Come and Get It – The Raccoons Did!

For the past few weeks we have been feeling like our garden is a smorgasboard for the raccoons! Every morning when we get up, there are numerous areas in the yard that have been poked through, dug up and disturbed. The seedlings that have accidentally been left in their watering tubs have been thoroughly destroyed by curious (and hungry!) animals.

Seedlings in watering tub

We haven’t caught them in the act, per se, but we have heard many squealing noises during the night. Only a few nights ago, Ofer saw some adolescent raccoons roughhousing in the dirt! So, on a daily basis we have been rescueing our neatly planted beds so that we have some tasty produce in a few months. Most of it is safe and growing happily!

Some of the beds we surrounded with old fencing to protect them and they are growing well, but it is hard to get in there to weed. Oh, well! The good news is that the season is full of crisp mornings and beautiful days. Our baby seedlings are growing strong and starting to look like they’ll make it.

volunteer zucchini

We’ve even gotten some volunteers popping up and the volunteer zucchini from the summer is still going strong.

Red Mustard

Young Calabrese Broccoli

 

The Red Mustard is a volunteer that we get each year and is a most beautiful and tasty plant. The Red Mustard has a little bit of spice in its flavor and  is enjoyable in soups, stews and vegetable broths.

Fall fruits have their own personality and I find that as the weather turns I begin to crave them. Persimmons, pears and apples, fresh from the garden, cut into a fruit salad and topped with cottage cheese or yogurt makes for a healthy, yummy breakfast in the fall!

Fuyu Persimmons

The colors in the garden are definitely shifting and the glorious fall colors are showing themselves. Yes, even in sunny California the colors are beautiful in the fall! You can plant your garden to reflect this quite easily. The crape myrtle trees seen here alongside a pyracantha bush

Pyracantha

provides a lovely fall backdrop. Pineapple sage is a lovely way to add red in the fall garden and keep feeding those hummingbirds!

Pineapple Sage

We decided to let the basil flower this year in the hopes of collecting seeds for next spring. It is quite beautiful when blooming so it is a welcome addition to the fall garden.

flowering basil

We  are now offering “Come and Get It!” a weekly bulletin that will announce the produce and food-related items available for purchase. The bulletin will include valuable information about the crops currently ready from the garden and recipes for you to enjoy. We will happily include recipes that you would like to share with others. If you live in the Pleasant Hill, CA area and would like to enjoy our garden-fresh foods, you can sign up through the link on the sidebar to the right.


What Inspires You in the Garden?

This is such a lovely time of year in California. It is a time of harvest and planting. Creating fun and tasty foods from the abundance of a summer garden that has been given an extra burst of growth with the heat wave of autumn. This year, I’ve had lots of different orange tomatoes and a variety of colorful cherry tomatoes. I found them collecting in the kitchen -everywhere. On the counter, in the refrigerator and the table too! So, I thought, what can I do with this wonderful variety.

Tomato bowl with figs

I decided to try cooking them down for a sauce or soup. I washed them and dumped them in a large soup pot – no peeling or removing seeds. I cooked them for about two hours. As they softened a delicious aroma filled the house. When they were cooled, I put the liquid through a cloth to remove the seeds and skins. I ended up with a beautiful, soup base. Tomato Soup when fresh is at it’s best! I added some salt, a splash of goat milk and some onion powder. Delicious!

The basil also called to me, so I made some Pesto. Usually I like to add parsley, but my parsley didn’t grow very well this season. So, I just used basil.

Happy Basil

Take a large bunch of basil wash it and put it in a food processor. Add two cloves fresh garlic, a cup or so of olive oil, grated parmesan or asiago cheese and a handful of walnuts. Blend thoroughly. Add extra olive oil, a little at a time, for it to become a nice, smooth paste. You can vary the amounts to fit your taste buds.

It turned out quite well and made for an nice addition to my dinner – Pesto Pasta with Tomato Soup. A perfect repast for a cool autumn evening.What creative meals are you cooking from your garden (or farmer’s market) produce?

