Good things to eat

Posts tagged ‘balcony gardening’

Bacon and Egg Potato Salad

I know what you are thinking!

Potato Salad?  This late in the season?  Really?  That’s the best you could come up with??”

Well actually….it is PERFECT season!

Because I needed a vehicle of SOME kind to display the fruit of my labours!!

If you’ve been following along, you know that I have been attempting to grow some things in my BALCONY GARDEN over the summer.   It hasn’t been too good of a year for most things, but one thing that grew very well was the crazy potato plant!

Potato plant

But this last week the Chef and I moved house and I was concerned about moving all of the plants, many of them already in ruin from leaving them unattended while we galavanted around Oregon.  But the potato plant was still okay.

However it was big and unruly and I thought that it might be time to harvest soon anyway.   So I hacked off the plant part and figured whatever was in there could handle the move.  ( We only moved about three blocks down the road so….)

************************************************************************************************************

Everyone kept commenting about just how heavy the container was, but I just poo pooed it, knowing that the bottom was lined with rocks for drainage……..

So a couple of days ago, I took a break from unpacking boxes and HAD to have a look at what might be in the potato bin!

I grabbed what was left of the plant and yanked it out.   There was a few nice little, egg sized potatoes attached as well as some tiny grape sized ones.   But I wasn’t discouraged because I knew that sometimes the break off the stem.

So with my little shovel and my hand I started rooting around in the dirt……

What the……WHAT???

My potato

I pulled out a VERY big potato!!  Bigger than a softball!   And then another and another………I couldn’t believe it!!  Just grown in a recycling bin!  Who knew!!

My potatoes compared to FULL size dinner fork!!

I was SO pleased that I had to make something with them……..I wanted to taste their fresh picked goodness!!

So on the first day I roasted all the little ones.  

And today I made potato salad out of the big ones!

Here’s how I made it, but seriously…..I’m just trying to show off my fabulous potatoes!

Recipe:

  • a few potatoes fresh from your garden (or whatever)

Peel them and dice them in large cubes and boil or steam until tender in salted hot water

Meanwhile in a bowl add:

  • chopped up left over cooked bacon ( if you have some and what to use bacon)
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • 1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2-3 tbsp of mayo or olive oil or a combo of both ( to taste)
  • Salt & pepper

Mix all that up in readiness of the potatoes being cooked.   Then drain and  toss the potatoes into the dressing.  Mix well but not too vigorously that you swish the potatoes.

Then add some chopped hard boiled egg if you so desire.

Sprinkle with a bit of paprika!!

Bacon and Egg Potato Salad!  Straight from the garden!

Eat while still warm!

Bacon and Egg Potato Salad fresh from the garden

Advertisements

Growing stuff – July 20

Well the summer is progressing along and things on the balcony garden are still growing.

But the weather this year has been so weird that I’m not sure how things will turn out.

************************************************************************************************

The potato plant is still growing like gang busters.  I’m not sure when I am supposed to harvest that.   I had trouble last year and so they never got to fruition.

Potato plant

************************************************************************************************

The arugula is looking fantastic and we hope to eat some of that this weekend!

Arugula

************************************************************************************************

Bit of trouble with the cabbage.  Seems that some sort of florescent green little worms have been eating their fill of it.  I caught them in the act munching little holes all over, so I “removed” them.   I will have to keep an eye on them.

red cabbage

************************************************************************************************

The beets are doing great, but again, don’t know when they will be “ready” to pick?

Beets

 

************************************************************************************************

 

 

No tomatoes on the plant

The tomatoes continue to disappoint.  I can’t believe after growing them from seed starting in like January….and coddling them in the living room window all winter and giving them painstaking care…..that there is still as yet not even ONE tomato growing anywhere on the plants!   Sad, very sad.

************************************************************************************************

And then the Chard is FINALLY doing very well after a challenging start!

 

Swiss Chard

 

************************************************************************************************

 

And last but not least, I have a very pleasing batch of lettuce going.   But as usual, I had to move it inside because the BIRDS love lettuce and will keep eating it until they fall over!  Maybe that’s the answer!

Lettuce

************************************************************************************************

Happy Gardening!

