My Internet is still down so this is going to be a quick iphone update on the garden.
Due to our unusual cold weather most of the summer it took forever for the serranos to grow. But once they did man there was no stopping them. Maybe I should blend them up and save them in the freezer because a girl can't make salsa every day.
Tomatoes are still coming off but are definitely starting to slow down and the weather is already turning cool again so I don't think I will have fresh tomatoes for much longer.
The basil... Well... it is still hanging on for dear life but it did not do as well this year as last. I don't know if it was the pests or the soil or the weather but it was a bit disappointing. In an effort to salvage one plant that was turning pale and weird, I lopped it all the way back to the nubs and it is growing back healthier. Go figure.
I have to show you this and explain: at the end if the spring I tossed some carrot seeds in a pot hoping at least a few would make it. One seedling emerged. ONE. This is it. I have no idea when to pull the little booger up! Just for contrast, here is a picture Wonder Twin sent of her carrots:
All that Washington rain is good for something, I guess!!
I'm getting ready to pull out the plants that have lived out their destiny, amend the soil and figure out what to plant this fall. Head lettuce? What else grows in the cold?
Today I had my first harvest of mini eggplants! Can you call 4 tiny eggplants a harvest? Oh well, I'm going with it. Those two purple eggplants are the infamous Bert & Ernie. Kermit is still safe on the plant, growing a little more. The other two are mini green eggplants whose variety ironically is named... Kermit.
One of the challenges in the garden this year was that I have never grown eggplant, full size or mini, before so I wasn't sure when to pick it. I looked up a few articles on the internet and they all said to be sure to pick them before too many seeds form inside. Inside? How am I supposed to know how many seeds are inside until I pick it and cut it open?!
So I guessed and know I know that the purples ones were just the right size. The little green ones were slightly overgrown, too many seeds. Next time I will know better.
Bert and Ernie did not go down easily. It turns out some of the purple eggplants have thorns on them. After suffering a couple of puncture wounds I wrangled them into the kitchen and sliced them up along with the mini green ones and tossed them in olive oil, salt & pepper.
I let them get some good grill marks and grilled off some pencil asparagus I had picked up at Whole Foods. I added that to some rigatoni, basil & garlic chicken sausage, freshly picked basil, fresh grated Parmesan and homemade pesto I had saved in the freezer.
It was a very satisfying and tasty Sunday dinner!
I think next week will finally yield my first red Roma tomato!!
The sun continues to shine and my garden continues to grow! Here's an update on what's happening out in the backyard: As you can see, the strawberries are getting bigger and more plentiful. And they are DE-LI-CIOUS!
I have been anxiously watching my tomatoes, hoping they would ripen soon, but also hoping I would get to the first ripe tomato before any bird or gopher could get it's grimy claws (or beak) on it. For weeks I've had lots of green tomatoes on the vine, but no red. And then while I was watering today, I pushed aside a big leaf and found this little guy: my first ripe tomato! It's a Sweet 100 and it was just that!
And speaking of green tomatoes, look how many Roma's are on the vine! It's very exciting, tomatoes are one of the few foods I crave on a regular basis.
Everyday I water my eggplants and everyday I wonder, "When are those blossoms going to drop?" So I reached down to feel the big flower you see in the front and I discovered a little baby eggplant growing inside! I was so happy, I named him Bert.
And then I realized I had a 2nd "blossom" that also had eggplant fruit growing. I call him Ernie.
But there was one more! A little one that was hidden behind the leaves. I shall call him Kermit. I spend way too much time out in the sun.
These are my little green eggplants, when they are ready to pick they will be just over 2 inches. Just about there! There are too many of them to name.
The Mystery Peppers continue to grow and I am so curious as to what they will taste like. It's kind of like getting the mystery box on Chopped.
There is no longer just one bell pepper, there are many! I used to wonder why they had such weird shapes and now I can see the reason. When they grow, they get lodged in between the stalks, causing them to have weird indentations and lumps. It won't affect the flavor, though!
I lopped off the basil last week and it's already grown back. I will have to do another Basil Harvest soon!
My succulent garden is still surprising me. I found blossoms all over most of my plants last week and this week I found this... stalk... growing out of the Happy hens-n-chicks succulent. I think it might bloom... or it is an alien coming to take over the planet? If so, I hope it kills snails.
Lots of food growing out there, next week should bring a mini-harvest!!
The sun finally came out here in the Sunshine State... hooooray! And the garden just soaked it up. Do you remember this picture?
Look at it now just barely 2 weeks later:
Just 2 weeks later and it has grown enough for this huge bowl of greens plus some:
That whole bowl of mesclun only cost me approximately $.20! A sprinkle of seeds, a little bit of water (mostly rain), a little bit of fertilizer & soil, and I have enough lettuce to last the whole the week! The books all say it will come back after I cut it down, we'll see....
My eggplants, despite the earlier battle with earwigs, are thriving as well:
Those beautiful purple blooms are going to beautiful purple eggplants before you know it!
The green onions rooted well and are ready to be plucked out of the pot whenever I need one.
It's alive, it's alive!! My basil is making a great comeback after all the unseasonal rain and pests. I'm so relieved and I am so looking forward to the first caprese salad of the season.
And speaking of caprese, my first tomatoes are just about 2 weeks from being picked! Look at those little green nuggets, I can hardly wait!
All in all, it's a been a fruitful 2 weeks of sunshine and growing in the garden. Fingers crossed... maybe I'll get to pick a cherry tomato or two next week...
It comes like a thief in the night in the form of slimy slugs:
And they slink their way onto my precious plants and turn my eggplant leaves into lace:
These dark evildoers are hiding under every pot:
They try to scare me with their pinching butts but I have news for them... I have earwig bait. I really hope the neighbors weren't outside while I was in the backyard sprinkling the earwig bait yelling, "Die suckers, die!!!" Oh well.
This morning I walked out to the garden and found this catastrophe:
I have a list of suspects but this guy is on my most wanted list:
He cannot resist the garden. He thinks I planted it for him. He is driving me crazy.
Despite my battle with dark forces, there are some good things going on in the garden.
My cilantro is going crazy! Which is very exciting for me because last time I tried to grow cilantro the bunnies refused to let it grow bigger than nubs. I have already used my cilantro on quesadillas, salads and avocado salad. Love it!
Know what this is? It's a bell pepper! It's growing so fast and already has blooms on it. I can't wait to see tiny peppers growing.
My tomatoes are growing well too. I planted 3 different varieties and the earliest one is blooming already. That yellow bloom is going to be a tomato very, very soon.
Despite the unseasonable rains and cold, I still have tiny strawberries growing. Someday the sun will come out and I will have some full size berries to eat.
I threw some lettuce seeds out a couple of weeks ago, not certain if they would come up. Oh me of little faith! Within 3 days they sprouted and very soon I will be able to go out back and pick my own salad leaves. I'm pretty excited about it!
It has been nothing but rain, rain, rain this past week so my basil is just depressing. I'll be lucky to save any of the plants I already planted. Oh well, I'll just buy more and do my best to revive the rest. Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me!!