Archive for July, 2013


Found hiding deep in the leaves on the grape arbor.

A pleasant week in the garden with this odd weather change.  We honestly wore long john’s and a wool caps while working a few of the days.   Its July and this is crazy!  Scott and I have joked for years that we burn wood in the stoves every month of the year except  July-well, we can’t say that anymore.  We started a small fire in the garage wood stove to “take the chill off” one evening.  The cool temperatures makes for easier working conditions but kinda puts the breaks on all the growth of the tomatoes, peppers and eggplant.  These plants spent their week just hanging out.

Lots of weeding.  This is the time of year where the grasses and this little succulent guy called portalaca can quickly take over. It gets a bit overwhelming at times but we just plug away.   So LOTS! of heavy weeding all around the garden.  The leeks and I spent many hours together,  I made sure all the new storage carrots had plenty of breathing room, visited the brussels sprouts and cleaned up around the peppers.  I tied up our tomato vines on the trellis.  A fussy time consuming job.  We have a fancy stapler that makes the job much easier.


Tying up the tomato vines.


BLUE! tomatoes on the vine.

BLUE! tomatoes on the vine.

The tidy leek patch.  3 different varieties.

The tidy leek patch. 3 different varieties.

Storage carrots!

Storage carrots!

Scott worked on the greenhouse and we are going to cover it with plastic tomorrow and the job will be done.  He’s putting the green house up over our existing “leafy greens” area that we have been trying not to plant in so he did not have to worry too much where he stepped but as you can see in the photo we have a few crops in the ground that he had to dance around as the poles went up.IMG_1132


Watermelon report!  The vines are taking over the back of the garden and even into the grass.  Scott wanted to flip up the vines and mow and we realized there are bowling ball sized melons growing in the grass.  So, no more mowing back there.  The cantaloupes vines are loaded with blossoms too and tiny little melons developing.  We have 3 varieties in the patch.


Another beauty on the vine!


Our goal in the garden or in the greenhouse is that “something” has to be planted everyday.  “Something” has to go in dirt, either a seed started in the greenhouse or transplants or seeds into the garden.  Forward progress and ensures that we have a constant rotation of crops.  There are many Fall cool loving crops started in the greenhouse now and several are ready to go out and several plants a few weeks out.  We will start our first of 4 rotations of Spinach this week and I will seed in the first bed of Arugula too.

Fall crops in the greenhouse yet to be planted.

Fall crops in the greenhouse yet to be planted.



What is in your box

A few wonderful surprises!

Peppers!-Several different varieties. These sure had a slow start this Spring and I was thrilled with the harvest this week… We bagged the hot/medium hot varieties. Jalapeño, Ancho, and yellow hungarian hot wax.  Beautiful Sweet purple bells and a yellow long sweet bulls horn.

Lettuce-A pretty speckled German variety.

Celery-Long tasty stalks.

Cucumbers-Another bag of crunchy snackers and a few long asian varieties.

Zucchini-Assorted collection.

Onions-2 varieties.  These are not dry storage onions.  Keep in the refrigerator.

Honey!!!!!  Our first harvest ever.  Exciting for us and happy to share the harvest with all of you.  Enjoy!  This is raw filtered honey not pasteurized.

Where the bees live at the back of the garden.

Where the bees live at the back of the garden.

Scott and Maeve extruding the honey.

Scott and Maeve extruding the honey.

Parsley-A big bunch of large leaf Italian.

Cherry Tomatoes- Just a few-really! a few for everyone.  We wanted to share with all…..  A taste of what is to come.  The tomatoes decided to ripen slowly in the cold this week.

Best Guess for next week…..

potatoes, lettuce, kale, savoy cabbage, kohlrabi, onions.

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A wonderful rain yesterday after a long, hot, dry week. It is difficult for us at times to be out in the heat but the plants love the warm days and nights.  Crops are in full swing and amazing to see how the tomato and cucumber vines will grow a foot or more over night.  The watermelon vines are snaking all over the place and once again we thought we allowed TONS! of space for them to spread out and they are slowing sneaking into the sweet potatoes……

The itty bitty watermelon from last week!  Now bigger than my head.

The itty bitty watermelon from last week! Now bigger than my head.

The garlic harvest is complete and the huge beauties are drying in the shed aside for a few of the smaller ones we had to include in the boxes this week for a taste.  Scott has pulled the irrigation, tilled and we are set for planting new this week.  We did our last picking of beans from the first planting and it is nice to have a break from the 3 hour every other day duty.  It was a great harvest! Beans will return again in a few weeks from our second planting.

