Monday, June 25, 2012

The Kitchen Garden

Sense of Home Kitchen

Welcome to my kitchen garden, it is growing rapidly and so far has produced for our dinner table strawberries, radishes, spinach, heirloom lettuces, broccoli rabe and herbs.  Soon there will be more than we will be able to eat and I will be canning, freezing, dehydrating, and pickling.  I love putting food up for the winter months, stocking the pantry with all kinds of garden goodness.

We have a few new plants in our garden this year, celery, brussel sprouts, and broccoli rabe, which has been chewed on by some bug and has already begun to go to seed, so we will only get a few salads from this plant.  It is interesting how there are good and bad years for crops, this year the spinach, lettuce and broccoli rabe are bolting early, that usually does not happen around here until mid-July.  On the other hand, the raspberries, broccoli, and brussel sprouts are having a very good year, and the tomatoes and peppers are bearing fruit earlier than normal.

I have a small garden, but I want to grow an abundance and variety of plants so I have to do some vertical gardening. I have a wire mesh fence for the peas and a trellis for the cucumbers to climb up, it is surprising how much produce a small garden can provide.

Beyond the fence for garden peas and the cucumber trellis are broccoli, beans, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and raspberries bushes along the side.

From both directions. 

I have often resisted the urge to plant zucchini, there are so many people looking to give it away.  However, when you get free zucchini it usually comes in 1 to 2 foot sizes, which I have been grateful for and have used it to make bread and cake, and it is good sliced and grilled.  But, we also like zucchini when it is very small, sliced and stir-fried, roasted, and added to salads.

I have my tomatoes all staked up to their bamboo poles.  I use old nylons, tights, and socks to tie them to the poles; a gentle way to hold up the heavy fruit.  This is our second garden, it is about double the size you see here and is planted with eggplant, several herbs, peppers, and onions, besides the tomatoes.                                                                                        

Sweet Hot Peppers

The eggplant have flowered and now have tiny fruits growing.

The grape vine is taking over the shed and loaded with grapes, which, of course, the birds have already discovered and, not being able to taste the difference between sweet and sour they are helping themselves to the still green fruit.

There will be a good crop of raspberries this year and the few that have ripened are very sweet and juicy.  I will be freezing several quarts of raspberries for winter use.  The berries below have another week or so to go before they are red and ready to eat, but when they are I plan to enjoy a bowl of raspberries and cream while sitting on the patio.