Photo Friday: Late June Blooms

I’m taking a break from edibles today to showcase some of the things we have blooming here in late June. Every year I plant petunias all around Happy Acres in various containers and planters, and they are all in full bloom now. Out by our driveway I have a large pot planted with Easy Wave Berry Velour and E3 Easy Wave Coral. They are spilling over the sides of the pot, and brighten up the area. We also have Easy Wave Pink Passion in a pot over in the sun garden, sitting on a metal table and chairs along with a few other annuals.

Wave Petunias

Easy Wave Pink Passion petunias

I have Profusion series zinnias planted in containers around the gardens. Profusion Red Yellow Bicolor is a 2021 AAS Winner, and it was a standout for us in last year’s garden. I started several others from seed this year, including the Profusion Apricot which I have growing in a container on our front porch.

Zinnia Profusion Red Yellow Bicolor

Zinnia Profusion Apricot

Out in the Wild Garden, lots of perennials are blooming, including the 2021 AAS Winner Sweet Daisy Birdy. It lights up the area around the birdbath, which is a popular place in summer.

Wild Garden in late June

Sweet Daisy Birdy

The Sombrero Adobe Orange echinacea is a recent addition to the garden, but it is covered in bright orange flowers in its first year. Other plants around the birdbath include several coreopsis which are blooming now, and a newly planted yarrow called Strawberry Seduction. Small pollinators visit the yarrow blooms on a regular basis.

Echinacea Sombrero Adobe Orange

Strawberry Seduction yarrow

We have lots of coneflowers planted in several beds, and they are always popular with bees and butterflies alike.

Echinacea Rainbow Marcella

white coneflower

Honeybees and bumblebees are loving the native button bush. This was a small plant we brought home from a native plant sale, and it has grown to be taller than me in a few years time.

honeybee on buttonbush

bees on buttonbush

Bee Balm is a magnet for bees and butterflies, and the tall red and purple ones are blooming now.

red bee balm

I hope you have enjoyed this look at some of the things we have blooming here at the end of June. I will be back soon with more happenings from Happy Acres!

 

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Harvest Monday June 27, 2022

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We harvested a lot of fruit and veggies last week, and I will mostly let the photos tell the story. Saturday morning’s harvest was larger than usual, with blueberries, blackberries, eggplant, broccoli, squash and a few cherry tomatoes. It was the first harvest of the year for the Centercut and Korean avocado squashes, as well as the Sunpeach tomatoes.

Saturday morning harvest

Two Tempest yellow squash plants are keeping us supplied. This is my favorite yellow squash, with a drier and sweeter flesh than most other varieties.

Tempest squash

The greenhouse cucumbers are suffering under our recent heat wave, but we are getting plenty to eat. Nokya and Corinto are two longtime favorites of mine.

slicing cucumbers

I cut one Stonehead cabbage last week. I plant to make more kraut out of this one, which is my favorite way to preserve cabbage.

Stonehead cabbage

I pulled more Kossak kohlrabi too, and these weighed in the 24-32 ounce range. I plan to use these for fermenting as well.

Kossak kohlrabi along with berries and zucchini

I got the first Korean avocado squash of the season last week. These are a moschata type that are usually used at the green stage, and have a rich flavor I really enjoy. I have Teot Bat Put and Early Bulam varieties planted these year, trained up remesh trellises.

Korean avocado squash

I don’t get photos of all the harvests, and certainly not all the summer squashes when they are rolling in like they are now. I used a couple of the zucchini to make Zucchini Rollatini last week, along with some of last year’s tomato sauce from the freezer. I sauteed some of our broccoli to go with it, and it made for a tasty meal.

Zucchini Rollatini

broccoli with rolatini

We have lots of flowers blooming now, and I want to show off one thing that I am especially fond of. The Wave petunias I started from seed are putting on quite a show now. We have them in planters in several locations, and this one is next to our driveway.