We are pleased that we have not had any issues with blight so far.  Lots of worry but all is well and strong.  Given the long, cool and wet Spring we thought there would be trouble with pests and other moisture issues like molds and fungus.  Happy to report that these issues are low to totally absent this year.  Scott does a daily inspection walk of the entire garden and we use various organic options to keep everything healthy.

Scott and his grand daughter started our carrot harvest this week and had a lot of fun together.  After a quick wash in the wringer washer we bagged them for the boxes.  Delicious.  We were determined to have wonderful carrots this season after last season’s wimpy crop.  We had a terrible time getting seed to germinate in the extreme heat last year.  Here they are!  3 varieties.  Hours of fussy weeding and thinning and hand watering and totally worth it.

Maeve helped clean the onions for the boxes this week and she is proud of her work.  She told us she is the “grand champion onion peeler” and we had trouble getting her to quit and get ready for bed.  We had a glimpse of our future and her help with the boxes.

Anne “the egg lady” is taking preorders for red raspberries next week.  $2 for a  1/2 pint $4 for a pint.  Let me know by Friday if you would like to order. Erdman group members send an e-mail by Friday and we will bring them down with the delivery.  She also brought chickens again this week.  They are in the cooler and $3 a pound.

Pears ripening on the trees!

Pears ripening on the trees!

A note about the boxes….we are short about 40 boxes right now.  Please look at home and bring them back with next weeks delivery/pick up.  Thanks!

Lots of Eggplant in the Extra Box this week…not quite enough for all the boxes so we included it here.  Please take some if you wish.



What a Smorgasbord this week!!!!

Scott wasn’t sure we would be able to close the boxes this week.



Lettuce-A huge head called Nevada.  A strong lettuce that can withstand the heat.  Scott’s daily watering assured that we would have this jumbo treat this week.  Very tasty.

Beets-A nice sized bundle for everyone.  Remember the greens are edible and delicious.

Beets ready to be bundled....over 550!

Beets ready to be bundled….over 550!

Green Beans-1 pound + again!  The last harvest from the first planting.

New bean plants geminating in the old pea area....

New bean plants geminating in the old pea area….

Pac Choi-Perfect for the Summer stir fry.

Zucchini-The patty pans are starting to really flower and all the plants are now in full swing.  Again, we harvest daily and pick them small so they are perfectly sized for meals.

Cucumbers-Long slender European varieties and a big bag of crunchers.

Potatoes-3 pounds.  Early Reds this week. Great roasted and makes the best “home fries” ever.  Can be mashed and baked too but this is a bit of a waxer potato.  We have 5 varieties of potatoes in the ground yet so it will be a fun season of trying different varieties.

Scott washing the potatoes in the rain.

Scott washing the potatoes in the rain.

Garlic-We sorted the garlic all out for drying and portioned off the smaller bulbs to include in the boxes this week for fresh eating.

Rosemary-Perfect paring with the potatoes.  Dries well too for future use too.

Dill-We wanted to include this when we had a big bounty of cucumbers for refrigerator pickles.

Onion-These are fresh eating onions not storage.

Micro Greens-Little mild sprouted greens to cut and add to salads or a garnish on hot dishes.  Keep on a bright windowsill on a low plate and water as needed.

Best Guess for next week.

Lettuce, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, savoy cabbage and potatoes.

Recipe “issues” again…..I’ll figure it out soon I hope.  Beet brownies are the best!  Do look on the internet for a recipe.

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Box 7 July 15th

Another week of fast productive activity in the garden!  Big changes.  Many new crops went in.  Scott was cutting the pea vines down as fast as I could pick the last of them off the vine.  The trellis came down, the ground prepped, irrigation line placed and another round of green beans took their place along with a second planting of summer squash transplants.  24 hours and this whole area of the garden is transformed.  We planted all the summer broccoli transplants where the cauliflower grew and storage cabbage transplants where the fennel grew.  Another long row of lettuces went in with a shade cloth on top to keep them a bit cooler in this July heat.  Scott has the footings set for the new greenhouse and we again had a bit of time to weed.  We were reminded this week that much of our time now needs to shift to harvesting.  It takes FOREVER! to pick 2 60″ long double rows of beans every other day…..and every day visit the summer squash patch so the tasty zucchini don’t turn into baseball bats and crawl down the cucumber trellis rows carefully looking under all the foliage for the perfect cucumber.

