|I'm waiting anxiously for my beloved Green Zebra tomatoes to start ripening!|
I love this time of year when fresh vegetables from the garden are the first thing you consider when deciding what to cook. Of course the challenge of gardening is dealing with plants that produce more than you can use, while waiting eagerly for other plants that seem slow to ripen. Right now my garden is producing huge amounts of yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, green beans, chard, dark green kale and Red Russian kale. I've been thinking about how to use those plants, while at the same time I'm looking longingly at the tomatoes and wishing I'd start to see a few more ripe ones.
The good news is that my tomatoes are absolutely loaded with tomatoes. These first two photos show the Green Zebra Tomatoes that I've been raving about for the last two years. I'm using 100% organic fertilizer on the garden, including an organic tomato fertilizer called Mater Magic that was recommended by a friend. I'm impressed with the results, as all my plants are loaded with tomatoes this year. I bought it at Home Depot, but if you can't find it where you live, you can buy Mater Magic at Amazon.com. (Full disclosure, if anyone follows that link and buys it at Amazon.com, Kalyn's Kitchen does earn a few cents on the dollar, so thanks!)
I'm picking this many green beans about every other day. If you have a lot of beans, I recommend The World's Easiest Garlicky Green Beans Stir Fry or Green Bean, Tomato, and Feta Salad.
This is Brandywine tomato, on the plant that was started by my brother-in-law in a greenhouse. I had a few early tomatoes from this plant and now I'm waiting for more so I can make tomato sandwiches!
Celebrity tomatoes are a hybrid that grows especially well in Utah, and I always grow them for salads. There are no ripe Celebrity tomatoes yet, but plenty of green ones.
I like to pick the cucumbers when they're on the small side, but my cucumbers are producing so many that sometimes they get away from me, like the one on the far left in this photo. No worries though because those big cukes are great for making Tzatziki Sauce or Creamy Cucumber-Dill Sauce for fish.
My Roma tomato plants are also loaded with tomatoes. I don't know what's causing the leaves to turn brown and curl up on the edges, but I figure it can't be good! So far though most of the plant still looks healthy, so fingers crossed.
I used four of these summer squash to make Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake, which might be my new favorite way to cook zucchini. The bigger one in the back was cooked on the grill for a new recipe I've been experimenting with.
And finally, some people say never grow tomatoes in the same place two years in a row, but obviously I ignored that advice when I built tomato beds along my deck. I love having the tomatoes there, and my tomatoes are loving the sunny location so much that everywhere in the tomato beds I have "volunteer" tomatoes sprouting from the seeds of last year's dropped tomatoes. In this photo the you can see the tomatoes I planted inside the green cages, but all ones between the two cages are volunteers. I'm not sure if you can see it, but there's even a tomato on the volunteer plants. I did pull out quite a few volunteers, but after a while I decided to just let them go and see what I'd get!
Each year is a little different in the garden, but it's always fun watching things grow and experimenting with new ways to use them. You can see more 2011 Garden Updates or Garden Updates from earlier years by using the Tab labeled Gardening at the top of the page.
If you're growing a garden, please let us know in the comments about what you've been picking and how you're cooking it!