. I think the plants will survive. (Though one of my Brandywines keeps aborting its flowers and I don't know why!....) But we are moving soon to where ever my husband's job will take us. If it's long distance, I seriously doubt that I'll be able to take any plants with me. I will miss my purple sage!
Here are some pictures right after the hail had stopped, but with the rain still coming down.

Our yard covered with hail.

My garden after the hail.
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