Posted by: oceannah | July 12, 2012

Homestead Happenings 12 July

The broccoli is ready to harvest.  I took a couple the other day, and today I’ll harvest the entire crop.  That means a quick dunk in boiling water then shock them in a sink filled with ice water.  Dry them off and bag them up.  I’ll have broccoli all winter this way.  Right behind the ones I pull out I’ll be planting the fall broccoli, although not in the same spot.  We always rotate.

Little tomatoes are ever so cute and still very very green.  Thankfully we’re having plenty of sun this summer, unlike last year and the tomatoes will get ripe nicely.

Lilies are SUPER tall this year, must have been all the spring rain.  This one does not smell as nice as the Stargazers which should open in another few days, but it’s a nice lily all the same.

Black raspberries!  Lots of them.  Basket:  Melon style made of purchased reed w/ ash handle.

Rattlesnake pole beans are finally gaining…they will top the posts though, all 8 feet of them.  I like these beans for several reasons.  They freeze great, if you let them go at the end of the season the fresh beans are delicious and they are heirlooms, so seed saving is easy.

Snapdragons will always remind me of the first time I showed these to my daughter.  If you hold the flower just right (behind the flower joint) you can make the bottom of the flower open and close.  It looks like the flower is talking.  My little girl was tickled pink with this as a child and we’d make up funny stories and tell flower jokes.  Those were good days.  Teenager that she is, she’s much less interested in ‘gardening’ this year.

Salad.  This is some of the final spring lettuces.  I always make sure to water heavily the evening before harvesting to keep them from going bitter.  Summer lettuces are sizing up nicely.

Whew, that was scary… I hit a button and the screen changed…  YIKES, did I just kill the whole post??  Thankfully, not.  But I was not finished yet.  The corn, while not quite as “high as an elephants eye” is doing well.  It gets a bit more shade in the afternoon that I would LOVE, but it should still make.  The trees on the west side need some work to bring back the late day (5:00 and on) sun back full throttle.

So that’s the happs.  I’m so glad you stopped by….  Drop a comment and let me know what’s shakin’ with you 🙂


linking up with Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #35


  1. Your pictures always look so perfectly wholesome and remind me of my childhood and simpler times – always enjoy your posts

    • I am so happy that my wee pictures bring you joy.

  2. OMG! That’s a lot of berries! And – don’t tell me – you make your own baskets too? (Another thing on my bucket list; ) Say, you don’t give lessons, do ya? Kidding… sort of.
    Your Rattlesnake pole beans sound awesome – need to check them out (and, speaking of which, that hertiage corn of your sounds VERY interesting: ) we usually grow Kentucky Wonder and Scarlet Runners for the same reasons…
    Snapdragons? *sigh* Sure miss those simpler days. Sounds like your kid and mine are at about the same age/stage (he too loved to make the dragons roar: ) and boy, do I hear ya! (Never quite sure from second to the next which one you’re going to encounter – Jekyll or Hyde? The upside is that it’ll pass. Heck, as a kid, I was the “official weeder” and swore I’d never, EVER have a garden. These days I just use a lot less space between rows, MULCH the hell out of everything (and still hate weeding; )
    Stargazer? Yes! She’s such an amazing girl and just loaded with buds ready to burst (can hardly wait for her perfume to fill the garden: )

    • Deb, I do make baskets…I’m a maker, what can I say. We still have some coming on (blacks) and they fill a basket a day for a few days in a row! I knew it was gonna be a good harvest but even I did not think this much! I’m very pleased since we started running the jam through a foley food mill last year as we all pretty much decided we prefer seedless jam. The seeds are the beginning of an amazing raspberry vinegar though….no waste 😉

      • Raspberry pulp to vinegar? Oh YUM! (There’s a vinaigrette suddenly dancing on my tongue: )
        Love this kind of transformation – the Making (yup, there it is again; ) of something out of “nothing” – which leads me back to your basket: “purchased reed w/ash handle”… Is ash used for the top-frame (sorry, unsure of terminology here) as well? Would bullrushes work? The term “withes” has popped into my head too. Time to do some research – unless you might do/have done a post on this at some point? (she inquired hopefully; )

      • This style basket (melon basket) is basically two hoops of wood/ash attached with what is called a god’s eye at approximately the mid-line. The top/handle remains free of any weaving. The bottom half has ‘ribs’ inserted and that is what one weaves in and out of. Rushes can be made into baskets, sure. Good luck!
        The vinegar is SUPER!

