Monday, July 18, 2016

Good Garden Eats and Brewing Pest Control

Good news!  This week we harvested our first 3 pickling cucumbers, each 4 inches long, which we gifted to our neighbors since we were leaving on vacation.  We also harvested two 7 inch zucchinis and some immature garlic heads, which we cooked together in olive oil with salt and pepper then sprinkled fresh chopped basil over the entire dish and served it alongside our hamburgers last night.  It was so yummy and this is all we had leftover.

It makes me so happy when we eat something that was made from homegrown produce.  It lifts me like a warm greeting from the sunshine at the beginning of a summer day.  Speaking of sunshine, I also made sun-dried apricot-lime fruit leather!

We were blessed to have been given several pounds of apricots from other people's trees, so in addition to eating them, I've made an easy batch of fruit leather.
Using 5 pounds, I halved and seeded the apricots, then into the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees before being pureed with 1/2 cup honey and a squeeze of fresh lime juice and spread thinly onto parchment lined cookie sheets and placed in the hot sun for a day or two.

3 cookie sheets of leather drying away in the sun.  I put a window screen over the top to keep the bugs off and it worked marvelously.  I felt like MacGuyvor for coming up with that screen solution.

We cut the leather into strips with the parchement still in place and just rolled them up and put them in a food storage baggie.  Some of the paper sticks to the leather, yet some doesn't, and I'm not sure why.  Oh well, it just means you have to earn your treat by working to get all the paper off.
I may try sun-drying some apricot halves- but I'll have to research that a bit more because I have no idea how to do it properly.

Tonight for our family home evening dessert, we had warm chocolate-chip-pumpkin cake (made with frozen roasted sweet meat squash from last season that our friends gave to us),
served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, of course.  The chocolate chips sunk to the bottom.  I wonder if I dusted them with flour first if they'd stay better in the batter?  Or maybe next time I would just use mini chocolate chips.  Here's the recipe for the cake:

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake

  • 2 c. pureed pumpkin or sweet meat squash
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 box carrot cake mix
  • 1 c. chocolate chips
Mix ingredients, pour into a greased 9x13 pan, and bake at 350 for 35 minutes.  Easy!

In other garden news...

We have pests in our garden this year eating our cabbage, pole beans, tomatoes, and squash plants.  My husband, Steve, got some pictures that will make you itch with the creeps.
Cabbage leaf being devoured.  There is also an egg for the cabbage moth on the very left of the photo.

Main culprit: cabbage moth.

Squash bugs are everywhere.  Steve has been good to go out and hand pick them and their eggs off the plants.  Such nasty work, and he's my hero for doing it!
So, what are we to do?

Tonight I made a homemade garlic-mint garden insect spray, and it's outside steeping until morning when I'll strain it and spray my infested plants with it.

I found the recipe here, and I'm hoping it works wonders.

It definitely looks like a witch's brew, and since some reviewers complained that it stunk their homes up, I just boiled mine outside on my grill, and left the smell to be enjoyed by the mosquitos and other creepy crawlies.

And that's it for now.  We've got some weeding to do and some pests to fight, so it's off to bed for a good night's rest, for tomorrow we work!

Our Happy Acres