 

Growing things and veggie storage tips

What with it officially summer now and the growing of produce in full swing, I thought I would share this veggie storage chart with you to help maximize the life of your produce!

veggie-storage

Meanwhile, life on the balcony garden is doing as well as can be expected.

**********************************************************************************************

The cabbages are growing like gang busters!  But cabbage is a hearty plant so I suppose we can count on them.

But I don’t know, in the close up I’m not really seeing what will be a head of cabbage some day.  I don’t think that these big leaves suddenly curl up in a ball??

**********************************************************************************************

The beans are still pushing away.  But doubt anything will come of them with their late start in the season!

Beans

**********************************************************************************************

The tomato plants have lots of flowers now but no little tomatoes yet.   The wind lately has just been relentless and so I think it has tired them out.

Tomatoes

**********************************************************************************************

And the potato plant is so big and strong and flowering.  I only hope that the potatoes growing underneath are half as hardy!   And I really have to resist the urge to “look at them”!  Last year I couldn’t help myself and pulled them up way too soon.   But luckily I shoved them back in the dirt and they kept growing until that “unfortunate incident” that occurred last year!  ( click here to see that )

Potatoes going strong

**********************************************************************************************

I have had an unfortunate development with the patty-pan squash plant.  Heart breaking really, for no apparent reason he seems to have given up the will to live.

It was neither over watered, nor under-watered, nor do I see any evidence of foul play when it comes to squirrels or other critters.  The only variable to report is the incessant wind of late.  Maybe he just got exhausted.  He started off so strong and healthy.   Sad development.

Poor poor patty pan

I did however add some arugula seeds to the rest of his box and they are sprouting beautifully!

**********************************************************************************************

The beets are in fine shape, but I guess like the potatoes, I will have to be patient and not yank them out to see “how they are doing”!

Beets

**********************************************************************************************

And last but not least, I am very pleased to say that the Swiss Chard has made a fine come back.  It was touch and go there for awhile.

Although, I must admit, I have not yet let them stay outside.  They continue to be in the living room away from those nasty birds!

Swiss Chard

**********************************************************************************************

Happy Gardening!

Click here if  you would like to catch up on my adventures in the balcony garden.

**********************************************************************************************

Growing stuff – May 25th

Another week on the balcony garden.

Added a few new friends to the mix.

Got some little red cabbage pants but I only had a shallow pan left for them.   I will start them there and if they grow too big and seem unhappy, I’ll have to get them a bigger bin.

Red cabbage

Also added some beet plants.  They got the last available deep pot because they are underground growers after all.

Beets

Got a couple of mint plants to go in the window box with the oregano.  Mint and oregano…..that should go….they live together all the time in Greek food!!

Mint and oregano

And the potato plant literally seems to get bigger every day!!  But the beans I planted two weeks ago have not yet showed any sprouts at all.  Maybe the seeds were bad, but I won’t give up on them yet!

The Balcony Garden

Growing stuff – May 4th

We are rapidly approaching our “Victoria Day” weekend here in Canada.

To some it is to celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria which is May 24th.

While others use it as the opening to party season and refer to it as “the May two-four weekend” which if you are from around here, or Ontario in particular, that refers to a 24 pack of BEER!

But then there are others who consider the Victoria Day weekend as the kick off to gardening season.   Thought of as…..although this year we can’t be sure…….a safe date to assume it will no longer SNOW!   And therefore safe to plant things!

But luckily here on the West Coast we can get a jump on planting early.

So here is an update on how things are going on the “Balcony Garden“.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

This is the lone flower produced so far from the weird mystery plant that was supposed to be Swiss chard.   As suspected, it seems to be some sort of sunflower.  But the plant is rapidly dying.  Either because the birds are picking at it, or because it is simply too crammed into that pot!

random sunflower

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sprouting potato plant?

And could it be?  That my little potato eyes that I planted what seems only a week ago is already growing?   How wonderful.

They’ll be French fries for everyone REAL soon!!

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Sad little chard sprouts

And I’m afraid that the “real” Swiss chard pants are progressing very well at all.  Not sure if it is because I have them covered with a basket to keep the birds from taking them, or if they are just slow starters?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

And then there are the tomato plants that I started inside from seed!  Those coffee grounds as fertilizer SURE seem to be working!!  They are almost two feet tall now!  I don’t think they are supposed to grow quite THAT big…..they are only Roma tomato plants!   Hopefully they will stop growing tall and start producing some flowers that will turn into tomatoes!!

