Zeroing Out the Zucchini

While my tomatoes were a bust, the zucchini this year was a success. My plan was to move their plot over by our bedroom window and winnow them down to two plants so we have just enough squash, not be swimming in it and getting sick and tired of it before the summer's over.

I have to say our plan worked just about perfect. The only flaw is that the two plants left were both zucchini. I had also planted some summer squash but none of those plants made it.

All summer long, we could go out and harvest just enough of it to last us until the next set of gourds ripened.

Great plants. Love them but after they're done, they become a bit of a mess.

I gave them three weeks since our last harvest. They were still flowering but producing no fruit. You can also see they were getting rangy and out of control.

It was with a heavy heart that I uprooted them.

The zucchini story is not over yet, however.

Last week, when I chopped some up for an omelet, I threw some seed here and there including in the whiskey barrel holding this plumeria.

Looks like we're in for some more zucchini treats soon.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Eliminating the Failure

Got a good workout in the garden this weekend. One thing was glaring at me, though...the tomatoes.

Or should I say the tomato plants. 

You see, it started like this. Last year, I bought those two heirloom beauties you see at the top of the page. Grown near me, I wanted some too. When I made salsa with them last year, I harvested the seeds.

Planting at the end of the cold spells, I got some good looking seedlings.

A couple of months later, I thinned it out to two of the best looking plants and got flowers.

Now, a little over six months later, I've still got two good-looking plants but have not see one fruit in that entire time. Nothing, not even a little, tiny orb.

Time's up...I'm giving them the ultimate punishment, uprooting.  I'll go by a local nursery when I get a chance to see if they have some 3 or 5 inch pots of seedlings to replace them with and hope I get some sort of tomato harvest this year.

At least the green waste bin is getting a workout this week.


Recipes for a Cheapskate: Poppin' Peppers

Too many things to do this weekend to really get the dirt under my fingernails but I did get to harvest my jalapeño plant.

As the peppers were starting to turn bright red, that signaled that the time had come.

I got 13 peppers, just enough to make into a side dish for this week's barbecue.
So what can I do? Make mini jalapeño poppers.
Easy in concept but the smaller size of these peppers make a bit hard to stuff.

Each pepper is sliced on one side, propped open, and stuffed with my homemade mixture of cream cheese, chopped serrano peppers, and bacon.

I wrap them up in foil, poke a few holes in the top, and then put on the grill with our burgers.

The finished product looks something like this.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Adios, Mr. Cornfield

This year's corn crop is done. We had two, sweet yellow varieties growing on eight stalks.

The final tally is 14 ears, compared to I think 6 last year, so that's a success.

We don't eat it every day so we still have some of the harvest in the fridge waiting to cook.

It's time to pull up the dried-up stalks, thank God for our harvest, and start eating.

I was going to pull up our two zucchini plants also but then I saw this.

They're not the prettiest looking specimens right now but since I picked this beautiful squash, I'll let them go another week or two to see if I get another one.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Hot August Harvests

Harvest season is in full swing here at Cheapskate Farms. 

Today, I'm concentrating on our chile peppers. Those are our two Serrano plants at the top.

This is our unknown, but much hotter, variety next to the played-out cornfield.

With a pair of gardening gloves, it's a snap to pinch them off of the plants.

Here's today's harvest with the Serrano on the right, the unknown variety on the left, and a couple of clusters of grapes from our vine.

Coming up will be Bell peppers, just about my favorite thing to grow...

...the soon-to-be spectacular looking Dragon Fruit...

...and the onions are ready too.

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

An Update on The Grape

Getting close to harvest time on our grape vine, pictured above.

I'm guessing about a week till these two bunches are ripe. Maybe another week or two of ripening for the rest of the plant.

I decided to pick a test cluster, just for gauging the ripeness of course...

Here is the test cluster.

After washing, the wife and I sat back with an adult beverage and sampled.

You might see a few split grapes on the bunch. That is the result of botrytis, a fungus that affects the grapes. I treat with sulfur, but it's hard to get 100% of the grapes not to split.

Oh, the test? Yeah, they passed...they were delicious!

Copyright 2013 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

DINNER TIME! Dutch Oven Beef Stew

It can still get a little chilly at night here in Northern California. A hearty stew is just the thing to take the chill off. This reci...