Thursday, July 30, 2009

Taming the tomato jungle

So, once again this year my tomatoes are growing out-of-control. Maybe it's too much fertilizer? I dunno... but these beasts are just too darn big.

I grew tomatoes in two locations this year -- here's the raised bed next to our back door. Its gotten so bad that we can barely make it up the stairs -- every few days I have to try to tie them up... but now they're taller than our 8 ft. poles, and I'm running out of ideas.

And here's the new tomato bed, by our back fence. I made Ricardo stand in front of the plants so you can see I'm not lying -- they're over 8 ft. tall! We're gonna need a step ladder to pick them.

I shouldn't really complain, though... because look at all these lovelies!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

So good to be home

I love coming home each day, but Monday nights are especially sweet. I can't wait to get off the bus and make the big walk up the hill. 

I'm greeted by my cats at the door every day, but on Mondays they really seem anxious to see me. Today when I came home I had this pitiful little face starting at me. Poor Samantha! Such a sad little concerned face.

After some much-needed kittie attention, I headed out back to the garden. Today I had a pretty good harvest: the pole beans are starting to come in (there are 5 varieties of beans here), and I got a couple of big tomatoes.

This baby is particularly impressive... it's called a Mortgage Lifter. Gotta love Monday nights.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


This year Ricardo and I used some of our tax refund to buy a CSA share (community supported agriculture). If you're not familiar with this, basically you pay an upfront amount to a farm, and then every week during harvest, you get a share of what the farm is able to produce. There's no guarantee that you'll get certain foods, or how much you get, it's up to mother nature. But, for about $26 a week for 28 weeks, I get a box of organic produce -- and that seems like a pretty good deal to me.

I chose this CSA (there are over a hundred local CSAs here in DC), because the pick up day & location: Saturday morning in Silver Spring. The Silver Spring market isn't as huge as the one I'm used to in Dupont Circle, but it's not nearly as crowded, either -- and they have lots of the same vendors.

My farm is Spiral Path, a family farm in Pennsylvania. Here's the truck they drive down to our area once a week.

And here are the stacks of CSA boxes. All I have to do each week is check my name off a list, and grab a box. It's that easy - I paid upfront in February. In the box is also a nice newsletter that lets you know what's going on at the farm and a few recipes for what's in your box.

You never know what you'll get each week, and to me that's part of the fun. Here's what we got one week: 2 kinds of lettuce, green beans, heirloom tomatoes, sunsugar cherry tomatoes (Ricardo's favorite), cucumber, zuchinni, summer squash, and swiss chard.

Of course, while I'm at the farmer's market, I tend to pick up some other stuff. I went a little crazy this week. Ricardo loves the scones and baguettes, and I'm partial to the fresh ricotta and mozzarella.

We really love our CSA -- we'll definitely do it again next year. It keeps us eating healthy!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bonnie & Clyde get collars

Our porch kitties, Bonnie & Clyde, have been wandering around the neighborhood for a long time with no collars -- and we decided we should put collars and tags on them cause we've grown so attached to them

Here's Clyde, my supermodel cat, posing on the porch railing showing just a hint of his new striped collar.

And here's another angle with a little bit of the silver tag showing -- he's such a tease!

"Yawn! Enough with the camera, Mom!"

We got beans!

This year I planted a whole bunch of beans cause they were so good last year, and it was too cool to eat my own homegrown beans for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.

Here's my wall of pole beans -- there are 3 varieties here. I have two more poles in other parts of my yard, but this is the big sucker that gets full sun.

I planted an early crop of bush beans in containers.

We didn't get a big harvest (maybe because it was cold and rainy for so long?), but what we did get was delish -- and there's a bag in the freezer that will be heaven on a cold winter night.

Tomato update

The tomatoes are growing like crazy -- it won't be long until we're eating the 1st tomato salad of the season -- can't wait!

It looks like I planted them too close together again this year. The new tomato ladders seem to help control them, but they keep trying to escape, and its gettting impossible to tell which branch is from which plant.

Heirloom tomatoes...

supersweet cherry tomatoes...

and roma tomatoes.