Saturday, August 6, 2011

Harvest Recipe

So what do you do with an over-abundance of cherry tomatoes? Make bruschetta, of course!
One of our new favorite restaurants makes a really good one so we combined parts of that with some recipes we found online.

First, take all those wonderfully ripe cherry tomatoes you harvested yesterday...
Then cut them up, the big ones in quarters and the little ones in half. Add a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar to the bowl then very gently fold it all together. Set it aside to sit and meld while you work on the other stuff.
In a little skillet over very very low heat put some olive oil and minced garlic and fresh basil (also from your garden obviously) and let it all warm up. That will let some of the basil and garlic oils out to mix. Don't let it boil, just simmer a little. Let that sit on the low heat while you work on the next part.
Grab a good loaf of Italian bread, or whatever denser bread you'd like. Slice it into about 3/4" slices. Nothing too thick yor you won't be able to bite into it. Too thing and it'll burn when you put it under the broiler.
Yummmmmm... toasted bread. Now use that garlic/basil oil you had simmering and brush it over the bread. You don't have to use all of it. Any you don't use just add to the tomatoes, it'll help to warm them up and soften them just a bit.
Then put the bread around the edge of the platter, pour the tomato mix in the middle and crumble some goat cheese over it. Oh yeah, it's best to get the goat cheese out at the beginning of all this so it warms up and softens a bit. Cold goat cheese is gross.
I'd recommend a nice glass of wine with it. Smear some goat cheese on a piece of bread, spoon some tomatoes on top and dive in. Delicious!
And that's what you do with all your ripe cherry tomatoes!

Friday, August 5, 2011

I'm Baaaack

Contrary to popular belief, I did not take a cross-country hot air balloon trip. I can't believe how long it's been since I've updated the blog, but the end of class and then some visitors and then work and then buying a car (!) all got away from me and somehow it's August! When did that happen?
And with the end of summer comes harvest! Sadly, our container plants are not doing quite as well as I'd hoped. The only thing we have in over-abundance is tomatoes. And lordy to we have LOTS of tomatoes!
We have cherry tomatoes, and big beefy tomatoes, and heirloom wrinkly tomatoes.
The cherries are all ripening fast so we're enjoying them.
Check back tomorrow to see what we did with the harvest.The biggest problem we're having is blossom-end rot. We've been really careful to keep even watering and we planted the seedlings with some eggshells for calcium, but we stopped at our local garden store and the guy said our weird weather (hot, cold, warm, WET, cold, dry, HOT) means that he's seen it a lot. He recommended some of this:
I've sprayed it on twice and we're hoping for the best. Any other suggestions for ending blossom end rot?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

In honor of Father's Day here are some photos of my dad working in his garden. It hasn't been that long since I helped plant it and I'm shocked at how fast everything came up!

The bean and corn seeds are already up and looking great. I'm jealous. I don't have any corn and my beans definitely don't look that good.
They're using straw as a mulch this year. One perk of container gardening on a 2nd floor balcony is a fairly distinct lack of weeds.

My mom was hoping I could ID this flower, but I'm not sure. It looks like a giant buttercup. Does anyone know what it is?

Thursday, June 16, 2011


We were able to harvest 2.5 different things this week!
The first was a strawberry. That's right folks, just one. But it was good. Tiny, but tasty. We split it.
Very exciting to see one in our garden.Then I had to thin our carrots again so we got some mini carrots. J is the carrot connoisseur in our house, so he tasted them. Said they were just ok. I'm hoping it's because they were too small. But they did smell like carrots.
And we had a lovely spinach salad one night with some bacon vinaigrette J made. Yummy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ohio Visit

So the first weekend in June I headed to Ohio to surprise my father for his birthday. The surprise definitely worked. And he was so happy to see me so I could help in the garden! Scenes of this manual labor are below, but there are three things I learned/was reminded of during this adventure:
1) Container gardening is WAY less labor intensive than in-ground gardening.
2) Bugs are a pain. A really really itchy pain.
3) I can't wait to have a house and big yard with giant garden of my own. :)

Saturday we tilled the garden, added several (very heavy) wheelbarrows of compost, and then planted.
We got all the seedlings from a local nursery that had a pretty decent selection. Now my parents have tomatoes, peppers, corn, beans, watermelon, acorn squash, zucchini, yellow summer squash, and potatoes.
Then we installed the GIANT enclosure my dad had built for the blueberry bushes. I had fond memories of picking pounds of blueberries off the bushes, but apparently they'd outgrown their previous netting.

Like I said, this thing was massive. We put the netting around it on the driveway, then trapped my sister inside.
And then installed it over the blueberry bushes. I fit surprisingly well. So maybe dad didn't overestimate the size!
And the day after we planted we installed (for the first time ever) a fence around the garden to keep deer, rabbits, groundhogs, raccoons, cats, dogs, etc out of the garden. How have we never had a fence around it before?Lots of gardening during the visit - which I certainly wasn't opposed to. Mom and Dad have promised photo updates of the garden, so I'll hold them to that!