Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Love for my garden- Decorate and Design

Hey hey! If you haven’t checked out all of the amazing links at the Before and After Party, you are missing out! And don’t forget you can still link up your own till next Monday.

Come on, join in. You know you want to. ;)

I am SO excited about my garden and had to share how it’s coming along! This is hands down one of the most fun, rewarding things I’ve ever done. Delightful, really. Our daily morning routine all summer has been to take Peanut out and then go through our garden to see what’s growing. Love it!

I showed you the basil (and some fabulous recipes) here. It’s growing so fast I can’t keep up with it! The tops of the plant are flowering, which I know can make the basil taste bitter, but I haven’t noticed a difference. I have been pinching off the flowers to try to avoid that.

We also got quite a few yummy strawberries, and a handful of blueberries off one plant as well. The other blueberry plant didn’t produce anything this year. But when we went to our local berry farm a few weeks ago, I got high hopes for my little bitty bushes. One will produce a TON of blueberries once it matures – can’t wait!

For weeks I was able to just step out to our backyard to grab fresh, crisp lettuce for salads. I mean, seriously. How cool is that? Those have since died off, but they were good while they lasted!

I planted two watermelon plants back in May and one of them didn’t make it right off the bat. The other was just pitiful, so I figured it wasn’t going to make it either.

But looky here:

watermelon

Aren’t they just the cutest things you’ve EVER seen? They are perfect miniature watermelon. ;)

Anyone know how to tell when they are ready to harvest? Do you just gauge by size?

I think I’m most excited about my tomatoes and cucumbers though. Many of you warned that the cucumbers would go out of control and they have, but not as bad as I thought they would. I planned on making a trellis but never got to it, and the garden is still doing great! Every once and a while I will move a vine that is creeping somewhere it shouldn’t, but otherwise they haven’t been a problem.

I planted three cucumber plants and I am in HEAVEN!!:

cucumbers

They are everywhere! Last week I started finding ripe cucumbers, and every day since it’s been fun to dig around and see how many more we can find.

They like to hide, and every time I find a new one I think I squeal a little. ;) Just today when I was taking pictures I found another one that was ready:

I have been eating fresh, cool cucumber every day this week. Oh my goodness, I. love. them! I just slice them up and dip them in a bit of ranch dressing.

I planted a regular tomato plant and a cherry tomato plant as well:

cherry tomatoes

I’ve grabbed about ten cherry tomatoes so far, and they are scrumptious!:

There’s a TON that will be ripe any day, so I’m hoping I’ll have enough to cook with. It seems like there are at least 100 growing right now, seriously.

The tomatoes are rocking my world though – my first one was HUGE – I’m guessing at least 14 inches around:

image

And there are so many more, I can’t even count them all – at least 30. On one plant.

Yes, I am the tomato whisperer. :)

tomatoes

Here’s how far we’ve come in less than two months – from my cutie little newbie garden:

garden early

To my overflowing garden:

midsummer garden

It looks a hot mess, I know. But it’s freakin’ awesome. :) (And I so wish the grass was doing as well as the plants!)

The Bub pulled a green tomato off by accident the other day, so I’m hoping to try my hand at fried green tomatoes:

green tomato

I hear it’s pretty easy, yes?

When my first (HUGE) tomato was ready, I knew just what I had to do – one of my favorites!

I LOVE Caprese salad. It’s so easy to make:

caprese salad ingredients

You’ll need a tomato (duh), soft mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper, olive oil, basil leaves (which I forgot to put in the picture! ack!) and I use a touch of red wine vinegar – I like the kick it adds. :)

If you want a really beautiful salad, you can use cherry tomatoes and the mozzarella that comes in tiny balls (usually in a container).

If you’re preparing this for entertaining, the large slices will be beautiful as well:

Just arrange them around a plate like so:

pretty caprese salad

Source for this picture is here because it is waaaay prettier than my awful night time photos. ;)

You’ll just drizzle the oil (don’t be shy about it) and a bit of vinegar, then a bit of salt and pepper.

But since I was making mine for a little night time snack, it’s not as pretty – just GOOD:

caprese salad

If you love cheese and tomatoes – you will LOVE THIS. Promise. :) It’s fresh and light and I can’t get enough of it.

Got a favorite tomato recipe? Do share! I’m also on the lookout for a cucumber salad recipe – I’ve seen one that has creamy dressing that looks divine. I’ll let you know if I try it!

I’m also dying to try making pickles from the cucumbers – anyone tried this? Is it difficult?

If you are hesitating about growing your own garden next year, please don’t be intimidated by it! All I did was plant it all, fertilize once, and then water every so often. Everything is in full sun, so that has helped I’m sure. Otherwise it’s been very low maintenance.

The reward for that bit of work is SO worth it. :)

You can see more about how the garden started here.

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