Like their cucumber cousins, once summer squash start coming they require daily inspection because the fruit can literally increase in size overnight. I am quite sure that this beauty was at least two inches shorter when I looked at it yesterday. But all it took was a passing shower or two to cause it to leap to new proportions. When growing summer squash it's best not to blink too often. You might miss something!
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Monday, August 29, 2016
At last, the Cherokee tomato plant which I placed in an old, plastic lined milk crate has reached the harvest stage. The tomatoes have a mild sweetness that makes them absolutely delectable. This is my first year growing them, but it certainly won't be my last.
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Most tomato soup recipes start with the words, 'peel and seed tomatoes'. And if you're like me, your first thought is, do I really have to go through all of that for a tasty tomato soup? Well, the fact is you don't. What follows is a recipe for delicious tomato soup that involves none of the tedium of peeling and seeding tomatoes.
Coarsely chop one medium sized onion and saute it in a deep, heavy pan with olive oil until it is soft and translucent. Then add about one pound each of coarsely chopped tomatoes and carrots, three diced stalks of celery and four or five cloves of minced garlic. Saute all ingredients for another 1-2 minutes.
Add four cups of water or chicken stock, a couple of bay leaves, a little pepper, and one tablespoon of a non-salt spice mix such as Mrs. Dash.
Mix all ingredients and then bring the mixture to a boil. Allow it to simmer for 30 minutes. Then puree in a blender or food processor.
You don't want a perfectly smooth soup. So short bursts at the puree setting should be enough create a thick, coarse-textured soup.
You may serve your soup topped with chopped green onions, chives or whatever suits your taste. And I have found that this soup goes well with thick slices of garlic bread.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
The seed packet advertised these as Giant Hot Peppers, but I decided to plant them in a modest sized container and see how they progressed. After all, I don't care about size, I care about sizzle! And I can hardly wait until they turn red.
Monday, August 22, 2016
Sunday, August 21, 2016
The first Cherokee tomatoes are starting to ripen. I thought it would take longer for them to reach this stage but I'm not going to complain. If the weather behaves as it usually does, they should have the rest of August and all of September to reach their full, flavorful glory.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Friday, August 19, 2016
In the never ending struggle to thwart the ever present woodchucks, my best friends have become large, discarded, plastic trash receptacles and discarded plastic storage bins. When combined, they make great high rise containers that keep the fruits of my labor beyond the reach of the relatives of Punxsutawney Phil. In the photographs above pepper plants, basil and a container tomato plant have found a happy home.
Of course, I can't do this with all of my plants, but every little bit helps.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
I'm growing Honey Bear squash for the first time this year. The catalog said that this is a great variety for containers, but I couldn't resist growing at least one plant in a lasagna bed. And as you can see, it is doing just fine. I put another plant in an Earthbox and it is doing well too. But the third plant has not fared well in the smaller container where it was placed. So I guess the lesson learned is that when it comes to this squash, the bigger the container the better.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Planted a few mystery squash seeds earlier this year and only one of them sprouted. It has grown into quite a large plant on its lasagna bed and it looks as though the fruits are all of the dumpling squash variety. I can't wait to try them and see what they taste like.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
This year, thanks to some uninvited guests in my garden, I've been forced to take container gardening to new heights, literally. And it turns out that repurposed trash cans are a very effective way of keeping my summer squash beyond the reach of worrisome woodchucks. I wish I had about a dozen of these, but one does what one can with what one has.
By the way, I've discovered that groundhogs don't like the smell of basil. So placing a few well developed basil plants in containers alongside my smaller container veggies seems to keep the rapacious rodents at bay.
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
It's not easy keeping order in the garden. The cabbages always want to be the head of everything. The potatoes are so annoying, eying everyone around them. And today, the peppers were peckish and got into an argument with the celery, causing them to stalk away . But arguments aside, most of the vegetables agree on one thing. Their favorite talk show host is Okra Winfrey.
Monday, August 1, 2016
As this photo of the initial harvest of Tumbling Tom and Tiny Tom container tomatoes clearly shows, the season of bounty has finally arrived. And the larger tomato plants are not far behind. It's been forecast that the next two months in this area will be warmer than average. So I hope the bounty will last at least until the end of September.