June 30, 2010

Food, food and more food

Last week and this week, we've been enjoying the fruits of our labor.  It is just so much fun to walk into the back yard and pick dinner from the garden.  Here we pulled beets to make a roasted beet, lentil, and goat cheese salad.

We noticed that the potato plants have been dying off.  We checked our sources and learned that this is a sign that it's time to harvest them. We could have left the potatoes in the ground for longer to get bigger potatoes, but new potatoes the most flexible to cook with so we decided to 'dig in' and pull them out.

The big one on the left is the original potato that Tom planted about sever weeks ago.  Once you dig up the roots and turn the plant over, all these small, red potatoes fall out.  It's so cool!

We kept digging up the plants and pulling out potatoes...

until we had a nice little pile.  I made a big potato, basil frittata for brunch with our bounty.

Elsewhere in the garden, the eggplant plants are getting big.

The soybeans plants are just about ready to pick.
Peppers are forming...

as are tomatoes.

And the mystery cucumbers are doing well too.

What do you mean "this doesn't look like a cucumber"?  You say it looks more like a watermelon?  Hmmm.  You might be right.

Funny story.  These plants were in the group of mystery plants that sprouted in box one. One plant definitely turned out to be a sunflower - no question there.  Then these guys came up. The leaves and flowers looked like squash, so we decided they were squash.  Then we saw runners forming and decided they were cucumbers.  If you'll recall in last week's post, we threaded the "cucumbers" up through a tomato cage because cucumbers do better growing vertically.  We were so proud of ourselves for being such smart farmers.

Then last weekend I took a look at the "cucumbers" and realized HOLY COW these aren't cucumbers at all - they are watermelons!!!!

There were three big guys already forming! We promptly and carefully un-threaded the vines out of the tomato cage and laid them on the ground. So this plant has been squash, cucumbers, and now watermelons. I think this is the final mystery solved... unless the watermelons turn into corn or something.  :)


June 21, 2010

Mid June Report

(Sorry about the blurry pictures.)

Some of the tomato blossoms have turned into tomatoes! If all the tomato plants we have produce tomatoes... well let's just say it's a good thing we are taking a canning class from the NC Cooperative Extension Services in July.  We are looking forward to this class so we can become proficient at canning so we can eat food from TYs garden all year 'round.

We caged two of the mystery plants that we have now decided are cucumbers, and they have taken off.

Mother Nature at work on the cucumbers.

This was another of the mystery plants.  Zucchini?

The sun is throwing "hot spots" in this photo, but the soybean pods are coming in like gangbusters.  Can you see them?

(This one came out a bit blurry too.) A single cucumber ready to pick in a few more days.

Peppers doing well...

and the okra is a forest all of a sudden.

Lima bean pods are coming in.  The pods are getting big, but not big enough to harvest yet.

And our single volunteer Sunflower!  This was another one of the mystery plants and it turned out to be a beautiful sunflower.  The seed must have been in the dirt we bought from Atlantic Landscape because we didn't even have any Sunflower seeds to plant.  Cool!


June 14, 2010

Lots of Activity in the Kitchen This Weekend

We have squash, squash, and more squash.  To date we've harvested about 18lbs of squash.  How do we know it's been 18 lbs?  We were weighing it on a kitchen scale until it accidentally got knocked onto the floor and broke.  Oh dear... how will we ever keep a record of our bounty without a kitchen scale?  Resourceful Tom figured it out.  First he weighed himself on the bathroom scale with an empty basked.  Then Rebecca filled up the basked with the squash and VOLIA! we have vegetable weight.

Maizie wanted to do her part and participate.

Rebecca and I spent all day Saturday in the kitchen doing the following:
  • Made two Tex-Mex Squash casseroles - one to freeze, one to eat this week.
  • Made Squash Croquettes for dinner Saturday night - YUMMY!!
  • Cut, blanched, and froze about 9lbs of squash - we will use it in the fall and winter for soups.
  • Made Bourbon Backed Beans from scratch - let the dried beans soak overnight, mixed up the sauce, let them bake in the oven for three hours on Saturday and ate them with the Squash Croquettes.
  • Made Energy Bars - homemade, soft, granola bars.
  • Made a batch of Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.
(see remainder of list after next picture.....)

After harvesting 8 cups of basil and 4 cups of cilantro, we also made:
  • One large batch of Basil Pesto and
  • A medium batch of Cilantro Pesto - we'll have this on pasta this week for dinner.
  • We also cut more beet greens and chard to eat this week as well.

This is what it's all about!


June 11, 2010

It's a Real Garden!

We have blooms, veggies, herbs, and more potential veggies.  Here's a rundown of how things are looking this week.

The marigolds are in full swing.

The soybeans plants are doing well and...

they've started to flower. (Who knew soybeans have purple flowers?)

The basil has kicked into high gear. Clipped some this week to throw on our salads and made a pesto mayonnaise for a tuna sandwich last weekend.

The okra is doing it's thing.

This is either thyme or rosemary... can't remember which one I took a picture of.  Think it's the rosemary.

Peppers.  Wish these guys would hurry up.  I want me some peppers!


More tomatoes...

which have now flowered which means tomatoes are on the way!

Lost of flowers on this cucumber plant and yes, that's right, one cucumber right in the front!  We ate that in our salads this past week.

Cilantro heaven!  Tom made kitchen sink omelets this morning and threw in some fresh cilantro. YUM!

Now that's a pretty picture, ain't it.  That's what I call a garden!

We've already eaten one dish with beet greens.  Looks like we'll cook up another one this week...

followed soon by roasted beets and goat cheese salad!

I think it's safe to say that we can grow us some squash!  Look at the size of these two plants!!

To date we've harvested about 5 lbs of squash.  We made one squash casserole which was yummy. This weekend we'll have squash croquettes (patties), I'll make two more casseroles to freeze, we'll cut some up and freeze for use in winter soups, and we'll still have enough coming up next week to throw on the grill next weekend.

This is two transplanted squash plants, and our mystery plants.  The mystery plants have turned out to be cucumbers, a tomato plant, and a sunflower.  We'll transplant the tomato plant to one of the tee pees and get some more posts for the cucumbers.

Green beans doing well.

Black tomato plants coming along and JUST about to flower.

Transplanted tomatoes moving slow, but hanging in there.

Potato patch growing.

This is rose bush that was here when we moved in. Have never done a THING to it and it's blooming like mad.  It's nice to look out the kitchen window and see so many beautiful blooms.


June 3, 2010

Successful Squash

Freshly picked squash this morning. Two or three more will be ready for pickin' tomorrow. Now it's decision time: fried, roasted or casseroled?
(Update from T -- twice-baked squash is a MUST this season!!)