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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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Its almost that time where the garden is about to overrun my life with a huge bounty. We’ve been swimming in zucchini’s for a short while now and I think the tomatoes are starting to get jealous, thus them trying get their fair share of attention.

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Zucchini & summer squash along with a pumpkin & butternut squash. There’s plenty more not shown.

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Mmm….shredded zucchini – imagine the baked treats to come!

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Zucchini & summer squash – shredded, cubed & sliced ready to be frozen.

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Look at these lil beauties!

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This homemade saucy goodness brought to you by approx 4-6 large mixing bowls worth of organic, homegrown tomatoes. Mix of beefeaters, san marzano & plum tomatoes.

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Homemade basil tomato sauce all ready for the freezer, to be enjoyed a cold snowy day yet to come.

Funny story, when I let dad have a taste….I warned him that it wouldn’t taste anything like his usual jar of Ragu. This was made from home grown, organic tomatoes only. No sugar, excess salt and preservatives. His comments after a few spoonfuls “Very light taste. Tastes like tomatoes.” To me, that was a compliment!

With the garden starting to produce bionic zucchini’s I figured it was time to get cracking on researching recipes on how to use up the bounty.  I do know that the hubster enjoys zucchini bread/cakes/muffins as he keeps requesting that I make them.  The one’s I’ve tried are not very sweet and well we all know, zucchini doesn’t really have its own distinct taste.

Figuring that I will have multiple opportunities to continue trying different recipes, I decided to combine two that I had found and tweaked it in my own lil way.  Thus the Chocolate-Orange Zucchini Cake recipe was born 🙂


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All of these lil things made for such a yummy cake!

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Ready for the oven.

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Removed & cooling.

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Ready to serve…oh wait!

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Cake looks a lot better now right? I don’t know why but the simplest lil thing adds so much flare don’t you think?  A lil powdered sugar definitely went a long way.

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Can you see some of the ingredients? Chocolate chips? Walnuts?
Mmmm….!

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Now tell me, which piece would you like?

😉

Time sure is flying by rather quickly! It seemed like just the other day I had finished planting the garden with the hubster and the wait for the veggies was just beginning.  (I did just post about it last week but the pics were from a few weeks prior. You can read more about my garden here )

Now here we are, mid July and there is finally some evidence that I didn’t kill the garden!! *insert Snoopy dance here*

Here’s an update via pics.

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We have been enjoying salad almost daily with our bounty. This is a pic of AFTER I had harvested two large bowl.  Homegrown lettuce DOES taste that much better…grassy, earthy, slightly bitter yet sweet. I. LOVE. THIS. STUFF.

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Ah yes, the yellow zuc.  Found this one hiding under the huge leaves that come with the plant.  When dad found this he nearly keeled over with shock as he didn’t remember me buying this seedling NOR did he believe that zuc’s do come in yellow LOL  Either way…it will be in our bellies soon enough!

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This was more along the lines of what dad was expecting.

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Not sure if you are able to pick out what the pic is of with a quick glance but if you focus just to the right of the centre of the pic…you will see jalapenos!! I loved growing these last year and am slowly learning how to cook with them. I can’t wait for these puppies to grow as they grow plentifully well.

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These are in the same planter box next to the jalapeno’s….I was so giddy with glee when I spotted these! I totally thought they weren’t going to produce but slowly and surely there’s 2 right there (they’re about the size of a medium plum right now) and their friends are hanging out in the plant behind this one.  So far, there are 4 bell peppers!!

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Spotted some San Marzano tomatoes finally on the vines.

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And some beefsteak tomatoes too!!

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Lastly, just to give you an idea of the size of the zuc’s…yes they’re larger then life. Definitely larger then the tray but the teeny tiny one down in front there at the bottom…thats a ‘store bought’ one.  That’s right. My home grown zuc’s are BIONIC!!!

So with that lil update … anyone got any recipe suggestions/ideas for the zuc’s?  I do the whole zuc bread thing as well as sauteeing it or grilling it up as a side dish and have also shredded it and added it to sauces but I’m sure all of these ideas will get old really fast with the boys.

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)

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