How is your garden growing?

OakleyJune 1, 2012

We do this topic yearly, so I thought I'd start it this time. So far we've canned lots of green beans, new potatoes. We picked and canned carrots today, below is a picture.

Lots of onions almost big enough to slice. Way too much yellow squash, but boy is it good fried! Cukes are are producing but not enough to make bread and butter pickles. :(

Watermelon, Cantelope and Pumpkin going crazy but too early to harvest. I'm going to paint pumpkins this year since it's the "in" thing, plus they're so darn cute!

Tomatoes are good, but not red yet. Lots of peppers, both hot and bell.

How is your garden growing?

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I'm farther North so the only crop that is finished is my spinach. Waiting to mature are beans, tomatoes, squash and cukes. Flower gardens doing well.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 6:13PM
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Not any veggies yet, but can I mention some other plants? After my crazy, busy Spring, I haven't done much gardening until this morning. In my walled-in garden, which is small but the only one the rabbits, deer and wild horses can't get into, all I have planted are flowers and herbs. But, my parsley, lemon balm, culinary sage, chives and thyme are doing really well. My basil is limping along for some reason.

Out in my front portal gardens the Yarrows, Almost Wild Rose, Catmints, Pineleaf Penstamons and Potentilla are all blooming.

Out on our property, lots of wildflowers are blooming, as well as all the Prickly Pear cacti and the Walking Stick Cholla. Here's a pic I took yesterday of one of the may cholla on our land. This one is right next to my driveway, over 6-ft tall and covered with blooms. They look so pretty and festive at this time of year . . . and very prickly!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 7:02PM
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Here is my harvest from this morning. Hybrid, cherry & heirloom tomatoes, squash, zucchini, serrano peppers, bell peppers, eggplant and one lone little peach. My broccoli and brussels sprouts have given up and the strawberries get eaten by the birds and dogs before I can pick them.

I give away the majority but keep enough tomatoes to make marinara sauce. I think I'm gonna eat that peach right now!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 7:25PM
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Oakley and Kelly, those are impressive harvests! We've been enjoying tomatoes all week. The first fresh (uncooked) sauce on Wednesday and tonight a quick cooked Sun Gold sauce. Had burgers with sliced beefsteaks one night and will again on Sunday. When dh goes back to work I'll start sharing the harvest with neighbors.

I like to leave the peppers on the plant until they turn red, but I have used a few green serranos. I'm seeing a little blush on the pimentoes.

Neighbor keeps us in squash. We like it steamed with sweet onions and linguine-style with almonds in a brown butter sauce. Haven't had it fried since I was a kid.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 8:53PM
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Lynn, this is probably my worst year ever for basil. I love to grow lettuce leaf basil and couldn't find any this year. Tried to grow some from seed and it just sat there. I have a few plants of Thai and cinnamon basil and one sweet. All of the nursery supply was disappointing this year for some reason.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 8:57PM
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Love all the pictures. Lynn, as a hobby when I was in college, I grew a ton of flowering cactus. They are so pretty.

Natal, I have to hide your picture above from my dh or he'd want to do a "wife swap" immediately! lol. I used to steam, can, make casseroles, but we've noticed the sweet taste of yellow squash only comes out with frying. But we only fry it once a week in the summer and give the rest of it away.

We did something stupid, but funny. We were craving a salad and we had all the fixing except lettuce. We forgot to grow lettuce!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 8:04AM
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Lynn, down here lettuce is a fall through very early spring crop. Since we eat salads almost every day I grow a lot. During the warm months I usually buy romaine and spinach for salads. Used to buy the field green mixes, but it seems like every one recently has wet, slimy greens. The last 2 were from Earthbound Farms. I wrote to them both times. First time they sent free coupons. Wrote again yesterday and told them not to bother sending the coupons anymore. I'm that disgusted with their product.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 11:57AM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

My last frost date is May 15th so there is not a lot to harvest yet. My spinach is just about done so I am mainly harvesting kale and herbs right now. I am about to harvest my first kohlrabi, I have never had it before so it should be an experience. One of my garlic varieties put out scapes and we just finished eating those. We just now got all of the beds built, it took 3 years. Below is a link to the pictures I posted in the potager forum.

Our perennial areas have done very well. It was my first year to get peony blooms and the bearded iris were lovely. My lavendar is just about to bloom and the mock oranges put on a good show.

Lynn, our cholla have not flowered yet, but the barrel cacti have. We had some that were over 7 feet tall but we think last year's temps of -30 did many of them in. I was rather sad about that.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tishtosh's potager

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 12:10PM
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Oakley, sorry ... don't know why I wrote Lynn.

