Here’s one of the tomatillos around the time we first planted it…
and here it is now.
Our tomato plants are starting produce the first of the tomatoes. I’m excited to can them and use them through the winter.
Here’s the Napa cabbage last month…
and here they are now. I see kimchi making in the near future!
Our horseradish plant has gone crazy in the last 2 weeks. It grew a bunch of leaves and started to flower as well.
Here’s our fig tree. The big fig is the 1 fig leftover from before the tree dropped its fruit. All the little ones just popped up this last week.
While the tomatoes in the raised bed aren’t doing as well as the one in the pots, the kale seems to be doing just fine.
The beets are starting grow nicely too.
The sugar snap peas, also in the raised bed, aren’t doing as well as expected, but we started seeing the first of the actual peas this week.
We’re enjoying our lazy, almost summer days…or at least Dwight is.
Today, I wanted to share some photos of the flowers that have been blooming on the various carnivorous plants we have. Also, if you want to get carnivorous plants of your own and you live in Northern CA, check out California Carnivores…it’s awesome.
I’ve been slaving away in the ICU and haven’t been able to update the blog as much as I would like to. There’s been a lot of stuff going on in and around the house to share and we’ll be posting about them soon. For the last month, we’ve been putting a lot of work into the garden, and we’re excited to see how much growth there’s been in just 1 month’s time. We’ve been able to plant some plants in the ground and others we’ll be able to transplant this week. Above is a row of arugula we planted that just sprouted. This post has many “before and after” photos taken just a few weeks apart.
The photo below is our horseradish plant that, just a month ago, was a small, boring looking tuber and now is starting to flower.
We’ve been able to transplant kale into the ground.
Our tomatoes are growing a ton each day…
and so are the tomatillos.
Our fig tree has plenty of fruit.
The napa cabbage is flourishing.
And, as always, Pickle and Dwight are doing well.
In this photo, Pickle is playing with his new “toothbrush” chew toy.
Soon to come are posts about beer, knitting and stinging nettles.
We wanted a dog-safe place to do most of our growing, and we found the perfect place on the side of the house. This little lot used to have several more rosebushes, but I think that a veggie garden will come in more handy. As you can see, the dogs can still enjoy the garden too, but they won’t be able to dig in it.
Greg built a nice raised bed, we filled it with soil and compost and topped it off with some of the worm castings we harvested. Now it’s just waiting for our seedlings to get big enough to transplant.
Speaking of seedlings, here’s a picture of our seed starter with all the seeds that we planted.
This next picture is actually a bit outdated now…nearly all of the seedlings have sprouted. We’re just waiting for the true leaves to come in before we transplant them into little pots and then into the garden. We also plan to plant other things like beets, arugula, sugar snaps, Napa cabbage (mmm…kimchi) and radish to name a few, but these will go directly into the ground once the weather becomes more consistently warm.
We like to pick a few oddball things to grow each year, and this year, we picked horseradish. We bought a root, and they say that you simply lay it horizontally and cover it up with soil and it should start to throw up greens.
Our asparagus that we bought last year are doing well and they are all growing asparagus again. We bought a few more root crowns to add to the collection. The asparagus from last year may or may not be ready to eat this year. You’re supposed to let it grow without eating any of it for 1-2 seasons depending on how robust the plant looks.
Below is our container garden, full of herbs, the asparagus and horseradish and our fig tree! I counted at least 30 tiny figs on it today…I can’t wait!
This is what the compost looked like in the bin. As you can see, there are some bits that are not completely broken down, but for the most part, it looks and feels like soil.
This is our active bin, and if you look closely, you can see some of the worms.
We wanted to make sure that most of the worms stayed in the bin when we harvested the composted. We used the dog’s pool as we were sorting through the compost.
Look how much we got! Pickle’s impressed!
intern year is over. and we have been awarded 6 days off. earlier in the year we had grand plans of sonoma cabins, vineyards, good eats, and wide open spaces. sadly, we have been forced out of our current house that we adore (i dont want to talk about it) and so much of this break is being spent packing, boxing, taping, and moving. but my god, even with the chore of moving, vacation is god!
moving has provided a steady task, but it has been interspersed with bike riding, drinking, yoga, and good meals. day 1 we got a lot done, and were rewarded with some home-made surf n turf of bison filet, shrimps, and scallops on the bbq. also found time to get on the bike in the heat and spent a few hours on the american river trail. it’s great when time off gives us a chance to soak up all the reasons why we have fallen in love with sacramento over the past few years.
day 2 and we were off to the farmers’ market; 70 degrees at 9am, ranier cherries, squash blossoms, and a market packed to the brim. we made off with a few choice items including the afore mentioned blossoms, baby back ribs, pretzel croissants, and a first for us, crawfish!
