Skip to main content

Ch-Ch-Ch Changes (In The Garden)

In honor of the recently completed London Olympics I thought this post needed a little nod to a great Brit - hence the Bowie referrence in the title.

One of the wonderful things about a vegetable garden is that it keeps changing as the seasons progress. Here in Northern Virginia we have a pretty long growing season and with the help of a little low level technology, we can make it even longer.

Back when it was still cold we were happily growing things like lettuce, beets, radishes and kale in our simple cold frame. There are few more satisfying things for a gardener than to have to take off winter gloves to harvest some lettuce that you'll wash and eat that day!

As the weather started to warm, our soil amendments made over the winter paid off handsomely in a bumper strawberry crop. Some heavy rains shortened the yield a bit but we really had all we could eat this spring -- and they were delicious. 

Spring and early summer also gave us kale, spinach, swiss chard, garlic (don't forget the scapes), leeks, more lettuces and a pretty wide variety of herbs.I wrote about much of it here.

Then came the tomatoes! And boy did they come -- it's been a really good year.

The zucchini have been prolific and I've written several posts about how we are using them is our Meatless Monday meals.

As we get into the later part of the summer , the garden is changing over once again. We're still getting a good amount of tomatoes and zucchini but several new plants are ready to take center stage. For the 1st time we are growing corn. Admittedly it is a small plot, but it was an experiment to see if we could do it. Well, our tiny little corn "field' seems pretty darn happy.

The stalks are nearly 10 feet high (is that the height of an elephant's eye?) and the ears are forming up nicely. It won't be long before we find out is it tastes as deleicious as it looks.

The hot peppers are ready to pick and the cucumbers seem to be multiplying overnight.

We've picked and eaten our first batch of yellow wax beans (delicious!) and are anxiously awaiting more.

Another first for us is a particularly interesting red variety of okra. They look quite different from the classic green pods I wrote about recently and we'll soon find out if there is any taste difference.

I realize how fortunate we are to have the space to do all of this. I also know that not everyone does.But, don't let that stop you from growing something -- anything. Even if it's just some herbs in a pot in your kitchen window. Or a small patch of tomatoes in that little unused spot in your yard. Once you grow and eat your own produce you'll learn what we did a long time ago -- it is so much better than anyting you can buy at a supermarket.

Happy gardening!


  1. nice blog checkout my blogs at

    feel free to leave a comment

  2. Wow you are making me envious. Freshly grown vegetables must taste a lot better than the ones at the supermarket!!

    1. I can assure you they do! Thanks for reading my blog and for your comment.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Oven Roasting Fresh Tomatoes for Pasta Sauce

A while back I wrote a post about using the preserved tomato sauce from 2008 that we still had in our pantry. It was the last jar of what was the best tomato crop we have grown -- to date. This weekend we picked and roasted the first batch from this year's garden with high hopes that we could match the richness of flavor from that magical year.

I wanted to share the process, especially since it's so simple, at least up to the canning, which I won't cover here. Those of you that can know it's not really hard, just a little time consuming.

The first step is pretty obvious, get yourself some tomatoes. We like to grow our own, but you can also buy them from a farm or farm market. Here's a little tip if you decide to buy -- offer to buy the "seconds", you know, the less than perfect tomatoes that everyone else has passed on. They can have blemishes, partial spoilage and even the occasionally bug hole. Don't worry, you're going to cut away any bad par…

2008 was a very good year....

...for tomatoes in Newburgh, NY. That's where we lived then and where we grew, roasted and canned tomato sauce. We actually did that every year but there was something magical about the quart mason jars full of that 2008 vintage. Last night, as part of Meatless Monday dinner, we opened the last one.  Nearly 4 year old tomato sauce you say? Isn't that, um, dangerous? Not at all if the jars are initially prepared correctly, the canning process is carried out properly and the seal remains intact. It was both exciting and a little sad to crack open that seal, but the finished meal made it all worth it. Cynthia's original recipe was a perfect use for that special vintage.

Herbed Crepes with Ricotta, Spinach and Chard Filling
Ingredients (crepes) 1 cup AP flour1 cup + 2-4 tbsp liquid of your choice, could be stock, milk, beer, water or any combination thereof - I used 1 cup Better than Bouillon No Chicken and 3 tablespoons of Duck Rabbit Milk Stout beer3 large eggs2 tbsp unsalted q…

Authentic Unbeatable Swedish Meatballs!

Think Ikea, But 100 Times Better
A Guest Post by Anneli from Delicieux
I am delighted to be back here on A Reluctant Foodie doing another guest post for Al. Our last challenge (Stuffed Peppers) was such fun that we decided to do it again and this time I suggested 'Balls"!

'Balls' was a fun choice as it gives such a large scope for experimenting - meatballs, fish balls, rice balls, chocolate balls, ice cream balls...the possibilities are endless. Not to mention the childishness of repeatedly writing 'balls'!! (and yes, I'm 36, not 3!)

In fact, I had no trouble at all deciding which 'balls' I was going to make, it was inevitable. I am half Swedish and I was brought up in a house where certain Swedish foods were regulars at our table. I was aware of Ikea and their meatballs before the rest of the world began their love affair with them.

My Mormor (Grandma) used to make them fresh and serve them with dollops of sweet lingon berry sauce, boiled potatoes …