Tish, I've never had kohlrabi either. Let us know what you think. I'd never had rutabaga until a few years ago. Now it's a regular on our winter menus.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 12:50PM
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Silly question, but how do you make an uncooked tomato sauce? I use our tomatoes each year to make and freeze pasta sauce. I think we have one left from last year. We love it. But, I've never done an uncooked sauce. Would you share? You squash looks yummy. I rarely fry squash either - only for a treat a couple of times during season. We love it in roasted veggies, a casserole, etc.

Kelly - quite impressive! Now I'm wanting eggplant. LOL

We didn't do a garden this year. Two trips in the last couple of months and alot going on this summer - I don't mind asking someone to water flowers, etc. but not the garden. I've been buying from local farmers. I'll buy larger amounts of tomatoes later in the summer and do my pasta sauce to freeze. We're concentrating on the landscaping this year. Paid $$ to have the front done and now we're redoing the back ourselves a section at a time. In fact, hubby's working at that while I'm taking a break. :)

Kelly - I forget where you are located?


    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 1:02PM
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Tina, I used to make sauces to freeze, then I switched to freezing tomatoes whole and now I don't do either.

A fresh sauce is super easy and the flavor's amazing! No peeling, no seeding. You can use halved cherry tomatoes or cut beefsteaks into bite size pieces, or use a combination of the two. Add a few tablespoons of a good EV olive oil, a little minced garlic, lemon zest, and fresh basil. Cover and let sit at room temp for a couple hours to allow the flavors to marry. Toss with hot pasta and serve with freshly grated Parmesan. I watched Ina Garten a couple weeks ago and she made a similar sauce, but used hot pepper flakes instead of the zest. I really like the way the lemon brightens all the flavors. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it. ;)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 1:26PM
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In the winter I buy a lot of the bag salads, love them..IF they're fresh. I think it's the store's fault though, they wait forever to set them out and most of the time the bags are past their expiration date.

I have to admit, iceburg is my favorite. Romaine comes in 2nd.

Spinach is another veggie we forgot to grow! Oh, we also have Okra.

Today I bought some Rose Moss for pots. I guess that's kind of on topic. lol Mine didn't come up from last year for some reason, even though we had a very mild winter.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 1:50PM
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I don't grow vegetables, but my sister does. She said some animal got her tomatillo plant from underneath, by pulling it through by the roots. Do you all have many pests?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 2:10PM
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Oh, I'm so jealous! Oak and Kelly, those veggies look amazing! How wonderful to be able to grow your own food.

Natal, I know your garden is spectacular, as is your cooking. Your featured dish looks so yummy and that uncooked tomato sauce...I must try making it. So, you freeze the whole tomato? Do you chop it up and put it in a ziploc before you freeze it? My tomato will be store bought, but I'm going to do this!

I did buy a grape tomato plant and potted it. Hope it takes! I live in the suburbs and have a fairly formal landscape. Raised beds just wouldn't go over here!

A vegetable garden is a beautiful thing.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 2:38PM
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Where the heck do you people live?! We don't even plant until May 24th weekend. Rhodos are just out and because spring was a little cooler this year they are beautiful and the Camilla was gorgeous for the same reason. But veggies - ask me at the end of July.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 4:31PM
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Stinky, the tomatoes are frozen intact. When you're ready to use them a brief rinse under cold water will allow the skin to slip off easily. Of course the frozen tomatoes are only good for using in cooked dishes like sauces or soups.

Blfenton, I'm in southern Louisiana. By the end of July my tomatoes will be history. Some years I keep a few plants in the garden to try for a fall harvest. Last year I had one plant that was still producing in early December.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 4:48PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

Natal, is there a special tool for getting the zucchini so uniform or do you just have superior knife skills? I will let you known on the kohlrabi, should be some time this week. I have mashed rutabagas with potatoes and do like them. I hope to branch out more this year. I just need to get more seed. I love Ina Garten's recipe with crispy shallots on top, although the shallots are probably my favorite part of that recipe.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 5:00PM
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Thanks, Natal! I also wondered what Tishtosh is wondering about the zucchini & how you got it that way...faux linguini!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 5:08PM
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Tish, I use a julienne peeler.

Speaking of Ina and shallots ... have you tried her caramelized shallots? OMG! I love to make them on the rare occasion that dh grills steaks. A match made in heaven! I sub balsamic for the red wine vinegar.

Caramelized Shallots

Here is a link that might be useful: Kuhn Rikon julienne peeler

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 5:14PM
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Thanks for the info on the sauce - I am going to try it for sure! I enjoy doing the sauce and freezing. It's great plain or I can add meat.

