Okay, okay...it’s time for a garden update! (sorry Adam...Karl tells me you've been patiently waiting...)
First, I have to start with a quote from my dad. He was here visiting a few weeks ago with my stepmom, and the first thing I did when they got to our house was show them around the garden for the first time. “This is much more impressive in person” was his opinion. Awww, thanks Dad! :)
We got our first ripe cherry tomatoes on July 10...compared to the first ripe one last year on Aug 5. Mission accomplished!
Check it out...my climbing french green beans are loooooooving the heat. This side-by-side comparison shows how tall they'd gotten as of 7/18 on the left, and then tonight (7/27) on the right. I don't even know how I'm going to find the beans in this crazy tangle!
These long, hot days we’ve been experiencing have really made the garden grow like gangbusters! And, uh...it got totally out of control. Weeds and grass popping up all over the place, broccoli turning in to flowers before we could eat it, peas petering out, store-bought tomato cages falling over when the plants got too big for their britches (although our homemade tomato cages are still standing strong!), squash vines invading everything with their creepy-crawly tendrils, nasturtiums vying against the squash vines for the ‘most invasive’ award, bachelor buttons that had growing pains and ended up falling over on themselves, rainbow chard that had bolted and sent up a thick stalk about 6-ft tall and tons of tomatoes in desperate need of pruning.
Oh, and then there’s the issue of our “friend” the mole. That little S.O.B. has popped up in the onions, beside the blueberry bush, in the middle of one zucchini plant, along the edge of the fava beans, all around the strawberry barrel and he even nudged his way up to say hi to the rosemary. And the confusing part is that a few of those areas were supposed to be in the protected zone where we laid down galvanized mesh about 18 inches below the ground. He sure is a persistent bugger, that one. Too bad Henry doesn’t have a nose for moles like he does for squirrels!
But anyway, I digress...
All of the above-mentioned items had me feeling a little stressed out these last few weeks. Luckily my sweet husband knows when it’s time to step in and help talk me off the ledge (so to speak), and he spent several hours out in the hot sun with me on Saturday getting everything back in shape. We yanked out the spent pea/fava bean/broccoli/cauliflower plants, pruned the tomatoes, fortified the tomato cages, trimmed back the nasturtium monsters, trained the squash vines to go where we wanted them to go (hopefully they listen), tied up the bachelor buttons and cut back the thorny little devils (aka, black berry vines) that grow over our fence. And then we released a collective sigh, admired our handy work and quickly realized that we had a lot of ripe produce that had been hiding out in the overgrown garden!
So now this garden is getting to the point where I need to show photographs of our weekly harvest instead of just pictures of everything growing. Woohoo!! :) This past week we harvested a whole lot of rainbow chard (not pictured), a few strawberries (also not pictured), lettuce, cilantro, the last few fava beans and peas, onions, cabbages, cucumbers, beets, carrots, cherry tomatoes and green beans. Whew! Instead of giving a weekly weigh-in of what we harvested, I'm working on finding a sidebar app that I can use to track my running total weigh-in. Anyone know where I can find something like that?
So what do we do with all of this food? Let me share a few of our meals from the past week:
· A version of this quiche-like dish…using onions and chard from the garden.
· Gnocchi stew...also using onions and chard from the garden.
· Taco salad…using lettuce, cilantro and onions from the garden.
· Rotisserie chicken…with beets and green beans from the garden.
· Hot dogs on the grill along with a big salad….using lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, peas and basil from the garden.
And this week I think I’ll make cabbage rolls (I have adapted this recipe to suit our tastes), pickled vegetables (using this recipe) using our carrots and cabbage and some dill pickles as well.
So there you have it. The garden is going strong and I’m likely to be buried in tomatoes any day now!