Category Archives: Actually About The Garden

GrowDammit Tomatoes are Poppin’

We are starting to harvest some cherry and pear.  What have we been doing with them?

getting ready to grill some veggies

Grilling them for fajitas.

blt salad

And putting them in a BLT salad.

yellow zebra tomato

And in the case of the lonely yellow zebra tomato, slicing it up and stuffing it in our pieholes.

The yellow zebra was interesting, sweet with just a hint of tart.  It would make a nice fried tomato – not as tangy as a plain green one.

Stay tuned for more heirloom news from GrowDammit Central.

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Growdammit Central hits the biggish time.

I guess this makes us an unofficial locally sourced suburban farm…

black raspberries

3 more pints of black raspberries sold to Farmer Ted’s restaurant, bringing the total to 6!

Next up – heirloom tomatoes and peppers.

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Adventures in Canning

A couple of weeks ago, Farmer Ted and I harvested all of the tomatoes we had left on our dying vines and made green tomato chow-chow.  If you don’t remember that, click here.  Then, a week later, I used some of our remaining peppers to make spicy pepper chow-chow.  Since we only had about 12 jars worth of ingredients, I attempted it by myself and things went fairly well.  This past week, a hard frost was in our forecast so Ted picked all of the remaining peppers and broke down the garden.  Instead of making more chow-chow, I decided to try my hand at hot pepper jelly.  Since Ted had to work, I figured once again I would just do it myself.  The recipe looked fairly simple.  Pureed peppers, apple cider vinegar, sugar and pectin.  Bring the first 3 to a boil, add the pectin, return to a boil for a minute and remove from heat.  Pour in jars, process in the bath for 10 minutes and Voila…hot pepper jelly.  Piece of cake.

Here is how it really went…

I prepped the peppers and got all of the other ingredients and canning utensils together.  I washed and sterilized a dozen jars.  I started 2 large pots of boiling water to use for the bath.  I mixed the peppers, vinegar and sugar together and set it to boil.  No worries.

Then, I realized that 12 jars weren’t going to be enough…

So, I turned the pepper mixture down to low, ran to the basement for more jars, washed them, threw them in the oven to sterilize and turned the pepper mix back up to high.  It boiled, and I added pectin.   I’ve totally got this.

Then, I realized that I forgot to grab clean dish rags to be able to handle the hot jars…

So I ran down to the basement to grab some and ran back up to the kitchen.  Just in time to see the pepper jelly boil over.  And by that, I mean it geysered out of the pot like Old Faithful.  There was pepper jelly all over the stove.  Burning.  There was pepper jelly all over the counter from when I yanked it off to remove it from the heat.  There was pepper jelly all over the floor.  There was pepper jelly all over me.  This might remind our loyal readers about how I’m a hazard in the kitchen.  It was a hot mess.  Literally.  That shit was hot.

Once I realized that I didn’t have any third degree burns…

I started canning the jelly.  I got the first batch in the bath, and started to clean up some of the mess.  Rufus Dragon wanted to help, so he licked the floor.  Once.  Then he whimpered and  headed straight for his water bowl and drank a gallon.  Thankfully the rest of the exercise went well, and I celebrated a battle well fought with a glass or two of wine.

Then, I realized I might have to wait up to 48 hours for the pectin to set up to see if I had actually won the war.

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GrowDammit Green Tomato Chow-Chow

I realize that we didn’t blog about our garden this year at all, and I am blaming the shitty weather we had up here in Yankeeland this summer.  We had so much rain that nothing thrived.  Our tomatoes did okay, but we had many vines that never even bore fruit or if they did they didn’t ripen before they burst open or rotted on the vine.  Bambi and Thumper didn’t help matters by munching on our okra and sweet peppers.  The birds ate our raspberries.  Every last one of them.  Sometimes, you just can’t win.   We’ll chalk this up to yet another learning experience.

tomatoes from the GrowDammit gardens

Fortunately, we were able to harvest 20 pounds of green tomatoes this past week.

Ted had the past two days off, so I took a couple of vacation days.  He was looking forward to some quality nap time.  I had other ideas.

Chopped veggies for green tomato chow chow.

Yesterday was spent chopping veggies…

mixed veggies for green tomato chow chow

And prepping them for the pickling process.

green tomato chow chow

Today was spent pickling and canning them.

48 jars of GrowDammit green tomato chow chow

48 jars of them.