Itty bitty watermelon on the vine.

Itty bitty watermelon on the vine.

Our wonderful garden helper Malachi Perche arrived this morning to start digging the garlic.  Our crop looks wonderful this year.  We have heard reports from many fellow gardeners that they have terrible garlic this year or even total crop failure due to the odd, cold, wet Spring.  We are grateful our crop is fantastic.  Garlic is planted in the Fall for the next year harvest.  It takes a long time to develop and lots of time to worry and fret.  By next week this area too will look completely different with all new plants.

Malachi digging the garlic.

Malachi digging the garlic.

Garlic sitting in the shade ready to be dried.

Garlic sitting in the shade ready to be dried.

With prolonged higher temperatures here it is nice to see that the tomatoes are finally happy and really taking off!  We are seeing a blush of color on some of the vines and the eggplants offered up a few early fruits that will be in the extra box this week.  The plants look robust and lots of flowers.  The pepper plants are not as big as last year yet but they too are loaded with blooms and fruit is developing.


Tomatoes! The blue coloring you see on the tomatoes and ground is a organic copper compound to fight off Late Blight. Late blight has been documented early this year in Sauk County. We are well protected.

No lettuce in the boxes this week.  Next week it should reappear.  The crop loss we had the week of all that rain and heat left a bit of a bubble in our rotation.

The lettuce beds.

The lettuce beds.



Another great harvest this week!

Green Beans-A pound for everyone.  Fabulous harvest.  Snappy and delicious.

Cauliflower-This was the final harvest of the Spring planted cauliflower.  It will revisit again this Fall.

Cabbage-The last harvest from the bed with these wonderful little beauties.  We love these!  Perfectly sized and crunchy.  Great raw in salads or sandwiches or sautéed.

Swiss Chard-An amazing crop this year.  It is the prettiest I have every seen it and oh so tender.  We will pull this crop this week and start up new in the greenhouse for Autumn harvest.  Swiss Chard tastes much better in Autumn from newly seeded transplants rather than the plants that had to weather through the summer heat.

Cucumbers-A nice assortment again this week.  Expect these little gems to be a staple in the box for many weeks to come.

Zucchini-The plants are just starting to really kick into gear….We pick the fruit small so they are tender and just the right size for a meal.

Cutting Celery-just like “regular” celery but grows bushy and leafy.  Perfect for salads and seasoning.

Chives-A tasty and mildly flavor.

Shelling Peas-The end of the harvest of our BEST! pea crop every…..What a run.  Enjoy!

Turnips-The end of this crop until the cold weather returns.


HOLY COW!  Get ready for this…..potatoes, beets, carrots, lettuce, fresh garlic, rosemary, parsley, zucchini, cucumbers……

Next week carrot harvest.

Next week’s carrot harvest.

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We had a productive week in the garden.  The melon, tomatoes, eggplant, and pepper plants really grew with the warmer temperatures.  Nice for us to see as this was not the type of Spring they enjoy or thrive in.  We seeded in a long loooooooong row of storage carrots for Fall harvest right next to the long looooooong row of summer carrots that look great and we should be harvesting the snappy beauties soon.  More lettuce went in the lettuce beds, 2 long rows of colorful beets were seeded in and whenever we had a spare moment we were weeding fools.  The potato crop looks amazing and we are hopeful it will be our best crop ever.  The garlic is starting to decline and we dug one to take a sneak peak.  A gorgeous big bulb.  We also planted our onions differently this year as we have always had trouble weeding them mid season in the past.  They too are looking great and we should have a bumper crop to share.

Beautiful onions.

Beautiful onions.

We had an uninvited guest in the garden on Wednesday night…..We are guessing a woodchuck. Scott was doing his daily walk through inspection and discovered that the visitor snacked away on EVERY soybean plant in the 200 foot row!  The leaves were completely nibbled off and the stalk remained like a pencil sticking out of the ground.  Disappointing but we replanted within hours of the discovery.  Edamame will just be 3 weeks later this year.

Scott will start putting up the new greenhouse this week and we are excited.  A “season extender”.  Earlier crops in the Spring and we are going to experiment with trying greens all winter long.  Also, we hope to have all our leafy green crops planted in ground in this new house next Summer season.  This will make life much easier without the row cover.