Out of control Romas

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

And finally as a little treat I really MUST show you a couple of nice Spring pictures from the near by park.

Flowers a bloom

Just waitin around

Last one in is a rotten egg!

Happy weekend and happy gardening!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Tragedy in the balcony garden

I really don’t know WHAT to make of this one!

For those of you who have been following the progress of my little balcony garden since the Spring will know that I have been having some trouble from time to time with the critters who seem to frequent the area.

The birds insisted on eating the seeds and then chomping away at the mint plant and the young lettuce and chard seedlings and then who ever took a bite out of my one lone tomato……?

But this new desecration is just despicable!

When we last left off I had just harvested one lot from the rogue  potato plant and was anxiously awaiting the right time to harvest the bigger plant.

I was eyeing it yesterday, thinking it looked a little droopy and that it might just be a perfect time to pull it up and see what golden nuggets were attached.  But as I pushed the greenery aside to see where I would be pulling from, I spied the most curious and unfortunate of things!

An ANT TRAP!!

Just sitting there on the dirt!

What’s worse is it was a partially chewed ant trap!

 

Ant trap

I don’t know HOW it got there?  Nor how long it had been there leaching toxic poison into that beautifully composted dirt I had been nurturing all year.  But how could we now possibly eat the potatoes growing beneath?  Could we risk that they hadn’t been contaminated by the ant poison??

I was just devastated!  Who could do such a horrible thing?

I’ll tell you who…..that damn squirrel!   He is always parading around the balcony poking his nose in everything and digging away at the plants!  Not even my well aimed squirt bottle will deter him.  He just laughs at me.

One day I had left the balcony door open and was doing something at the kitchen sink and could see something out of the peripheral of my eye.  I looked down and there he was, the cheeky thing, standing under the kitchen table!!!

So the only thing I can imagine is that he stole the ant trap from someone else, found it to be delicious in some way and had come to stash it in MY healthy dirt!  Perhaps he got poisoned before he could finish the job and staggered off?

Lost potatoes

 

I had HOPED that.

I dug up the potatoes and was sad to see it was a nice little yield, but I’m just not comfortable eating them.

Turns out that wasn’t really a problem because as if things weren’t BAD enough, this morning when I went out to the balcony to check on things, my pile of potatoes that I managed to dig up were GONE!

But the chewed ant trap was still there!

This neighbourhood is getting rough!

Balcony garden update II

There has been a lot of turmoil on the balcony garden.

The cauliflowers were all lost, growing like mutants or just rotting.  Prehaps it was because they were living with the potatoes?  Hard to say.  Maybe I needed to tie them up into balls?  Maybe I was just letting them grow wild!

And then today I found  my ONE tomato with a bite out of it!  Someone must have thought it was good!

Tomato with bite out of it

But they won’t win!  We ate it anyway!  What’s a little bite between neighbours?  I just cut around it!

This tomato made beautiful sweet bruschetta!  Topped with a little fresh basil from the window sill!

Bruschetta from my tomato

Then my curiosity got the better of me and I could wait no longer to see what’s under that potato plant!  Well the smaller one anyway.  The one I kept hacking down to let the cauliflower grow!

I was a little disappointed on first pull.  Not too much came out. 

Potato extraction

 But then I dug around a little deeper and found a few choice nuggets!  I’m not all together convinced that there aren’t still some more down there but I didn’t have time to sift through all the dirt.

Freshly harvested potatoes

Considering I never actually planted any potatoes and the plant just had the will to live, I’m thinking anything I get is a bonus! I roasted them up with a few yam parts and they were all sweet and delish!

Roast potatoes and yam

I need to be patient with the other potato plant and let it keep going awhile but I don’t want them to rot.  Then again THIS plant was just part of the other one that I ripped out of the other box to help make room for the cauliflower, but then when I saw it had a bunch of tiny potatoes growing on it, I quickly replanted it!

Escaped potato plant

This is just one plant taking over the place!!

And then luckily after a rocky beginning of being half eaten to death by the birds, the chard and the lettuce have bounced back nicely!

*********************************************************************************************

*******************************************************************************************

%d bloggers like this: