Veg*n Cooking and Other Random Musings: Garden Update #11

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Garden Update #11

The gardens are finally really starting to move along. We've actually had a few days reprieve from rain (I say this as rain clouds are moving in.), and lots of sunshine.

We also seem to have found an effective remedy for the aphids. After trying three different natural concoctions, we've found that a mixture of boiled crushed garlic and cayenne pepper is not only effective against aphids, but also truly safe for the plants.

I forgot to mention that we harvested the chard a few weeks ago, it was yummy.

The wind was cooperating with me this morning, so I finally got some decent garden pictures for the first time in a few weeks.

Check out the container garden:

The broccoli, still going strong. I'm worried that they may be underpotted or something. They still aren't producing and I'm afraid it's going to be too hot soon.

Hungarian Wax Pepper. This thing is flippin' huge!

Banana pepper, the plant is finally growing, for awhile, it seemed as though it was expending all its enegy on growing this one pepper.

Jalapeno pepper.

Cayenne peppers. I hope you can tell in this picture that this thing is going nuts! There are six or seven large peppers growing right now.

A couple pictures of the serrano pepper. It's really growing like crazy right now too, last count we had nine little peppers starting.

Tons of flowers on the 'Super Chile'.

Onto the community garden. I was hoping that the hay would help keep down on the weeds, but there were still tons of weeds, what they hay does do is make the weeds harder to pull.

All in all things are going well. I wish I knew more though, such as which bugs are beneficial and which are pests, as we have an assortment of critters in both the container and community garden. I know at least some of our visitors are 'pests', as they have had made a few meals out of our leaves. I also wish I knew why other people's plants are so much farther along than ours, perhaps it is what they are fertilizing their plants with, it could be that our plot sucks. You see, we didn't really think much about what plot we chose, and we ended up chosing possibly the worst plot there was, the one that gets the runoff from everyone else's plots.

Speaking of other people's plants, check out these guys, they are some plants in other plots. It not only illustrates how much further their plants are than ours, but also how cute baby vegetables are.

These yellow squash are almost ready to be picked!

Onto to this weeks CSA and farmer's market booty.

This weeks CSA includes: beets, broccoli, collard greens, onions, spinach, spearmint, and leaf lettuce.

Farmer's market booty: We've got local cherries (these are a special treat, they don't last long and aren't always available, a splurge and a very exciting find!), organic spinach (I love Phil's Phine Greens, Phil is a local purveyor of greens and they are phine :-), he has some of the best stuff around), cucumber, lots of little tomatoes, and snow peas.

As noted above, we got some beets in our CSA this week. Now I like beets, but have never bought them fresh before, so I wasn't sure how to store them. After a little searching online, I found out not only how to store them, but that beet greens are edible and incredibly nutritious. Since I had been planning on discarding the greens anyway, I decided to try eating them. I looked around for a recipe and modified it to our tastes. It was pretty good, the greens are sweet and taste, well, an awful lot like beets.

Sautéed Beet Greens
2-3 cups of beet greens, washed and chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tsp organic sugar
a few shakes of crushed red pepper
a few splashes of malt vinegar

Heat a few tablespoons of water in a small skillet. Add the greens and the garlic and cook for about 8 minutes.

Stir in the sugar, crushed red pepper, and vinegar. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.

This made a nice lunch side dish, it was surprisingly tasty, and I will never waste beet greens now that I know what to do with them!

'Til next time!


Courtney said...

I am so jealous of your local cherries! They look mouth wateringly good, as do the rest of your farmers market and CSA treats! I wish cherries were grown here! I did get some local herbs and veggies this week at the farmers market, though. Your CSA haul looks especially good this week--I hope you enjoy your beets!

Those baby zucchini are really cute :o)


VeggieGirl said...

Wow, your garden really IS moving along quite nicely - gorgeous!!

Mmm, look at all that CSA produce!!

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I still haven't gotten to eat anything from my little garden... well, except fresh herbs.

lengslog said...

You garden looks amazing! your neighbors may be using Miracle grow. It shoots plants up like crazy. When I first started planting (in pots), I accidentally bought Miracle Grow soil (!) my plants grew so friggin' fast! It was a little creepy. Our Bamboo plant is shooting up almost to the ceiling in our tiny apt. I keep having to trim him.

It's so cool how you're finding out more and more about planting. I never knew that garlic mixed with cayenne pepper could act as aphid repellent. It's so gross that plants can have lice.

romina said...

Whoa!! Love the zucchini!! My mom's become sooo huge, the size of an arm almost! And 5 inches thick sometimes, can't wait!

shellyfish said...

Your garden is just thriving! It's so fun to watch its progress, especially since I don't have a garden of my own...I get to enjoy yours!

Lori- the Pleasantly Plump Vegan said...

man, i so want those squash blossoms to fill up and fry!

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

Local cherries, tomatoes, and snow peas- what a nice variety. I didn't make it to our Market this Saturday but hope that our variety is improving around here too!

Catherine said...

I've made a quiche with beet greens before -- it was delicious! Perhaps an idea for the next bunch?

jessy said...

hooray for continued garden success! it's looking great! the peppers are especially cute! and thanks for the beet greens recipe. dan and i planted some beets and when we harvest them i'm totally making those with your recipe, Jennifer! yay for using all the beet! :) reducing waste rocks to hard!

Calimaryn said...

