Oct 05

Quick Growing & Versatile, the Hopi Yellow Bean

hopi yellow bean

With less than 2 months from planting to harvesting, the Hopi yellow bean can be picked small and enjoyed like a green bean.
If left for a while longer, the seeds inside will swell and they can be shelled and cooked.

Continuing to let it mature, it will increase in protein and can be shelled, allowed to fully dry, stored and cooked as a dry bean.
If you are looking to replace some animal protein with vegetable, this is a delightful addition to the menu.
Here is more information on protein in beans and legumes.

Like other dry beans, soak overnight before cooking, or just pressure cook them for a few minutes to save time.

Be sure to put some aside to grow the following year.

Botanical name: Phaseolus vulgaris
Variety: Hopi Yellow Bean
Days to Maturity: 50-55 days, plus time to dry.
Growth habit: Vining, provide trellis or other support.

How to grow dry beans from store-bought beans on YouTube
Pole vs. Bush vs. Half Runner Beans

Sep 21

28 Kinds of Veggies and When to Harvest Them

When to harvest corn.

Some veggies make it easy to know when to pick the, tomatoes for example.
Others, not so much.

So here is a chart of many of the most common veggies, and when to harvest them:

Veggie Type When to Harvest Notes
Beans String Pick before the seeds get big.
Beans Shell Let the seeds get plump before harvesting.
Beans Dry Harvest just as the skin begins to turn color.
Broccoli All Cut before flower petals begin show. Continue to harvest smaller shoots.
Brussel Sprouts Harvest when they are big enough to eat. Harvest all before they open.
Cabbage All Pick when the head is a nice size.
Carrots Harvest when the top seems a reasonable size.
Cauliflower All Same as broccoli
Corn Sweet When kernels produce a milky substance when cut and silks are brown. About 3 weeks after silks appear.
Corn Dry When the kernels are completely mature and the husks are drying on the stalk.
Cucumbers As soon as they are big enough. Can be picked larger as well.
Eggplant All Pick when the skin gets shiny.
Beans Fava-Broad-Lima Pick when the seeds are plump.
Jerusalem Artichokes Harvest after the flowers bend over. They are sweeter after a frost.
Kohlrabi All Pick when the bulb is about golf ball size. If they get too big they become woody.
Greens Continuous harvest Begin sparingly once the plants are established and until they bolt.
Melons Most In general pick when the skin begins to change color. It takes practice.
Okra All Pick when the pods are the size indicated on the seed packet. Generally smaller is better.
Onions Bulb When tops fall over.
Peas Snow Harvest before the seeds inside start to develop.
Peas Garden Let the peas get plump before picking.
Peppers Sweet & Hot Pick at any size or when they reach their full color.
Potatoes Harvest the whole crop when the tops begin to die back or before a frost. You can also grapple a few new spuds earlier.
Squash Summer The smaller the better.
Squash Winter Harvest when they are the right color. They can tolerate a light frost.
Sweet Potatoes Harvest before the first frost.
Tomatoes All Harvest whenever they get full color and the fruit becomes a little softer.
Watermelon All When you hear a ‘thump’ when you knock on one- when the spot where they rest on the ground turns yellow- or when the tendril near the stem turns brown.

Sep 07

The Wonderful Jersey Devil Tomato

Jersey Devil Tomatoes

A friend gave us one Jersey Tomato plant last spring saying “You’ve got to try this tomato.”
That kind of enthusiasm usually ends up with a good outcome, and this was no exception.

This heirloom indeterminate paste type tomato produces clusters of long narrow fruit that can get to be a good size, easily 4-5 inches. At their green stage they look more like a pepper than a tomato.

They are a mid-season variety maturing at about 90 days, and they were the second of all our tomato varieties to ripen and one of the most prolific. The flavor really is wonderful. The ones that don’t end up getting eaten will be turned into salsa and marinara sauce.

Jersey Devil Tomato

This is one of the smaller ones and you can see it is still a good size. Some of the others will be weighing in at closer to 5 ounces, at the very least.

Since the plant was a gift we don’t have a seed source, but many of the companies that carry heirloom and open pollinated seeds stock these. They are certainly worth a try!

Find more information on different tomato varieties here.

Aug 26

2 Varieties of Heirloom Zucchini You’re Gonna Love

Somewhat by fortunate accident we ended up with a total of 3 zucchini beds made of 2 different varieties of heirloom zucchini.

Neither variety is very prolific, which means our kitchen is not inundated with green summer squashes.
Since both can brag a flavor far superior to any zucchini we had ever tasted, every harvest is greatly appreciated.

Caserta Zucchini

Caserta Zucchini

Seed source: Caserta cocozelle type from AveragePersonGardening.com

This is our first year with this cocozelle type variety, and we both agree the flavor is outstanding.
Don’t go hiding this variety in any zucchini bread, but instead let it stand out as the feature veggie.

Until you have tasted an Italian heirloom, you will probably think one zucchini is pretty much the same as the next.

Not only are they simply better homegrown, heirloom varieties that have survived because of their flavor are well worth trying.

Trust us, you will be hooked.

Costata Romanesco Zucchini

Costata Romanesco Zucchini

Seed source: Costata romanesco from Johnny’s Select Seeds

Equally wonderful in flavor, we had been growing this variety for many years.

We took a break 2 years ago to do some experimenting with squash cross pollination, but this spring ran across some saved seeds.

So here we are with 3 hills of zucchini, not once feeling overwhelmed, and enjoying the rich flavor both varieties provide.

If forced to compare we could not pick one over the other for flavor.
We would say the caserta cocozelle is a bit more prolific, and the costata romanesco’s more pronounced ribs gives it an edge for appearance.

If you are looking for recipes, we are compiling them on our recipe page here. Many more to come, including our latest Zucchini Burgers on 8/29/14.

Aug 17

Hopi Red Dry Bean

Hopi Red Dry Beans

Horizon Herbs describes this bean as having ‘a nutty taste, cooking to a smooth texture, and incomparable in chili’.

It is a quick growing vining type, with pretty white flowers. Native to the southwestern area of the US, these plants prefer warm weather.
The pods turn from green to red, and they should be left on the plant until they start to dry and turn yellow.

After harvesting, remove the seeds and allow them to continue to air dry before storing in a food safe container.

You can soak the beans overnight before cooking, or just pressure cook them for a few minutes to save time.

Be sure to set a few aside to grow the following year.

Botanical name: Phaseolus vulgaris
Variety: Hopi Red Dry Bean
Days to Maturity: 50-55 days, plus time to dry.
Growth habit: Vining, provide trellis or other support.

How to grow dry beans from store-bought beans on YouTube
Pole vs. Bush vs. Half Runner Beans
Seed source.

Aug 10

Chinese 5 Color Hot Pepper

Beautiful colors of this pepper get it classified as an ornamental, but it also packs a wallop of heat; though not too hot for most people to enjoy.

The Chinese 5 Color hot pepper grows well in containers, making it a good choice to grow indoors.

The plant is a quick producer compared to many others, it was the first to fruit in our garden. The peppers are small, but the plant is very prolific.

The colors change from purple to cream, then to yellow and orange and finally an intense red. You can see the colors here:

Chinese 5 Color Hot Pepper

They start out purple.

Chinese 5 Color Hot Pepper

Purple to Cream, and the final bright red.

Chinese 5 Color Hot Pepper

Cream to yellow.

Chinese 5 Color Hot Pepper

Yellow to orange.

We’re going to start more seeds now, to grow this delightful hot pepper indoors.
This winter it will provide not only some of the colors of summer, but also some of the heat. 😉

How to grow peppers on YouTube.
How to grow peppers on the blog.