Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Get ready for the rain

The weather has been mild and sunny these few days. However, I heard on the radio on my way home that rain will arrive starting tomorrow. So after I got home, I grabbed a few containers and started picking the sungold: ripe or half ripe. The sungold tends to split quickly in rainy condition. I think I've picked about 6 pints (not shown in pic). As for the roma...well, I've picked about 10, and two of the red stripped roman. The rest are definitely started to change...at least they are a bit yellowish.

After picking the tomatoes, I moved onto the raspberries. The raspberries which grows in the fall are much bigger and sweeter than the summer version. I can't remember when and how did we end up having two varieties of the raspberry plants.

I was out of town last week and I can't believe that the pole beans are in such an abundance. We have been eating a couple pounds of pole beans each days: stir frying them in home-grown onion and Thai bird chili (yes, most of them have turned red). The pole beans are picked right before the dinne. Not only they taste fantastic, they provide a sensational month feel that is absolutely missing from the store bought beans. It is a lot of fun to pick them also (treasure hunting)!

The garlic have been curing under the patio and they seem to do fine. However, I notice that mould is growing on the two bundles that were hanged closer to the wall. I have no idea why these garlics got the mould but not the others. I was really disappointed as I remember that these are the two bundles that showed the most white-ish outer skin. Fortunately, the mould doesn't affect the interior yet, so I cleaned them up right away and took them into the kitchen. And yes, I use them in our stir fry pole beans :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Potatoes--1st attempt

The branches of the potato plants have started to turn dry and yellow...looks like we can try to dig our hands into the soil to see if there is any goodies. We only searched through the surface area (not deeper than 4 inches) and found a few. We are in no hurry to investigate further as we are still trying hard to catch up with the food that are ready to be harvested in the backyard. The potatoes can stay in the soil a bit longer, we hope.

Aug 2, 2008

Sept 08, 2008

Sept 21, 2008

See the video for our searching attempt and the beautiful finger potatoes. Also, a clip of the pole bean is also included in it.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Oh la la! Two red striped roman have turned orange-red! Though the whole plant is still full of green tomato, these are our first two of this kind of tomato! I have no idea how they taste like but we had taste-tested our first roma of the year yesterday: cut the roma in four wedges, a little salt & pepper and olive oil, there you have it! We always celebrate our first roma this way, i.e. straight from the garden, simply prepared and max. enjoyment.

Thanks to the week long sunshine last week (over 20C!), quite a few tomatoes have started to change colour. The majority of them are still green. The sungold are doing good and we have them in our salad everyday. The weather forecast says cloud/rain will be moving in later this week. Our tomatoes will need to catch up real fast!

Despite of the nice weather, the chili plants seem to be dying...weak roots and leaves. So I didn't move the plants in and out over the past couple days. Today, the leaves seem to be standing up again. I guess the plants don't like to be moved. I'll keep them inside by the window.

The arugula and mache that were planted in late August are also started to grow. This is our first time trying to grow salad for the winter.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

sweet tomatoes

If one hasn't tried the sungold tomatoes, one will say the lollipop tomatoes really got the right name. It tastes sweet and there is no doubt about it. However, I have the fortune to taste sungold first and there is nothing (so far) that tastes so juicy sweet.

The lollipop is on the light sweet side whereas sungold gives you that WOW response once you pop it in your mouth. Sungold has this intensive sweetness and it is also much juicer. It is not recommended to eat it in two bites...and when you bite into it, you need to keep your mouth close or the juice will spill all over. And no, I'm not kidding.

See pic for the comparison. The yellow one is the lollipop.

Monday, September 8, 2008

shade of pink

This is the exciting moment...our roma are finally changing colour...at least 3 of them out of...maybe a 100.

We did a massive trimming a couple weeks ago in order to re-direct the plant energy into the existing fruits. All the roma are still in bright green and there is no sign of colour change. The weather was rainy and chilly over the past few weeks and hence some drastic actions needed to be done. Starting yesterday, the sun came back and the nice weather is supposed to stay with us for the rest of the week. This is fantastic news for the tomato!

I hanged out with Shino in the afternoon. She was so happy to be out there. Rubbing herself against the ground cover is her favorite. However, she is shy from the camera. So taking picture of her requires swift action.

Most of the sungold are still green. On average, there are only a few turn orange each day. Climate change definitely has a toll on the veggie.

Thai bird chili

It took a long time for the chili to come.

There were a lot of flowers blooming on the smaller plant during the summer but no chili. Then leaves fell off from the main stalk but new leaves keep growing on the top. Some tiny chilies finally appear. It is the larger chili plant that caught up with the growth and start producing chilies.

We have been taking the chili plants out on the patio during nice sunny days and bringing them back in the house at night. So far two chilies have turned red.

I think we didn't mention how we started the chili plant when the first chili pic was posted. Mark brought fresh Thai Bird chili from the store for cooking, and he saved the seeds and planted them in the pot. It was around March this year.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Pole bean & dinner

Sinfonian asked about our pole bean harvest, so I went to take a few more pictures.

Though we play with the idea of keeping track of how much veggies we produce, we decided it isn't practical to do so. We pull a carrot, pick a few sungold tomatos or snack on the peas whenever we walk by the plant. It will be impossible to know exactly how much we grow. (we did count how many heads of garlic we harvested though!)

Since this is our first time to grow pole bean, we are very happy with the result. We don't pick them everyday, but there are enough for the two of us.

So here's the dinner menu (except the fish, everything is picked from the garden):
  • Mesclun green with sungold tomato, carrot, cucumber and chives
  • Steamed pole beans with chili (see chili post), tarragon and butter on bbq
  • Grilled eggplant
  • Grilled sardines (bought from the fishmonger down the street)
  • Homemade ice-cream
(oh, by the way, the ceramic platter is handmade also!)

The foil pouch (on the left of the pic) under the grill is our garden beets. We'll make a beet salad for the next day.

We watched the US Open (tennis) women's final during dinner and having sardines was a bad idea. There were so many bones to pick and I missed watching a lot of the great shots. However, sardines is good for you and I finished them all.

The eggplant on the menu is our first eggplant of the year. It takes much longer to grow than what the label says. The plant is also much shorter than I expected. It gets really bushy and there are a lot of flowers blooming but not many plants producing. Am I supposed to cut off some branches just like a tomato plant? Should I do some trimming? So far, they are a few of about 3 inches long. The mature size is 6 inches. Mark sliced the one that we picked into 4 slices. One slice fell into the grill, and now we got 3 small slices of homegrown eggplant. They surely taste good.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Pole bean

August is the month when we are busy eating the veggies growing in our backyard, thus there is not much blogging going on (what an excuse!). However, I haven't forgotten to document the growth of our urban farm via photographs. So here are a few pictures to capture the growth of our pole bean:

Aug 02, 08 (three plants climbing)

Aug 16, 08 (baby pole beans)

Sept 05, 08
The three plants have climbed to the top of the patio. The plants have formed a pole bean wall. We need to use a ladder to harvest the beans.

Sept 05, 08
Pole bean has climbed up to the top to meet with the hops

And did I mention that they are delicious? Mark wraps the pole beans, fresh tarragon (from our planter) and butter with foil and steams the pouch on the grill. Absolutely fantastic!

Hop harvest

This weekend begins the hop harvest. I picked for a little bit Friday evening ... but the real work starts tomorrow. I have my friend Rob coming over to help. He's the guy that got me in to brewing, so he'll work in exchange for some hops.