More goodies from the garden

Another day another harvest. We've been picking things up in the garden pretty much every day. Right now it's peppers, cucumbers, beans and tomatoes season. Here you can see we picked cucumbers, sweet banana peppers and watermelon radish - I cut it in half so you can see why it's called 'watermelon'. Because the weather has been so hot it made these radishes very peppery but they're still quite tasty.
And the banana peppers are pretty good too. The ones that are completely ripe taste like regular sweet bell pepper with nice and crunchy flesh. Some not very ripe have a touch of heat to them. Either way I'm happy with them and will definitely plant more next year as they're very prolific in their yield. And then today I went out and got whole lot more tomatoes and cucumbers with some beans and peas for snacking. Don't they look lovely?
And I know what you might think - these don't look that very big. You'd need whole lot more to do something useful other than eating in salads. Well I admit that the picture is a bit deceiving. You see, it's been taken as an overhead so I could fit all items in one shot. I took one of these tomatoes (the one top right under the cucumbers) and placed it on my hand and took a snapshot. This will give you better idea of the real size of what I picked.
As you can see it's much bigger than my hand but in the general picture it didn't look all that big. So now you can look back at others and get approximate idea of what exactly we've been picking. Trust me when I say it's more than enough for our needs. By the way, the one in my hand is Brandywine variety.
Here I took closer snapshot of them and you can see different types - Brandywines with green on edges and couple of them turned upside down so you can see how bright pink they get on the other side. Top left corner next to orange bell pepper (which is really regular size pepper but looks small comparing to Brandywines) is German Striped Cavern - with yellow stripes inside. It's somewhat hallow with a cluster of seeds inside but very tasty. Then you have two Black Prince in the middle of the picture - they're somewhat tapered at the end and have darker skin. Haven't tried them yet and will do that tonight with the salad. And of course then we have regular salad tomatoes (big boy and Martin), few plum tomatoes and cherry tomatoes.
So what do we do with all this goodness? Well I took some of the veggies that we picked before and chopped them up, tossed them on a skillet with onions and made a tomato sauce. So the plums and salad types combined with banana peppers were used up in a sauce. It came up at about 2.5 jars of sauce so we took 2 jars and canned them for winter.
My honey actually did that for me. He's pretty good at this too, did the sterilizing etc. Remaining sauce we used up with pasta for lunch/dinner. Very tasty actually. And what's really important to me is that I know it's all organic with no added preservatives or chemicals. I'm looking forward to the winter time when I cook something Italian and will be able to use my own sauce and not a store-bought. We also gave a whole bunch of tomatoes away to someone else but there are others that getting ready to ripen so I'm sure we'll be making more of these canned goodies. One thing for sure - next year I'm planting just as many tomato plants so I can do this all over again!

Veggie Overload

I know it's been few weeks since I've posted anything but it's also been crazy time for me so please be patient. As you know once the garden starts producing it keeps going until frost time. In May-June it was lots of greens and now in July it's more of a typical veggies that you can find in your local farmer markets. If you looked at some of my other posts you'd know that I've been expecting few things to ripen up, so here they are. In the first week of July I had my sister down here so she got to pick few things. Like these fingerling potatoes and green beans.
This was actually an experiment and I didn't know if they'll grow at all. Why? Because these were just your regular store-bought fingerlings that I got from local store, put them in a brown bag on the bottom of my fridge last fall and forgot about them. In spring I was doing "spring cleaning" and found them and since they started sprouting I just tossed them in the garden in two small rows. Well they grew and actually produced like crazy. Potatoes that are pictures came from 3 bushes - 1 row in my raised bed. I'm yet to pick the remaining potatoes. And then we had explosion of cucumbers. They are the ones that were planted outside of the protected area and the only 5 bushes that actually survived the hard frost we had at the end of May.
Of course at the same time we picked bunch of snap peas for snacking and strawberries. They're still going on strong by the way. And a week later right before my sister had to leave we picked out some of the new potatoes - regular this time. I packed them up for her to take to LA and we had cucumbers for eating in salads.
Afterwards came ichiban eggplants and carrots. Actually I've been snacking on carrots for a while now but eggplants were first ones in the bunch. I had to leave so didn't get to eat them myself - my honey took them to work for his secretary who said that they were delicious and with less seeds that your regular eggplants. It also helped that they were very young and not overripe. And then I had to leave for work-related trip so didn't really get to do anything in the garden. However my honey did and he surprised me with few things. He's been picking up cucumbers every couple of days while I was gone and then decided to can them so they won't go bad. So by the time I got home he had 5 jars of pickles ready and waiting.
His only complaint was that garden is "high on steroids" when it comes to producing rate. Well with the amount of rain we've had and hot weather it's not surprising that everything is ripening. He's been picking some salads and tomatoes for eating right away and he had some fried ichiban eggplant that he made himself from another one that ripened while I was gone - there are many little ones hanging on the plant. And then when I got home first thing I had to do of course was pick up ripe veggies.
As you can see we're overloaded with tomatoes and cucumbers and first banana pepper and asian eggplant was picked as well. This is the first wave of tomatoes and lots more coming up later on. For now we've picked italian plums, cherry tomatoes, german striped cavern and regular salad type. Few other types are still ripening like Black Prince and Martin and of course I'm waiting to try Brandywine. They are not as productive as others but the tomatoes are HUGE! They're still growing in size but some look like a small plate. Can't wait to try them!