Maybe you guessed from the title, but in case you didn’t figure it out, I planted my vegetable and herb gardens on Friday! I’ll admit, I wasn’t in a real gardening mood when I got home from school, but since I made the effort to go out to the garden centre the day after we got home and buy it all, I wanted to get it in the ground. Want a tour? You know you do!
So, veggies first. In the tomato section, we have 6 plum/Roma tomato plants (did these for the first time last year and LOVED them…awesome for sauces and roasting in the oven…can’t wait)!. We have 1 plant of golden cherry tomatoes, 2 fairly typical beefsteak tomatoes, and 2 different HERILOOM TOMATOES! I was SUPER-excited when I saw these, and went for them despite the higher price. I bought Brandywine and Japanese Truffle…stay tuned in August to see how these babies turn out!
See that wilted stuff in the top photo next to the tomatoes? That’s what’s left of the once abundant crop of arugula that had seeded itself and come up again this year…sigh. It met with a tragic accident when another individual was doing yard work and thought it was a weed , and NO, I DON’T want to talk about it! Let’s just say there will be a return trip to the grocery store to buy more.
Moving on, we have 2 pepper plants: one is an early (supposedly) sweet orange/yellow pepper and one is a poblano (they are large hot, but not overly-spicy peppers)….particularly excited about these…I’ve seen Rachael Ray cook with them and they were on my Burger from Bobby in Vegas.
Waaay at the back are 4 zucchini plants. Even though zucchini spreads like crazy and the plants give me a rash (although I have NO problem eating the stuff), I really do enjoy zucchini, and find it extremely versatile. I bake with it, grill it, fry it….I could go on and on (that being said, if you find yourself in my neck of the woods in August and want some zucchini, don’t be shy)!
My two newest ventures? Celery root/celeriac and KALE! Bring on the kale chips, baby! Can’t wait to have my own, endless supply. Technically, I guess I could pick some now, but I would only have a few small leaves….one small batch and that would be it.
Moving on to the herb department….
The perennials in my herb garden (for you non-gardeners, that means plants that come up every year without being replanted) are sage, mint, oregano, one or 2 parsley plants (technically I think they are biennial, meaning they only come up for two years?) and chives. The original chive plant was actually a gift to my parents when they got married in 1978 from my Great Aunt Marguerite, who I never met because she passed away from cancer before I was born (she lives on through the chives and her DELICIOUS carrot cake recipe). They have survived a move from Toronto to our “old house” to the house we live in now…not bad for a plant over 30 years old, eh?
The new plants were a bit more flat-leaf parsley, 2 varieties EACH of rosemary, thyme (German and lime thyme, which I think is fun to say), cilantro and dill. Something eats our dill EVERY year, no matter what we try to do to prevent it. My strategy this year? Plant it right at the back of the garden so it’s harder to find! We’ll see how this works (I’ll keep you posted). I also planted lemongrass this year. I planted some several years ago and never used it. But I’m trying to branch out, and somewhere I saw an iced tea recipe with lemongrass that looked pretty tasty.
Last but not least, I capped things off with 5 (no, that is NOT a typo, I said five) varieties of basil. We are huge basil-lovers here chez Wiebe. I think it’s just a perfect summer herb, and you can never have to much! Plus we sometimes have critters that nibble at it a bit too (what can I say, at least our yard pests have good taste).
I had to pull out some oregano and quite a bit of the mint (if you’ve grown mint, then this should come as no surprise to you, it spreads like crazy, and will be all over your garden in no time). I have to pull it out multiple times each summer. If you live nearby, and want any mint or oregano to grow in your own garden, C’MON OVER!
I often just toss the mint, but I don’t like to waste it if I don’t have to, so I rinsed it off and decided to try making some mint iced tea.
The how-to? I just boiled a full kettle of water, then poured it over the mint leaves and some black tea in a kettle and let it cool in the fridge. When I make iced tea, I don’t typically add sweetener, then I can add it after by the glass if I feel it needs it (often though I drink it unsweetened). Sadly, with all that mint, the minty flavour didn’t really come through. I think maybe I should have muddled/crushed it a bit more?
At supper last night, which was a GOOD one (stay tuned), I used the iced tea to make my version of what I think is called an “Arnold Palmer” (mix of iced tea and lemonade). I put some lemon juice and Splenda and a bit lemon slice, slightly crushed in a glass, added water, ice and iced tea, then garnished with a lemon slice: mmm – perfect summer-y refreshment! Cilantro and chives from the garden also made an appearance in last night’s dinner, as well as pineapple (in both main course and dessert). Curious? I’m gonna leave you hanging!
I’ve decided to create a Garden tab on HHH. I will start with this post, then add any photos/updates/recipes/creations from my garden as they come over the summer. Then you can follow my progress, get ideas, and maybe get inspired to grow your own! And by the way, I also have a raspberry patch in addition to all this herb and veggie goodness….I am a lucky girl!
Summer (the official season) is just over 3 weeks away and there are less than 25 school days left: THE COUNTDOWN IS ON!