Kalyn's Kitchen

Friday Night Garden Photos and Recipes Using Garden Vegetables: 2010 Garden Update #3

Brandywine TomatoIn the last garden update I showed the herbs in my garden, so this time I’m going to focus on the vegetables, most of which are doing well even though Salt Lake did have a late-season snowstorm that killed a few of my plants. I’ve been adding garden spaces and having raised beds built for the last few years, and this year I’m really happy with how my garden has turned out. Above is my first tomato of the year, on an heirloom Brandywine Tomato plant that was started in a greenhouse by my brother-in-law Clayton. (If you’re a gardener who’s feeling envious, let me confess that plant already had that tomato on it when Clayton gave it to me!) Brandywines are one of my favorite tomatoes, and I’m looking forward to having some early ones this year.

As part of my house renovations, I added two new raised beds just for tomatoes, along the back deck and on either side of the path that leads to my garden. In this smaller bed I have three Green Zebra tomatoes, probably my number one favorite tomato for flavor. I love to eat these just drizzled with Basil Vinaigrette and sprinkled with goat cheese.

On the other side of the steps is this row of six tomato plants which includes two Celebrity tomatoes, a Grape Tomato, two Roma Tomatoes, and the Brandywine Tomato I got from Clayton. I do feel very lucky to have tomatoes growing right next to my deck, where they get maximum sun all day long. Soon I’ll be making things like Marinated Tomato Salad with Parsley and Marjoram Dressing, Summer Tomato Salad with Avocado, Tuna, Cilantro, and Lime, Middle Eastern Tomato Salad, and slow roasted tomatoes. (Links to gardening sites contained in this post are only to illustrate what type of plants I have and are not meant to be an endorsement of that company.)

I also have four of the heirloom tomatoes I started from seed growing in one of my garden beds. I started twelve little pots with seeds, only five survived to get planted outdoors, and then one of these little plants didn’t make it after the snowstorm. The four plants are either Berkeley Tie Dye, Pink Berkeley Tie Dye, or Beauty King tomatoes, but the labels came off when I was keeping the seed moist, so they’re a mystery until tomatoes start to appear. (Thanks again to Nate for the tomato seeds.)

Along the side of my lawn next to my neighbor’s garage is a small strip of garden where I’ve planted eggplants and peppers. Both of those are tender plants, and they didn’t appreciate getting snowed on, but they’re surviving. I’m experimenting with a variety called Thai Kermit eggplant which are round and pale green, and I also have the long skinny Japanese Eggplant. Two eggplant recipes I’ve been loving the last few summers are Spicy Grilled Eggplant with Red Pepper, Parsley, and Mint and Grilled Eggplant with Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette, Feta, and Two Herbs.

I’ve never had tremendous luck with growing bell peppers, but every year I try again, and this year I have three pepper plants which came in a multi-color pack so I don’t know if they’ll turn out to be green, purple, yellow, or red when they’re ripe. When I manage to get some garden peppers (which are sweeter than the ones from the store) I’ll use them for Breakfast Casserole with Mushrooms, Bell Pepper, and Feta or Stuffed Peppers with Turkey Italian Sausage, Ground Beef, and Mozzarella.

Cucumbers seem to be the plant I have most problems with, and the two original Bush Cucumbers I had planted don’t seem to have survived the snow. I planted the one healthy looking one in back a week later, and will probably add at least one more cucumber plant so I have plenty of cucumbers to make things like Tomato, Cucumber, and Radish Salad with Yogurt and Tahini Dressing, Garden Cucumber Salad with Tuna and Sweet Basil, and Chopped Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Mint, Feta, Lemon, and Thyme.

I also planted some Bush Green Beans this year, which take less space and are easier to keep picked than the green beans that grow on a vine. I love having fresh green beans for recipes like World’s Easiest Garlicky Green Beans Stir Fry or Spicy Roasted Green Beans and Shrimp.

This bed has radishes, Swiss Chard, Collard Greens, and Kale. I didn’t like the radish variety I tried last year, so this year I got Champion Radish. I always grow Bright Lights Chard, and I planted Tuscan Kale, but I didn’t write down the variety for the Collard Greens. All these plants need to be thinned, but before too long I can make Roasted Radishes with Soy Sauce and Toasted Sesame Seed, Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Garlic and Chard, Roasted Kale Chips with Sea Salt and Vinegar, or Pasta with Sausage and Collard Greens.

Every year I grow Yellow Straightneck Squash, which I love to use mixed with Zucchini to make “Creamed” Zucchini, a favorite recipe in the Denny family.

I’m trying this Flying Saucer Squash for the first time this year. If anyone has tried this squash variety, I’d love to know how you used it.

The only zucchini I planted this year is my favorite 8-Ball Zucchini, which are round and best picked when they’re about the size of a pool ball. This shape is perfect for Grilled Zucchini, Stuffed Zucchini with Brown Rice, Ground Beef, Mozzarella and Basil, or Meat, Tomato, and Mozzarella Stuffed Zucchini Cups.

I also love to grow spaghetti squash, and when they’re small I love Spaghetti Squash Cooked as a Summer Squash. For the more mature spaghetti squash, I’ll use them in something like Twice Baked Spaghetti Squash or Spaghetti Squash and Chard Gratin.

Finally, every year the garden has some “volunteers,” plants that come back from seeds dropped the previous year. This year I have this huge patch of dill growing between my garden beds and the fence. I think you can never have too much dill, so I’m going to let the plants get a little bigger; then I’ll transplant them along the fence and have an enormous patch of dill!

