Saturday, June 25, 2011

2011 Vegetable Garden Update #2

My, oh my, how time flies when you have a vegetable garden to attend!  
Produce from one day's harvest!  Yikes!!!
Do you see all that produce?  I am thinking about putting it out by the road with a sign that says 'Free Produce' today.  I picked all of this yesterday morning.

Wednesday morning we experienced our first rainfall since February.  Our garden just soaked it in...and now the plants look all happy and fresh.  There is nothing like a fresh drink of cool water when you have only been getting chlorinated water from the local water company for so long. 

Even though our plants sure did enjoy it, we are most thankful for the rain because it has helped to bring a wildfire under control that started about a mile north of us on Father's Day.  Just that few hours of rain brought that fire from 25% controlled to 75%!  The last time I checked there were up to 1,800 people out of their homes, about 10,000 acres and 30 plus homes destroyed.  While we escaped any threat of danger, we realize that had the winds been blowing from the north instead of the south...we would have been one of those 1,800 hoping to have a home to which we could return.

As the rains fell on Wednesday morning and our hearts did a 'hallelujah' dance, my mind was burdened by the 60 pounds of tomatoes that were sitting waiting for me to do something with them.  I did what any good gardener would do...I took the day off of work and declared it 'Salsa Day'.  I sent all three children who live at home a text message letting them know that they were to report to duty by noon. 

Meanwhile, I processed the tomatoes for peeling and coring so that once the rest of the family arrived we could get moving!  By the end of the day we had put up 31 pints of Salsa...from unbelievably hot to just plain hot...and 4 quarts of spaghetti sauce.  Plus, we had put 6 pint bags of purple hull peas in the freezer.  After a ten hour day, I was exhausted!  But there were NO tomatoes sitting on my counter tops (until the next morning)!!!!  Jim made me a spaghetti dinner and I fell into bed content.

The garden is doing great, but we have had a few 'oops' moments.  For one, we planted our summer squash and cucumbers in consecutive rows.  Now we are seeing squash that are looking a little green...

This what happens when your cucumbers like your squash a little too much!
  ...and cucumber that are trying to develop crook necks!

...and vice versa!!
 Note to self: Plant them at opposite sides of the garden next year!!  The cows sure are enjoying the funky produce though! 

As a result, I don't think I will get as many pickles this year.  The ones that are cross bred just don't taste straight to the cows they go.

We have also lost a whole two days crop of the cherry tomatoes due to the rains.  Most of them burst open before we could pick them.  But we aren't hurting for tomatoes, so I am not too disappointed.

We have also decided that we probably will not plant Kentucky Wonder Beans again next year.  We want to find a more tender green bean.  August has given me the name of the one she likes, so I think we will give those a try next year.

Well, I am I guess it is time to get off of here.  Plus I need to get ready for my Girls Day with Bri and Meagan.  We are going to see Chicago the musical this afternoon.  Kelli is having date day with Matt, so we gave her ticket to Teri (Derrick's mom).

But before I leave, I want to tell you about our summer veggie recipe of the week.  Jim looked at it sideways on the platter, but then he and the boys nearly consumed the whole thing.  What do you do with all those tomatoes?  Make a spin off of the Caprese Salad!

Fonda's Caprese Salad
4 large tomatoes (I used two Beefsteak and two Yellow Oxheart to give it color)
4 string cheese sticks (Mozzarella)
6 fresh basil leaves (can use dried)
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Chop tomatoes into bite sized pieces.  Set aside to drain.  Cut string cheese into 1/4 to 1/2 inch rounds.   Combine drained tomatoes and string cheese chunks, arrange on pretty platter.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Add a few splashes of red wine vinegar (you can also use balsamic vinegar if you like that flavor better).  Sprinkler with salt and pepper.  Cut fresh basil leaves into strips and sprinkle on top.  Sit down with your family and enjoy the fresh taste of summer!

(Caprese Salad is usually made with sliced tomatoes layered with slices of mozzarella from a fresh round ball.  Since my only mozzarella was in string cheese or shredded form, I decided to cut my tomatoes to a similar size.  And my husband, who thinks I cook too complicated, LOVED it!  Definitely a keeper.  Come to think about it, maybe I should fix another one for lunch today.  I certainly have enough tomatoes!)

Until next time.  Bye, y'all!


Brenda said...

Oh my girl what a crop Praise God for rain and homes left! Sounds like a job canning my but look at the rewards later all that good eating we have grocery store stuff. It was a treat to have fresh vegies. Have fun out.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I never knew squash and cucumber would do that if you planted them so close together. You're seeds should have had a warning label on it. Cucumbers love to socialize with squash.