Lettuce and lacey beans…garden lessons learned

Oh, to blog about the garden first or cooking or brewing?

Garden

It is now finished. The newspaper is down, the plants are in, the straw is on top. It is fertilized and watered. The slugs are really enjoying my pole beans, fenugreek (methi) and spinach – these all have a beautiful lacey appearance now. Not sure if the plants will recover and grow past the distance the slugs can slug along to, but I am hopeful. This happened last year too. I think when I was a kid and we had a garden with a full on enemy slug attack we put beer on pie tins and scattered them around the garden. I may have to resort to this tactic. Squishing all the slugs by hand is not my idea of fun, so I will let them live for now. Until I buy some cheap beer and pie tins.

We are now eating the garden lettuce for salads and tossing loads of fresh herbs in. The asparagus we planted has finally taken root and now we have lots of asparagus sprouts and will hopefully be able to eat it next year.

I started this post a while back. The garden is looking happy and healthy now. The beans have grown past the slug height and well, my greens have mostly bolted (this means starting to go to seed and get tall and bitter). Lots of tomatoes on the way.

I learned a lot about tomatoes this year, even though I have been growing them for years.

1. Do not over fertilize them esp do not let the fertilizer touch the plant. As my best friend would say (who is a master gardener) just use natural fertilizer and compost. I agree, although was desparate as my tomato plants turned yellow for lack of nitrogen as the wood chips that were rototilled in from the stump removal sucked up my nutrients. Blah. So, I killed a few plants. I finally confessed to her (my use of commercial fertilizer) as I couldn’t keep it in. This is when I learned my second nifty tip.

2. You can take cuttings from tomatos and put them directly in the ground and they will start rooting and become new healthy plants. Very handy when you killed 5 plants already. Trim the big low branches off the healthy ones and stick them in the ground.

3. When planting transplant tomatoes, remove the bottom stems and plant them very deep, not just to the root zone. All parts of the plant underground will sprout roots and make a stronger plant.

I am now harvesting green chiles, cucumbers, extremely hot radishes (it was too hot for too long), sugar snap peas, snow peas, zucchini (I swore I would only plant one hill and I did. I will be just enough), and broccoli will be here soon.

Tonight I am headed to a pre 4th party (since we all have tomorrow off) and am bringing a dilly cucumber salad. It is chilling in the fridge right now.

Dilly cucumber salad

  • 4 -5 cucumbers sliced evenly (I used a mandolin)
  • 3/4 medium vidalia onion (my mom is from Georgia) sliced wafer thin, so thin you can almost see through it
  • 1/3 cup or more minced fresh dill
  • 3/4 cup of mayo
  • 3 tbs of cider vinegar
  • 1 tbs of sugar
  • fresh chopped chives
  • salt
  • loads of fresh cracked pepper

Mix your mayo, cider vinegar, sugar, s and p and herbs up first and pour over the cucumbers and onion. Stir, chill, eat.

garden cucumber salad

Often I add sour cream instead of mayo, but the sour cream is reserved for some spinach dip for tomorrows gathering in my backyard.

What I have planned so far :

Wood grilled pork butt – not sure what rub I will use yet

Bourbon bacon baked beans – these are already in the crockpot getting gooey and melty for tomorrow

Spinach veg dip with tortilla chips

Fruit pizza – I need a better name for this one. GF sugar cookie on a pizza pan, brown sugar and cream cheese mixture, then blue berries and strawberries (these came from my uncle’s farm delivered via a friend) in the shape of the…US FLAG. Slightly cheesy I know (esp with the cream chz) but my mom always did it and it is a fun way to celebrate our country’s 231 birthday. We could all be speaking German you know.

fruit pizza for the 4th fruit pizza bourbon bacon baked beans

The rest is up to the guests.

i’m out