Monday, July 25, 2011

Garden Goodness

When we moved to our house earlier this year, we were fortunate to become part of a close-knit neighborhood, and really fortunate that our next door neighbor wanted us to take charge of his garden. Since he is elderly and cannot put in the time and effort a garden requires, my husband was happy to take over.

Unfortunately, we've had to battle the critters. The squirrels and rabbits completely destroyed our sweet corn crop and our green beans. Hubby even tried a safe remedy to deter them - spinkling cayenne pepper around the plants. Didn't work. Next year we plan to install an electric fence or something similar to keep them out.

Fortunately, we've enjoyed a bumper crop of zucchini and tomatoes already. I created a yummy new dish with zucchini, chicken, and black beans that was quite good, and then on Saturday, my daughter and I made zucchini bread for the first time. I found a very healthy recipe with less sugar and whole wheat flower and it turned out wonderful!

We had two green peppers ready to pick and some yummy tomatoes, so I made my family's famous Italian salad: green peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers with oil and vinegar.

There is something incredibly satisfying about going to your own backyard and being able to use food that you've grown yourself. We are still waiting for our cucumbers, squash, cabbage, pumpkins, radishes, and carrots.

Now if I could just figure out how to grow chocolate...

13 comments:

  1. I don't like the hard work that needs to go into gardening, but I do enjoy the rewards. Yes, I agree, it is truly satisfying to reap the harvest of your own garden and then to be able to share the abundance with others. Enjoy! Love zuchinni bread.

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  2. Sandy - I confess, I haven't done much work in the garden - that is my husband's domain. But I'm happy to do the cooking and baking using the fruits of his labor! ;-)

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  3. I wish we lived close enough to swap: I have about a dozen cucumbers I'd gladly trade for some of your tomatoes! Last year by this time I was giving away boxes of tomatoes, but this year all we've harvested is 7 or 8 miniature yellow pear-shaped tomatoes. Harvesting our own produce is one of my greatest pleasures! :)

    Linda

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  4. So cool! There's nothing like fresh produce from the garden! I only grow tomatoes, serrano chili peppers, and I have one giant mint plant. Everything else I try to grow gets eaten by bugs or critters or gophers, sadly, or I'd grow a lot more.

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  5. Very cool. We used to grow lots of fruit and vegetables when I grew up in NZ. Nowadays, living in London, its hard to find time, but I do have herbs in boxes outside. ( deep sigh) but I do enjoy when something comes fresh from the garden to the table. Lovely!

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  6. Melissa-wouldn't it be cool if we could grow chocolate! Heavenly:)

    I know what you mean about the satisfaction that comes with gardening-and being able to go out and harvest and then eat what you grow. So far we've had strawberries, cherries, raspberries, tomatoes and lots of zucchini! The pests were busy here too-slugs and birds ate the lettuce and peas. I need to look into ways to deter them next year.

    I'd like your zucchini bread recipe some time, and I look forward to getting caught up via email soon! (Almost as soon as I can eat a bag of m&m's) ;)

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  7. Linda - We have a BUNCH of tomatoes that are just about ready to pick. I really should make some salsa with them or something!

    DK - It can be SO frustrating. My hubby was not happy with the mess the critters made this year. All that hard work, only to watch it be destroyed. He is already planning for next year.

    Talei - Since we last lived in an apartment, it's been awhile since we've had a garden. It's been pretty rewarding to see everything grow. :-)

    Valerie - I really think I need to grow some strawberries and raspberries. Will definitely try that next year! Will send you the zucchini bread recipe...and looking forward to the email!

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  8. Nothing smells as fresh and green as a tomato plant. And nothing tastes better than home-grown veggies. Alas, no tomatoes for us this year...not nearly enough sun. But the artichokes are flourishing--yum!

    Enjoy the bounty!

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  9. I love fresh food from the garden, unfortunately nothing grows well where I live, so I have to rely on farmer's markets.

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  10. Christine - I admit, I'm not a fan of artichokes, but that could be because I have never really tried them. Ha! May have to remedy that...

    Patti - We have some terrific farmer's markets here in town, too. Unfortunately, I never get up early enough on Saturday to visit them. I need to remedy that, too!

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  11. We didn't plant any veggies this year. You're right, it's like finding Easter eggs when you go out to the garden and find something that's ripe and ready to pick and eat. Sounds like you guys are eating healthy, scrumptious meals these days!

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  12. Zucchini bread how wonderful! Nothing better than home grown food...

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  13. Lyn - What an apt description - like finding Easter eggs. Indeed!

    Flowerpot - I think I need to bake another batch of zucchini bread - the first loaf is all gone. Good thing we are going to have an explosion of zucchini in the next few days. :-)

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