Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pesto Recipe (for my watering friend)

2 cups fresh basil, rinsed and dried, packed moderately
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/8 cup pine nuts or chopped walnuts, toasted
3 cloves garlic, minced

Combine ingredients, about 1/3 at a time, in the processor. Add a touch of salt for taste.

I never measure - I eyeball it based on the amount of basil I pick.

Cucumber Sorbet

4 large or 5 medium cucumbers, peeled and seeded
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups lime juice
1 bunch fresh mint

*recipe can be cut in half if desired

Make a syrup out of the sugar and water by combining and heating, and steep the mint in the syrup on low heat. Remove the mint after 30 min. or so and cool the syrup.

Meanwhile, seed and peel the cucumbers, and puree in a blender or processor. Add the lime juice.

Combine all of the ingredients in the ice cream machine and freeze. A couple of drops of green food coloring can be added for visual appeal but not necessary.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Heat

March 22 we had snow here, and some freezes/frost afterwards. This followed a long, cold winter thaat resulted in planting and soil tempratures being several weeks behand. Second week of May it hit the mid 90s and above and stayed that way until the first week of July. Do tha math and that's only 6 weeks or so of a decent growing season. Adding insult to injury, there was very little rain (<1>

The result iss that the garden has taken a beating. The basil is not as robust as in the past, and the melons were slow to get really established. Most everything elso has struggled or has bolted (matures/turns woody and goes to seed) way too soon, including the radishes and the lettuce. The squash got nailed by bugs.

Here are two pictures - [NOTE -FREE FORM WRITING ON A MOUSE PAD - CAN YOU WRITE BETER THAN A 5TH GRADER..??? NO I CANT] one of the garden in general and one of the heat damaage to the beans. It is hard to see detail in the garden photo, but the overall lack of robustness is evident.

The other photo is of the green beans. I planted the beans in a staggered order so we could eat them over a long period of time. The first planting yielded beans in superb quality and quantity (10-15 per plant!!). The second planting was about half, and the heat affected the quality greatly. It is said to keep picking the beans so they contiinue to produce, but my experience is is that you get one harvest - the summer heat takes its toll on the rest.

Looking at the photo of the bean plant, the heat damage is evident. The pollinated flowers are not setting fruit. This could be a lack of pollination, but that has never been a problem with beans in the garden. I came to the conclusion that the heat was causing this. At the time the photo was taken, the plant was healthy and there were plenty of bees around. As you can see, the number of "lost" fruit was significant to the point that I don't think I harvested a single plant.

Continued Harvest

Here is some of what I've picked last month. The heat and bugs have really taken their toll.

Bug Damage

Some beetle has decimated the squash. I suspect squash bugs. I did out of necessity put some mild pesticide on there and they have snce recuperated.