I’m pretty proud of us.  This is our most ambitious canning endeavor yet, since I realized I was indeed turning into my mother.  She’s the plant whisperer, who coincidentally had a birthday yesterday.  Click here to read about how she totally kicks our gardening asses.

I’m especially proud of Farmer Ted the Chef, who spent his time off cooking and didn’t even complain about it.  Much.

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Fresh from the GrowDammit Gardens…

growdammit tomato sauce

Red sauce made from GrowDammit tomatoes and herbs.

These are the last of the ripe tomatoes people.  I think it’s gotten to chilly up here at GrowDammit Central, so we will be pulling the vines out of the ground and harvesting the green tomatoes for chow-chow.  Of course, we will have to reserve a few for fried green tomato and pimento cheese sandwiches.  *drool*

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Rufus Dragon Strikes Again

And, I missed the entire thing.

So Rufus and Ted were hanging out in the garage, when all of the sudden the Dragon goes tearing out into the front yard raising hell.  Ted figured he was after the neighbor’s cat who likes to come into our yard and taunt him, so he walked out to save the cat document the hilaria.

Much to his surprise, it wasn’t a cat.  It wasn’t a dog.  It wasn’t a random person walking down the street.  It wasn’t the UPS, FedEx or postman.  It wasn’t a leaf blowing in the wind.  All of which have been the subject of his wrath numerous times.

What was it you ask?

Rufus Dragon versus the Groundhog

Rufus Dragon versus the Groundhog

Seriously.

Click on the picture to see the Dragon in his full glory.

Did you know a groundhog can climb trees?  I didn’t.  Ted didn’t.  Actually I lied because I didn’t miss the entire event.  I got home from work just in time to Watch A Groundhog Climb Down Out Of A Tree.  Backwards.  What?

Looks like the Dragon has stepped up his security detail.  If you don’t know what I mean by that, click here.

We have video, but apparently we have to pay $60 a year to post video to the blog now.  The hell WordPress?

To see the video, go to the Dragon’s Facebook page and Like it.  We’ll post it later tonight.

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Weeding onions is good for the soul. Who knew?

I spent part of my afternoon on a local farm weeding onions.  Turns out, it was fun.  Why isn’t weeding my own garden so rewarding?  Because that is solely a selfish endeavor for my own gain and well being.  And, a colossal pain in the ass.

The Chester County Food Bank serves over 90 regional food cupboards and meal sites.  Today, I weeded onion beds for them.  Not all by myself, some of my co-workers joined me.  Obviously the food bank gets canned/dried good/monetary donations throughout the year from very generous people, but they try to bring in fresh veggies during the season with their own sort of “farm to table” program.  Local farms donate some growing space and minimal labor, but it’s up to the Food Bank and volunteers to grow, care for and harvest the crops.  It’s called Gleaning, and you can read more about it here.

Get involved people.  If you can’t give money, give some time.

“The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.”
Joel Salatin, Folks, This Ain’t Normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World

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The Hell Mother Nature?

20130513-175826.jpg

We are not amused.

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Well, I’ll be damned.

My friend Sue gave me a 6 foot snake last year for my birthday.

garden snake

An inflatable natural enemy scarecrow snake.  It’s a new breed.  One that doesn’t bite.

So, I brought it home and showed Ted and then a bunch of inappropriate snake innuendo jokes about snakes, trousers and rabbit holes ensued.  Because we are still 12.  But, we really didn’t give the idea that an inflatable snake would really keep Thumper and his brood out of our garden a lot of credence.  I mean if a Dragon and the 20  cats that roam the neighborhood can’t manage it, what was a fake snake going to do?

If you are my Facebook friend, then you know that last weekend we installed tomatoes, peppers and beans here at GrowDammit Central.  And true to form, the herd of cottontails that have their warren in the neighbor’s yard, started to take notice of the new source of dinner.  So, we thought why not?  Let’s bring out the big guns and see what is what.  The worst thing that could happen would be that Sue would get her money back.

garden snake

We named him Lucifer. You have to hiss when you pronounce the C.

We’ve moved him around the garden perimeter for the past few days.  It’s kind of off-putting when you see him out of the corner of your eye.  The best is that we haven’t seen hide nor hare.

Get it?

When the spawn asked if it was working, Ted told him that a leaf wouldn’t even fall in the yard.  Sorry Sue.

Feel free to leave any snake innuendo jokes you might have in the comments.

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A Mess O’ Collards

collard greens

Grown by the Wannabes at Growdammit Central.

For whatever reason, the Dragon lost his interest.  If you are confused read this.

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