How it grows on July 27, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008
This is how the garden looks today. We are right now at the pinnacle of the gardening year; the crops planted in the spring are bearing fruit, while the fall plants are just now emerging.

We're enjoying a steady supply of crookneck squash, green and wax beans, peppers, and... the first TOMATOES! On Friday night, we rang in tomato season with a celebratory eating of tomato sandwiches: tomatoes with mozzarella and fresh garden basil, tomatoes on grilled cheese sandwiches, and tomatoes simply sliced and topped with a sprinkling of salt. I can't even put into words how satisfying they tasted.

Our tomatoes aren't perfect; most of them have cracks or holes or blemishes of some sort. But we cut the little imperfections away and enjoy what's on the inside: deeply colored, intensely flavored flesh matched with an unbeatable fragrance that eludes the supermarket counterparts.

Here are a few more scenes from my garden and table...

Green and wax beans

Squash and beans stirred into fettuccine with fresh basil

San Marzanos, now neatly aligned on their vines and still green, are the raw material of choice for our tomato sauce.

We have a cascade of watermelon vines. There are only two plants here of the Crimson Sweet variety and they are growing like mad. Lucky us!

Ready to eat?

This is the healthiest crookneck squash plant I've ever grown. We've eaten 7 good-sized squashes from it so far, and more are setting up.

Sadly, things didn't fare so well for my Lebanese cousa squash plant. That one died a very sad death from not one, not two, but four squash vine borers that decimated its stem. It was so badly mangled; not even my Band-Aid trick could have saved it.

And then we have this one, the mysterious winter squash. I swear I planted an acorn squash in this place, but this doesn't look anything like an acorn squash. It doesn't come to a point on the bottom like acorns usually do. Whatever it is, though, it's growing splendidly. I see 5 squashes on the plant so far.

This morning I transplanted my cauliflower starts. Everything I read about cauliflower indicates it's a temperamental plant that's difficult to grow. That's not going to stop me from trying at least once.

For fall, I've also planted seeds for arugula, carrots, beets, mizuna, tat soi, bok choy, kohlrabi, two kinds of kale, mustards, broccoli raab, radishes, dill, and lettuce. Later I'll put in spinach, garlic, and more arugula. We can't have too much arugula.


Blogger Ann said...

Wonderful harvest! I'm thinking about all the great plants for the fall veggie garden as well -- and you can never have too much arugula.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Hey, Christa - that fettucine looks amazing! Tell Mike he needs to me email me the recipe(and mail me the ingredients from your garden!) ;-)

I hope you're doing well, miss you and Mike bunches.


6:17 PM  
Blogger Matron said...

Isn't it brilliant at the moment? everything is suddenly becoming productive and I can eat fresh picked veggies every day. I love the crookneck squashes!

6:30 PM  
Blogger Ed Bruske said...

Lovely looking produce, Christa. I wish I had room for the wandering melon vines.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Christa said...

Hey, Kyle! Great to hear from you. When are you heading back East to visit us again?

The fettuccine is super-easy. Saute squash in olive oil, salt and pepper (garlic, too, if you like). Boil the fettuccine and beans together in salted water, al dente. Then mix it all together and add chopped fresh basil at the end. The trick is to not overcook the veggies.

Have you been to Chez Panisse yet?

Be well. ~C

7:07 PM  
Blogger Tira said...

What a wonderful bounty of fresh produce-good going!

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... is it that grilled cheese with summer tomato has completely escaped my mind as an option before now? What is WRONG with me?

Thanks for the reminder -- and your garden's looking beautiful!

12:11 PM  
Blogger Jane O' said...

As I go blog to blog I see a lot of wonderful fruits and vegetables. I hope to expand my area next year so I can grow more than a few peppers, radishes, and tomatoes. Your harvest looks wonderful!

7:49 PM  
Blogger Kateri said...

Your squashes and melons look great. I love your blog. The name caught my eye when I was browsing through blogs.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Hey Christa - I may be visiting DC at the end of August.

Haven't been to Chez Panisse yet, been waiting for you and Mike to come and visit. Kidding. Sorta. ;-)

I'll try the recipe soon enough and report back, thanks!


3:37 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Thank you for bravely showing your tomato! I have grown many similar looking ones myself and thought perhaps I was doing something wrong. It's good to see that's just what happens when you garden sustainably at home!

6:28 PM  
Blogger Amaete Umanah said...

Hi there. Great Job! I am starting a Commercial Organic Aquaponics Fish farm myself. If you get a chance check out SoCal Aquaponics and SoCal Aquaponics blog.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Jane said...

Wonderful harvest!
We LOVE our tomatoes here too.
Tomato sandwiches are my FAVORITE.
Have you heard the Homegrown Tomatoes song by Guy Clark? It's a HOOT!

5:48 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Oh wow...the fettuccine looks SO good! Great pictures!

6:19 PM  
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2:10 PM  

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