Sunday, August 28, 2011

I HAAAAAAAAVE LIMES!

Yup, you read that right folks - I officially have not one, but at least two itty bitty limes. I spotted one earlier this week and the other just yesterday. I'm so very excited and cannot wait for them to get bigger and ripe enough to eat! Oh and for many many mannnnnny more baby limes that grow into beautiful juicy limes! Mmmmm Mmmm Mmm.


My lime tree is doing great and my tomato plants are doing just the same! There are now three tomatoes on the Bonnie Girl plant and about ten on the cherry tomato plant. Oh and that's in addition to many more clusters of buds and blossoms on both plants!





And man on man. The jalapeno plants are insane! I cannot believe how big they are and how many peppers I have right now. The warm - I mean crazy HOT - weather we've been having has made them start to bud and blossom again so it looks like there's going to be at least one more round of peppers! 


My shallots still appear to be doing great, but I'm not holding out TOO much hope for these suckers. My garlic was great, but quite small and I'm thinking the same may end up happening with the shallots. Hey - only time will tell though!


The green onions continue to thrive. I haven't planted any more yet and not sure if I will. I just got a HUGE bag for $2.99 this evening because I didn't have enough growing that were big enough to pick. Hopefully by the time I use the onions in the bag I bought, the ones growing on my balcony will be big enough to harvest. And THEN it will be time to plant more!


And lastly - the gool ol' herbs. I don't have much to say about them, but will leave you with an updated photo of each!

Basil

Chives

Rosemary

Mint

Parsley

Thyme

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Bountiful Balcony Garden

I recently acquired - at least temporarily - a couple plants and a plant stand and due to that I reorganized my balcony.  I LOVEEEEEE the new set up and am kicking myself for not moving certain things sooner!

To give you an idea what the whole thing looks like, I decided to record a short video! :)  It's a few minutes long, but gives you a much better look at what my wonderful balcony garden is all about. I enjoy it and I hope you do too! I apologize ahead of time that the video seems sorta sideways in some parts. I'm not used to taking videos with my camera so I'm sorry!

video


Now that the cool part of the post is over - here's a quick weekly update.

I picked my second large tomato this week and I'm waiting to try it. It's finishing ripening on the counter right now and I should be enjoying it in the next day or so. And BOTH plants have a bunch of new blossoms. I'm so excited because that means more tomatoes! 


And there are TONS of jalapenos right now.  Unfortunately, they are mostly small or medium in size but that just means tons of peppers soon


The strawberry plant is doing alright - no better and no worse, but at this point I don't really expect much.  


The garlic is no more because I harvested all the bulbs! They are teeny tiny, but they are mighty tasty and just as potent as a bigger clove.  I planted more garlic today, so we'll see how that goes!


The shallots are still doing great and I may harvest those soon too, but we'll see. I really can't wait, but I know they need time to be big and beautiful! 


The green onions are AMAZING and am so happy about them. They're just as good as ones you'd buy in the store - if not better - and the best part is that I get to pull them out of the soil right before using them! I'll be growing these suckers again for sure.


And lastly, as usual, are my herbs. My wonderful, fresh herbs that I love oh so much. I really do love having them all growing just steps away from my kitchen. And not having to pay those crazy prices for fresh herbs is even better!

Basil

Chives

Rosemary

Mint

Parsley 

And Thyme

Sunday Night Dinner: Take 10!

It's been awhile since I did a Sunday Night Dinner post, so I thought it was time to bring it back! 

Since I obviously don't work on Sundays, and I was home for most of the day, I figured that baked potatoes would be perfect. I didn't have to rush to bake them after work - I like to cook them long and slow and they have to be done juuuuust right! While they were baking, I had time to do other chores and  was also able to start working on the delicious toppings.

But before we get to the toppings, it's important to start thinking about the moistness and fluffyness of your potato after baking. For this - you can't forget the most important part: poking the potato with a fork multiple times. From there you can do pretty much whatever you want, but here's what I do...

Wash potatoes, pat dry potatoes, slather potatoes with butter, sprinkle potatoes with salt, wrap potatoes in foil and FINALLY poke with a fork 5 or so times.

If you do all the above, you'll hopefully end up with this:

A perfectly baked potato!

After being sliced opened and "smooshed" from each end.

While regular butter and sour cream is good...it's always fun to get more creative. And tonight, I was making a MEAL out of this potato so there was going to be more then the norm.

I made...

Blackened Chicken Baked Potatoes!!!

Using my blackened seasoning mix, I cooked up two chicken breasts in a pan and then cut them into bite sized pieces.


In addition to the SPICY chicken, I had a whooooooole bunch of other yummy toppings to put on the amazingly tasty potato.

Butter, Sour Cream, Alfredo Sauce, Shredded Cheese, 
Bacon Pieces and Chopped HOMEGROWN Green Onions.

And lastly, the meal was all tied together with a green vegetable - one of my favorites: Steamed Broccoil!


 Nom nom nom!


And no...I didn't it it ALL! 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

I Love MY Garden!

I know I've probably said it before - and I'm sure I'll probably say it again - but I really love my garden. Not only do I enjoy the beauty of it, but I absolutely enjoy what I get from my garden. The herbs, the tomatoes, the peppers and hopefully soon the limes!!!! And I really don't mind taking care of it either. Gardening is something that makes me calm and less anxious. :)

Now that I've shared my love for my garden, lets get onto the progress!

