Garden Update: July 2013

We’ve been enjoying our fruit and veggie bounty – I mad 2 loaves of zucchini bread and a batch of chocolate chip zucchini cookies from just ONE monster squash, and we’ve been eating our delicious tomatoes in sandwiches, salads, and a sauce that had my friend’s kids asking for lunch at 10am 😀

Some more future cookies 😀

We’ve recently planted some more corn for an autumn harvest:

And, hello! Check out the awesome planter my husband made!!! He’s planting bamboo in it, and he got his inspiration from a couple of gorgeous river photographs by Keith Liang.

Steve made the mold with a high-relief design and then built a structure to pour the cement in. This turned out amazing, and yes, I’ve put in an order for a smaller planter with a fleur-de-lis 😀 Of course.

Our strawberries continue to produce as well:

The other day we harvested some lavender for our neighbor. I think I’m going to make some eye pillows with the rest.

This crazy madness going on here is our Concord grape vine. Well, one of them. The other is just started to go all wild but this one is going to become another yummy batch of grape jam.

This is what the vine looked like in April:

Current goodness and future grape jam, nom nom nom.

Our pretty flower frames are doing great as well!

We are also harvesting potatoes and onions, and mint for our mojitos.

Gardening is to me an incredibly rewarding experience. Which is not to say there aren’t days (usually those in 100+ degree weather) where the last thing I want to do is go out there and water and tend to the plants. But homegrown veggies taste so good, and knowing that my family gets to eat fresh, delicious, healthy food is pretty awesome.

I say this every year, but next year I’d really like to get more flower plants for cuttings. I just love having fresh flowers in the house. I’ve killed some gerbera and hydrangea, though, so we’ll see how I do in that goal.

Have a wonderful week!

Garden Update – April 2013

Our lovely plants are budding and blooming and we are already enjoying some of the produce, like our chard and lettuces.

Yellow roses are my favorite and the rose bush is going gangbusters – every two or three days I bring a couple of blooms inside to enjoy.

Yummy lettuces and onions. I had a scallion omelette for lunch today, so good!!

Of course, tomatoes are the stars of our summer garden, there are quite a few baby ones growing:

The boys’ favorite fruit from our backyard are the blueberries – they run past it and grab a few to pop in their mouths as they play.

One of my husband’s favorite harvests is this vine – our Concord grapes. He made a delicious batch of grape jam last year and we are looking forward to another one in a few months!

Swiss chard – I treat it like spinach, sauteed with garlic and butter it’s just delicious. We planted it like 4 years ago and it just comes back each year.

Our lavender is just starting to bud – I’ve made wreaths, sachets, stuck a bunch here and there. I just love lavender.

We also have tons of little pears and plums that will ripen in due time, and of course our avocado tree, much beloved by us, and our family and friends 😀

Are you growing anything this year?

Springing and stretching!

These last few days have blessed us with glorious weather here in Sili Valley. The sun has been out, but it hasn’t been super hot, I’ve been loving it! This past weekend we decided to hit our local gardening stores – two of them!

Our front yard got some much-needed brightening up with these trailing white flowers on the hanging baskets:

My youngest was determined to get some yellow goodness ;D

In the backyard, we started our herb garden:

My husband added a brick border to define our salad greens area:

Caged and ready!

We also planted more potatoes, including some purple varieties. Our potatoes come back every year but we wanted some russets as well, and then we saw the purple sets. Can’t wait to eat some of those! Our onions and chard are doing great, they come back, too, and hopefully our garlic will do well this year. My husband planted two blackberry bushes in the side yard. We have a blueberry bush that is my boys’ favorite treat. Hopefully the vine will do well again this year so we can make some grape jelly again, and I look forward to the lovely scent of my lavender plants.

My husband and I have the sorest hamstrings ever from all the planting and weeding, I’ve been stretching because otherwise the pain doesn’t let me sleep very well. I hope you’ll follow our gardening adventures this year, I’m very excited to see how our veggies do!

A tale of tomatoes

How can it be August already? As much as I am looking forward to cooler weather, it seems that this year is going by super quickly.

Yesterday I got my first big harvest of the season. We’ve enjoyed blueberries, strawberries, carrots, eggplant, potatoes, plums, etc. but this was the first big batch of summer veggies for the year:

So many lovely tomatoes, and so good — no wonder people who eat homegrown tomatoes don’t go back to supermarket tomatoes. My husband enjoyed a thick slice in his turkey sandwich at lunch, and raved about the taste. For dinner I grilled slices of eggplant and yellow squash, topped them with sliced mozzarella and basil from the garden, tomatoes of course, and a few drops of balsamic vinegar. Soooooo good! I had seen this recipe from Giada de Laurentiis and vowed to make this sandwich with homegrown goodies. I think it’s going to be a summer staple at our house.

Garden Update: First Week of May

There has been a lot of growing going on in our backyard — I can’t wait for harvest time to start enjoying our veggies and fruits, do some canning with friends and family, and feed my family lots of wonderful, homegrown food!

Imagine about 40 of these babies and you’ll get an approximation of what we have in the backyard. From the original 72 plants I grew from seed, I gave some away and donated some to my youngest’s school. I figure a few are not going to make it, but the truth is, I need to buy more cages — eek!

