Monday, June 25, 2012

Harvest Saturday!?

Daphne's Dandelions hosts the Harvest Monday blog hop.  Since we left for vacation on Saturday, the photos below are really harvest Saturday for us!  Some of what we picked is the same old same old we have been getting for about a month.  But we also have some new stuff coming in.

We picked our second batch of Lazy Wife Beans.  We have now tried the young ones as green beans and the mature ones as shellies.  I definitely prefer them as shellies!

Lazy Wife Beans
More black beauty and white lightning eggplant!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Twenty Days of Zucchini

For the past week or so we have been dealing with a zucchini onslaught.  It is at the point that every time I peek under a leaf and see one I inwardly groan.  I also think my neighbors are starting to avoid eye contact with me out of fear I will force more squash on them.  Something has to change!

So, I am embarking on 20 days of zucchini.  Each day, for twenty days, I am going to make something different using zucchini.  I have combed the web and found some interesting recipes.  I am already excited about this.  I hope my family gets excited too.

My zucchini Pinterest board.

To help me keep track of my potential recipes I am using Pinterest.  I created a board called What to Do With That Glut of Zucchini where I can pin recipes that look like they have potential.  Click on the link to check out the board and the recipes on it

** Since you need an invite to join (but not view) Pinterest, let me know if you want one.  Just leave a comment with your email.

I have more than 20 recipes on the board.  I figure this gives me choices depending on my mood and what is available.  I will try the ones that have the most comments and repins.  I'll also report back to give you the highlights and lowlights.

I actually started the challenge three days ago. So far, so good.

Day 1-Zuchini Tots!  The zucchini tots were an attempt to fool my daughter into eating a vegetable.  As part of the ruse they are called "super cheesy yum-yums" in her presence.  No mention is made of the Z-word.  The good news is it works.  They taste like tater tots and she gobbled them down.  The downside is they stuck like crazy to a well-greased non-stick pan (all the cheese).  After the 20 day challenge is over these have a place in the rotation.

Day 2-Pink Zucchini Smoothie.  See yesterday's post for a report on these.

Day 3- Zuchini Feta Pancakes.  These were already in our zucchini rotation.  They can be a little time consuming but I love them.  The family is lukewarm about them, except for my daughter.  Someone mentioned the Z word in her presence and she has refused to try them.

Tonight I am thinking about the zucchini and red onion flatbread.  I'll report back in a few days.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Things Are About to Get Weird

Okay, I have to warn you that this post may get a little weird.

Right now we are up to our eyeballs in zucchini.  We are picking two to three a day.  I don't like the texture of frozen zucchini and I have an irrational fear of canning (more on that in later posts).  This means I have to figure out creative ways to use it (or people to foist it off on).

Since I am on a diet one of our major standards, zucchini bread from the Southern kitchen goddess Paula Dean, is not a regular option.  My family is also getting pretty tired of sautéed zucchini.  I do have plans for zucchini pancakes and stuffed zucchini but come on, its zucchini after all.  There is only so much of the stuff that my family will eat in a week.

Alright, now for the weird.  I had a rather unorthodox idea today for how to use some zucchini.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Harvest Monday, June 18

This week the garden is still pumping out produce at a respectable rate.  In addition to the zucchini, squash, cucumbers, anaheim peppers, and white lightning eggplants that we have been getting for a few weeks we also got some new veggies.  We picked our first bell pepper,  two black beauty eggplants, and some lazy wife beans.

Today's harvest
What became of this bounty? I am glad you asked.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Yesterday I was out doing my mid-afternoon tomato patrol and there she was.  Peeking out from beneath a tomato vine, teasing me with her blush.  Beautiful green mottled with pinkish red.  I am sure I squealed when I saw it.  I mean, the first tomato of the season is the highlight of the gardening year, right?

I reached in, picked it, and as my 14 year old would say....


