Patience is a Virtue (but a Challenge!)

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I finally was able to pick a BUNCH of veggies today. 15 pounds of summer squash, 5 pounds of green beans, alot of beets and greens, beautiful lettuce and a couple pounds of basil!

My hubby accused me of being an “impatient” gardener a couple of weeks ago. Honestly that is so true! And I am working on it… but fine tuning virtuous characteristics takes some time (there’s my impatience again!).

We planted late due to the rainy spring, one large garden was drown and killed and well… I still want to be harvesting like I did last year and on the same time frame.

So just like watching a pot of water and waiting for it to boil, I am watching and trying to hurry things along.

Today, I saw tomatoes turning red. The plants are gorgeous and have tons of tomatoes, green ones that is. But in the last couple of days red is appearing!

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My zucchini that was a goner (or so I thought) has made an amazing come back and is giving me lots of beautiful zucchini as a bumper crop!

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The squash that I planted very late in July, is thriving and has more yellow squash than I can eat! So freezing was the game today.

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Our garden that drown earlier in the year was the one with our beans. I had several varieties and none of them made it. I planted some bush beans in early August and I picked 5 pounds of them today!

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Lettuce and beets also filled my basket

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and we will be indulging in those tonight along with the pesto pizza which is courtesy of our basil that is happy and growing into bushes. I did have to fight our bees to get some today!

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I am so happy to be picking and eating from our gardens. It has been a wait this year! I am trying to be more patient and to be aware when my words and actions aren’t in line with that. The seasons have their own time frame. I need to enjoy and appreciate it.

I planted a cover crop on the washed out garden. It looks beautiful and is starting to come up.

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I think however that a winter cover crop is the ultimate in teaching me some patience as I won’t see the results of this until after the fall, after snow and after blooms in the spring begin. It will be some of our bee’s first food. We will all just wait until it is ready….

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

It is Fall, But I am Stuck in Summer

pumpkinsTomorrow is the first day of fall- 9/23. Fall seems to be in the air. With evening temps hitting the 40’s and daytime highs being in the 70’s it feels more and more like it every day. Driving over the weekend I saw tree leaves turning beautiful colors and pumpkins and mums sitting on front porches. I see scarecrows outside and feel the breezes outside and pouring in through our windows. I love fall and the change of seasons here in Indiana.

As much as I love fall, I confess that I am not quite there yet. I still have summer in my blood and tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, peppers and green beans on the vines.

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I really need to harvest my basil and get it dried, frozen and whipped into pesto before too many cool nights take it away. I have so much summer squash still to pick and feast on AND I am NOT tired of it yet. We have so many green beans that we are eating them daily, BUT I am NOT tired of them yet. I have canned over 100 lbs of tomatoes and still have double that left to do AND I am NOT tired of it yet. So it is summer still in my garden and soul but it is fall on my thermometer.

I am planning my fall garden and I have my green babies ready to go into the ground. I have cover crop seed ready to go. I am about ready to pick our pumpkins. I have a list with tons of fall gardening activities on it, but I am still in summer. I still am grilling out dinner, I am still basking in the sunshine on my deck and I am still savoring every bite of tomato that I pick and turn into a sandwich. But the clock is ticking for fall activities. I will soon lose my precious 10 hours of daylight each day that my green babies need as the days are getting shorter. I know that I need to kick into fall but I am stuck in summer still.

I think I will allow myself to bask in summer for the rest of the month.  I will enjoy my summer gardens to the last precious thing that I pick in the next 10 days or so. I will begin to work the ground that my fall crops will go into, but I will still enjoy my summertime moments that remain. On October 1 I think I will transition over. My scarecrows will come out, I will get some mums to decorate the front porch, place my pumpkins out for decor and will take down my “Summertime is here” signs. But for today, it is 58 degrees, BUT the sun is out and I am going to go pick some green beans and tomatoes.

Happy Unleashing your Season (whatever it may be!)

FGU

Indulging (and preserving) the Harvest Part 2

The harvest continues to come in. I am by no means an expert at canning. This is only my 3rd year doing this, but I do love it. Last weekend we canned 60 pounds of San Marzanos and Granderos (both Roma tomatoes). We also had some tomatillos that I used for salsa.

My kitchen corner was a busy place. It is a little crowded in that space for this task, but I made it work. I am excited about our kitchen remodel which will gain me about 80 inches of counter space! I will be in heaven.

Busy Kitchen

Tools of the trade:

Canning Tools

I was super excited to use the Weck Jars that Rachael gifted me at Christmas. They were the first to go in the water bath!