We grow some of our strawberries on the top of those upside-down hanging tomato planters. Last year we got lots of berries and lots of tomatoes, so we’re going for it again. A friend gave me another planter so hopefully they both do well.

My roses make me smile every time I go out to the backyard. I think some of them are going to decorate our home this week.

Our plum tree will give us lots of sweet, juicy plums this year. Plum jam is a pain to make but just so good!

There are hundreds (thousands?) of tiny grapes, the size of a pin’s head, all clustered and green right now. They’re Concord grapes, and once they’re ripe, my boys love to run around the backyard, scooping up a few each time they pass the grapevine.

I had never heard of Swiss Chard until I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle — and no wonder Barbara Kingsolver likes it so much! We bought the plants once, three years ago. It just comes back on its own. I did get some Chard seeds for my 40th, so I’ve added to Chard Row.

One of my favorite fruits to eat as I’m working in the backyard are blueberries. I’ll be weeding for half an hour or pulling tomatoes off their plants and run over to grab a few blueberries. Then the boys see me and pretty much empty the plant of its fruits within 10 minutes. And hey, that’s why I grow stuff, right?

I have lots more to show you in the next Garden Update – peas, broccoli, corn, carrots, beans, etc. Stay tuned!

Garden update – August 2011

We haven’t had as many of these as we have in years past:


But just a few are definitely welcome! I hate buying them at the store, I always get ones that are half-rotted inside.

We’ve had so many delicious salads thanks to our cherry tomatoes


I like to keep it simple and refreshing with some mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.

Some impatiens joined our front yard and this little screen in the backyard


Lots of pumpkins are making their appearances!



And lots of bigger tomatoes to be harvested in the next couple of days


And the kids’ favorites – strawberries!


We keep getting corn, onions, and a small zucchini is making its appearance – hope it is ready to harvest soon!

Garden update

Wanna see what’s happening in my veggie garden?

Two pumpkins have started to grow – my husband took last year’s Halloween pumpkins and planted their seeds:
Apparently they are similar to our potatoes in that they are mature when the plant is shriveled and you have to leave them in the sun for a bit after harvesting. These are not the best for eating but we’re just growing them to see if we can.

We have over 50 of these on our plants:
We got 3 plants from a school fundraiser and 3 more because my son insisted, so we’ll see what their final output is.

Our grapes are doing very well
I don’t think we’ll have enough for making jelly but if they’re as sweet as last year’s we will enjoy them in their natural state.

I’m thinking it’s about time I harvested my lavender:
I’m torn between making sachets like I did last year or maybe a wreath like Centsational Girl’s.

The plums are ready for me to pick and make jam – so good!

In the front yard, my little one’s choice of plant from the school fundraiser is doing great and provides sweet color:

My oldest chose a blue plant since that’s his favorite color, and it’s also given place of honor in our front yard:

The hibiscus my husband chose is radiant with color, I just love the bright yellow!

The bamboo, however, might need some more wiring to keep it back, it’s like a jungle to get to our door!

These pretty lilies are gorgeous in the afternoon, they open up and brighten our gray front walls:

As a final surprise, this is what the onion flower I posted about a few weeks ago looks like when opened up – who knew? I sure didn’t.

Have a great weekend!

Garden update

No sweet corn on the cob for us yet
although we found a snail cozily nestled in the leaves – grrrrrr!!!

Our grapes keep growing
My husband has hopes of grape jelly but considering how quickly our kids eat any blueberry that matures, I doubt we’ll have enough enough grapes at any one time to make a batch of jelly.

This is what potatoes look like when you push aside the veritable jungle of leaves that grow over them
you can wait to unearth them when the leaves die off, or you can “grabble” them and eat them when young and tender

We planted yellow (on the left) and white (right) potatoes
You leave them in the sun for a couple of hours so the skins harden a bit. When you first take them out you can pretty much just rub the skins off.

The first baby tomatoes are making their appearances
I needed some tomato cages and my son insisted we get more tomato plants, so I hope we have a ton of tomatoes this summer!!!

That’s the happenings in our backyard – are you growing any veggie goodness this year?

Veggie lasagna

On Saturday night we had some friends over – my oldest and their middle child met at preschool and became friends and now we’re friends with the parents. I decided to try a veggie lasagna and came upon this recipe, but I had a hankering for spinach, so I added two bunches of spinach to the mis:
I was shocked that my oldest had a few bites, he is very anti-sauce when it comes to his pasta, but I think seeing his friend and the rest of us eating it was a good incentive. My little one sat on my lap and ate piece after piece, but then again, he’s always been up for trying new food.

One of my habits when I make something like lasagna is to double the recipe. It is not hard to make at all but it is a little more labor intensive than my usual dinners, so I figure, make twice the amount and enjoy some later in the week. Same whenever I decide to make roast chicken, I roast two and enjoy the second one in soups, salads, tacos, etc. Even if I am just sauteing chicken breasts or making a beef roast, making a double batch is a great way to save time later on.

My poor husband was quarantined in the bedroom so he didn’t eat with us, and I figure when he is feeling better I’ll have some yummy veggie goodness for him to regain his strength.