Posted by: JerseyOrganic | July 14, 2014

Plantasia- The Gardens in July

Beautiful dwarf sunflower about to burst!

IMG_2641

What a Summer it’s been.. the grass is growing, the tomatoes are forming, and the peppers are plump for the pickin’! Not too much is ready for harvest as of now, but everything is growing, and growing, and growing. We are in the heat of summer now here in 6B..or is it zone 7 now? I guess we will find out come Fall, when I may or may not be harvesting tomatoes throughout September! 😛 In this 90 degree weather, the cool season crops have ceased and thus I have harvested the last of the peas, radishes, and lettuces.

This weeks harvest:

IMG_2626IMG_2586IMG_2587

I am still planting of course! Succession plantings of string beans have been going in the ground every week. I absolutely LOVE homegrown string beans, you just can’t beat them. In fact, thats about the only veggie that I am currently harvesting. Thanks to my ever-evolving excel file below I know it’s also about to be prime time for Blackberries and Plums! You can see below, in regard to the conditional formatting, (ahem, excel geeks..) that Strawberries and Cherry season already passed, and we are in the midst of Blueberry season.

excelexcel1

I have almost finished this spreadsheet and am going to post it when complete. Its really been a big help if I keep the file open on the computer and check it daily. In a nutshell, its alerting me when something needs to be planted, harvested, canned, etc.

Back to Blueberries..

Blueberry season here in New Jersey is a very, very big deal. Shortly down the road is Hammonton, NJ, AKA “The Blueberry Capital of the World”. This has recently gained some attention thanks to HBO’s series Boardwalk Empire in which the characters are shown driving through Hammonton, NJ, unfortunately it wasn’t to pick blueberries…

This lovely town really does live up to the name, everywhere you look as far as the eye can see, are blueberry fields. When I am lucky enough to have a few hours on a Saturday available I get to canning Blueberry Jam!

IMG_2627

IMG_2599

Canning Jam isn’t difficult. You just need some tools to get the job done and a little bit of patience. Blueberry Jam is relatively easier than most. Lets say you have 2lbs of blueberries to make it simple. Rinse them, pull off any stems, and get them in a pot. I don’t like the jam too sweet, so I add 1 cup Organic sugar to 2 lbs berries. Squeeze fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon in as well, and set your pot to medium heat. With a potato masher, carefully mash away. Don’t overdo it as theres no need, the berries will cook down over time. About 15 minutes in take an Organic Granny Smith Apple and peel off the skin. Grate it with a cheese grater right into the pot. The Granny Smith Apples are replacing the Pectin which many people use as a thickener. I prefer the organic method…

Let it cook down for 30 min to an  hour, stirring occasionally. This mixture will thicken up nicely, then you can can! Pour mix into sterilized mason jars, leaving a ¼” headspace. Lightly screw on lid and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Easy as blueberry pie.

IMG_2629

IMG_2630

IMG_2632

On another note, something interesting is happening with my Pepper plants. I grew a flat of Jalapeños and a flat of Bell Peppers and for whatever reason, only jalapeños are forming on ALL the plants!!! I grew them in separate beds, however they are right next to each other. I will have to do some research to see if they can cross pollinate. The result has been sweet jalapeños… the only way I can tell them apart is because the hot peppers are pointy and the sweet jalapeños have rounded bottoms. Crazy right?! I don’t want to end up with a bumper crop of sweet jalapeños so I  think in a few weeks I am going to make some Jalapeño Jelly. Basically going to follow the same recipe above (the Blueberry Jam) but I will run it through a civ so its a clear jelly. I plan on using all the sweet jalapeños with a few hot ones, just for the spicy factor.

Jalapeños- sweet and spicy

IMG_2654

What else..what else… Let’s go on a tour, shall we?

Heres the string bean bed, with the jalapeños in the bed right behind.IMG_2645

corn…IMG_2561IMG_2582

Tomatoes are coming..

IMG_2652IMG_2650

String Beans!

IMG_2653

Zucchini growing in the middle of my path!

IMG_2649

Eggplant getting bigger each day..

IMG_2647

The cucumber plants are still growing up and producing cucumbers.

IMG_2588

 

IMG_2661

Thats about it right now. It is nice to not have to worry about weeding and planting so much, especially since its so hot. I can relax, enjoy the harvests, and get cooking. Until fall that is, then its back to chores!

To end, I will share these special tiger lilies that are almost 6 feet tall!!

IMG_2642

 

 

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Your gardening looks incredible! Great photos

  2. Your garden is so much more progressed than mine! I won’t be pulling veggies out for at least another month. I’m going to check out your preserve recipe.

    • I’ts early. Just noticed the date on this post!

  3. What a beautiful garden! I cant wait for July.

    • Thanks! Unfortunately, I haven’t made the time to post since last July! Funny, your post may have inspired me to do so. Here in NJ, cool crops are germinating in the garden and I’m hardening off summer plants in the grow room. Thanks for your comments!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: