what’s new in the garden

kitty kazoo exploring the tomatoes and peppers

we’re in our last month of spring, and my garden has really started to take off. it was so nice to come home from our retreat and not have to immediately buy food, but rather go out back and pick a bunch of kale to throw in a quinoa pilaf. kitty kazoo helped me document what’s been growing and what’s ready to pick.

in the garden

first zucchini blossoms of 2010

i tried twice unsuccessfully to grow zucchini in the past 2 years. the first failure was due to the fact that i hadn’t fully committed to converting this oddly narrow slope we have into a terraced garden. the second was because after i did commit, i had no room for it and tried to plant it in this other section of our property that never got enough sun and only flowered. lessons learned! this year i had plenty of mature compost to add to the beds and chose the sunniest spot.

first zucchini of 2010

i’m happy to see them taking off so well. there are a few first babies of the season already. this one is really only about half the size of a mature fruit, but i’m happy to see they’re already getting started.

first tomatoes of 2010

i was too late to plant tomatoes from seeds this year, but i bought a couple nice selections from a seller at the farmer’s market and a couple others from tomato mania. we’re not quite into june yet, so it remains to be seen whether the june gloom will suddenly cause blossom drop, but so far i have a few green tomatoes growing on each plant..

oregano and parsley

i got this really nice light oregano last year, and it’s doing really well in its corner of the garden. i also got italian parsley, which was stunted in the shade of tomatoes last year. the zucchini is already starting to shade it, so i’m going to see what i can do to trim the leaves and encourage it to get tall. either that, or i unknowingly planted it over a buried rock and the root system is having trouble…not sure, but it’s much smaller than my previous italian parsley.

preserved harvests

last year, i made it a weekly project to buy something seasonal in bulk and preserve it somehow for the off-season. i did a really good job of this with summer fruit, but i think i was too careful about using it, because i still had 9 jars of nectarines, peaches, plums and pluots as of this week. since we’re just around the corner from another summer where i can replace them all again, i decided to defrost a couple and make some galettes. i used this galette dough recipe from the food network. since i packed the fruit with lemon juice and lemon rind, and they were sweet enough at the time not to need added sugar [for my taste anyway] i just added vanilla extract and rose water to the nectarines, and strawberry liquor i made recently and some orange blossom water to the pluots and let them marinate a bit. once the dough had refrigerated a couple hours, i rolled it out, filled each, folded and pinched, and baked. whee!

nectarine galette with vanilla and rose water

this is the nectarine galette. we haven’t tasted it yet, but it smells heavenly!

pluot galette with strawberry liquor and orange blossom water

this is the pluot galette, and it’s now half gone. packing the fruit in diluted lemon juice acted as an extractor, the flavor is really intense. there was a good amount of remaining syrup after assembling this one, so i made some flavored soda with it. so delicious, i think i’ll have to do this a bit more often!

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