First tomato.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

It's Been Nice Knowing You Opalka

We had such little time together, Opalka.  I feel like I hardly knew you (probably because I did not get a single tomato off of you before I pulled you).  This hurts me more than it hurts you.  You will be missed.

Yep, that's right.  I have euthanized my first tomato of the season.  My Opalka.  I have heard it is a nice paste tomato.  Unfortunately, I cannot vouch for that since I have never eaten one.

First casualty of the season.

I am surprised by this for a couple of reasons.

Friday, June 15, 2012

10 Ways to Score Free Stuff for Your Garden

The obsessive-compulsive part of me loves lists.  They are nice, neat and ordered.  They are predictable and I know what to expect. Probably means you can expect more than a few lists from me.

I am also pretty tight with a nickel.  Having been raised by a frugal mother I think it is in my blood.  My ears prick up at the mention of free stuff.  As such, it seems fitting that my first list is about how to score free stuff for the garden.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

An Introduction to My Flock

I thought I would take a break from the garden to introduce you to my flock.  No, not chickens (at least not yet).  My flock is what I call my yard art.  I have wanted something to jazz up my yard for years. My problem was I wanted something different from the ubiquitous resin angels, mushrooms, frogs, etc.  Not that there is anything wrong with these.  In fact, I got so hungry for yard art that I bought an angel for my hosta garden.  But in my heart I craved something different.

I had to have her!

Monday, June 11, 2012

It's Go Time! - Harvest Monday (6/11)

The summer bounty is finally here.  Today my son and I harvested a huge haul from the garden.  Over 11 lbs. of produce!  It looks like the garden has finally decided that it is go time.  Prior to this we had been picking one or two squashes and cukes a day.  We skipped Sunday and today couldn't believe all of the veggies we found.

My son's vision for arranging the veggies!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Get Your Greens on Seed Swap

If you start transplants from seed, and you are not a commercial grower, chances are you have way more seeds than you will ever use.  This is especially true if you like to try new plants each year.  In the past 2 years I have acquired 5 types of lettuce, 3 types of chard and 3 types of kale.  Considering I never have more than 12 of any of these in the garden at a given time, that is a lot of seed sitting around with nowhere to go. an attempt to find some of my seed (and some of yours) a good home, I am hosting a Get Your Greens On Seed Swap.  Participants in this seed swap will exchange seeds for cool weather greens (e.g. lettuce, Swiss chard, kale, collards, spinach, mizuna, mustard greens, arugla, etc.).   Yes, it is June but it is never too soon to start thinking about your fall (or spring) gardens.

So heres da rulez for da swap:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Blackberries Are Here!

Dark, juicy, sweet (sometimes tart!) blackberries.  Yum!  They are one of my favorite fruits.  Last year at the farmer's market we bought two blackberry bushes on a whim (unusual for a compulsive researcher like myself).  One was a Navajo blackberry and the other a Natchez.  We got two kinds because they ripen at different times, spreading out the harvest.

Taunting me with her blackberries.
We came home, amended the soil on one side of the house, and planted them.  They were then forgotten in the mad tomato/cucumber/squash/pepper/eggplant harvest of summer.  I remembered them in February, threw some compost on them, built a (flimsy) trellis, and crossed my fingers.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tomato Disease Prevention-Ground Defense

While I love living in Charlotte, NC, come July my tomatoes do not.  Our hot and humid summers wreak havoc on them.  By the end of July/beginning of August they look like syphilitic lepers.  I have had to do major surgery to remove severely diseased limbs and the ones they still have don't look so hot.

Now, there are a number of effective chemical controls for the various fungal and bacterial diseases that set in here in the South.  Problem is, not all of them are organic.  Since I try to garden organically these options are off the table for me.

The good news is that there are some organically acceptable battle tactics that may ward off tomato diseases.  Some are hearsay (which does not mean they do not work).  Some have some science behind them.  This year I plan to regularly employ a number of them (yeah right, you know what they say about the best laid plans).  So here is my game plan...
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