Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Summer is Passing Just Too Quickly

I know I have been neglecting my blogging duty this summer but the garden has turned into a monster. It has taken over my life and all my other projects are sitting on the sidelines.

Here is what my garden looked like at the beginning of the season.

This is what it looked like two weeks ago.

I rush home from work to plant or harvest the vegetables. The tomato plants are growing like weeds and need to be tied up once or twice a week until two weeks ago. The last two times I pinch off any where from 1 to 1-1/2 feet off the tops of the bamboo stakes and they need to be pinch off again this weekend. If I do not check the tomatoes daily I start finding cracked or rotten ones. I have two 2 x 3 ft trays in the basement filled with ripen tomatoes and other smaller tray just for the cherry tomatoes. Last year I was lucky to get any tomatoes since the weather was cool and wet but this year the weather been hot and wet. The whole garden has been working overtime this year.

The green beans are producing a gallon size bag or more each week since July 1st. The green pepper and eggplant crops are going to be excellent this year. My pea pods production was ok but not great due to the early hot weather. I have a good summer crop of beets and carrot but the spring sowing was poor.

The two zucchini plants (one black & the other yellow) did well until three weeks ago when the squash bore killed the yellow one and reduce the quantity of the black by three fourths. The squash bore killed off all my winter squash vines in the last two week but I did get some pie pumpkins, acorns, Waltham butternuts and delicata squashes. Earlier this summer I was eating zucchini pizza (used in the crust and topping), lasagna (zucchini replaces the noodles), zucchini provolone, zucchini & eggplant casserole, zucchini quiche, zucchini strudel, zucchini rolls in tomato sauce. The best new zucchini recipe was the zucchini strudel. The filling was made of shredded zucchini, feta cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, mint leaves, parley or cilantro and something else I do not remember. My favorite old recipe is the zucchini quiche.

Now I am eating many different dishes with tomatoes: tomato pie, chili and yellow tomato soup. Later this week I will make a new recipe using eggplant as the noodle in lasagna. The eggplants are ripening and now I am looking for new eggplant recipes to use them up.

I was spending some of the summer making dilly bean, dill pickles and pickled beets. I started canning tomato juice and this weekend I will be canning whole tomatoes. I have a refrigerator full of Genoese basil to make pesto and basil ice cubes which I hope to tackle tonight.

The garden maybe a lot of work but I still enjoy doing it. Another reason why I have not been writing a blog is the little free time I have, I spend reading mysteries this summer. I have been reading the Commissario Brunetti Mysteries by Donna Leon set in Venice. The books are different and the endings are not what I expected. So this is what I been doing with my summer until mid August.