Saturday, August 6, 2011

Giveaway and My Garden 2011

Heads up: This is a LOOOONGGG post (picture-wise) due to the ridiculous amount of photos I took of my garden. I'm like a proud obnoxious mama.  Deal. 

I've been meaning to post for a while to update y'all on this year's garden. I'm pretty pleased with it so far! Some things are doing really well, and some things are literally withering away and I'm stumped as to why.

But before I begin, I want to make a quick amendment to the giveaway mentioned earlier. It seems I was getting ahead of myself with the goal of 20 "followers." We're at 8 as of this posting, up from 5, so I'll say that once we're at 10 followers (you gotta sign up over on the right!) then I'm going to have an exciting giveaway. One my favorite people I've never met, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, is releasing her newest book this month, The 30-day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Cleaner, Getting Leaner, and Living Compassionately

The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Cleaner, Getting Leaner, and Living Compassionately

I'd love to give this book away to one lucky reader. The rules for playing will follow once we get our two (or more!) additional followers. I'm really looking forward to the release of this book, as Colleen just flippin makes things so easy and clear and her recipes are to-die-for good. (Don't you love the cover?) This is for anyone, be you a completely tattooed, die-hard, angry vegan (couldn't resist throwing the stereotype in there) or someone who thinks this is all very odd and unnatural but is curious just the same about recipes, protein, iron, etc... So. I'll tell you more once we're at 10. :)

Moving on ... Entering my beloved garden ...

Kaci in her favorite spot under the rhubarb...

Sadly, we can't let Sergio in the garden as he flips out and tries to escape in a scary kind of way. He is making his feelings known from our bedroom window. Poor Buddy.

The Marigolds are our plant watchdogs; they keep all some of the nibbling insects away.

The last two years, I ordered a lot of heirloom tomato plants, only to have them never reach their ripeness with our relatively short growing season. (The cherry tomatoes were fine, of course, but the bigger ones needed another month or so of hot weather.) This year, I got my plants at the nursery, but only picked the varieties that ripened FAST. What a difference! We now have fresh tomatoes every night. I also got fewer plants, suspecting that I'd end up with last year's problem: a plethora of green tomatoes and little else. Next year, I'll get a couple more "big tomato" plants so that I can share with my neighbors, something I love doing!

 Cherry tomatoes!

 Bees are amazing.

Big tomatoes for us! These get sliced with basil, olive oil, and a smattering of salt and pepper ...

These apparently were not for us. :) Someone beat us to it. Looks like they love summer tomatoes too!

Two years ago, I bought some tomatillo plants. I've never needed to buy any again. They reseed themselves (as the tomatoes do too!) with a vengeance so I just weed the seedlings out where I don't want them and let the others go crazy. Hellloooo salsa!!
Are they stunningly beautiful?

I bought four eggplant plants this year, all different varieties. (I forgot to take pictures of the white ones, but this will give you an idea.) I've got some ready now to make my first batch of Baba Ganoush. I just love how graceful they are, like ballet dancers. In the dirt. 

 I love lifting the leaves and seeing them all hiding there. They're like little kids, giggling after getting caught in a game of hide-and-seek. Or like ballet dancers. Take your pick.

We've got peppers galore this season. They're doing so well! I always freeze them in a ziploc and then you have them throughout the rest of the year. 

 These ones are ready for picking! 

I planted (and continue to plant every two weeks) tons of leafy greens, which are so unbelievably good for you. I make a green smoothie each morning with a handful of greens and they are just as sweet as can be (I add frozen pineapple, frozen mango, frozen banana, frozen peaches, a piece of raw peeled ginger, orange juice, ground flaxseed -- omega 3s! -- and dates. It's from one of Colleen's recipe books, and tastes decadent. You'd pay $5 or 6 for it in a snooty smoothy shop.)

 Rainbow Chard. Is there anything prettier? Seriously. The colors take my breath away.

 Big fat beets and their gorgeous leaves.

 Dinosaur Kale. For my Tyrannosaurus Rex. 

Collard Greens. I love the way the dew gathers on the leaves like water on a raincoat. 

We also have the standard herbs, though I only have a few pictures of them here...

 Thai Basil. Mmmm... Such a distinct smell.

 This is a bush (!!) of French Tarragon. It was a wee bitty plant two years ago that I bought from the nursery. I didn't realize it was a perennial, but each year it comes back bigger and fuller! It was so full this year, it started shading out other plants, so I had to tie it upright around the fence.

 It's called dillWEED for a reason. Once it dries out, the seeds plop down into the ground and you've got endless supplies of the stuff. This year's crop is mostly gone and frozen in my freezer.

Anyone need mint?

I also have load of other herbs  -- basil, parsley, sage, stevia, oregano, majoram, thyme, lemongrass -- but I can't find the pictures at the moment. 

This year saw a new experiment: garlic! I planted it in the fall and am just starting to harvest it now. The bulbs are smaller than what I find in the store, but yummy! 

This is the garlic about a month ago with the twisty pointed "scrape" on it, just before I cut it off and cooked it up in a stirfry.

And here it is now, browning and ready to harvest.

Another new experiment that I started last year is asparagus. You're not supposed to harvest it the first two years (to let the root systems flourish and grow hardy), but lordy they're pretty. 

When you don't harvest them, they grow tall like ferns. Some of these are over 6 feet tall!

And they grow these funny little Dr. Seuss balls. (Yes, I said Dr. Seuss balls.)

I was going to include more, especially my "failure crops" to see if anyone had advice, but this post has just gotten ridiculously long. Oy.  Thanks for reading and don't forget to join up as a follower (if you haven't already) so we can get this giveaway started! :)


  1. Ooooh, garlic scapes! The tomatillos are just gorgeous, they remind me of Japanese Lantern plants!

  2. Your garden looks so beautiful! The tomatillos are especially gorgeous. I've been wanting to make chickpea and potato enchiladas from Viva Vegan, and they are topped with a tomatillo sauce. Sadly, all of the grocery stores in the area have old, wrinkly tomatillos, and so no enchiladas for me. You should try it, though, while yours look so lovely!

    I tried gardening this year for the first time, and it was pretty much a bust. We have loads of animals in the area. Instead of spending a lot of time, energy, and money figuring out a way to fence our plants, I did a potted garden in our sun room. All of the plants look very healthy, but we don't even have blooms, let alone vegetables. Maybe next year I'll be posting pictures as lovely as yours!

  3. That garden is amazing! I hope someday to have a big enough property that I can do a garden up right like that.

    Before I forget why I came here, about your moisturizer question: I've only tried a few moisturizers so I don't feel really qualified to recommend one or the other (i've also never tried a scent-free one), but the girl who runs Vegan Beauty Review is always trying out new moisturizers:

    For night time, I use jojoba oil because it doesn't make me break out. It also takes awhile to absorb, which is why I only use it before bed.

  4. Please promise me that you'll make chili verde because I can't. No tomatillos in Deutschland.