The Joys of Fresh Tomatoes 6/17/2018

This year my fresh tomato harvest has been small and meager thanks to a mouse family that has discovered my garden. I saw one running along the fence line into my neighbors property at dusk the other day, did some research and realized they are why I have exactly NO tomatoes and NO cucumbers. See the beginnings of mice damage here.

Since I only had five tomatoes counter-ripened that were saved a month ago I’ve been choosy as to how they are being used.  There is nothing I love more than the taste of a fresh sweet home-grown tomato. My two simple and favorite ways of using fresh tomatoes that really let the tomato shine are below:

Santa Fe Scrambled Eggs:

This is a super simple breakfast the husband and I enjoy on Weekends. It wakes you up with a nice spicy kick and is a great way to start the day with some protein:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh tomato
  • 1 hot pepper
  • (optional) 1 sweet pepper
  • Pinch of Salt to taste
  • (optional) a light sprinkling of garlic powder and onion powder.

Method:

Dice and pour over scrambled eggs. It almost ends up like pico de gallo just without the onions and cilantro, and it is less liquid. I usually dust the top with a little of the garlic and onion power and we both mix the fresh salsa into the eggs and eat them together. Filling and delicious.

Tomato Sandwiches:

I made these for work last week and it was delicious!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of your favorite bread
  • 1 fresh tomato
  • sprouts
  • 1/2 avocado
  • small bunch basil
  • Mayo
  • cream cheese
  • a dab of mustard
  • Salt

Method:

Make a sauce with equal parts mayo and cream cheese, and a dab of mustard to your liking. Chiffonade the basil and mix into the cream cheese/mayo mixture. Spread this mixture on your bread. Layer a generous helping of sprouts, avocado slices and then the tomato. Sprinkle the tomato with a light dusting of salt and enjoy! This open-faced sandwich is really something special with the home-grown tomato as the star. If you aren’t into the veggie thing I’m sure a layer of bacon would go quite well on top of the sprouts.

I’m counting my blessings that I still have some preserved sun-dried tomatoes in herbed olive oil and tomato butter from last year that I can still use this summer so I won’t be totally without. I also have amazing friends that have given me a load of their cherry tomatoes to enjoy.

I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that we can take care of the pest problem and get some more tomatoes this fall.

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Pretty Things 5/8/2018

This morning I wandered outside with my morning coffee and had to rush back in to grab my phone so I could take pictures of the beautiful things that started to bloom.

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The First green tomatoes of the season have arrived. It’s almost time to devise a bird net so I can keep them to myself. Maybe the birds are still too focused on the peach tree.

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Bi-Colored Iris is showing its stuff.IMG_0926

My little yellow flowers cheering up a shady cornerIMG_0927

The pineapple guava is busting out in full bloom. The mocking birds love eating their petals that taste sort of like tuti-fruity. They end up pollinating the flowers while doing this.IMG_0935The Beautiful Amaryllis is still going strong. I love how the red ones , then the pink ones, then the white ones come to bloom in order.IMG_0938The Echinacea are just starting to bloom.  I love their color.

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Swirly garlic scapes might make their way onto a plate soon.

IMG_0939The Johnny jump ups are one tough flower, still going strong.IMG_0929Figs are on the way. Looking forward to getting a handful or two in a few months.IMG_0924

The pomegranate tree is still going crazy. This is quite a show we’re getting!

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My day lilies are finally blooming for the first time! It was a pleasant surprise.

What a wonderful way to spend a morning.

Home Garden for Spring 2018

This year since I have the luxury of having a full sun plot away from the house I’m just focusing on the fun things here at home rather than the more industrial crops like beets.

Home is where my tomatoes and squash and melons and cucumbers live. Along with my salad greens (eventually) where they will be more easily picked and used.

Raised Bed #1 Planted 4/1/2018

The picture to the right is 4/1/2018 the picture to the left is 4/22/2018

There are three squash varieties on the left which were just seeds in the dirt on the first picture but you can see little seedlings now.

Squash (top to bottom):

  • Kogigu Winter Squash
  • Sucrine Du berry Winter Squash
  • Long Island Cheese Winter Squash

All are C. moschata types because of their supposed resistance to squash vine borer which is prevalent here.

Tomatoes:

There are four tomato plants total 3 are the tried and true early girl. The second from the top is better boy.

Basil:

  • Sweet basil
  • Purple basil
  • Thai Basil

Raised Bed #2 Planted 4/1/2018

The picture to the right is 4/1/2018 the picture to the left is 4/22/2018

There are five varieties of cucumbers on the left which were just seeds in the dirt on the first picture but you can see little seedlings now. The glob in the top center of the right hand picture is some kitchen waste I toss onto the garden It’s not beautiful but red worms love it.

Cucumbers (Lower left to upper right):

  • Patio Snacker
  • Picolino F1 (favorite variety last year)
  • Syrian Smooth
  • Armenian Cucumber
  • Melon Metki Dark Green Serpent

I stuck a Jimmy Nardello Sweet pepper plant and a Garden salsa hot pepper out there for quick access while cooking and to keep an eye out on the pepper progress at the plot for comparison purposes.

There are also a few volunteer tomato plants which will probably not amount too much. You’ll notice a whole bunch of empty space in this bed. This bed is mostly shaded and the empty spots are on the shady side of the bed that is reserved for what I hope to make a perennial salad garden. I purchased a whole bunch of varieties of perennial greens and after I start them from seeds this summer and transplant them this fall this will be their home.

Small bed planted 4/1/2018

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Is currently home to dill. Some volunteers popped up so I decided to transplant them here. It will be good to have dill at home too for all the cucumber plants that are planted!

Long bed

IMG_0556This is where I planned to plant some melons, but plans don’t always work. There doesn’t really look to be enough space for melon roots with the garlic. This bed is essentially untouched since the winter planting and looks quite unruly. The cilantro that was planted is going to seed and I decided to leave it there for the flowers that bees love and I’ll use the dried coriander seeds from this plant.

Honestly the garlic looks like it is struggling. I’m thinking the cilantro shaded it out a little too much and made it sort of spindly looking. Or perhaps it doesn’t like the soil or perhaps I should have watered it a little more.

So for now, the bed will stay planted with garlic along one side and coriander and dill and pansies dotted throughout. Perhaps I’ll stick in a watermelon a little later if it looks like there is room, but for now there definitely is not.

 

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