Monday, July 25, 2011

Gardening Part 6: Oh my gosh! Want some squash???

     When I last wrote, we were fretting about our garden. We still fret, but now it's more geared towards "what are we going to do with all this ___?" (fill in: squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, other). What a difference six weeks make. We still have lettuce and spinach issues, and our carrots, beets, and radishes are questionable, but my gosh, do we have squash.
     We learn something new every day with this garden. Maybe our lettuce, spinach, and such aren't doing so well because our soil is too acidic? Our mulch, which we mixed in with the fish-hatchery dirt, was chipped pine needles. We will need to do a pH test on the soil, but if it's acidic, then why are the other four beds taking off like mad?
     We also learned that you shouldn't direct-sow your seeds when you're freshly frustrated from your lousy experiment with growing seedlings indoors, because you tend to sow them about every three inches to make sure you have SOMETHING. You may want to re-think the placement of that many seeds, because they DO actually grow, and you become stuck with a jungle.
     We learned that pruning is mentally tough--thinning out carrots means you're tossing some potentially decent future vegetable, and I don't know about you, but I feel bad doing that.
     We learned that it may not be a good thing to stick a tiny little zucchini plant in between your tomatoes, because it outgrows and shades everything around it.
      We learned that patty-pan type squash doesn't grow nearly as quickly as yellow squash and zucchini, but the plant's leaves are gigantically huge.
      We learned that one needs lots of zucchini recipes on hand.

     What else? Well, our snap peas are coming in, and they are tasty, but unlike our zucchini, we don't seem to have enough in bulk to pick what we need for a full dinner's side dish. Next year, more are in order. The green beans have leafed out nicely, but no beans are even starting yet (where are you?? we're waaaiiittting....). Tomatoes as always try our patience, we want them so bad, and they take their time getting ripe. Thank god for cherry tomatoes, we've been harvesting those, and our Early Girls have barely started coming in, but they're coming.

Let's get to some photos:

Left: The beginnings of lettuce. Green and red leaf. I don't know if these will work out this year since we planted them late; they may bolt before they get good. Our original spinach bolted when the leaves were only about an inch long.

Above right, our radishes. The skimpy row on the right was our first sowing in late May when it froze that night, and the nice line on the left is our latest batch.

 Look at these squash plants!!! They're enormous! Zucchini in the front of the foremost bed; in the rear bed we have yellow squash on the left, and the right-most plant is the patty-pan squash, which is bigger than the others but still barely starting to produce. The rear bed also has our trellis of green pole beans.

Below is a wider view of the other beds, showing the tomato bed in front of the squashes. You can see the one zucchini we planted as a little thing in between the tomatoes. What were we thinking? We needed one more zucchini???

Take a look in the upper right corner of the above photo. That bed is our cucumber / snap pea bed. The cucumbers are taking over, we have so many of them. I've never seen a "young" cuke, but they're starting to grow. They look like little baby dills, which of course isn't surprising, but I was surprised at how "prickly" they are; they're not the most friendly of vegetables:

May as well throw in close-ups of our squash, peas, and tomatoes too:

 Outside our garden, we planted veggies throughout our yard. We have an old strawberry bed where we planted two tomatoes (our Early Girl and a cherry), a zucchini plant (my god, what WERE we thinking), and a few leftover radish seeds.

       You can barely see the cherry tomato (behind the zucchini) or the radishes, but they're there.

Then, we have three more containers; a whiskey-barrel with more pole beans, a container with just basil, and an herb garden:

I've used the parsley regularly, and now that our tomatoes are coming in, I am using more basil. Need to figure out some things to do with the cilantro; I don't cook Mexican food very often, but I think I can make some cilantro pesto.

Speaking of making food, here are a few recipes I've either copied or invented may be of interest to you:

Sauteed Italian Vegetables:
Slice zucchini, and start sauteeing it in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Add garlic if desired. When it starts softening up, add sliced onion. When nearly done, add mushrooms and cook a little more. Then, add cherry tomatoes or other kind of fresh tomato (chop if using regular-sized tomatoes); cook until heated through/softened. Add fresh basil (and parsley if you have it), sea salt, and pepper. Top with diced pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese (or use feta cheese), and serve as a nice side dish. If you don't have fresh basil, just add some pesto and mix in thoroughly.

Caprese "Salad":
Slice fresh tomatoes, chop basil, and dice up fresh mozzarella cheese. Mix together, and stir in a couple splashes of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve room temperature or slightly chilled.

Roasted Beet Salad:
Wash and trim beets (don't peel). Place in foil packet with a splash of olive oil, and roast for about an hour at 400 degrees. Let cool, and squeeze off beet skin, which comes off pretty easily when beets are cooked. Chop into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Stir in a couple splashes of balsamic vinegar, a spoonful of brown sugar, some ground cloves, and some sea salt. Serve as either a cold salad or at room temperature; a great side dish.

Simple Shredded Zucchini:
Spray a saute pan with Pam. Shred zucchini into the pan. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until zucchini cooks. Add garlic salt and shredded cheese just prior to serving. Let cheese melt on top.

I took the above pictures probably two days ago. Today, when I visited the garden after work, it had grown even more. The cucumbers were almost scary. The zucchini--I swear, three days ago there was one ready for picking and I could barely see any others. Now there is about 4 more ready to be picked. My gosh, want some squash?


  1. Woo-hoo, Trach! Nice crops! You'll have to try some Bright Lights Swiss chard next year or sow a row for fall. Saute with EVOO, S&P and garlic and some cherry tomatoes and dee-lish! I have pictures of my garden on my Flickr site: Enjoy! Hope to see you this fall at IB Weekend!

  2. Hi Sue/Trach! Its me Lani. Thanks for sharing the great bounty you guys created, what an inspiration. Have you made zucchini bread? I LOVE that stuff, better than carrot cake. I'm in Fiji now, and boy I better start a new blog about the veg market in town here - its enormous with veggies I've never seen before. Hope all is well with your hubby and Carly. Aloha, Lani