Garlic, zucchinis and a precious artichoke

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After the big rains in June, temperatures have now reached an average of 33 degrees, and the garden is exploding! We’re still waiting for the tomatos but starting to cash in both giant garlics, plenty of zucchini as well as carrots and herbs.

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Golden nugget tomatoes, a new addition to our garden this year. Nice and sweet and ripens fast since they are small.IMG_3593Our pretty little italian artichoke (now eaten).

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Flowering tomatillosIMG_3562

Gorgeous big liliesIMG_3559

The cedar boxes are filled with plants now :)IMG_3429

Little cucumbers in the makingIMG_3417

Ripening strawberriesIMG_3602

Flowering yeallow onions with a little visitorIMG_3607

Ripening roma tomatoes (new for this year as well)IMG_3613

The zucchinis and squashes are dominating the gardenIMG_3615

My sister and the giant garlic harvest. I’ve been waiting since november for these guys.IMG_3617 IMG_3622

Garden 2013

I haven’t been updating about all our garden preparations this year, but we have big plans, tons of seeds and things are already growing out there! Here’s a little summary of what the garden looks like at the moment:

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Sunchokes and onions peeking through.
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The front garden has been planted with tomatoes of different kinds among other things.IMG_3335

A new addition in the front are these two cedar boxes that I have stuffed with tomatillos and cucumbers.IMG_3331

Purple artichokes with leaves that look like they’ve outlived the dinosaurs.IMG_3325

The green zucchini is in full bloomIMG_3322

Our giant oregano bush survived the winter and is now trying to take over the garden.IMG_3320 IMG_3313

Bleeding hearts in bloomIMG_3309

The Purple columbine is back for the third time.
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Strawberries ripening.IMG_3305

New crop for this year – Fava beans with their huge leaves.IMG_3300

Giant garlic that was planted in the fall and some sugar peas peeking up behind them.IMG_3292 IMG_3288

Yellow plum tomatoes that we bought pre-grown from the garden centre in order to have some early tomatoes.IMG_3287 IMG_3284

My photo won a garden photo contest!

I was happily surprised to discover that my photo of vegetables grown in our front yard won a shared firts place in the people’s choice -best fall fair vegetable category of the “6th Annual Blooming Hall of Fame Photo Contest” at the Greenery garden center here in Kelowna.

I’m so excited to get to receive a $25 Gift Certificate and a Gardener’s Delight Gift Basket in the spring!

Check out the other winners here.

And here’s the winning photo I submitted :)

The harvest plate

Harvest times

We’re just harvesting more and more from our little garden. Here’s a taste of what we have to cook with right now:

  • Rainbow carrots (unfortunately we got very few red ones…)
  • Yellow zucchini
  • Green beans
  • Dry pinto beans
  • Yellow onions
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Oaxacan tomatoes (the first ones are just starting to ripen)
  • Black russian tomatoes (awsome deep tomato flavour)
  • Oregano (that has started to flower in pink)

A freshly cut sun ripened black russian tomato

 

Living in tomato wonderland

When we first moved to Kelowna, people kept telling us what a paradise for tomoato growers this place was, but I still remained a bit sceptic that I would be able to grow tomatoes like weeds. I have been disproven. As I write, probably about a hundered of tomatoes are ripening in the 35 degrees burning sun in our front yard. Small ones, big ones, smooth ones, ruffled ones, red ones, black ones, purple ones! so far we’ve just tasted some of the cherry tomatoes and a black russian, but oh boy, are we in for some more…

Here’s a little update on the different varieties we’re growing:

Black russian tomatoes

Just waiting for them to turn a tad darker, their flavour is amazing!

Purple calabash tomatoes

Still not turning red or purple, but there are tons of them, and their ruffled shapes make me laugh :)

Oaxacan tomatoes

These are supposed to turn red with yellow ridges, so it might take a while longer before that happens. In the beginning the flowers just kept falling off so I was worried that it wouldn’t produce, but as soon as it got warmer, magic happened and now it’s overwhelming.

Sweetie cherry tomatoes

Our first taste of the tomato harvest, and with a nice balance of sweet and sour.

Nasturtium pesto

Both David and I love to add pesto to some pasta, a nice sandwich, a chickpea salad, homemade pizza or pretty much anything. Of course we got excited when we heard that you can make your own pesto from Nasturtium leaves (which happen to grow in the size of bushes in our garden).

Pesto normally contains pine nuts, but since Kelowna (and our laundry room) is full of walnuts, it seemed like a natural substitution. On top of that I also had a bunch of onion stems left from harvesting all of our yellow onions earlier in the day that I decided to throw in for some extra flavour.

Freshly picked Nasturtium leaves and flowers

Here’s the whole list of ingredients that was inspired by this nice recipe:

  • A large bowl full of Nasturtium leaves and flowers
  • 2 cups of walnuts
  • 2 cups of green onion
  • Juice and peel from 1 lemon
  • 3 cups of olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • salt & pepper

I simply mixed it all together into a smooth paste and then filled up a jar for immediate use and little boxes to save in the freezer for later.

Walnuts from our neighbour and garlic from the garden as well as some extra virgin olive oil and salt & pepper.

Our poor little hand mixer almost overheated from all the hard work of mixing pesto.

Lovely smooth pesto paste

Ready to eat – pesto from the garden :)

Garden update!

Front garden has really taken off in the heat!

After the rain came sunshine, and it’s been blazing hot here in the Okanagan the last week. Just what all the tomatoes needed! Things are growing like crazy, but it’s not until I look back at old pictures that I realize what a difference it is in just a week or so. Right now we just started harvesting green beans and carrots should be ready to get pulled up soon too.

The tomatoes have almost outgrown their bamboo cages!

Tomato stems thicker than my thumbs

Shy tomatoes hiding from the blazing sun

Nasturtiums

Our potatoes have grown enormous!

Gorgeous deep red nasturtiums finding shade under their own umbrellas

These are invasive weeds but still oh so pretty…

Little cherry tomatoes on their way.

Peas in a pod

There are few things from the garden that I find as delicious to eat as sugar snaps. Whether they are munched directly from the vine, or lightly boiled with some salt and served with a melting piece of butter, I like them all, and I will eat them as soon as I get my hands on them!

The pea-jungle by the shed

Two pods in the garden

Buttered deliciousness from the garden

Fussy tomatoes

The tomatoes are finally starting to take off. We’ve had crazy rains over the last week, and as soon as the sun started peeking though it felt like the tomato plants grew an inch just over the day. Now they’re all thick stemmed and fussy, full of buds and some of the first flowers. Since the different varieties kind of got a little bit mixed up in the transplanting business it’s with great curiosity I’m following what kind of flowers that pop up on the different plants. Check out these ones and try to guess yourselves (see the options in this old post):Since it’s been kind of stormy and rainy here I decided to make little cages for the tomatoes to make sure they had something to lean on when the wind hits them.All you need is some bamboo sticks and rope (and some scout-skills of making tripods).

When I started growing tomatoes, everyone told me about how tomato plants are really fussy, you have to baby them before you put them out, give them lots of water and nutrients etc., but I found that mine did pretty well at surviving by themselves even though it took them a a little time to catch up in size and robustness. For a while I was feeling a little bit like Seymore:

“I’ve given you sunshine
I’ve given you dirt.
You’ve given me nothing
But heartache and hurt.
I’m beggin’ you sweetly.
I’m down on my knees.
Oh, please-grow for me!”