Category Archives: In the Garden


We fell behind with Lismore updates the past couple of months! Mostly because we were so darn busy in the garden all summer!

Wow – a wonderful year for growing. A bit too hot and dry for some things, and that certainly did challenge us at times. Water was always on our minds. But looking back at it now – we did very well. Lismore certainly gave us a heck of lot of food!

IMG_2431Since we got behind, the next few posts will be retrospective – give us a chance to get caught up. And the first look back must be about TOMATOES!

We had LOTS of tomatoes! We grew 8 varieties this year. Hawaiian Current, Black Cherry, Small Purple, Amish, Best of All, and Principe – these are the Heirlooms we grew from seed. We also had a couple cherry and one Beefsteak from a commercial grower.

Look at these beautiful striped plums – they’re the Amish. Sadly, while they were bountiful on the vine, we didn’t get to harvest many of them. They struggled with Blossom End Rot – it was very difficult to keep the raised tomato beds evenly watered this summer and they didn’t like the inconsistancy. Next year we plan to have a more efficient irrigation system in place.

IMG_2307Once the tomatoes started coming on like crazy, we put that new stove into action and got canning!!

Our favourite tomato recipe this year was definitely Basil Tomato Jam. We made it with a blend of whichever tomatoes were ready at the time. The basil is key, as is the long time simmering … this recipe is a keeper! Last fall, my “homesteading alter ego” Vania, gave me a jar from her precious stock. I could hardly wait until I could make my own batch this year! Well, 3 batches later … and I’m still not sure that will get us through the year! :)

FullSizeRenderThe 3 hours in the pot simmering and reducing really builds a great flavour. Yum!

IMG_2435One of the most prolific tomatoes we’ve grown over the years is the Principe. Small and grape sized, they just keep coming! But with garden space at a premium, I started to think I wouldn’t plant them again next year, and make room for something else. That is, until I use up a pile of Principes in a salsa. It was the BEST salsa I have ever made!

IMG_2437The Principe have a little tail –

IMG_2438These meaty little tomatoes gave that salsa so much body. We did a second batch later with other tomatoes and it was just not the same.

IMG_2422 IMG_2426So the mighty Principe won the taste test and has earned a place in our garden again next year!

Oh no – what on earth are we going to do next year?!? This summer we collected the seeds from 14 different heirloom tomatoes, and of course I want to grow them all. But we only have so much room in the garden!!

And what about all the beautiful squash we could grow?   aiy aiy aiy ..

With a Handful of Beans ..

With a handful of beans, anything is possible! Look at Jack!

It has been a bountiful week! There’s a lot of food coming out of the garden and from around the property. All that weeding, watering and waiting is starting to pay off! I do love the growing part, spending time in the garden is definitely a favourite activity. But equally as much I like doing things with the gifts from the garden. I hardly left Lismore at all this week – I was having too much fun in the garden and in the kitchen.

imageFirst it was the chilies – little hot ones ..

imageAnd then a few milder ones ..

imageInto the dehydrator they go!

imageI love the smell of them as they are drying, but glad we could have the windows wide open. It took between 8 and 10 hours to get them all done.

imageThese will be nice for heating up a few dishes during the rainy, dark days of the Pacific Northwest winter.

imageWhile the chilies were drying yesterday, I started my research on harvesting pears – and am I ever glad I did! I had no idea they are to ripen OFF the tree. I found a great resource on the Oregon State University website and when I tested my pears THEY WERE READY! Too bad we weren’t!

imageWe got the bottom level of the tree picked using our 4 foot step ladder, but we definitely needed to get our orchard ladder sooner rather than later. Off we drove to Home Depot and while they were out of stock of orchard ladders, we did manage to pick up a good 8 foot combination ladder. We have about 3/4s of the tree picked already – 110 lbs. They are now nicely ripening in our basement and destined for McBarley’s, the local cidery!

imageAnd, as if the week could get any better?!? Yes. It’s tomato time!!

tomatoI roasted these lovely gems this morning and we ate them at lunch. Ciabatta, spicy salami, Balderson cheddar and all topped with roasted tomatoes – then grilled to a lovely warm, melting delight!

imagemmmmmm, I do love the summer …