Tag Archives: tomatoes

Delicious, Healthy Eating All Summer Long

Not all of my gardening this year has been riddled with blunders and mystery. In fact, I’m rather proud of how much food I’ve cultivated in the garden as a novice gardener.

Below is some of the bountiful harvest I have been enjoying all summer, often in a quick and healthy stirfry.*

Yellow bush beans, green pole beans and snow peas

Tomatoes, green and yellow wax beans and broccoli

Carrots, rhubarb, mint and parsley

A tiny fraction of the beet greens I've harvested this year

Three of my largest heads of garlic, approx. 3" diameter

Carrots still in the ground, yet to be savoured

A full head of broccoli is a beautiful sight to behold

The rhubarb patch after the first harvest -- can you see a difference?!

*Note: All it takes to make a delicious stirfry is a little (or more) organic butter or cold pressed olive oil (both are optimal sources of the good fat you need in your diet), a bit of this and that — whatever you have on hand from the garden. Add a dash of salt and a squeeze of citrus and you have a quick, healthy dinner.

Verdict in two words: Yum. Yum.

Garden Transition

When I planted what has turned out to be my transitional garden earlier this year, in addition to the many vegetables, I also planted a variety of flowers to attract bees and other pollinator types.

Transplants 2Now that I have a more local plot, I decided to move some of them into the city to brighten up my new garden. In addition to half a dozen, bug-repellent marigolds interspersed among the brassicas, I transferred a few snap dragons, and a couple of fuschias.

I also brought along 3 sweet pepper plants that have not done well in the big garden’s climate, a clump of rhubarb, a lemon thyme perennial, and a giant pot containing 2 tomato plants.

We’re in the midst of a heatwave, and the rhubarb is decidedly unhappy, having made it’s displeasure known immediately. I’ll give it a few more days to see if it rallies, but it’s not looking good. The clump of pink snap dragons were looking a bit wilty, but haven’t given up just yet. As for the rest of them, they all look pretty happy to be in their new home.

Bumbling Gardener Update

Garden Jul19I am pleased as punch. My backyard garden on borrowed land — whether because of, or in spite of my attempts — looks awesome. I’ve been eating cabbage, kale, broccoli, snow peas, regular peas, and even the occasional yellow wax bean, with no end of tasty produce in sight.

I suspect that the soil, though clay-ish in some places and low lying (and therefore prone to pooling water) in others, is pretty darn good quality. That, or the manure and bone meal added in at the beginning has made a big difference. (Its nutrients certainly haven’t been depleted by anything other than weeds in the past 10+ years, so maybe it’s been stock piling!)

With all the other plant life in the area, the garden is prone to a multitude of weeds, but many of the crops do not seem to be affected. Plus, the straw mulch is doing its work rather handily in many spots.

There is a surge in clover growth along the edges of the garden, which I understand indicates good nitrogen content in the soil. This may also be why the peas are growing like crazy — they can’t get enough of the stuff. Clover was not in evidence in the yard at the beginning of this gardening experiment, so I’d be curious to know if it needed the cleared space that the walkways provide, or whether the improved soil conditions are to blame.

First StrawberriesI haven’t had much success with some veggies, such as carrots and radishes, but I’ve discovered in recent weeks that’s due to my own ignorance and lack of attention to detail — when they first sprout, you’re supposed to thin them out. Some of my seed packets said not to, but the successful radish grower at the local farmers market set me straight. Better late than never? Maybe I’ll try some in my box garden, which is closer to home where I can keep a closer eye on things.

The spinach and all lettuce seeds have had a zero yield, despite a second planting at the height of warm weather — I have no idea what’s up with that. There is an ant nest in the area where most of the salad greens were planted and I do wonder if they wandered off with the seeds.

There are lots of tomatoes on the vine, but none have turned red yet. They are getting very plump, though!

Aside from 3 that reached maturity, the strawberries are a complete loss. There were about 8 little berries that something (Mr. Squirrel, me thinks) got a hold of and munched at the beginning of the season. This prompted the construction of a sophisticated mesh covering, but no further berries, or flowers for that matter, have appeared.Strawberry Safety Net

The weird thing is, the stuff that’s supposed to be the easiest hasn’t grown for me and the “difficult” plants like broccoli and cabbage, are coming along nicely. But, despite some challenges and no baby spinach in sight, I am inordinately pleased each time I am able to harvest and eat something out of the garden.

Treasures at the Nursery

It’s true, The Scientist and I are pretty keen. Every little task takes on the spirit of a grand adventure.

And so it was with our first trip to the nurseries, a day trip into the bowels of Surrey and Ladner in early April. Now that the garden was ready, it must just be begging for some little green plants to welcome into its arms. Right?

I lot of people told me I was seeding awfully late and maybe even too late, so I thought it was important to get thee (me) to a nursery, post haste.

I should have known from the empty lot and not having to fight for a parking space, that we might be there a bit early in the season. But, anticipation can create a fever that overrides one’s good sense. Well, that and I’m a newbie at this urban gardening thing so I don’t have a lot of good sense yet.

nursery-plantingI’ll say one thing for a nursery, it’s a heady, intoxicating experience. It’s hard to remain reasonable in the face of such a dizzying array of options.

First there were the garden annuals that I didn’t think I’d have time or patience to seed: broccoli, yellow peppers, red peppers, 4 kinds of tomatoes, and cauliflower.

Toss in a few fruits: 4 different kinds of raspberries and 2 kinds of strawberries.

That lot and a lemon thyme (perennial), some marigolds to keep pests away, and some nasturtium (because they are pretty and taste good in salads) and we were in business.

Okay, it turns out we were a bit early, but I hope I can be forgiven for a bit of rash enthusiasm.