the rest of the day was filled with yoga followed by so many pimm’s cups, with some packing as well. lunch was squash blossoms filled with ricotta, battered and fried (recipe at the bottom of the page). yum. dinner is still going. yet another version of baby back ribs with some home-made chipotle-maple bbq sauce and a crawfish boil! this should be interesting.
needless to say, we are soaking up this time off with good meals, good rides, good yoga, and good drinks. we will have a mini-vacation for a day out of town and then back to work in a few days. looking forward to our new place, and in the meantime, trying to salvage what we can from our beautiful garden; rosemary, thyme, sage, parsley, and oregano have been potted; but still planning the rescue of the tomatillos, edamame, eggplant, habanero, jalapenos, broccoli, corn and brussel sprouts.
12 squash blossoms
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup ricotta
1 tsp Rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
salt to taste
1 cup whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup water
pinch of cayenne
pinch of salt and pepper
1. Prep the squash blossoms by cutting off the stems if they came with stems. Then, reach inside the blossom and snap off the stamen. It’s ok if you tear the blossom a bit, but try to be careful.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, thyme, oregano and salt and scoop this into a pastry tube or a ziploc bag with a corner cut off (improv pastry tube).
3. Squeeze about 1 Tbsp or so of the filling into each squash blossom and twist the ends of the blossom to secure.
4. Mix together the flour, water, cayenne, salt and pepper in a separate small bowl. Add extra water if the batter seems too dry.
5. Heat the canola oil in a frying pan.
6. Dredge the stuffed squash blossoms through the batter and once the oil is hot enough, fry the squash blossoms until the batter starts to brown, about 2 minutes.
7. Place on a paper towel to soak up extra oil and enjoy!
Don’t worry, we’re still alive and we have plenty of posts coming soon. We’ve been quite busy the last few weeks with finishing our intern year (my schedule this past month basically was wake at 5, go to work, home around 7, eat dinner, go to sleep, repeat) and finding a new place to live. Yes, that’s right, we’re moving, and it’s been bittersweet. Unfortunately, our landlords are in the process of foreclosing the house we’re living in and this means that much of our garden stays here. The house we will be moving to is an amazing house in the “Fab 40’s” and is definitely a step up for us, so we’re excited about that part. However, we only have a few more days to enjoy this garden. Our current neighbors have decided that they will tend to the garden once we move, harvest our veggies and leave some of the harvest on their porch for us to take so we’re grateful for them. Here is a short update on what our garden has been doing.
Our eggplants have started to bloom.
We’ve got fruit on our fig trees! Luckily we kept this tree in a pot, so we’re taking this with us.
The tomato plants are going crazy.
The edamame is thriving.
I apologize for the bad photo, but it was bright outside. I think you can still get the idea of what the sunflowers have been doing.
We had our first dahlia bloom.
The lavender blooms have opened.
Even if we don’t end up getting to watch what the garden does for the rest of this season, we learned a lot from it this year and we’ll have an even better one next year!
due to the overwhelming success and great fun of my first homebrew (an American Wheat beer) and the fact that all but one bottle has been consumed, i started the process of brewing my second batch. this time around i decided to go with a generic recipe for a California Steam beer. Steam beer was pioneered in California, primarily San Francisco, in the mid-1800s and is unique in that one uses lager yeasts but at ale temperatures during primary fermentation. Of course, the classic example of this beer being Anchor Steam. the steam itself refers to the cloud of steam created from the brewery while cooling the wort.
brew day went well, although i am concerned i may have had some lapses in cleanliness, we will just have to wait and see. the original gravity of this brew is supposed to be 1.047, however, mine turned up slightly lower at 1.042, hmmm. not sure about the error here, again, will have to wait and see how things turn out.
this beer is going to sit in primary fermentation for 1-2 weeks, then to secondary fermentation for a month before bottling. the brew is already substatially more dark and with more body than the wheat ale, i am excited.
as soon as i rack the California Common to secondary i will get started on my Cream Ale. i have some grandiose plans for this beer, including the addition of honey, orange peels, and vanilla. now i just have to make the decision whether or not i should invest in a kegging system or purchase additional bottles for the massive bottling that awaits me in a few months.
in other news, the garden has been doing pretty well. i recently harvested some worm castings from our worm-composting bin and dispersed them throughout the soil. also, following the harvest of our sugar snap peas, we harvested our first beet, many of the young beet greens, and many young brussel sprouts for thinning. the sprouts were delicious and the beet will prove a fine meal in a day or so (may need something with it i suppose). looking forward to the future harvests.