It was an amazing harvest in the garden this week!  The boxes are bountiful and a few of the true tastes of summer have arrived.

First cucumber of the season.

First cucumber of the season.



Cauliflower-over a pound for everyone!  2 varieties, a purple tinged beauty and a fluffy snow white head.  Next week we should see more of the white snowball variety as it is just starting to head up.  Just delicious.  Maeve ate it as her bedtime snack last night.  Lots of cooking options.  Mashed, roasted and makes a great pizza crust.

Cauliflower harvest.

Cauliflower harvest.

Green Beans- Holy cow!  50 pounds picked off our first picking.  Everyone has a nice big bag for the week.

Cabbage-A favorite we like to grow every year.  A smaller variety that heads up early and is the perfect size for a few meals or a batch of coleslaw.  Flavorful crunchy heads.

Lettuce-Deep green juicy leaves.  Will make a wonderful salad with the cabbage.  These are cute little mini heads that stay small….2+ heads for everyone depending on the head size.

Cucumbers-Just under a pound of assorted snackers.  We are growing 5 different varieties this year and the vines are just starting to produce.  Cucumbers will appear as a staple in many boxes to come this summer.  The vines are loaded with beautiful buttery yellow blooms.

Sugar Snap Peas-This week was the big harvest of the season…we will pull the vines this week.  Amazing harvest and we are so pleased with our “pea season” after last year’s disappointment in the heat. Eat the whole thing-pod and all….Packaged in a plastic bag this week.


Scott picking the sugar snaps high over head!

Scott picking the sugar snaps high over head!


Shelling pea-Nice plump pods with sweet little peas.  Packaged in a green quart box this week.  Eat peas only after shelling.  Pod is VERY fibrous.  Vines will also be pulled this week.  The end of the peas this year.

Zucchini-6 different varieties are in the garden this year.  There were enough for everyone to get a taste of the first picking of the season.  Another staple in the boxes for the summer.

Kale- A BIG! robust bunch.  Many different varieties in color and texture.

Fennel-2 big bulbs for everyone.  Kale and fennel make a delicious salad.


Cauliflower, cucumbers, zucchini, parsley, turnips, cabbage, swiss chard

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We survived the daily rains of last week, just shy of 5 inches total.  As mentioned before what a different season from last year.  We were far beyond desperate for rain at this time last year and now this season fearful it will never end.  It was difficult to get in the garden at times because it was a soupy mess, we had to modify our planting and harvesting schedule a bit, Scott had to dig trenches to drain water off and we had to wear funny HOT! rain pants all week and still got wet.

Our favorite outfit this week.....

My favorite outfit this week…..why Scott bought me size Large is beyond me! Nice and “roomy”.

Lettuce Harvest.

Lettuce Harvest.

The rain seems to be behind us (for now) and we only lost a few rounds of lettuce that could not handle the extreme moisture and steamy heat.

The garden grew and grew with all the heat and moisture-and we are STILL well weeded!  We have made several passes through the carrot bed, another pass through the onions,  Scott has all the rows clear and mowed. Neat and tidy.  Several crops maturing….We are excited to see what happens next week… tiny beans on the plants, cabbage heading up nicely, summer squash just getting started, beautiful!! cauliflower, maybe even some cucumbers too!  Summer is here.

We are thrilled with the pea harvest this season.   Last year we were lucky that everyone got just a taste of peas.  Germination was terrible in the early heat, and  then we were picking peas from pathetic knee high vines.  NOT this year….we may need a ladder and the shelling vines are loaded.  Snow peas are plentiful and snaps oh so sweet.  Enjoy!



Itty Bitty Beans on the plants.

Itty Bitty Beans on the plants.

Melon vines starting to flower.

Melon vines starting to flower.

Blueberry Bushes are Loaded and starting to show a blush of color.

Blueberry Bushes are LOADED and starting to show a blush of color.


I just love to take pictures of potato flowers……beautiful.



Every shade of green!

Lettuce-Another beautiful oak leaf variety.

Celery-A surprise appearance….I thought we would be a week or 2 out on this crop.  Lots of celery in the garden.  Another favorite.  Amazing flavor!!!  Nothing like the celery sold in grocery stores.  Delicious in soups, fantastic in salads.  Use stalks and leaves…

Broccoli-This is the Spring planted Broccoli.  2 varieties.  We also have Summer broccoli planted and will plant a Fall cold hardy crop too.

