Finally Harvesting From The Garden

Despite an early start to all my seedlings this spring, harvest is late this year. Finally pulling enough tomatoes to do something besides adding them to salads and making my favorite Cucumber Tomato Salad. And a handful of jalapenos were ready this morning.

Every year there must be salsa, and this year I added some dried Mexican Oregano to mimic our favorite restaurant’s salsa. It definitely took my usual recipe up a notch.

I’m still waiting for my tomatillos to be ready for a nice salsa verde.

Peaches have been perfect this year, so Peach Salsa and Peach Chutney are on the menu.

Fresh salsa on the right and pickled jalapenos on the left.

Fresh and Easy Salsa

  • 4 tomatoes, quartered
  • 6 green onions
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ to 1 bunch cilantro, remove stems
  • 2 to 4 jalapenos*, remove stems
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • dash of lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano

blender or food processor

In blender or food processor, add all ingredients and coarsely chop until blended well**.  If you can make a day ahead, it gets even better.  Seal in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week.

*depending on the heat you like, if you prefer milder, you can substitute green chilis, which are also in season right now. I’m roasting some tonight to freeze.

**If you prefer a chunkier style salsa, you’d be better off chopping vegetables by hand.

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I’m bummed about the late harvest, but I’ve had a very busy few weeks, so I guess it’s a good thing. I’ll have to start freezing tomato sauce by the weekend.  How do things look in your garden?


 

Killing My Lawn: Summer 2

This is the first full summer for all the perennials I planted last spring and things are looking good. Loving how low maintenance it has been once everything was planted.

Soooo many bees. And the butterflies are starting to show up.  That center window is my office and I enjoy looking out, but even more fun is watching folks stop and oooo and aaaahhh at the flowers.

I have plantings that flower at various times, starting in April and going through fall. I want to add a bunch of marigolds for some heavy fall color.  (Killing My Lawn posts can be read here)

Veggie garden is doing well, except I’ve got a varmint eating my zucchini blossoms and something ate one of my young cuke plants. I’m thinking mice – as the cukes have a small gage cage around them and nothing bothers them once they get taller. I’m going to cover them at night for a while and see if that helps. Cayenne pepper has stopped the blossom stealing.

Instant pot potato salad recipe later tonight…until then…

 

On This Earth Day: Revisiting Killing My Lawn

Since it’s Earth Day and we are facing an extreme high fire danger day here on the Front Range of the Rockies, with record heat and drought, I’ve been thinking a lot about my decision to kill 3/4 of my front lawn. Thought it was worth updating you on what will be its second summer. All of my low-water/butterfly/hummingbird plants survived the winter, minus one daisy plant.

As they are all perennials, this summer will probably be one of minimal growth, but still lots of showy flowers. Next year I expect it to quickly become a jungle. Which is why I did minimal planting, in pretty groupings.

Last fall and this spring has been the real payoff – minimal work to maintain. I trimmed up a few plants this spring, I let the leaves from fall just compost right into the mulch and I’ve pulled minimal weeds (damn you bindweed). And now that the plants are established, the weekly watering I did last summer will be reduced to an “as needed” basis.

I will update with photos as soon as things pop – usually mid-June here (I’m still waiting for lilacs, everything has been late this year. Although my pussy-willows were full of bees today, so yay!).

But for now, let’s revisit how I killed my lawn and revitalized my soil in ways I could have never anticipated. (The worms! The worms!)

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It began innocently enough with laying out an outline of what might be nice and a promise I’d think about it for a while. Two weeks later, phase 1 is complete.

This was the beginning, outlining with bricks to see how I’d lay out the new yard

My goal was to create an excellent soil base to replace what is now pretty much cement hard clay. The previous owners used a chemical lawn service for at least a decade, that left the soil depleted and hard as a rock. Over the past four years, I’ve been amending it with compost, manure and aeration. A record drought this summer proved that none of those measures were enough to reinvigorate the lawn and the soil was still like granite. Continue reading

Welcome Spring!

