Garden snapshot, May 2014

The garden snapshot is back! I’ve been trying to post these photos for about a month, so I hope you’ve got a while to read this…

A late spring freeze got all my fruit this year. I covered all the trees, but it wasn’t enough. Of course, immediately afterward I read a tip about stringing Christmas lights on small trees to provide extra warmth. I have to try that next time! I took these photos before the fruit fell off. T_T

I got a ton of stuff done in the garden after it warmed up a bit. Here’s what it looked like earlier this month.

20140421-174410.jpg At this point I had planted cucumbers, zucchini, corn, peas, lentils, onions, leeks, thyme, dill, cilantro, lettuce, kale, arugula, spinach, bok choy, squash, pumpkins, watermelon, and cantaloupe.

Here were all the little bok choy plants. They have since bolted prematurely, so I won’t be getting any bok Choy this year.

Here is the garlic then.

And now. It’s looking great this year, although I didn’t plant nearly as much of it.

20140524-104037-38437169.jpg Here are the strawberries a few weeks ago, which I just started picking last week.

20140524-104204-38524458.jpg This zucchini plant had just come up.

20140524-105045-39045662.jpg And here they are now. They seem to be off to a slow start this year.

20140524-104450-38690702.jpg Check out the corn in perfect little squares!

20140524-105733-39453865.jpg This year I’m using a garden stamp to plant my seeds. It’s such a simple yet brilliant tool for square foot gardening! And the best part is that I don’t have to bring a measuring tape to the garden any more. When we installed the edging I placed the stakes every two feet and stapled the plastic pathways every foot. Between that and the garden stamp my plants are perfectly spaced, which makes me so happy. And the perfect corn is a little taller now.

20140524-110208-39728540.jpg These peas had just sprouted.

20140524-110330-39810486.jpg Last week I made a pea trellis. We already had the bamboo poles, so I just attached some pea netting. I really like the way it turned out.

20140524-110451-39891877.jpg Right behind the peas are the lentils I decided to try. Neither of the seed companies I ordered from carried lentils, so I just got some from the bulk section at Earth Fare. Nearly all of the French lentils germinated, but only a few of the pink ones did. I’m very interested to see if they produce well. They’re pretty little plants.

20140524-111034-40234758.jpg Right beside those are the parsnips.

20140524-111140-40300186.jpg And green onions.

20140524-111312-40392216.jpg I decided to try a new trellis system for the tomatoes this year. Most of the varieties I grow are indeterminate, and the regular tomato cages weren’t cutting it (although I think they’ll be perfect for the peppers and eggplant). We had great success with using cattle panel as a giant trellis archway last year, so we bought a few more panels and cut them to size for the tomatoes. I think they’ll work great.

20140524-112055-40855846.jpg I just finished planting the peppers and eggplant last week. I’m trying Anaheim peppers this year (poblanos were too spicy!) and several kinds of eggplant, which look better than ever.

20140524-112242-40962950.jpg This is cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli right after I transplanted them.

20140524-112929-41369714.jpg And yesterday, from a different angle.

20140524-113053-41453238.jpg The mesclun greens are finally big enough to be picked. I’ve been waiting forever for salad!

20140524-113254-41574916.jpg These are the beans from earlier. I’m trying more drying kinds this year. I’ve had great luck with growing beans, but a surplus of green beans which Matt isn’t that fond of.

20140524-113522-41722891.jpg They grow fast! Fava beans, chickpeas, and edamame are there too.

20140524-113614-41774668.jpg The squash and pumpkins are just getting started. This bed really needs mulching before the weeds take over…

20140524-113711-41831750.jpg Last but not least, here are the potatoes.

20140524-113750-41870028.jpg This photo was taken just two weeks later. I can’t believe how fast they’re growing! It’s going to be a good year for potatoes.

20140524-113946-41986228.jpg And very last, sweet potatoes.


December Harvest

This summer I tried growing sweet potatoes for the first time. Since my regular potatoes didn’t do so great I didn’t have high hopes for the sweet potatoes. But when I dug them the other day I was pleasantly surprised! See those brown vines all along the fence? Those are my plants. Or were. You know sweet potatoes are ready to harvest when the vines die.

When I was digging them it became apparent that I’d had some sort of burrowing visitors who helped themselves to a sweet potato snack along the way. Can you see those little teeth marks?!

But I still ended up with a garden tote full of potatoes (including some Russian banana fingerlings that eluded me the first time).

Since I had all those potatoes plus carrots and parsnips just waiting to be picked, it was about time to make some roasted winter vegetables. I like to use this recipe from Vegetarian Times as a guide. Of course, you can use whatever vegetables and herbs you like. I used sweet potatoes instead of acorn squash, pumpkin (leftover fall decorations!) instead of butternut squash, and sage instead of basil (because that’s what was in my garden).

Chop up your vegetables and toss with olive oil and herbs (and hope you have a roasting pan big enough for all of it, unlike me)…

Pop in the oven for 45 minutes and…ta da! I love that everything in this recipe except the pumpkin came from my garden.

Herb-Roasted Winter Vegetables (adapted from Vegetarian Times)

Serves 6

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
12 whole fresh sage leaves
1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1 pumpkin, cut into ½-inch-thick slices (2½ lb.)
1 lb sweet potatoes
2 medium carrots, cut into ½-inch thick slices (1 cup)
2 medium parsnips, (or 1 giant parsnip!) cut into ½-inch thick slices (1 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan.

2. Whisk together oil, rosemary, thyme, and garlic in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips; toss to coat. Spread in single layer on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with sage leaves. Roast 45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, stirring every 15 minutes.

nutrition facts