Garlic Scapes-The last cutting in the garlic patch.  Remember these hold very well in the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag.

Pea Medley!!!!!

Snow Peas-2 varieties-1 is a giant!  These are the long flat peas.  Eat pod and all.   We boxed these up in green berry boxes this week.

Sugar Snap Peas- Deliciously sweet.  Eat pod and all.  These are labeled and packaged in a clear plastic clamshell.

Shelling Peas-Shell and eat peas ONLY….pod is VERY fibrous.  Packaged in a plastic bag this week.  Shelling peas are just getting started…..2 more plantings are maturing.

Mint-Peas and mint are the perfect match….a hearty bunch for everyone.  Cut stems and keep it in a glass of water in the refrigerator.

Collard Greens-4 varieties planted of these pretty leaves. Work great for “burrito style” sandwiches or wraps, tasty in smoothies.  A few recipes at the end of the post.

Basil Plant-Big beautiful plants.  We like to grow a plant for everyone to take home every year….enjoy!  We will also have cut basil in future boxes at peak tomato time.

Relaxing in the pool after a hard days work.....

Relaxing in the pool after a hard days work…..

Best Guess for Next Week- cabbage, cauliflower, kale, fennel, parsley, beans??, shelling peas

A note about recipes…..I gather recipes on Pinterest for all we grow in the garden.  If any of you visit Pinterest I have a CSA Board.  Feel free to take a look and/or follow it.  The board is under my name Jennifer Fox.  Also, if you wish to post a favorite recipe in the comment section feel free I will publish it for all to see.  The Madison CSA Coalition publishes a wonderful cookbook too.





Collard Greens and Bacon



1 bag pre-chopped collards from Trader Joe’s (or chard from the store)

2 medium sized shallots, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

4-5 strips bacon

1 tbs apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup water

1/4 tsp white pepper

Sea salt to taste


Cut bacon into small pieces and cook in large saute pan on medium heat until slightly browned. Add in diced shallots and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Add in collards, water and ACV. Stir and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes. You don’t want brown collards, but bright green collards. Add salt and pepper and serve.

Creamed Collards

Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Rose Nguyen

Try this easy method for cutting up the bacon: Remove wrapping from bacon. Place the entire pound of cold bacon on a cutting board, and slice into 12-inch cubes.

Worthy of a special occasion

Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings
Recipe fromSouthern Living

Recipe Time

Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Prep Time: 20 Minutes


  • 4 1/2 pounds fresh collard greens*
  • 1 pound bacon, chopped $
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 large onions, diced $
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Béchamel Sauce


  1. 1. Rinse collard greens. Trim and discard thick stems from bottom of collard green leaves (about 2 inches); coarsely chop collards.
  2. 2. Cook bacon, in batches, in an 8-qt. stock pot over medium heat 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in stock pot. Reserve 14 cup bacon.
  3. 3. Add butter and onions to hot drippings in skillet. Sauté onion 8 minutes or until tender. Add collards, in batches, and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until wilted. Stir in chicken broth, next 3 ingredients, and remaining bacon.
  4. 4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or to desired degree of tenderness. Drain collards, reserving 1 cup liquid.
  5. 5. Stir in Béchamel Sauce. Stir in reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, to desired consistency. Transfer to a serving dish, and sprinkle with reserved 1/4 cup bacon.
  6. *2 (1-lb.) packages fresh collard greens, thoroughly washed, trimmed, and chopped, may be substituted.

John Currence, City Grocery, Oxford, Mississippi, Southern Living


 Citrus Collards

citrus collards with raisins redux

Serves: 4 Edit


U.S. Metric Conversion chart
  • 1 tablespoon(s) sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) sea salt, combined with above sea salt
  • 2 bunch(es) (about 12 cups) collard greens, ribs removed, cut into strips, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 clove(s) garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup(s) raisins
  • 1/3 cup(s) fresh-squeezed orange juice


  1. In a large pot over high heat, bring 3 quarts (12 cups) water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the collards and cook, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, until softened. Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water.
  2. Remove the collards from heat, drain, and plunge into the bowl of cold water to stop cooking and set the color. Drain, gently pressing the greens against the colander.
  3. In a medium-size sauté pan, combine olive oil and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute on medium heat. Add the collards, raisins, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the orange juice and cook for an additional 15 seconds. Do not overcook (collards should

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