Tag Archives: harvest

harvesting and knitting and dyeing

The tomatoes keep on coming.
harvest. tidytipsy
I grew four varieties on our balcony this year. The sweet and tiny red one are easiest to grow in containers whereas the Green Zebras and Black Plums were a bit disappointing. The tastiest is a pink beef tomato from Spain, the seeds coming from the brother of a friend’s own garden. It produced only a few fruits but they were very good!
My mom grew them in her garden and when allowed to root deeply these grow into the hugest tomatoes ever.
harvest. tidytipsy
She’s picking them to ripen indoors since the weather has turned cooler.

Speaking of cooler weather, I’ve picked up some knitting again that got cast aside in spring. This pea green cowl in seed stitch turned out to be almost done, it just needed joining and weaving in the ends.
pea green cowl. tidytipsy
pea green cowl. tidytipsy
The dress I’m wearing is years old and was originally a dark grey. I’ve always loved the fit but hated the color, so I decided to try dyeing it in the washing machine. It was that or putting it on the donation pile. The dyeing turned out to be the easiest thing ever! Here’s a before and after:
dyeing clothes. tidytipsy
Now I can’t stop thinking what else I’d like to dye! I dyed an old blazer as well but unfortunately it didn’t take the color much. I should have looked at the fiber content first…still, it’s a bit better than before:
dyeing clothes. tidytipsy
The fall sock knitting is progressing nicely too. A couple more nights and these should be done.
knitting . tidytipsy
Recently I’ve been digging out old books again. Some of the books you read as a child always stay with you I guess and it’s lovely getting back into the old stories. Some of these are quite old and were actually handed down to me by my mother.
One of my favourites is a story about a young norwegian girl leaving the isolated area she grew up in to live and work in the city, going through many hardships but finally achieving not only a school diploma but also starting her own business. A simple but heartwarming story and quite modern considering it was published in the 1950’s and is set sometime in the 1930’s and 1940’s! In fact, there are only a few passages that clearly date the story (for example when the protagonist gets pregnant and everyone she announces it to insists on downing a bottle of bubbly with her!). Apparently these were only published in german and scandinavian languages, but if you can read either, look up the author Berte Bratt for the “Anne” trilogy.

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eating in

The peppers are coming in and the salad is thriving in all this rain.

We picked each and every tomato that was ready and are still amazed at our bountiful harvest.

I have to say our gardening went great but we failed with cooking (again). We left all those tomatoes to ripen until we had so many of them that we couldn’t eat them all. So we made tomato cream soup with basil and parmesan chips, which turned out to be one easy way to a delicious meal! We even had a generous portion left to freeze.

The lone first pepper went into a small side salad with feta cheese. Easy and yummy.
I think working on our cooking skills will be a winter project.
On to something else completely: Our apartment hunting is really stressing us out. We saw a lovely apartment on thursday and sent in our details to the agent. They had us as their first choice but pressured us to make the decision right away, hand them over a lot of money cash pretty much right away and move in next week – no negotiation. We had some hectic talks with our landlady who was very understanding and we initially said yes, though feeling completely overwhelmed. But after sitting down and hectically weighing the pros and cons and looking at the map we found out that the nicely sized balcony was not in fact facing southwest (as indicated in the offer) but northwest! Add that the rest of the apartment was facing north and my priority of having sunlit rooms and a balcony to grow food went out the window. So we called everyone again and cancelled and just went to bed, pretty much drained emotionally and physically.
Boy will I be glad to have this search be over. Finding a nice, affordable place that meets our criteria is proving to be quite the challenge.

gardening 2011 – part 5 and some other news

I finally managed to get a nearly full balcony shot:

As you can see the zucchini has become enormous but despite fertilizing it once a week the leaves are going yellow. We are still regularly harvesting huge zucchinis though.
The cucumbers and tomatoes (behind the zucchini) are also doing great. We’ve only had one cucumber so far (which was bitter unfortunately) but there is another one or two growing now.

The other side of the balcony isn’t looking quite as lush, because we only just resowed some salad greens in boxes.

The sicilian peppermint is looking (and smelling) great though and the tomatoes have really taken off. I truly didn’t think they would carry so much, we’ll have a much bigger harvest than I expected.

We ate the first ones just today, yum!

Homemade garlic rosemary bread with farmer’s market wild garlic cheese and homegrown tomatoes and basil…it doesn’t get any better than this!

I’m writing this feeling a little bittersweet about it. We only just found out today that we will need to move out of this apartment as soon as possible. We’ve been here for about five years and love this place. Still, it has gotten way too small for the two of us plus the kitties plus a lot of stuff and hobbies and we would have started looking for a new home in winter anyway. But as it happens, a legal battle our landlady has been fighting with the city about some fire safety measures has, after years and years, finally come to a conclusion which is that they need to take this whole place completely apart, walls and all.
So we’re looking out for something new and green and countryish and hopefully lots larger and with maybe a bit of garden to go with it (or at the least a large balcony). I’m not really looking forward to packing up us and all our stuff and all those plants and planning and painting and moving and scaring our cats but move we must and I guess we’ll be happy about it once we’ve found something nice and gotten settled.

surprise compost

The first night frosts are not far off and we’re slowly but surely getting our balcony ready for winter, potting baby strawberries, cutting back perennials, throwing out dying plants and generally cleaning up.

We still have some harvest, the raspberries keep on coming and the peppers continue to ripen.

Everything that doesn’t get eaten right away goes in the overflowing freezer (I still haven’t found the time to make jam and syrup). I like to freeze basil and oregano whole and crush it over pizza and tomatoes when I need it.

It’s a pitiable amount this year but I just got this great book for my birthday and now have all winter to devise a strategical plan to use every ounce of balcony space for gardening next spring.
The biggest surprise in cleaning up was this huge pot: It housed bamboo for a couple of years until the cold winter 2008/2009 killed it off. We never really got around to emptying it and used it as a trash can for the last 2 years, dumping weeds and dead plants and even whole plants we wanted to get rid of in it. This weekend I finally put my foot down and demanded my boyfriend haul it down to the real trash can (2 stories below). When clearing off the thin top layer of dead plant material however, we discovered that all the other material had been in it long enough to have turned into beautiful rich compost soil!

So now we’re keeping it until next spring and can then mix the soil with potting soil and hopefully save on chemical fertilizers 🙂
The other great news is: my friend is planning a monthly cooking class for us, so we will finally learn to cook and eat healthy. By next summer we will hopefully have learned to use our then hopefully plentiful harvest well.

strawberries

Now that the warm weather is in full swing our balcony is getting greener and prettier by the day. The zucchini look like they mean business this year and the raspberries will be ready soon.
But the strawberries are already here and they are delicious.

I am always planning on freezing them to make jam or something, but then they look so tempting that I just eat them all up, plain with a little sugar.
Just perfect after a day at work, coming home, cuddling the cats and eating fresh strawberries.

I already have my weekend planned out full, with a photoshoot tomorrow and a show to see after, but I’ll try to take pics of the things on my to-blog-list, in the hope they’ll make it onto here soon 🙂
Here’s to a delicious, sunshiny weekend!