While I am not a great gardener; as you can tell by the photo I just took, one garden looks great the other not so much! I do try to do my best. Before I buy what I want to plant, I make a listing of everything we tend to eat and the herbs we use a lot. I used to start the seeds in the house but I have been buying my plants for probably the last 10 years. I find it easier, kind of the instant gratification that I tend to need. Nothing like spending the day laying out all the plants, planting them and voila a garden!!! I always plant the staples to make homemade salsa, green peppers, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, onions, garlic of course, and cilantro. As well as things I can go out harvest and make a yummy salad or grab some herbs for seasoning our dinners; chives, thyme, basil, parsley, sage and rosemary are my favorite go to herbs.
I find it so gratifying going out into the garden and grabbing some zucchini and summer squash slice them up and cook them on the grill. Sometimes in a foil packet sometimes just in rounds on the grill always with olive oil, onions and or garlic and Kosher salt and fresh black pepper. I am very grateful my family likes that I cook them to al dente, not a fan of the over cooked mush that I see on occasion.
My husband and I have had a garden in some fashion for 25+ years (my favorites are raised beds hand downs) I am almost embarrassed to say that out loud, you would think that after that many years I wouldn’t lose a plant or an entire crop as I have on occasion. Not positive it is always entirely my fault; I water, weed, fertilize and do what I can to nurture them, if something is looking amiss I research what it needs and try to rectify the problem. I am not always successful. Some years we have an abundance of tomatoes; next year it will be cucumbers, one year carrots. I don’t change how I plant them; we do change where in the garden we plant them. So I am at a loss. I am going to go with the wonderfully ever changing New England weather we have.
I will confess; much to my husbands dismay; I have banned corn from our raised beds, while I love corn on the cob it takes up a lot of real estate and the harvest from our gardens over the years isn’t really worth it. If my husband had his way, he would have an acre of corn. I didn’t actually say no to this, I just told him he needed to find his own acre somewhere else. This year he now has found another plant that we have had a tremendous amount of luck with over the years so now he is focused on growing potatoes; my carpenter husband is now proclaiming he wants to be a potato farmer. Sometimes you need to just nod and smile. I think he thinks he can make vodka; he doesn’t even like vodka; I am the one that drinks it. I have never heard of New Hampshire based vodka but I guess you never know unless you try.
New this season Potato garden!
We all LOVE potatoes; fresh from the garden potatoes are definitely worth a spot in your garden at least once. I think my favorite way is roasting them in the oven or even on the grill. Olive oil, Kosher Salt, Freshly ground black pepper and Rosemary – YUM! My husband made a new larger raised bed for his potatoes, his plants are looking better than some of mine. You just never know!!!
There is a door into the shed that is off of my potting bench – It was a very ugly green that I have no idea why we even owned the color of paint. It was driving me nuts for a couple of years now, I decided a few weeks ago that I was going to paint it. I figured it was not going to be seen by anyone but me and whoever helps me in the garden, so I decided to go a little crazy for me. I did use a famous motto about gardening but changed it to Potatoes for my husband. He loves it!!!!
I love taking a medley of veggies from the garden; carrots, potatoes, beets and butternut squash, chop them up add olive oil and Kosher salt fresh cracked black pepper and put them out on the grill on one of my old cookie sheets. Turn them a couple of times and they taste just amazing. They are wonderful side to any meat you want to pair them with. Sweet smoky flavor that melt in your mouth.
When I do have too many vegetables to eat and give away before rotting, I do pickle my cucumbers. I also will make tomato sauce or I chop and seed them and freeze so I can add to just about anything soups, stews or sauces. I make garden salsa all the time and I have canned batches of that over the years; I used to send my daughter to college with a jar or two. I am not entirely sure what to do with the bazillion jalapeno peppers we get, I do use them but while we like some heat in dishes, we are not super heat lovers. I do end up bringing quite a few of them to work to share. This year I will need to look up what to do with them!
If we could grow avocado’s I would be in garden heaven – we LOVE guacamole and the only thing I need to buy from the store is the avocado, I guess that isn’t too bad!
Fresh Garden Salsa
6 tomatoes (Roma)
1 Green Bell Pepper
2 Jalapeno Peppers
5-6 Cloves of Garlic
1 Lime, Squeezed
Fresh Cilantro chopped
Fresh ground black pepper
1-2 packets of sweet and low
Dice and seed the tomatoes and set aside to drain while you dice the peppers and onions, press the garlic, and chop the cilantro. Mix everything together add a dash of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and a packet or two of sweet and low.
Hint 1: you can make it hotter by leaving the pith and seeds in the jalapenos or milder by removing them before chopping.
Hint 2: By seeding the tomatoes your salsa will be less watery
Avocado, Tomato and Mango Salsa
1 Ripe Mango peeled, seeded and diced
1 Ripe Avocado peeled, pitted and diced
4 Medium tomatoes diced
1 Jalapeno seeded and minced
½ Cup fresh cilantro
3-5 Cloves of Garlic
2 Tablespoons of fresh lime juice
¼ Cup chopped Red Onion
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
In a medium bowl combine the mango, avocado, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro and garlic.
In a small bowl add the onion and lime juice, let it site for 5 minutes, whisk in olive oil, season with salt.
Fold the dressing into the salsa and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
My roasted potato, carrots and rosemary are almost ready for dinner….