The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Late July Garden 2013

I made it halfway through summer!  I was still gardening, even through this extra-busy summer.  And we never even went on vacation.  Life is just that way sometimes.

I really, really enjoyed my veggie garden this year.  I had never grown squash, or even zucchini, before, and I was amazed at how fast the plants grew, and that I even had any squash on the vines!  Here are a couple of huge butternut squash growing:

I planted only two jalapeño plants, but they produced prolifically and I've made poppers several times now.  I don't use a recipe; I just mix some shredded cheddar and cream cheese, and mound a bit in each jalapeño (cut lengthwise and seeded--they were hot this year!).  I bake them at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, and they're good to go.  Yum!

In the below raised box, which is 4x12 (that's feet, y'know), I planted my three little squash plants right in the middle.  They took over the bed, and have made their way around the mulched pathways surrounding it.  Isn't it glorious?  :D

I should've harvested my garlic earlier (early to mid-July), but life got in the way.  The stalks, below, are dried and brown, and once they get that way, grab a trowel and carefully dig up all the bulbs.  I lay piles and piles of bulbs out in the sun for a few days to cure, and then I bring them inside.

Once they're really cured (feel free to wait a week or so!), separate the cloves, peel all the garlic, and freeze them in Mason jars in the freezer.  When you're ready to use one (or more), pull it out, wait a minute or two for it to soften, then mince it into whatever dish you're preparing.  Yes, they will get "mushy" out of the freezer, but in my experience they've been very flavorful and perfect for mincing in soups, sauces, and stews.  Oh--and when my guys have a sore throat, they mince and spread them on toast or a piece of bread and eat it right down.  Whew!--it's strong, but effective.

This year, I froze only about 1.5 quarts' worth of garlic.  I had a lot more last year.  Hopefully it'll last all year again!  If you want to know how to easily peel all that garlic, visit this blog post where I show you how.

See the below?  That's a garlic "flower," and they are the seeds you'll use for next year's garlic crop.  I cure these right alongside the cloves, then I separate them and keep them in a bowl until early autumn.  Once I have a space set aside in my garden, I plant them.  Lots of them.  They take really well, and as soon as spring comes the next year, little garlic plants are popping their heads up, and they've got a great start to the season.  I've even dug them up and transplanted them at that point (in the spring), and they've still done well.

Finally, enjoy this overview of my super-late-last-day-of-July garden:

Back to life,

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