the summer garden

Phew, it’s September 3rd and the garden is in full force! garden mid summer Corn is ready, fresh sweet corn   swiss chard has been prolific, swiss chard tomatoes are slowly coming along first ripe tomato beets have been the sweetest ever and the green beans were fabulous and abundant! beets and carrots beets and green beans Not sure how to cook beets? Check out this recipe for roasted beets – d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s !   This year, Finn and I have been able to keep up with the squash bugs, so we have lots of buttercup squash growing! Yeah! buttercup beginnings squash beginnings squash And the flower beds have done well despite the japanese beetles trying their best… front garden lilly garden spider We’ve been enjoying swiss chard in just about everything and I’ve even found a great recipe for a home made puff pastry, homemade puff pastry so I’ve made a few of my swiss chard tarts this summer too. Recipe for pastry in a future post! Oh, I can’t forget my garlic! fresh garlic garlic before cleaning opened bulb Wow. I can’t believe it has taken me so long to grow this simple and scrumptious bulb. Thank you Mim for giving me the garlic to plant and the encouragement! Store bought garlic pales in comparison to homegrown. Actually, there is no comparison. If you have space, at all, try planting garlic. While it’s not an expensive herb, it is a delicious and easy homegrown plant to try. Bonus, the scapes garlic scapes which come out in early summer… While school has begun, summer weather still abounds and there is still plenty to be harvested and enjoyed. Lettuce is growing again, spinach is planted and more beets and carrots are on their way…and some plants are also going to seed…gather, dry and save those seeds! Below are pansy seeds, which I started from store bought seeds, though this year will start from my own seeds. pansy seeds If you can’t or simply don’t garden, don’t forget to check out your local farmers markets – they are fabulous resources for fresh, organic fruits and veggies and they may cost a bit more than the supermaket, but not that much more and many accept food stamps too! What you may spend in dollars saves your health and supports your community. So do check them out! How does your garden grow? Anything exceptional this year? Anything troublesome? late august in the garden Happy gardening and eating! enjoy!

the end of June is here

The end of June is here which means picking fresh strawberries, enjoying garlic scapes and the the first harvest of swiss chard and kale…plus, the 4th. of July is just around the corner!

strawberries

 

more strawberries

 

strawberries 2

 

garlic scape

 

garlic scapes

 

Yeah for all things homegrown!

 

Enjoy.

planting garlic

Have you ever done it?

I hadn’t until last week.

I was given three beautiful home grown (thank you Mim) heads of garlic and decided this was the year I would experiment with growing garlic…we enjoyed one head and used these two for planting…

1. garlic heads

So I asked a few gardener friends of mine if they had ever grown garlic and most had…all agreed it had to be the simplest bulb to grow.

Finn and I broke apart each bulb and then headed out to the garden…

2.top view peeling

3.Finn peeling garlic

4. heads pulled apart

5. close-up cloves

It was a beautiful day. The mosquitos were quiet, the sun was warm and the ocean could be heard…

7.holding clove

It’s so simple – if, of course you already have a garden or area to plant in…

Make little holes. We went about 2 inches apart. 2 – 3 inches deep.

6. make holes

Pop a clove in.

8. little hand over row of holes

Cover.

9. cover with dirt

Cover well.

10. cover well

Tamp gently.

11. tamp down

Water (not shown). Finn moved right along to picking carrots…but you can see the completed row of garlic behind him…

pulling carrots

Mulch garlic bed well for winter (still have to do). Wait for spring…

So, have you ever planted garlic?

black bean, kale and goat cheese nachos

Nachos are a simple and easy dinner idea, especially for those hot summer nights – very little cooking time (thus heat!)…corn chips, beans or meat, cheese (goat or cheddar) and toppings – that’s it. Prep is uncomplicated. Use your judgement and preferences for quantities – adding more or less as you like – here’s what I used;

1 large bag organic corn chips – tortilla chips

1 can black beans or as I used 1.5 cups freshly cooked black beans

1 small onion

crumbled goat cheese (about one small log)

1 good handful finely chopped kale (about three – four handfuls before cutting and cooking)  

two good dashes of cumin

one good dash of chipotle

freshly chopped tomatoes

fresh cilantro or as I used, fresh basil – it was so good!

2-3 limes

salt and pepper to taste

What to do;

cook beans if necessary. partially rinse beans, reserving about 1/4 cup of cooking or can liquid.

chop onion and saute in olive oil or butter until translucent and or slightly browned. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

add chopped kale – saute quickly until it becomes emerald green.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

add rinsed beans, tomatoes and spices.

heat beans through – add as much liquid as necessary to give it a slight ‘broth’ … adjust seasonings to taste.  Let flavor (simmer) for a short time.

Meanwhile, spread one layer of chips on cookie sheet.

Use slotted spoon to pour bean mixture onto chips (this way you’ll get enough ‘juice’ without the chips becoming soggy) – be generous.

Top with cheese and then another layer of chips, beans, and cheese

Place under broiler until cheese melts (a few minutes only)

Serve and top with salsa, sour cream, avocado and fresh lime juice.  Add a side salad and rice – dinner is served!

Substitute chicken or beef for beans and you have a meat eaters meal or mix it up and use beans and meat…instead of kale, swiss chard or spinach could be used (eat your greens) or omit all together … cheese is up to you. Great for lunch, parties, dinner or as an appetizer…Nachos – eat them up, yum!

growing and growing

The baby’s are growing up – the baby plants that is…the basil is becoming so incredibly fragrant (and big), the tomato plants have that wonderful green tomato smell which reminds me so much of summer, the parsley leaves are a good inch across, the sunflowers are getting taller, the marigolds are growing steadily, cilantro is just starting to take off and the cucumber seeds were just planted yesterday…Outside things are really taking off too – not at all like indoors, but seedlings are finally beginning to appear (I was beginning to worry…) the swiss chard is just popping it’s crimson head through the soil, the kale seedlings each have two leaves, the lettuce is really beginning to look like lettuce allowing me to know for sure, they aren’t just weeds growing, the beets are also pushing through…oh I love beets – homegrown roasted beet, goat cheese and walnut salad – YUM!

OK, I love most vegetables – roasted fennel, green beans slightly steamed and then topped with lemon butter (fennel + green beans planted when warmer), swiss chard sauteed with caramelized onions topped with ricotta on puff pastry, kale and potato soup, spinach with nearly everything, freshly picked corn on the cob, vine ripened fresh from the garden (not the stuff trucked across America) tomatoes sliced and sprinkled with just a bit of sea salt – WOW – or even better – the classic, thickly sliced just picked tomato topped with thinly sliced fresh mozzarella (not the shredded stuff) and then ribbons of basil tossed on top with a drizzle of balsamic and olive oil – divine – this is why I grow vegetables – it’s a labor of love – plant seeds, tend them, eat, be happy.

Baby basil then…

Baby basil now…

I use recycled cardboard egg cartons topped with plastic wrap (I re-use plastic wrap for additional plantings) to start the seedlings, then I transplant into plastic pots which I picked up at my local transfer station for free – recycling at its best. Even the plastic boxes holding all the individual boxes were recycled, as were the wooden crates I use to house other fledgling plants until the are ready to move outdoors…

I thoroughly wash each pot after each season and store away to use for the next season…even my garden shovel, wheelbarrow, hose and nozzle, the gate to the entrance of my garden and the posts on either side and some of my fencing have been free via my local swap shop…if you buy potted plants, give the plastic pots to someone who grows their own or try and re-use them yourself or ask the garden center when you purchase, if they recycle pots…get creative.