How Does Your Garden Grow?

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How can you not be pretty much vegetarian this time of year, even if you’re not on a regular basis? I mean, just look at all the yummy, fresh produce out there!

So far, my garden has been pretty much a fizzle, thanks to the drought and never-ending temperature over 100°. But there are some bright spots following lower temps and some very welcome rain.

There are eggplants on my eggplant plants. There is one tomato and, if we’re lucky, there will be more. Before this, the tomato plants would get blossoms that never set. My husband saw one glorious bee flying around the garden this evening. Hopefully, if we do have one or more tomatoes, they will get ripe enough before the first frost. Tomatoes do not like frost.

I did get some cucumbers, but never enough to make pickles. Maybe less than one dozen in all. But they were good, peeled and with a bit of salt. I don’t peel regular cukes, but pickling cucumbers have a tough skin that isn’t all that tasty.

We did get some herbs, especially basil. It will be a good year for making pesto. The chive seeds never sprouted, but the oregano and the dill are doing well. Too bad the cucumbers didn’t produce enough for pickles: The dill would have come in handy.

I’m pretty sure it isn’t too late to plant some carrot seeds. If so, the seeds don’t cost that much and I can plant more in the early spring. Carrots don’t mind chilly weather.

My pole beans never got more than one foot high and I may have gotten one blossom — but no peppers — on the pepper plants. I also had high hopes for mesclun, but only got one kind of lettuce. It was enough to throw in with mesclun from the produce department and say I had salad out of my garden. Sort of.

So far, I’ve had to rely heavily on the farmer’s market. I like to cut zucchini and summer squash into chunks, onions into wedges, and mushrooms into quarters or halves to stir-fry in a bit of olive oil and butter with some minced garlic, salt, and pepper thrown in. I eat it with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. If you sauté it in a wok — which I do (actually, I have a heavy wok-shaped pot with a regular pot handle) — it doesn’t take much oil or butter.

Or toss zucchini, summer squash, garlic, olive oil (not much), salt, and pepper together, put in a single layer in a pan, sprinkle with Parmesan, and bake at 400° for 15 minutes or so. I can eat that stuff all day long, piling my plate high, and it’s hardly any carbohydrates.

If I didn’t get a lot of produce out of the garden, I have at least grown — and continue to grow — fodder for the composter. And I’ve gotten some exercise with the planting, watering, and such. For the upcoming cold weather, I’ve ordered a chair dancing DVD to get my heart a-pumping! And, hopefully, help shake some more pounds off.

I was talking to my friend, “Virginia Jan,” last night and she told me about getting some butternut squash from a friend’s garden. That reminded me that cooler weather is coming and fresh, locally grown veggies won’t be around too much longer. It time to fill up while we can!

And to make sure that recipe for butternut squash and apple soup is nearby, ’cause it’s really good. Especially with roasted vegetables in a pita with hummus for the “schmear.”

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