Your garden looks so amazing! You must have a very spicy green thumb to nurture all those lovely peppers.

Bianca said...

I've never eaten beet greens. I'd heard they were good for you, just haven't tried it. Thanks for the recipe.

Jess - The Domestic Vegan said...

How fun! It's so satisfying growing your own food. I'm still only on tomatoes & herbs, but I love it! Yours looks great!

Lizzy said...

Ohh, it's getting more and more =)
Great to hear you already got to try some of your homegrown food!

Lucky you for finding local cherries, I wish I could.

Ohhh beet greens, I've never tried them (I don't buy fresh beets either). Do they taste anything like beets? If so I'll HAVE TO try it =D

Jennifer said...

Courtney - I was very excited when I saw them, I thought they were REALLY little tomatoes at first - hehe. We don't get them very often here in Mid-Missouri. The farmer we got them from said this was the only week we should expect to get them. They have more cherries to pick, but they will go bad before the next market day.

Veggie Girl - Thank you, things are really starting to take off since we've had a few days of sunshine.

I've really been enjoying the CSA.

Chocolate Covered - For some reason I am intimidated to grow herbs. My experience has been bugs eating them in their entirety within days of our planting them. :-(

Leng - Thank you! I was thinking the same thing. There is no other reason that they should be so big already. Not everyone's veggies are already producing like that. We use worm poo to fertilize. Have you ever tasted veggies grown with Miracle Grow? Ew!

I didn't know about the aphid repellent either. I did a little research online and via trial and error we found something that works. It IS gross, and sometimes they get really infested. Such is the life of a gardener I suppose.

Romina - Monster zucchini! Wowsa!

Shellyfish - Aw, I'm sorry you can't have a garden! I hope watching ours grow will suffice!

Lori - You can eat the squash blossoms?

Lisa - The variety is really starting to come in, I love summer, it makes me love living in the Midwest! I hope your market starts having all sorts of yummy things for you to work with soon!

Catherine - Is that recipe up on your blog? It sounds like a delicious way to enjoy more beet greens!

Jessy - Horray is right! I was starting to worry about them a bit, but they really took off with the sunshine.

I should have planted beets, maybe next year.

Reducing waste does rock pretty hard, doesn't it? :-) There is something that feels wonderful about eating locally, and wasting nothing.

Calimaryn - Thank you. Hahahaha, a spicy thumb would be an accurate description. :-)

Bianca - You should try them if you ever buy fresh beets! No problem!

Jess - It really is, I love going and looking at the progress! Tomatoes and herbs are an excellent start!

Lizzy - I know! The boxes keep getting bigger with each week.

So far just the chard, but it was tasty. Hopefully we'll have our first homegrown peppers here in a week or so.

The cherries were an awesome find, they were gone in less than 24 hours.

The beet greens did taste like beets, at least how we prepared them. They cook up so sweet, and don't have that bitter 'green' flavor that cooking greens often have. I love beets and don't eat them enough. Now that I know I will be getting some, I may have to come to your blog for beet inspiration. Can you make borscht with fresh beets?

Lizzy said...

You can make Borscht with fresh beets, yes!
I've never done it, but when I suggested this to my mom once she just laughed at me, ha ha! She said she did it a couple of times, but cooking and peeling the beets is a rather messy time consuming activity (in her words the whole procedure was "a pain in the ass" =p)... so I guess it would simply be easier with pre-cooked ones. While I always buy sliced ones in vinegar (as you could see in my post), my mother buys whole ones that are vacuum packed, but without any additives. Do they carry those where you shop?

And noooo, I just came back from my grocery store and they sell the vacuum packed beets and regular ones WITHOUT the greens. I was like "Nooooooo!" standing in front of the beets, raising my arms high up into the air... ha ha okay I guess you get how disappointed I was =p

callina said...

Catching up on your recent posts--cherries rock! Luckily they are in abundance here in California and I too have been enjoying them on a daily basis :) Also, where is this community farm? Can I get in on that action when I move back? Hopefully we'll buy a house soon and will have space for our own, but who knows. Also, Mexican Coke is really great--in certain areas in CA if you order a coke they ask you if you want regular Coke or Mexican Coke. Have you ever tried Hansen's all-natural sodas? I've tried the Diet kinds and thought they were great until I found out they use Splenda, blech. The regular kinds are probably better.

Jennifer said...

Lizzy - I was afraid it would be a bit much to make it with fresh beets. I peeled some so I could shred them to use fresh and my hands turned purple!

I showed Brett your borsct post and he seemed interested! I'm not sure about the vacuum packed beets, but I know we have jarred beets. I'll have to pick some up sometime and give it a try. I'd love a nice sweet soup like this!

NO! I hate when grocery stores do that kind of stuff! What a waste of perfectly good food!!!!!!

Callina - :-) I know, cherries are so good. We've been enjoying some of your California cherries here in absence of the local ones.

We have a CSA with Danjo Farms, it's in Moberly (, we've really enjoyed it so far. I'm not sure about shares. I think their contact information is on that website, and if not, check out for the other Mid-Missouri CSA's.

I would LOVE to live in those certain areas of California, though I do admit, I think I'd miss the seasons, as much as I complain about the cold.

I have had Hansen's before. I don't remember what kind it was, one of the regular ones (Splenda? Really? In a natural soda? They should have to call it "natural".), but it was pretty good.