Wave Petunias

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And please take a minute and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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Harvest Monday June 20, 2022

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We harvested a few “firsts” last week, including the first blueberries and blackberries. My wife is in charge of blueberry picking, while I harvest the blackberries. We have been enjoying eating these fresh, and will freeze any extras for use later.  It’s always a treat for me when the berries begin to ripen and we have fresh ones.

first blueberries of 2022

Natchez blackberries

Another first was a harvest of eggplant from the container grown plants. Fairy Tale and Gretel are two that do very well for me in containers, and the plants are usually quite productive grown that way. I am also growing the 2022 AAS Winner Icicle in containers, and they will be ready soon. We love these smaller fruited eggplants when roasted in the oven, or grilled.

Fairy Tale and Gretel eggplant

Another first last week was cucumbers, from plants I am growing in the greenhouse. Nokya and Mini Munch are two slicing types with tender skins, while Excelsior is a pickling type. We often make quick refrigerator pickles with the homegrown cukes, and they are a light side dish for many a meal. We had some for lunch one day, which went well with our panini sandwich on my homemade sourdough bread.

Mini Munch and Nokya cucumbers

Excelsior cucumber

refrigerator pickles with panini

I continue to get side shoots from the spring planted broccoli. I also got the first big head of the Jacaranda variety. It’s my first time growing it out in the vegetable garden, and so far I am impressed. This variety is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower, and the head was nicely formed, with a great purplish green color. I used some of the broccoli harvests to make a Broccoli Salad with Walnuts, one of my favorite ways to eat raw broccoli. More went into a pasta dish I made for our dinner one night. We enjoy the fresh broccoli when we have it in the garden, and rarely buy it from the grocery.

broccoli side shoots

Jacaranda broccoli

Broccoli and Walnut Salad

I cut two heads of cabbage last week, a big one of Green Presto that weight four pounds and a smaller one of Conehead that weighed over two pounds. I used the Green Presto to make a couple of jars of sauerkraut, while I used some of the Conehead to make a slaw. Considering I had aphid issues with my brassica seedlings this year, I am quite happy to see most of them doing well finally!

Green Presto cabbage

Conehead cabbage

Another brassica that’s doing well is kohlrabi. I have harvested over 10 pounds of it already, and I pulled two of the larger Kossak last week. I used these big ones to start a couple of jars of kohlrabi kraut. I have several more of these sizing up in the garden, so it looks to be a good kohlrabi harvest for the spring season. It is one of my favorite vegetables, and we eat it raw, cooked and fermented. The summer squash continues to roll in too, you can see it in the below photo with the Kossak kohlrabi.

Terek and Kolibri kohlrabi

Kossak kohlrabi with summer squash

Kossak kohlrabi

making kohlrabi sauerkraut

All the harvesting is keeping me busy for sure! And it’s hard to believe, but it’s also time to start the fall brassica seeds. I’m actually running a few days behind last year, but I sowed seeds for collard greens, cabbage, mizuna and kale yesterday. I hope to sow broccoli and other brassicas in the next few days.

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And please take a minute and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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Harvest Monday June 13, 2022

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The weather sure feels like summer here, and the harvests are beginning to reflect that change in season. Summer squashes are coming on now, and I cut one or two most every day now. I have already started freezing it for later use, and we have given some some away too.

harvest of summer squash

zucchini harvest

It’s always fun to come up with new ways to use the summer squash. For instance, we use the frozen zucchini in fruit smoothies, as well as in soups and stews. One way we use the fresh squash is to make zucchini nests. Many recipes call for cooking an egg on top of the spiralized zucchini, but we top ours with a mix of ricotta and parmesan cheeses with basil and garlic mixed in. They don’t always resemble nests either! I also want to try making zucchini fritters soon, and this Skinnytaste recipe looks like a good starting point.

zucchini nests

The spring planted broccoli is beginning to head up now, and I cut more side shoots from Happy Rich along with the main head of Burgundy.

