Monday, June 29, 2015

Best5Zach Garden 2014

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I have really been slackin' on updates on the garden. No worries. No one reads them anyway! And it's a shame, because I usually include some yummy meal ideas with these updates.

So, everything is up and running (literally) in the garden. We ended up with just short of 20 tomato plants, a single row of corn, single row of okra, 6 cucumber plants, 9 zucchini and  6 crookneck squash. 

I have done my best to keep the garden weeded, but I am facing some trials with that. I was gone for a week on vacation to Jamaica (tough life) before coming home. Then it rained for 3 days straight. I finally got caught up on weeding, but now I am finding that my chickens are eating everything in sight. I don't want to keep them in their pens all day, but I can't have them eating the whole garden, either. 

My grandmother just told me and my wife yesterday that you never plant a single row of corn because it won't get pollinated. If anyone knows, it's her. I guess we will see. I have done single rows of okra and they don't have a problem. In fact, I had more than I could deal with last year. Anyway, if the corn doesn't turn out, I guess we will know why.

The cucumber plants are just starting to run and I have done my best to redirect them to run along the rows instead of across the rows. Though they were small, I did pick 3 small cucumbers last night....I just couldn't help myself. More on them later.

Zucchini has been producing bit by bit for the last week. I have averaged about 1 a day. But, many have been picked early because of the rain. I would rather pick them too early than let them blow up because they absorbed too much rain. They simply lose flavor. Also, the baby has a bad habit of picking them on his own and doing this:

Yesterday was the first crookneck squash was ready to be picked. 

Final count was 2 zucchini, 1 squash, and 3 small cucumbers. If I added a nice bowl of soup to that, I figured it would be a nice meal.

So, I started with the zucchini and squash first. I preheated a pan with a mixture of olive oil and butter. You don't want too much of it won't fry. Instead, it would be rather limp and won't have the perfect amount of char on the outside. While I cooked it in 3 separate batches, I seasoned each finished batch with some basic rosemary/garlic seasoning with a slight bit of salt and cracked black pepper. When all 3 batches were cooked at least 80%, I dumped the oil and butter solution and threw all of the slices back in the pan for just a few seconds while letting them sear. 

I sliced the baby cucumbers up and put them in a small amount of apple cider vinegar. I added chopped white onion (just big enough to use a fork) along with some fresh herbs from my raised herb garden, which I recently completed. The herbs I used, specifically, were fresh minced mixture of dill and sweet basil. I dumped half of this mixture in the cukes.  Another bit of salt and fresh cracked pepper. You can read about my herb garden below. 

On another eye, I started a plain can of tomato soup. Now, doctoring up tomato soup has been a favorite hobby of mine since I was probably 10 years old.  Instead of using a whole can of water, I use a half water/half milk solution. When the soup is simmering, I add the other half of the dill/basil mix, plus about 10 minced leaves of rosemary and a clove of garlic. You can then salt and pepper as you desire. To top the soup off, I cut 3 chunks of mozzarella up and place in the center. 

Talk about a fine meal!