Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Smorgasbord of November Garden Photos

The fish are alive!! It's been two weeks!
Here is a fuzzy picture of the shubunkin ("Alex") and one of the two comets:
Here are both comets. They are quite sociable. I love having a fish pond!
My summer veggie garden is definitely living on borrowed time, as it is forecasted to freeze soon, but I haven't been able to bring myself to pull it up. Especially when the eggplants, bell peppers, and serranos (below) are producing like mad!
I get about a handful of beans a week. Just enough to throw in a stir-fry. These purple queen beans aren't as productive as normal "green beans," but it may just be the time of year.
Every fall, I wonder if it will be our last year with the approximately 5o-year-old Bradford Pears. They are magnificent in fall!
The small gingko turns such a pretty, distinct golden yellow:
Most of the beautyberry berries have been eaten by birds. They seem to eat one whole cluster at a time rather than munching on all of them a little at a time.
The black krim tomato plants look awful, but keep producing tasty tomatoes (albeit slowly):
Here are about a fifth of our tomato plants. They were all top-pruned at least once and still grew to be eight feet tall/long.
Fuzzy picture of a bell pepper that ended up in an omelet last weekend... I have about 50 bell peppers nearing maturity, which is why a freeze scares me so.
This eggplant ended up in a stir-fry last weekend. The eggplants have many flowers and lots of healthy new growth. Don't they know it's time to wind down??
Here are some of the eggplants. Hard to believe I started these from seed back in February!
These bell pepper plants are huge and healthy:
The dogwood we planted for Earth Day has pretty fall leaves:
Last but definitely not least, look at this DARLING plant tag Persephone in Bloom made me!! She actually made me three, and how cool is this - they are made out of recycled soda cans! Thanks Persephone!
Happy Thanksgiving! I'm very thankful that you read my blog.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's Easy Being Green: Homemade Vegetable Stock

Awhile back, I read that you could make your own vegetable stock by keeping a large Ziploc in the freezer, adding veggie scraps/cheese rinds to it, and then turning it into stock once it was full. Today my bag was full, as you see below, and the timing was perfect, because Kroger has apparently quit carrying my favorite boxed stock (Wolfgang Puck). In the bag: celery trimmings, red and yellow onion skins and trimmings, spinach that I wasn't going to eat before it went bad, asparagus trimmings, Parmesan rind, and about a tablespoon of tomato paste that I had left over from a recipe.
Some recipes involve sauteing onions, garlic, etc. in butter before adding the freezer veggies and water. I skipped that step. Here is what I did: dumped the bag into a non-stick stockpot, added some things from the fridge that were on the verge of going bad (some scallions and a handful of carrots), added fresh parsley from the garden, added kosher salt (2 tsp) and freshly ground pepper (1 tsp), and covered with water.
I brought it to a boil, and then let it simmer for an hour and a half. Here it is at one hour:
And here it is after straining out the solids through a fine mesh sieve:
Oh my gosh, it is so delicious!! It actually tastes remarkably like the Wolfgang Puck stock. I'm going to use half of this to make vegetable soup this week, and freeze the other half. The strained solids will be composted.
Why is this an It's Easy Being Green post? (1) Because these veggies/scraps are doing double or triple duty -- some provided food for us, this stock, and will now be composted (others can claim the last two steps). (2) The resources used to box up and ship stock from who-knows-where won't be expended, and I don't even have to use the gas to go to the grocery store and get it. You can add another layer of "green" by using veggies from your own garden in the stock.

FYI: I read that you shouldn't add potatoes (not sure why) or cruciferous vegetables (too bitter) to your freezer bag.

Happy weekend!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - November 2009

I apologize in advance for the ridiculous length of this post! I have a lot of flowers right now, though many of them are in rough shape.
Anyway, here's what's blooming in our yard/garden this November:
First, multiple camellias:

These flowers always fall from the shrub in-tact:

Pineapple sage is at its peak:

Mexican bush sage and aster are still blooming:
Pink double delight coneflower:
Lorapetalum blooming for the second or third time this year:
Black-eyed susan is raggedy, but still putting out small blooms:
Black and blue salvia, which mom gave me for my birthday in Sept.:
Butterfly weed, also a birthday gift from mom:
The mums are winding down:
This out-of-control four'o'clock was started two years ago from seed. These are perennial here. If you are seed-swappin' with Dirt Princess or otherwise just want some seeds from this, let me know! It smells great.

The bell peppers are still flowering and producing. I have seeds from these, too, if anyone wants:
I love the lavender flowers of early long purple eggplant. Also have some of these seeds if anyone wants:

Endless summer hydrangeas aren't producing new flowers anymore, but the old ones are still pretty:

Just a couple of zinnia flowers are holding on:

This miniature rose I grow in a pot blooms on and off from April through November:
Canna intends to bloom again before the first frost:
This hot pink, fragrant rose surprised me with a late-season bloom last week:
This iris is apparently confused about the season, as it has two buds:
Gallo peach blanketflower has some baby blooms aside seed heads:
Last but not least, my beans are looking rough, but I found one dainty bloom for you:
If you're still with me (ha), visit Carol at May Dreams Garden for more November blooms!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

November Veggies and Mysteries

Here is today's harvest from the veggie garden: yellow pear tomatoes, one bell pepper, two early long purple eggplant, a few purple queen beans (will throw in a stir-fry):
I have many more peppers of the same size, but am trying to be patient and let them turn colors/get sweet!

We did a lot of work in the yard this weekend, which I will post about soon. Being down on the ground helped me discover a couple of garden mysteries that are not so visible from above. Here are elephant ears from above (in the beer bottle garden):
From ground level, working a few feet away, I saw these pods in the middle of the plant. What are these things?
From the same vantage point, I noticed something strange on the underside of a large branch of one of our trees:
Here is a close-up. I'm almost afraid to learn what this is. We have about 10 of these trees separating our and our neighbor's yards.
Anyway, we also took care of the first round of fallen leaves, and used up 99% of the rock remaining from the pond project this weekend. AND we added fish to the pond! Two small comets and a shubunkin (or as I, the cat-lover like to call it, a calico fish). They are still acting really shy, but supposedly that is normal. I'll post pictures of the rock projects and the fishies soon. Have a great week!