  3. I get so much great information from your posts, I can’t digest it all. It’s like Meryl Streep said in an interview, when asked if it was true she could read a script 2 or 3 times and remember it, she said, “Yes, but that was before menopause!” I want a basket like that. I am going to grow broccoli next. Should I start from seeds now?

    • Hey Kaye, I hear you on the menopause & remembering thing 😉 Making a basket is about the easiest thing and well, if you really want to have/make one, then you surely can, it’s just like learning to ride a bike or swim…focus/practice.
      Broccoli in CA hmmmm, I’m not sure of dates/times. You should contact you Cooperative extension agent and ask what the typical growing season is in your area. I would think it’s later, broccoli is a cool climate veggie and would not do well in the heat of a CA summer. Typically they take anywhere from 65-90 days to mature (that’s a big range and depends on variety). I think you will really enjoy growing some broccoli.

      • I’m actually supposed to be seeding cauliflower and broccoli now, and carrots, then, when I harvest those in november, plant peas. I’m reading “Golden Gate Gardener” which includes info for all the coastal microclimates. Problem is I have no where to plant anything as stuff is still going. Hmmm.

  4. Nice produce! I have a basket very similar to yours. it was my mother-in-law’s, I think she got it at an antique store. I love it very strong and sturdy!
    What is the difference between black raspberries and blackberries?? Showing my gardening ignorance!!!

    • It’s great to have a sturdy basket! Aside from taste and season of availability the main thing to note with raspberries, both red and black is that when they are ripe and you pluck one off the cane, it leaves behind a little bit of a cone shaped thing that’s actually called the ‘rasp’ as in raspberry…this means when you look at your raspberries there is an empty space inside. Blackberries on the other hand are solid, no hollow and when they are picked from the cane, they come off clean, leaving no rasp.

      • Thank you for the explanation of the difference. I just tasted them, but this will bring some intelligence into the mix.

      • Great!

      • I will have to check these out when they are ripe in August.

  5. Nothing going on with my brocolli yet, but its still early for us. Do snapdragon flower come back after they fall off? I’ve got some planted in pots this year – don’t think I’ve had them for the last 10 years or so – and I thought they flowered continuously, but this year the flowers seem to be dying off. Maybe its too dry, even when I water them.

    • Snapdragons are annuals, and as such should be dead-headed for best/most flowers. (you don’t have to play Grateful Dead music, strip the spent flowers ;)) Also if you trim them back then give them a nice shot of compost tea or other fertilizer, they’ll branch out and make many more flowers. But removing the spent flowers is crucial so the plant does not attempt to secure it’s place in the future ie: seed.

  6. Oceannah, once you dip the broccoli in the hot, then the cold (is that blanching?) you said you put them in bags. Then, you just pop them in the freezer like that?

    • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, clean and drain your broccoli, then drop it into the boiling water. WHY? Plants have enzymes in them and the boiling water (blanching) stops the enzymes from breaking down the plant/vegetable. Leave it in the boiling water for 1-3 minutes depending on the size of the pieces. Immediately place in an ice bath. WHY? This stops the vegetables from cooking. I usually lay everything out on a towel to dry for a bit then bag up and freeze! It’s really pretty simple, don’t overthink it.

      • Got it, Anna! Thank you for taking the time to explain. I grew up with gardens, but missed (ignored) all the preserving/freezing activities. I love munching on raw, but knew there’s value in just a little cooking. For example, I was just told a little cooking helps us digest kale better and receive more of it’s nutrition.

        Amazing how there’s endless stuff to learn about veggies. And they look so innocent and simple sitting there exposing themselves in dirt!

      • NP~ Same is true for some fruits. Ie: The phyto nutrients in blueberries are more bioavailable once frozen or cooked!

  7. I love your posts 🙂

    Seedless raspberry jam, my very favoritest jam! Mmmmmm, Mmmmmmm We’ll have to spread it on Dukan friendly bread next year!

    • Awww… That jam is DA BOMB stirred into some yogurt too!

      • Did I miss a recipe for the jam? Though, don’t know why I’m asking, didn’t get but one cane producing any berries this time.

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