The preparations for our fall garden are continuing to move forward. Our side yard is currently being fixed up to receive flower seeds in the next week or so. We added a layer of manure and a layer of soil. This bed was our first insta-bed that we made two years ago.  It seems like a good time to try a larger cut flower garden. I’ll be planting some of the seeds now for early blooms in the spring and some will be planted in the early spring for summer bloom.

This fall I’m planting snapdragons, marigolds (these will go with the vegetables as a companion plant for healthy veggies), early sweet peas, bachelor’s buttons, delphinium, gaillardia (thanks, Eileen for sharing your seeds!), butterfly flower, canturbury bells , red tulip and freesia bulbs. I’d love to know – what’s your favorite cut flower to grow?

Ofer and Yo’el continue to make more soil so we can add a top layer to our new beds for the fall vegetable planting. They are digging the soil from an area of our yard that had been used for a vegetable garden in previous years. Then manure, ashes and compost will be added for a good top soil mix.

 

broccoli plants

The purple broccoli that we planted this spring has been growing like a weed. The plants are absolutely monstrous with huge leaves and about 4 feet tall. All summer we’ve been watching it and wondering when it will actually grow the heads (that’s the part we eat).

broccoli head forming

It is just now beginning to form the broccoli heads. Here you can see the light colored leaves in the center. That’s where it all begins. Keep your fingers crossed so we’ll have purple broccoli for the first time.

kohlrabi

Another plant from the spring is this darling kohlrabi. When I first saw kohlrabi I thought that it was a root vegetable. I couldn’t figure out how they washed the bulbs to get them so clean. Then I grew some and voila! it isn’t underground after all.

 

 

 

 

A funny cat story:I was out in the garden a few days ago and saw Jade batting at the Love Lies Bleeding(amaranth) flowers.

Love Lies Bleeding

Jade

Lao Hu

The funny thing was, when I looked closer, I saw Lao Hu laying in the plant bed rubbing his face against the stalk of the plant. Every time he rubbed, the stalk made the flowers start swinging and Jade would happily swing right back! They are quite a pair.

 

 

 

Come and Get It!

We would like to provide an opportunity for you to purchase our produce on a somewhat regular basis (as we have high yielding plants to share). We’d like some input from you as to how best to go about it. What would be a good day and time for you to have “Come and Get It” days?  We will post a list of what we have available with prices.

Right now, for example, we have: Chard – $2 a bunch, Red Flame Grapes $2 a bunch, Figs $4 a basket, Pears .50 each, Basil $2 a bunch and Eggs $5 a dozen

Do you have other suggestions? Please let us know.

 


Come and Get It!

Our garden has been sustainably worked for 22 years. Even before us, the owners gardened organically. No use of sprays or pesticides of any kind. We have continued that tradition. We are quite pleased that this is the quality of soil that we have here. The legal term of “organic” these days requires only three years of clean use (and lots of money to governmental orgs for the privilege of using the term).

This year we have an abundance of pears, grapes, basil, figs, rosemary and other goodies in the garden.

The chickens are laying quite well right now, too, so we have some extra eggs.

We would like to invite you to come over on Sunday, September 11 between 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

to buy some delicious late summer crops. Bring your own bags for carrying.

First Come, First Serve.

                                                                        

Rosemary Chicken

Here’s a wonderful way to use fresh rosemary.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Rub olive oil and salt generously inside and out of a roasting chicken. Put a clean sprig (this is a stick about 4 – 5 inches long) of fresh rosemary, a whole lemon (cut in half), and a large clove of garlic inside the cavity. Place in a roasting pan and cover. Bake for 2 hours. You can roast this even more slowly by turning the oven down to 225 degrees and bake for 3 1/2 hours.

Fantastic served with a grain and a salad. Use leftover chicken for chicken salad with walnuts, celery and grapes. YUM!

Garden Basil

Pear Picking