Coming Home – Growing Garden Weekly – 7/5/14

I was away at a conference for 5 days, and then had one day at home before heading back to Minnesota for a weekend visit that ended up lasting a bit longer than expected (a flight cancelation that ended in us getting to spend extra time with friends and $600 in flying vouchers – we were happy). It always feels good to come home after being away, especially when the dogs and garden are waiting for our return. Before leaving, we had arranged friends to watch over both the dogs and the garden, so we didn’t have to worry too much while we were away, but it is still nice to come home. Here is an update on how things are going since we have been back.

Harvests

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July 1st harvest.

When we first got back from our trip a harvest was waiting for us! The cabbage had grown to a monstrous 3 1/2 lbs, more cucumbers were ready to be picked, the peas were going a bit crazy, our first green beans were ready, and the peppers (all three varieties) were exploding!

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It has been raining and thunder storming all week, so I neglected the garden a bit in favor of getting more work done. The morning of the 4th was nice and cool, so I spent a few hours enjoying the garden, doing some weeding, and harvesting more goodies! Our second broccoli head was ready, along with all three varieties of peppers (green and white sweet bells, jalepeno, and green chile), more green beans, and the last of the peas (I even tore the plants away from the trellis to make way for the cucumbers). The lettuce is starting to bolt, so I will be harvesting the last of it over the next week or so, and I was curious about our potatoes, so I dug one up just to check. Still a bit small, but I am excited for them!

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July 4th harvest.

While we didn’t harvest any zucchini this week, the overflow is on its way! I am really glad that I staggered the planting of the two mounds, so at least at the beginning we aren’t drowning in zucchini. Even with one of our mounds behind the other, the two plants producing now have 5-6 zucchini ripening on them at the moment.

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New Blossoms

We just recently got iPhones, so I think I will be taking more photos both at the garden and in the kitchen as we cook up our produce. This week, I got to capture some of the new blossoms in the garden. The cilantro officially bolted, and is now almost taller than the tomatoes!

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Even though they have been completely attacked all summer, the eggplant have somehow produced a couple of blossoms, which I really hope will form a fruit and make it to our dinner table.

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And finally, the pole beans and spaghetti squash are beginning to flower. The three-sisters plot (pole beans, spaghetti squash, and sweet corn) has been going crazy! I love taking pictures of the beans wrapping themselves around the corn stalks (which are now taller than me!).

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Garden To-Dos

This coming week is going to be filled with lots of weeding! With all of the rain we have been getting, both our plants and the weeds have been thriving. I am planning on laying down some straw to try and keep the weeds at bay, but we will see how it holds up. We have a very large section of the garden this year and I am determined to keep it looking neat and growing well.

The other thing that is on my list for this week (and has been for the last couple of weeks) is starting some plants indoors for my fall crop. With the success of our broccoli this spring I want to do a few more for this fall and I want to try growing some brussels sprouts (maybe a couple of cabbage as well).

In the Kitchen

With all of the harvesting, we have been busy making yummy meals in the kitchen as well. I think I will have to start another string of posts about what I am cooking up from the garden, but here is a short look at where our harvests have been going.

First off, the beans and peas that make it home are usually eaten raw for snacks. I only planted two green bean plants with leftover seeds from last year, and they have been my favorite thing to snack on while I am at my computer working.

With the cabbage, broccoli, and peas we made a meal of homemade egg rolls and stir fry (onions, carrots, turkey, and garlic are all courtesy of the farmer’s market). There is still a ton of our 3 1/2 lb cabbage left, so there will be more egg rolls to come, and maybe some coleslaw or cabbage soup too!

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We had some country ribs in the freezer that were on the menu for the 4th of July, but with our harvest of peppers in the morning, we decided to switch it up and do fajitas instead. We bought an amazingly good looking flank steak at the Amish meat stand at the farmer’s market to put on the grill and I made some homemade tortillas (which have been on my list of things to make from scratch for awhile). The final product was delicious!

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On the menu for this coming week:

With some fresh blueberries from the farmer’s market I am going to make some of my favorite blueberry zucchini muffins, and I might even enter them into a blueberry baking contest this weekend hosted by a local orchard.

More egg rolls and stir fry! We purchased some ground pork from our Amish meat stand friends to add to the cabbage and carrots for our egg rolls, and the peas have been staying very fresh in the fridge so we will probably try and eat them up rather than freeze them.

Pot pies. Over the last few months I have perfected a homemade chicken pot pie recipe that Andrew and I absolutely love. With the peas, potato, and broccoli from the garden I think I will try to whip up one later this week.

Pickles! With the cucumbers from the garden, it is time to make another batch of pickles. Even though it is a bit more work, I think I will can these in a hot water bath to seal them up and store them away.

Technology Plug

With the purchase of our iPhones, we have been exploring how technology can add to our everyday life experiences. Even though this mostly doesn’t have anything to do with our garden, I wanted to start keeping track and sharing some of the cool Apps that I have been exploring on my phone. After meeting a few other beer-loving people at my conference a couple of weeks ago, I was introduced to the App Untappd. It is a great way to keep track of the beer you like and (more importantly) don’t like, to help you find new beers and breweries, and to add a little bit of gaming to your beer drinking (you can earn badges as you check-in more varieties or for certain events). Andrew and I are hooked.

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Our 4th of July brewery of choice: Founder’s Brewing Company out of Michigan. Love their All Day IPA Session Ale and had a taste of their hop-crazzy Devil Dancer Triple IPA.

 

That is all for this week. Keep an eye on my Twitter feed (@runningwcharley) for daily updates as I have been enjoying posting things from my new phone. 🙂

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