Four Jars

Making the salsa was delightful and colorful. Look at that.

Salsa

I have not grown tomatillas before but we love them. I am really excited to be canning some Salsa Verde for future use!

Tomatillo Salsa

All in all for my first day canning of the season the takeaway was pretty and much larger than last year. Tomatoes, tomato jam, two kinds of salsa and dried tomatoes all await a winter day for opening and eating.

Jars of Tomatoes

The big news is that although this is the most I have ever canned before there is so much more waiting. I have been with my mom since 9/10 as she had surgery (she is recouping nicely) and hubby has been sending me pictures. Our green beans are so full and heavy that they totally took out the trellis from weight! He rebuilt it for the little guys. Our cucumbers I understand are waiting to be pickled and we have “1000’s of tomatoes” waiting for a canning jar. He told me that he went and bought several flats of ball jars that are waiting in the kitchen for me!

Can you say Christmas presents???

How’s your harvest and preserving coming along? Done or in the middle like me?

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

Indulging in the Harvest

After I shared my harvest with you last week, it was time to start indulging in it. Yes, I mean EATING it! One of the things I love about gardening is the harvest and the taste of freshly picked veggies. When you grow your own you can grow your favorites so everything you pick is your favorite! With 52 pounds of tomatoes, 20+ pounds of summer squash, green beans and more, we have been feasting.

The first thing I had to do was do something with all those lovely tomatoes. We were heading over to my mom’s in Ohio and I had promised dinner. It seemed a “no brainer” to do tomato something with pasta. I made a slow cooker sauce based on this recipe from Food Renegade.

Sauce in Crockpot

I took liberty and made a few tweaks of my own. I added a tsp. of fennel, deleted the tarragon and used a bunch of thyme tied up with string (that I discarded). The sauce was so lovely that I did not blend it with my immersion blender and instead left it in its final state. We tossed over pasta added fresh, ribbon cut basil from the garden and it was heaven! It was so great that when I came home and made some more.  I froze 4 pints in ziploc bags for future feasting in cooler days.

Next came the squash. I have lots of squash and I am thrilled about that. I love it and will keep on loving it.  This recipe is for yellow summer squash but you really could make it with whatever is your favorite.

Squash Quiche

For the crust, I asked hubby to make me a crust since he is the baker. He added fresh thyme to the crust since thyme is used in the filling.  You could also use a store bought crust (that is a crime in our house according to my hubby so I won’t) or make your own favorite crust to use. We pre-baked the crust about 15 minutes and let it cool.

The recipe is easy!

  • Melt 1 Tbl of butter and 1 Tbl of olive oil in a pan to medium heat
  • Add 1.5 lbs of squash cut into 1/4 in. rounds. Add fresh thyme (I added a lot; you can add to taste) and let everything saute until squash softens.
  • In the meantime, whisk 6 eggs, 1 C of 1/2 and 1/2 (or cream), 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper and 1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce (of your choosing).
  • By now the squash should be done.  Remove from heat and cool a bit.  You don’t want it to cook the eggs on contact.
  • Arrange squash over the bottom of crust. Add sliced fresh mozzarella (about 6 oz) or grated mozzarella if you prefer.  I prefer sliced fresh, but that is a personal choice. Pour the egg mixture over (you may have a bit left). Put the quiche dish on a cookie sheeet (in case of run over) and bake until golden- about 35 minutes at 350. Let it cool for 15 minutes.

OK this is so good, that I am making it again this week.

Another over the top meal was our Heirloom Tomato Pie from Food Network and a side of Green Beans. We used slicers and freshly picked green beans (these were the first of the season and there are tons more to follow).

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slicers

 

When hubby made the crust for the quiche, it made two, so I did not follow the crust on this recipe, but used his instead. I also substituted the manchego cheese for asiago (only because that is what I had).  I also added fresh basil– one because we have ALOT of it and two because I love it.

It was fun to prepare and the bottom layer filling makes it stand out over any other tomato tart I have made.

Tomato Tart Prep

We simply steamed the green beans and oh it was great!

Tart and Beans

Tomato Tart

 

Now you probably have guessed that this did not use all of our first harvest, but it was a start and nightly we are cooking it. We stuffed the greens into a swordfish steak along with some tomatoes and feta and that was supreme. (I forgot to take a picture in my excitement).

Next up was a day of canning and drying.  That is another blog for another day.

Happy unleashing your harvest!

FGU