We eat alot of salad also but I will not do bagged lettuce/mix. Have a hard time finding them without preservatives and I can always "smell" the plastic. I don't mind chopping lettuce. I love raw spinach - I add it in with other greens, although hubby is happier with iceburg. LOL


    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 5:51PM
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The bags do have a smell. I've never noticed it in the clamshell packs, but guess it's back to romaine hearts and spinach until fall when I can grow my own. Or maybe I'll start picking up some hydroponic grown lettuce and arugula at the farmers' market. Haven't had iceberg in ages.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 6:35PM
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Gosh, we are so late here. My roses are just starting to bloom, and my peonies are in full bore right now. Fruits are setting tiny, little buds.

Our veggie garden is not even anywhere close to producing yet. Some of the dozen plants we put in are flowering, but most are still just trying to get to a foot tall. One pepper plant has an infant pepper, and the squash has flowers, hoping they produce.

We won't get anything till late July. Even our lettuce is tiny right now. Some people who started theirs earlier and put hot hoops around them have been able to harvest, but we're about a good week away from our first lettuce harvest.

We put in a dozen tomatoes, several different varieties. Pole beans, habanero & serrano pepper, red & green bells, yellow squash, zucchini, beets, butternut squash, spinach, broccoli and radishes. I'll pick up potatoes and onions at the farmers market this year, but I'm being optomistic that we'll have a decent harvest out of our garden this year.

We have a good producing pear tree, our apple tree just needs to be cut out and replaced with a new one; loads and loads of raspberries and many volunteer blackberries. Don't think our blueberries survived as I haven't seen them. Strawberries get eaten by the critters before we get any, and because we haven't had the heat yet, local strawberries are virtually non-existent.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 7:16PM
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B, I'm in central OK. We had an exceptionally mild winter and planted our garden a couple of weeks early because no freeze was in sight. Even the wheat was harvested two weeks earlier than usual.

Nancy, so far no pest. We've been really lucky, we've had a good soaking of rain once a week for a month now.

I bet a gopher got your sister's plant. Nasty little creatures but oh so cute. lol.

My favorite salad is spinach. We eat salad often too, but I do like iceberg when I load it up with veggies.

I buy bag salad about once a month for those nights I'm too pooped to cook, or I just want a salad. It sure comes in handy! Luckily I haven't tasted anything weird in them. They have a short shelf life so I don't think there are any/many preservatives in them.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 8:42PM
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I'm in MD so we just planted our post-freeze summer garden. We didn't do a winter garden except for garlic which is just now ready to pull out. We also had a good size crop of strawberries that were delicious.

Unfortunately, we have very limited sun in our yard so we don't have as large a garden as I would like but we have two good size raised box gardens. So far we have planted a couple of varieties of tomatoes which typically aren't ready until August, bell peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, zucchini, watermelon, basil, and parsley. My 13 y/o wants her own garden and wanted corn, but not sure how that will do - just bought two plants. Last year, we got a ton of cucumber but only one or two zucchini and one eggplant. The tomatoes did really well thankfully b/c most of our neighbors didn't fare as well with their tomatoes.

Dh is going to make one more raised box garden in a different part of the yard that I'm hoping will have enough sun but not sure what we'll plant there yet.

Jealous of those of you already enjoying the fruits of your labor!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 8:48PM
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I buy Dole Salads and they use zero additives or preservatives. Which is why the shelf life is very short, so it needs to be used within a couple of days.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 8:52PM
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After my experience with Earthbound Farm I don't think those dates mean anything. The two I bought that had wet, slimy greens were well within the expiration date. In fact, both were opened the same day purchased. I don't think the greens are adequately dried before being packaged.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 9:22PM
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I buy Trader Joe's bagged arugula and "Southern Blend" greens which are chopped collards. They are great, but have next to no shelf life also. Gotta rustle up those vittles when you buy them!

Haven't eaten iceburg lettuce since I was 12, but I love the other salad greens, (& the burgundy salad leaves.) Radicchio is great too.

How fabulous these things must taste fresh out of one's own backyard!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2012 at 9:41PM
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Tina, I'm in Central Texas. It's 11:25pm and 86 degrees! We are going to put a shade over the tomatoes tomorrow to see if we can extend their life just a little longer.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 12:27AM
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So jealous. Just put the seeds in the ground last weekend. Had to run out and cover my tomato plants twice last week as we had two nights of frost.

When I was young, my favourite cousins were from OK and would come up north to visit for 2 months every summer to escape the heat. I guess I do enjoy the cooler climate for parts of the year. Not sure I could take the scorching temps you get in July and August (but I'd happily trade you January and February :-)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 9:35AM
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