Monday, August 6, 2012
Midsummer Garden Update
As expected, this year's garden is outperforming all of my past gardens, but I haven't quite had the crazy yield I hoped for. My dad's three tomato plants (one of which was a volunteer), right in the ground, are a thicket of branches and as tall as I am. He can barely keep up with the harvest. My tomato plants, fussed over in a raised bed full of specially mixed soil, look like this:
I've tried different watering methods and schedules, but nothing has helped. At this point I'm using an oscillating sprinker set for about 30 minutes a day. The tomatoes I do have are delicious though, and ripening at a good pace. I have cherry and grape tomatoes for salads, and regular ones for sandwiches and sauces. It's not like I need a bushel a week anyway. I'm only one person.
The cucumbers are just starting to climb and bloom. I like how sneaky cucumbers are. You don't even know you have any, and then you notice the trellis is sagging, move a leaf aside, and there they are! My bell peppers and jalapenos are also hitting their stride now. The peppers aren't as big as the ones from a store, but they're very flavorful.
This is the first year I've put herbs in the garden instead of in pots, and the space has been great for them. By this point in the summer, they've usually run their course and I have to get new plants, but these have room to expand and multiply. Definitely the way to go.
The zucchini and yellow squash have long since shriveled and died with no warning. I've never had any other result with squash. Maybe they just don't like me.
The eggplant is the surprise performer of the year. It's really thriving. Eggplant parmesan, here I come!
To use up some of my dad's surplus tomatoes, I made a batch of tomato sauce from this Smitten Kitchen recipe (SK has never steered me wrong). It was pretty easy to do, and I ended up with SIX half pint jars full. I didn't preserve it, just put it in jars. I also eyeballed everything and didn't weigh the tomatoes, but next time I'll add less onion, carrot, and garlic, because the sauce turned out pretty orange. It's still tasty though.