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Another pic heavy post about my garden. I love tracking its progress. I’ve learned lots this year and hope to remember everything needed for next year. I feel like its almost nearing the end and its just the beginning of August but there’s been a plethora of zucchini, squash, pumpkins and tomatoes so far and I fear that once those are done, gone will be my garden.

And now, time for the pics 🙂

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Budding butternut squash

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Butternut squash

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Cucumber

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San Marzano tomatoes

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Beefsteak tomatoes

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Roma tomatoes

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Beefsteaks again

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More beefsteaks

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Soon to be eaten beefsteaks 😉

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Bell peppers

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Jalapenos
(I swear these are more spicy then the kind you buy at the grocery store)

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Know what these are?

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Eggplants!!

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Beautiful eggplants

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Budding eggplant

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Almost ready to be picked eggplants.
Oddly enough, I bought Chinese eggplant seedlings and these are starting to look like Italian eggplants. No worries though, our home is filled with equal opportunity eggplant enthusiasts. 😀

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This is the former lettuce bed. There were 8 plants to start. I cut one to see if it would grow back on its own but the stump just died. The other 7 I left to see what would happen but the taller they get, they seem to ‘milk’ when you harvest the leaves. And they’re staring to flower. Definitely done for the season. Not bad for a 3 – 4 month run right?

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The group shot – herbs, jalapenos, peppers & leaf lettuce area.
Psst, that’s purple basil down in front that’s trying to steal the show.

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The slowly dying Italian oregano (which I have yet to figure out how to use!) and basil in the left planter and my flowering cilantro on the right. Cilantro doesn’t seem to be in my cards this year 😦

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Lastly…after some googling, I have deemed this to be purple basil.
Its beautiful to look at but I guess I should taste it and perhaps start using it?

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At the end of last summer, I vowed to learn how to garden this year.  I had made the same vow the year before but didn’t take as much action as I’d have liked.  My dad is aging, he’s not as into gardening as much as he used to.  I need to absorb as much knowledge as I can before its too late.  Besides, who doesn’t love the huge pay off for all the hard work?  What’s better then walking out into your own backyard and picking out your veggies for your next meal? You know exactly what’s in/on them and where they’re from.  Dare I call my garden bounty “organic”?

Hubby said he’d garden with me (aka help me BIG TIME because I’m not good at it) since I have very minimal experience. I know how to water the garden, weed and harvest.   Dad also said he’d have no part in gardening this year as he was  ‘done with it’.    To be honest, I think he was tired of being the only one doing all the work.  (To be revealed later, dad does putter around in the garden but not nearly as much as he has in the past.  I guess old habits die hard ;))

This year, I dove in head first! Back in mid-late May, the hubster and I tilled the garden beds, mixed eggshells into the soil and fertilized it as well.  I picked up the seedlings for our future garden and they were planted.   Man was I ever excited!!

Then the boring part came…waiting for things to grow.  I watered religiously and weeded as needed – basically daily.

Now that I look back on it, it really *is* a lot of work to grow & maintain your own garden but its SO totally worth it!

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A few years back, we designed our backyard to be an enjoyable living space adding in the gardening aspects later.  Now the two styles live together almost harmoniously.  Turned out well if you ask me.

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The tomato bed – san marzano, beefsteak & roma.

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Pot – basil & Italian oregano.

Planter box #1 – jalapenos, red, green & yellow peppers
Planter box #2 – leaf lettuce

BTW: thats thai basil growing all rogue (bottom right hand of pic) Haven’t decided if we’re going to try to eat it/use it.

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In this garden bed – yellow and green zucs, English cucs, butternut squash, Chinese eggplant and  bittermelon.

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Large pot:  spearmint

Small pot: cilantro

Missing is one pic of the other large garden bed which is home to Chinese fuzzy gourds, Chinese long squash, bittermelon and pie pumpkins.

So far, the garden has produced plenty of herbs and lettuce. I can’t wait for the other items to start growing in!

Do you garden? What have you planted?  Any recipe suggestions for the herbs? (I seem to have a lot to use LOL)

In addition to baking and taking the Gluten Free Pumpkin bundt cake to the Father’s Day BBQ yesterday, I also tried my hand at making a watermelon salad. I had heard about them over the past few summers but had never actually gotten to taste one.

I took the liberties of making it “my own” after seeing several similar recipes in magazines and on the internet. I took what I thought were the base ingredients and winged it from there.

I will admit to being thoroughly grossed out at the thought of the ingredients together even though I’m a fan of mixing sweet and savory (hello, kettle corn anyone?). Honestly, I just think it was the whole idea of mixing them with watermelon.

Having tried my own version of it, I must say that I was flabbergasted at what I had put in my mouth.  I really did enjoy it and would definitely make it again. The fresh mint really kicks up the refreshment factor with the cold watermelon.

Hubby had proclaimed that he wasn’t even going to taste it. After I put a bit on his plate to try, he actually scooped himself a portion when he thought I wasn’t looking. Sshhhh! 😉

Yes, it was that good!!

Ingredients: cubed watermelon, diced bell pepper (your choice of red/orange/yellow), slivered red onion (or any sweet onion), handful of julienned mint, olive oil, lime juice and salt & pepper to taste.

Directions: Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and let sit for approx 15 mins and toss again before serving.

FYI There will be a lil bit of juice at the bottom of the bowl.

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