My tomatoes. My oh so wonderful tomato plants. I recently noticed that not only do both plants have new tiny lil tomatoes, but they both have new buds all over too!!!

C'mon lots of tomatoes! 

And my jalapeno peppers that are growing like CRAZY. They get bigger and bigger every day and I've officially lost track of the amount of peppers I've picked to use or to give away.


My strawberry plant has a few tiny berries on it, but it's still my least productive food producing plant. I recently raised it in a plant stand hoping that will help the output, but only time will tell! 

Kahn wanted to be included in this week's garden update!

My garlic is still worrying me, but I'm holding out hope that what's goin' on underground is okay and I'm worrying for nothing. Again - only time will tell and I'm going to be patient!


On the other hand, my shallots look amazing and I'm guessing it's the same underground.  I can't wait until harvest!


My green onions are going crazy. They are so hearty and begging to be eaten. Nom nom nom. I may have to eat some with some homemade green onion dip!


Lastly, the herbs are ALL doing fantastic! Yes, every last one of them. The basil is thriving, the thyme is bushy, the parsley is producing faster and faster, the rosemary is always doing great, the mint is coming back from almost nothing and the chives are in need of a bigger pot!

Basil

Thyme and Parsley

Rosemary
(Photograph forgotten this week...)

Mint

Chives

Pluots!

I was recently speaking to my brother on the phone and plums came up. From there, I mentioned Plutos and my brother said he had no idea what those were! I was shocked. I've been enjoying these every Summer for the past few years. They are so delicious and tasty - I look forward to them coming into season every year.

So what are Pluots?

According to Wikipedia (I would never use this as a reference for a paper or anything, but it has tons of useful information!), a Pluot "is a tradename for varieties of interspecific plum or plumcot developed in the late 20th century by Floy Zaiger. "Pluot" is a register trademark of Zaiger's Genetics. Like the, it is a complex cross hybid of plum and apricot. The pluot exhibits more plum-like traits than the aprium, and is also call an interspecific of IS plum.

The fruit's exterior has smooth skin closely resembling that of a plum. Pluots are noted for their sweetness, their intense flavor, and very juicy pulp. Pluots are also rich in vitamin A."


As mentioned on the Wikipedia page, there are many varieties of pluots. I've been lucky to have multiple kinds and have loved every one! Like I said before - they are SO sweet and VERY juicy!


While buying my weekly groceries yesterday, I picked up two different kinds of pluots. I'm not positive on the variety of them because they weren't listed at the market, but I'm guessing they are the Dapple Dandy aka Dinosaur Egg and Flavor Queen varieties.  


Dapple Dandy aka Dinosaur Egg

Flavor Queen

In addition to the pluots, I got a lot of other fruit, but only one other thing that many people probably haven't seen, let alone tried: Rambutan.  I turn to Wikipedia again to explain this amazing fruit!

The rambutan is a medium-sized tropical tree in the family Sapindacae  and the fruit of this tree. It is native to Indonesia, The Phillipines, Sri Lanka, Malaysi and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, although its precise natural distribution is unknown. It is closely related to several other edible tropical fruits including the Lychee, Longan and Mamoncillo. It is believed to be native to the Malay Archipelago, from where it spread westwards to Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka and India; eastwards to Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia. The name rambutan is from the Indonesia word rambutan, which literally means hairy caused by the 'hair' that covers this fruit."

The "hairy" outside.

The delicious inside!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Welcome Back Lime Tree!

Well...I guess it's more of welcome back to the blog lime tree because it didn't go anywhere. It just wasn't changing often enough for me to think it was important enough to include on the weekly updates. While I do love my lime tree, the only real change is the size. It's HUGE. It doesn't really look like a dwarf anymore either. I still can't wait to try the fruit for the first time. COME ON LIMES!!!!


Now onto the tomatoes that change much faster than the limes.  We're talking changes in a matter of days! Heck - even in a matter of hours you can sometimes see a ripening tomato change colors!


Yum yum I can't wait to eat them.

New tomato and blossoms on the big tomato plant! :)


The jalapenos are another crop that change quite fast. One day it'll be a new bud, then it will quickly become a flower and soon after will be a teeny tiny pepper.  I love watching them and all my other goodies changing.



I usually say that my shallot and garlic are doing great, but something recently happened to my garlic and I'm a little worried. It's just not as hearty as it once was, so I'm hoping I didn't do something wrong. The shallots on the other hand, are still doing amazing!

Garlic

Shallots

And my green onions - I have a confession about those...  I used them last week even though I said I was going to give them time! I needed them for a rice pilaf I was making so I bit the bullet and picked three. The white part could have been a bit bigger, but for the most part I'm very happy with the result and I can't wait to pick more soon!

Harvested Green Onions!


I completely trimmed back the leaves and dead pieces in my strawberry plant over the weekend. I'm hoping that will promote more berries.


And finally, my herbs - another thing that I'm growing that changes quickly. I cleaned up the mint in the rail planter this weekend and basically took out a good chunk of what was growing.  I don't really use it and it WILL come back fast so I'm not worried.

Mint

Rosemary

Parsley and Thyme

Chives

Basil