Happy Rich broccoli

Burgundy broccoli

I used some of the Burgundy in a pasta dish, with the sautéed broccoli added to cooked pasta along with lemon juice, garlic and parmesan cheese. That went along with some pistachio crusted baked cod we had for dinner one night.

Lemon Broccoli Pasta with fish

I cut the first head of napa cabbage last week. The Minuet is supposed to be a ‘mini’ variety, but this one weighed almost four pounds! That is enough for a batch of kimchi plus some for other dishes. There was some slug damage on the outer leaves but it cleaned up fine with little waste. We had a bit of this one in a stir fry last week. I also want to try stuffed cabbage leaves with some of the inner leaves.

Minuet cabbage

I pulled the first of the spring kohlrabi last week. It too had a little slug damage but that didn’t affect the quality or quantity one bit. One of our favorite treatments is to eat it raw, served with a a yogurt and garlic dip. I added one of our radishes to the plate, and they are keeping quite well in the frig after an earlier harvest. I’ve been making our own Bulgarian yogurt lately, and it works quite well as a dip or for other dishes.

first spring kohlrabi

kohlrabi and radish with dip

We’re seeing a lot of new bloomers in the perennial beds. I have several different varieties of bee balm planted, which hopefully gives the bees a continuing source for food. Bubble Gum Blast is a short variety, and it’s in full bloom now just as the tall red Jacob Cline variety begins to flower. Blue Moon is almost done blooming, having been the first to bloom here. I have also seen butterflies visiting the bee balm, and a Silver Spotted Skipper was methodically going to every tubular blossom one day to get nectar.

Bubblegum Blast bee balm

Jacob Cline bee balm

Blue Moon Bee Balm with Silver Spotted Skipper

The Sweet Daisy Birdy shasta daisy is brightening up the area around the birdbath. The birdbath itself is a popular hangout for many of the songbirds that visit our property and gardens.

Sweet Daisy Birdy

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And please take a minute and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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Harvest Monday June 6, 2022

It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It was a light harvest week here, as I wait for spring brassicas to get a bit bigger before harvesting. Kohlrabi and napa cabbage should be ready this week. Meanwhile, the squash are producing which is a great addition to our menus. I have been helping them along with hand pollination until the bees find them, which should be soon.

pollinating zucchini

Last week I got another of the Astia zucchini, along with the first Tempest yellow squash. Tempest is indeed my favorite yellow squash, and has a rich flavor and drier flesh than most summer squashes.

Astia zucchini

Tempest yellow squash

One of my favorite ways to cook zucchini and yellow squash is a simple treatment. I grate the squash using a medium size grater, then sauté in a bit of olive oil. That cooks away some of the moisture, and concentrates the flavor. Garlic or herbs are a nice addition, but I often go with just a bit of salt and pepper for seasoning. Some call this treatment Zucchini Butter, though I rarely use butter with the zucchini since I prefer the olive oil.

zucchini butter

Happy Rich broccoli gave up a few new side shoots. The other stem broccoli I have planted, Artwork, should be ready to cut soon. Jacaranda and Burgundy are not showing any heads yet, though the plants are big and healthy.

Happy Rich broccoli

And I got what will likely be the last lettuce from the greenhouse last week. It’s been a good run, and I have harvested almost 20 pounds of it since the first of the year. I will wait until the cooler weather of fall to replant. While I miss the homegrown lettuce in summer, we always have plenty of other veggies to eat in that time period. Our hot and humid summers make growing greens a challenge, and the quality suffers.

greenhouse lettuce

Last week we used some of the lettuce for the ever popular (here) fish tacos. I made fresh tortillas for the occasion using a 50/50 mix of white corn masa and White Sonora flour. The flour helps keep the tortillas pliable, while the heritage corn gives them considerably more flavor than ones we buy.

corn/flour tortillas

fish tacos

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And please take a minute and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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