This is gonna hurt!

After a beautiful November bitter cold and the first snowfall of the season is heading our way. By Saturday morning they say Ladybird Lane could have five inches of that ugly, cold white stuff on the ground, and on the sidewalk, and on the driveway. :-( 11 degrees, coming at us. Brrrrrr! This is gonna hurt!

I went to the garden and dug up the remaining goodies, a big bag full of carrots and another big bag full of parsnips. They are sweet! And, there was some broccoli, kohlrabi, Swiss chard and kale hanging on. It was a very good year for gardening. I’m already looking forward to next Spring.

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Supersteak!

It’s been tomato season here at Ladybird Lane for about a month. They started ripening slowly, a few grape tomatoes, then some cherry tomatoes followed up by some really sweet cluster tomatoes and now the Supersteaks are ripening. Boy, oh, boy, are they big! The ones in the photo were a pound and a half each. I say “were” ‘cuz they are no longer! ;-) Anyway, I weighed them with a metric scale and that comes to 600 grams for the small one and the two larger were 650 grams. Yes, that’s just three supersteak tomatoes on a single dinner plate. You can get a dozen regular tomatoes on a dinner plate. And they are fantastic tasting especially when eaten with some salt and pepper and a thick slice of fresh mozzarella. I like putting a little olive oil on them, too, then sprinkling them with some grated Parmesan cheese, maybe some balsamico. Mmmm, mmm good! One disadvantage of the supersteaks is that they are a bit more fragile than other tomatoes. They get over ripe quickly so eat them not too long after you pick them. It’s also interesting how they grow. Instead of beginning with a small globe the supersteak begins as a small flat, ribbed button. Kinda cool.

This year I planted six different types of tomatoes, a cherry, a grape, a plum, an heirloom named Burgundy, two supersteaks and two cluster tomatoes. And then, any volunteers that decided to grow I tried to find a place for them. I love surprises. One turned out to be a San Marzano plum which makes a really nice, thick tomato paste. Anyway, they’re not ripening yet.

Spring comes to Ladybug Lane

Spring has finally come to Ladybug Lane!

We’ve finally had a few warm days followed by three more days of rain and then yesterday and today were fantastic. The daffodils are blooming, grape hyacinths, hyacinths and tulips are doing there thing.¬†The herb garden is waking up. A lot of work has to be done there. Our little orchard is coming to life. This is it’s fourth year and it looks like we’ll have apples, our pear tree is blooming and hopefully the plum, too. A hazelnut flowered for the first time during the winter. Unfortunately, only one and this variety isn’t self-fertile so maybe next year another will bloom. Blackberries and raspberries are leafing out. The rhubarb is looking good. And, the onions and leeks I left in the ground last fall are growing like mad. I’m hoping I get a few leeks as big around as a baseball bad. Anyway, here are a few photos.

A mini-pumpkin is born

Not really born. These things had been producing mostly vines and and flowers. Now, all of a sudden, they’ve started to produce these little mini-pumpkins. Usually you see these as decorations at Thanksgiving time. But, they also taste very good roasted. Give them a try. With a little butter the nutty flavor¬† is very good.

There’s a marigold in my endive!

Indeed, there is. Actually, it’s intentional. I love marigolds and plant the entire perimeter of our garden with marigolds (from seed). This little guy happens to be one of the first to bloom. I got them in kind of late and since the rain kicked in two weeks ago they’ve grown a lot. And, now this guy and a couple others are flowering. I liked the brilliant orange against the bright green.

I’m hoping too that this border of marigolds repels the rabbits. I have a chicken wire fence and it’s worked pretty well. But, when it comes to rabbits, nothing should be taken for granted.

Beans, Beans, the Beautiful Fruit

Bean, beans, the beautiful fruit …. But, these are beautiful, at least for beans. I bought the seed from Jung Seed mostly because I liked the picture and the title had “France” in it (I like France, or at least, I like Paris). They turned out OK, I guess. The shelled beans are very pretty. The pods begin like a green bean, long and green, but over time they develop this mottled red and cream color. The bean seeds turn a mottled red color turn as they dry. They don’t produce all that much. When I go to fix a soup with these I can truthfully say I’ve seen each and everyone of these guys before.

Who loves this rain, you ask?

All of the veggies and berries in our garden! The squirrels are especially happy with the blackberries ripening. Last night we were in the kitchen having some chocolate cake that a friend brought over when all of a sudden a squirrel came walking across the deck toward the blackberry bushes. And, this has been happening for a couple of days but it’s the first time we saw it. He (or she) walked over to the edge of the deck, looked at the thick canes and leaped landing on a very strong one and proceeded to enjoy a big, fat, juicy blackberry, or rather, enjoyed half of one. It seems that they eat half and then drop it to the ground perhaps leaving the rest for later. Anyway, it’s squirrely logic. I can’t quite figure it out.

The first eggplant of the season

The garden has been growing very well. We’ve enjoyed lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, kohlrabi, cucumbers, zuchini, beans in addition to lots of herbs such as basil, oregano, dill, cilantro, lavender, rosemary and chamomile. Today I picked the first eggplant of the year. Guess what’s on the menu for lunch. :-) The rabbits and squirrels have taken their share, too.

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