I spent yesterday cleaning up the yard in anticipation of Spring Equinox. Taking stock of what survived the winter and what will need to be replaced. While there is no sign of an Iris or Pussy Willow after this harsh winter, I was happy to see it looks like only one bunch of daisies will need to be replaced.

I think we’ll have to wait a few more weeks before bulbs start to pop. But a few warm days and I think the Pussy Willows with “poof!” Can’t wait.

I do have a nice corned beef recipe to post later…in case you stashed away an extra or want to bookmark it for next year. I took it up a notch and glazed it while the veggies were steaming.

Until then…

Jalapeno Harvest…Again

I harvested about five pounds of jalapenos and purchased a couple pounds of Poblanos and roasted them. I peeled and froze the Poblanos to make Creamy Poblano Soup later. The jalapenos I made into pickled relish and froze.

One issue with roasting the jalapenos as long as I did, is the relish becomes more of a “spread” – they disintegrated when I chopped them.  This is not going to matter to me because they will be used in soups, stews, and on sandwiches and will taste great regardless of the texture.

In the photo, you will see the jalapenos and tomatoes I have harvested since the roasting…and since the photo I’ve harvested that many or more, again. I swear the jalapeno fairy just deposits them on the plants in the middle of the night. They were not there before, LOL.

I’ll most likely buy some more Poblanos and do another round of roasting. But there may only be one jalapeno plant next year.


 

Garden Fresh: A Few Grapes For Smoothies

I processed the few grapes I got this year into juice that I then add to my morning shakes. My neighbor gave me a handful of passion fruit, as an exchange for all my plums her toddler loves to eat. So I also added those to my shake this morning.

Not exchange was not necessary, he can have all the plums he wants! He’s a pandemic baby, born just as we went into lockdown, so I have probably seen more of him than I normally would, as mom and dad walked around the neighborhood several times a day and my office faces the street. Socially distant chats were a welcome diversion.

It’s been my pleasure to watch him grow and start walking and now starting to talk, enough to make his desire to pick plums from my tree clear. Still a nice distraction from work, as far as I’m concerned.

This morning’s smoothie:

Mixed Berry Smoothies

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup ea:  blueberries and raspberries, frozen
  • 4-6 whole strawberries, frozen
  • 1/4 cup fresh grape juice
  • 2 passion fruit (scooped from shell)
  • opt: 1 tbsp ground flax and 1 scoop whey powder

blender

Add all ingredients to the blender and blend well.  This makes 2 thick smoothies.  For more of a milkshake consistency, add 6 ice cubes and blend well. I use frozen fruit, so I don’t add the ice cubes, but sometimes a bit of water to make a smooth consistency.


x-posted at Annie DeMoranville

Garden Fresh: Summer Salsas

The tomato harvest has been lackluster this year. Weird weather has caused the fruit to be small and slow to ripen. Some I’m afraid are not going to ripen at all. The San Marzano, which should be about the size of a Roma, look more like cherry tomatoes. Early Girls are anything but early and no bigger than golf balls. And I have to wonder what the Park Wonders would look like in a good year – beefsteak size for sure. Flavor has been great on all of them, so I take comfort in that.

Since the jalapenos are not only abundant this year, but incredibly hot, I decided to try and roast them to bring out a bit of the sweetness. It wasn’t all that successful, but I did manage to make a couple of jars of pickled jalapeno and freeze them to use sparingly in cooking over the winter. Continue reading

Farmer’s Market Week: Green Beans w/Red Peppers

The garden is starting to overflow with ready-to-pick goodies. Here are some new flavors to try with fresh green beans. Below are stovetop and instant pot instructions.

Photo: Betty Crocker

Green Beans w/Red Peppers:

  • 1 lb green beans, trimmed
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and sliced in strips
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 oz sliced black olives
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes

Stovetop: Continue reading