If you have a garden at your house, I’d love to hear about what you’re growing or your favorite ways to cook vegetables from the garden.
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    24 Comments on “Friday Night Garden Photos and Recipes Using Garden Vegetables: 2010 Garden Update #3”

  1. Shirley, not too many vegetables will grow in shade, but the mint will thrive!

    Thanks for the info about flying saucer squash.

    Anna, it was so fun meeting you at last. Look forward to your own photos of what you're growing.

    Dennis, Heirloom tomatoes are wonderful. I still grow a few hybrid varieties, but every year I try some new heirlooms.

    Angie, I had a tiny, tiny garden space at my first house, and at this house it was pretty little at first too. I expanded it every year for years and years, so I feel lucky to finally have this much space.

  2. Love your garden so much, and your new header too. I am currently growing in containers in my very tiny courtyard. I can't wait to get an actual yard.

  3. we have some little tomatoes on our plants already too!! I just can't wait, one thing about new jersey is how darn good the tomatoes are!!

    we are going to grow some heirlooms as a fund raiser next year to help improve our greenhouse at school!
    thanks for sharing!

  4. I feel so lucky to have seen this in person just last weekend! You have a garden even more lovely than these photos show. I just bought my potting soil this afternoon and will plant a regular and a cherry tomato plant in their pots this evening!

  5. Kayln, your flying saucer squash is one that I had plenty of when I lived in CA….good with Patty Pans, slice and sauteed when larger, grilled or steamed when tiny and more tender. Here in MN, we don't see the patty pan or other types of squash….it's mostly yellow gooseneck and zuchini land up here…

  6. Really looking good, Kalyn! I'm so glad that not too many of your plants were destroyed by that late snowstorm. And, thanks for explaining your tomato. Otherwise, I was going to be totally amazed. Around here the grand goal is tomatoes by 4th of July with no greenhouse help, but I admit that's a wonderful idea! 🙂

    As I've shared before, we live in the woods and have mostly shade, but you and some other bloggers did inspire me to pick up some mint and basil and plant those. They are doing really well.

    Love all the recipe links you always share. Looks like a terrific summer of fresh eating!


  7. I love hearing from other people who are growing gardens, whether it's a few plants in containers or all out garden space. I don't think anything can compare with the fun of growing your own food, either for taste or just the thrill of watching it grow.

    I'm making notes of some of these plants you guys are trying for next year; keep 'em coming!

  8. Your garden is coming along nicely. I am hoping to pick the first of the summer squash this weekend. I will be posting a great squash casserole recipe next week. Our tomatoes are looking great. I just planted two cherokee purples that are suppossed to be great. We have been eating lots of our lettuce with a homemade viniagrette. I love this time of year.

  9. You are so professional in your gardening! I have finally started on a very small scale because I honestly can't add big time vegetable gardening to the rest of my life right now so I stuck some plants in huge vases and now I have cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers and zucchini ( i hope, so far I have only seen a flower, male) thriving. Great fun so far!

  10. Your garden is looking great, Kalyn. I can't wait to see tomatoes peeking through the leaves on my plants.

  11. Someday I will learn to garden. Our little raised beds went in with high hopes but I've not gotten the whole green thumb thing figured out yet. You give me lots of hope that someday I can learn how to do this.

    I think one problem is our soil. We might need some good organic fertilizer. And we put our seedlings out a little too early. But, we're learning and making adjustments.

  12. It looks like it's all coming along nicely! Especially like the volunteer dill!

  13. Your garden looks great this year Kalyn! I'm amazed by that tomato that's growing already!!

    This year I planted yellow brandywine, black krim, cherokee purple, pineapple and green zebras. I also put in acorn and butternut squash, brussels sprouts, brocolli, swiss chard, jalapenos and yellow and purple bell peppers. Oh, and my asparagus is in its 3rd year of growth.

  14. I would like to have my own garden such much; good to see that there are people who have their own one; kind regards!

  15. I just came across your blog and I love it! Thank you for working so hard on it. We have been on the South Beach Diet since December and I love all the recipes and tips you have! Thanks! Keep it up!


  16. Hi Kalyn–your garden looks wonderful–I was VERY envious of your baby brandywine for a moment 😀

    I am growing Fortex green beans (pole haricots vert type–a must have for me every year), early golden wax and early contender bush beans, 5 kinds of zukes/summer squash. If you have the space for it to roam or a very LARGE trellis, I'd recommend trying a trombocino squash. They are rampant and productive, and visually very, very interesting. A light green summer squash that reminds me a lot of spaghetti squash or green butternut (eaten immaturely). Google them–they are amazing!

    I am growing a variety of tomatoes–heirloom and non–including brandywines (my fav), cold set, mortgage lifter, and better boy.

    I also have chard, chard, and more chard growing, peas, cabbage, and cauli, and a plethora of herbs.

    Happy cooking–and gardening!

  17. Kalyn, your vegetable garden looks great! Apologies for the self-linkage, but I posted a "tour" of my garden last week! http://hungrybruno.blogspot.com/2010/05/garden-tour.html I only grow in containers, but I think it's doing pretty well. I'm growing 8-ball zucchini, too, I can't wait for them to fruit.

  18. I'd have garden envy except I'm so overjoyed to be picking herbs from the backyard now for the last week! I have no tomatoes this year. Your garden really is awesome.

  19. Your garden is always an inspiration, Kalyn! I tried the Green Zebra tomatoes last year for the first time, after reading about them on your blog and I adore them too.

  20. So jealous of your veggie garden. One of these days I'm gonna do some raised beds on my roof (although I'll have to find room first…)

    I did plant an herb garden in the back yard of our cottage – my first foray into the real ground instead of containers. Will see when we go back up in a few weeks what the deer have left us.

    Happy growing season!