2019 Garden pics!

Here are some pics of my garden this year. Now that we are in September, I wanted to capture it in all it’s glory before it’s gone. I’ve worked hard tweaking out the infrastructure with new framed beds and weed barriers and wood chips in the paths this year. Having retired from the Santa Fe Farmers Market two seasons ago has allowed me to do more in the garden. I also added some perennial fruit like raspberries and blackberries since I don’t need space for 125 tomato plants anymore! By mid-October or sooner, it will be toast with the first frost so might as well enjoy it while I have it. I have an abundance of flowers this year that I grew for my edible flower class and besides being beautiful and edible, they attract many beneficial insects and pollinators. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Shallots harvested

I have always planted both garlic and shallots in October and I got the garlic planted in the ground last year in late October of 2018 but not the shallots. I ran out of time and then all the shallot bulbs were sold out. I know we can get bigger garlic bulbs if we plant in the previous fall (which I already harvested) and thought the shallots would be bigger too if planted in the fall. But I decided to plant some dutch shallots this spring to see how they would do as I really love shallots. I just found out I should plant french shallots in the fall and can plant the dutch shallots in either the fall or spring! They have a more delicate flavor than onions. I harvested them about a week ago and they are magnificent!

They are huge and I got many of them from about 10 bulbs. I picked them when the stalks fell down and started dying. They are now curing on the bench in a protected shady area on my portal. Curing means letting the stalks dry out completely before I take them off. The skins should be dry and be sure not to wash the dirt off. You can just rub off the dirt after curing. What a pleasant surprise for me!

Tomatoes just starting to come in!

I live for my tomatoes out of my garden each year!

Most of my tomatoes are just starting to ripen. There are many more on the vine in various stages of green! So every few days I get a few ripe tomatoes. Just enough for a Caprese salad every few nites. I’m in heaven!

I have many standard tomatoes but a couple of new ones that are suppose to take 70-80 days are already ripening at 60 days. I love them all so far. They may make my all-star tomato list at the end of the season which is really hard to do as I am really, really picky-they must be VERY flavorful. Here are some new varieties that have ripened so far..

New to me is Large Barred Boar (from Wild Boar Farms) which is much larger than their regular Barred Boar with the same great flavor. It is burgundy color with green stripes. It has a really rich complex flavor.

 

Another new tomato is Grosse Verte Rose (from Secret Seed Cartel seed company) which is a dusky pink color and sweet, sweet, sweet and about 12-14 oz big. A winner for sure.

 

 

Tonite I got the first two Cherokee Carbon tomatoes and they look beautiful. No cracks, smooth skin and a cross between a Purple Cherokee and the Carbon tomato. I normally grow heirlooms or open-pollinated varieties but I’m not against hybrids if they taste great. This one is a hybrid and I’ll let you know later how the taste is. They are about 14-16 oz and look beautiful.

Also new to me is a tomato named Santorini from the Greek Island of Santorini. (duh). They were one of the first to ripen and are a smaller bright red tomato with the flavor of an old-fashion tomato. I like them and the fact that they were so early is good too. Sorry I don’t have a pic-I ate them all.

So that’s the report so far on the NEW varieties of tomatoes that have started to ripen. There are many different varieties that are still green and for those of you waiting, don’t despair. With this heat I’m sure they will be ripening soon.

If you don’t recognize these varieties it’s because I try tomatoes from many different places and like to turn people on to new varieties that are awesome! If your local nurseries doesn’t carry them next year, you’ll have to start them from seed.

I’ll post later as I have more to report on. Let’s hope for a long warm fall where all of them will ripen!

 

 

Jimmy Nardello peppers

A lot of people have been asking if they can pick the Jimmy Nardello pepper while it is green or wait for it to turn red. Answer: WAIT TILL IT’S RED.

This is one of my favorite peppers to grow and it isn’t hot at all but is a very sweet, red pepper. The Jimmy Nardello pepper is a fairly long, skinny, thin-walled pepper that is sweeter than a lot of other ‘sweet’ peppers. It’s an heirloom that “came to Seed Savers Exchange by Jimmy Nardello, whose mother brought the seeds to the United States when she emigrated with her husband, Guiseppe, from the Basilicata region of Italy in 1887.” It is a frying pepper but I like it on the BBQ as well. It is easy to grow here in Santa Fe and is prolific. But you let them turn bright red before picking them and eating them.

Cylindra and Chiogga beet harvest

Chiogga beets on the left and Cylindra beets on the right

I just harvested my beets I planted in the spring and got 13 lbs! I grew two heirloom varieties- Cylindra and Chiogga.

The Cylindra beet is originally from Denmark although the seeds are available in the states as well. They are a rather long, sweet buttery beet which is great when sliced. It is a dark red and actually grows a little out of the soil so they are easy to see when they are ready for harvest. One of my favorite varieties of beets.

CHiogga beets are striped insideThe Chiogga (pronounced kee-OH-gee-uh) is an Italian heirloom that was establish in the 1840s. It is a round beet that has beautiful pink and white concentric stripes inside and the flavor is sweet as well-another favorite of mine.

I’m going to start more from seed for a fall harvest. Anybody got some great recipes for beets?

leeks gone wild!

I grew leeks for the first time last fall and didn’t harvest them before the seed heads formed about a month ago. I read they are too woody at that stage and I can leave them to flower.  If I do this, I’ll have many volunteers next year. Well that sounded good so I let them go.

The flower is gorgeous and attracts many beneficial bugs. Glad I left them in…

Garlic!

Well, we harvested garlic this last Wednesday at the Master Gardening Vegetable Demo Garden. We had planted 4 varieties last fall, I believe in October.

It is now ‘curing’ on my outside table in the shade of our portal where it is protected from the rain (what rain?) or should I say, potential rain.

Curing is the process of drying out the outer papery layers on the garlic bulb and takes around 3 weeks. If it rains (lol) I will cover it with a tarp so it doesn’t get wet as that would ruin the garlic. Never get garlic wet. It needs to be in a dry, airy, shady location while it is curing.

Curing and then storing garlic allows you to extend your summer harvest of garlic well into winter… and my favorite thing about garlic is that it still stays fresh long after it’s been cured. When you harvest, don’t clean the dirt off the heads. You can do that later but never with water-just brush the dirt off the heads.

Also soft- necked garlic can be braided while the leaves are still soft, (if you like) and the heads are drying out. Hard neck cannot be braided as the stem (think neck) is too stiff. When it is done curing, I will cut off the stems about an inch above the heads and store in a cool dark place in the pantry.

As to my own garlic, it isn’t quite ready to harvest yet. How do I know? It needs to have about half the leaves die back before digging it out to harvest and I’m about 2 weeks away. I love the smell of garlic and can hardly wait to harvest my own!