July Garden Gallery

What a strange growing season it’s been. The rain just didn’t stop in June and the first half of July, which really seemed to wreak havoc on all the plants’ usual growing habits. But now, finally, the heat has turned up, things are drying out (a bit) and lots of growth is happening all over the garden. Here’s a look!

What’s new in your garden? Has the weather behaved in your neck of the woods? Do tell!

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June Garden Greenery

We are back from a wonderful vacation in Ocean City, New Jersey. As much as I wanted to stay longer, gathering shells and soaking in the sun, I knew real life needed my attention back at home. Not to mention a growing garden, and a grumpy cat! So here I am, back to reality, and thankfully, back to gardening. Here is what the garden has been up to.

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The garden enclosure has been busy lately! The shelling peas are giving up their last pods…this was my first year growing peas and I loved it. I will definitely plant these every year. Shelling them is so therapeutic.

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…and right beside them are the bush beans ready to take their place once I clear out the peas. I planted plenty so we should be in great supply for summer and freezing.

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I’ve had mixed luck with my tomatoes from seed this year – some are doing great, some seem stunted. The three tomato plants in my enclosure (Cherry Lizzano, Gardener’s Delight, and Box Car Willie) are thriving, showing nice growth while I was gone. Here’s the Cherry Lizzano earlier this week – he’s even taller now, stretching out over the rungs that are above it in this picture:

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Sadly, the tomatoes I planted in pots on the deck are not thriving as they should (too much rain, maybe? It has been quite wet.) I might have to swing by the garden store and purchase some heirloom tomato plants to replace the Cherokee Purple on the deck. Ironically, The best looking tomato is this guy:

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This heirloom is a volunteer from last year, most likely a Brandywine, having dropped from the deck above. In spite of the partial shade and the less than hospitable ground, he’s doing great. Maybe I should plant all my tomatoes this way.

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Last but not least in the enclosure (I have to come up with a nickname for this structure – enclosure is so boring) are my onions. I have planted these parade onions from seed for three years now, and I just love them.

Moving over to the Grow Camp, I have cucumbers taking hold quite nicely:

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Along with lima beans that are eager to move into their neighbor swiss chard’s territory:

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The eggplant seem to have recovered from their challenges earlier in the season and are growing nicely.

The kale was the first seed to sprout and it’s flourishing as quickly as I harvest it:

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Last but not least in the Grow Camp, my bell peppers are already starting to form. Still waiting on the Jalapenos to take off.

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On the deck in pots this year: Okra. I love okra. But I swore when aphids devoured it my first year gardening that I would not bother with them again. Well, I received several as a gift and could not turn them down. I’m using all the homemade aphid remedies I can think of, and they seem to be helping this year.

 

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How has your garden grown in June? Leave a comment and let me know!

Fingerling Potatoes on the Grill

I love this time of year. We’re right on the cusp of summer. This week we have experienced a surge of hot days that have necessitated the use of the sprinkler, water balloons, a generous allotment of limeade popsicles and of course, the grill!

I purchased some fingerling potatoes at the market earlier this week, and while I was looking forward to eating them with one of our dinners, I wasn’t looking forward to firing up the oven to roast them. Enter the grill!

This recipe is just a blank potato canvas. Alone, the way I prepared them, these potatoes are kind of like a steak fry. But you can add whatever you want:  Peppers, onions, asparagus, Old Bay, seasoning salt, garlic… the veggie and seasoning possibilities for this side dish are endless.

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So Long, Squashies

Remember the squash that were suffering from blossom end rot in the Grow Camp? Well, I ended up pulling out the squash a few weeks ago. It pained me to do it, but it had to be done. They were taking up way to much space to just sit and rot on the vine.

Here they are after I pulled them out of the enclosure. A sad sight to be sure, but it did provide some much needed breathing room for my peppers.

I could almost hear my pepper plants thanking me for the much needed sunlight.

The squash at the bottom of the basket were all I was able to salvage from all those plants. Hubberman was able to make a delicious side dish from them, though. He stir-fried them with the eggplant from this picture in a light sauce of sesame oil and soy sauce.

Better luck with squash next time, I suppose! Adding that to the “lessons learned.”

My Favorite Veggie Blend!

This is my current favorite way to do mixed veggies. Nothing complicated here, just pure veggie yumminess. :-)

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First, I just blanched the potatoes and carrots in boiling water for the length of time that it took me to rinse and trim my brussels sprouts. Then I tossed the sprouts in the water for the very last few minutes of boiling time (about 2-3 more minutes, tops.) Then, I drained the veggies and moved them to a roasting pan, dabbed them with a little butter and popped them in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350. Once they were fork tender, I took them out, tossed them around a bit, and added just a sprinkle of white balsamic vinegar and a healthy dose of parmesan. Back in the oven for a few minutes, and then done! I’m making these again on Sunday. Can’t wait!