A dream of mine was realized tonight when we finished planting our first garden. While house hunting last fall, one of our criteria was a lawn big enough for the kids to run and play with room for garden. Well, we moved into our new home in February and now we finally have a garden!
My family raised a big garden every summer. I have many memories of my parents, sisters, and I working together to plant, weed, harvest, and preserve the contents of that garden. There was nothing better than the fresh produce that we hauled out of our garden. And after hours spent canning and freezing, that garden fed our family all year long. Sure, I may have wished that I didn't have to help out once or twice or even did a little complaining back in those days. But there was definitely a sense of accomplishment when I looked at the jars of vegetables all lined up on our canning shelves and the stacked bags of corn and peas in our freezer at the end of the growing season. Now I'm looking forward to passing on that sense of pride and acheivement that I realized from growing my own food and also making some new memories with my daughters.
It took 3 days to create our garden where there had only been grass before, but after planning, tilling, spreading topsoil, planting, and constructing a fence, I am pretty proud of our family's first backyard garden. While there may have been some blood shed, lots of sweat, and a nasty sunburn involved, I'm sure that all of the hard work will just make the fruits of our labor taste even sweeter.
Here it is:
This garden isn't nearly as large as the one I grew up with. It's just 12 X 30 feet. But I think it's a good place to start. I'm hoping to preserve green beans, peas, salsa, pickles, and banana peppers this summer to eat all through next winter.
Here's a shot of the front half of the garden:
You can't tell yet, but in the front I planted leaf lettuce, spinach, radishes, peas, and green beans. Then I put in 18 tomato plants; everything from salsa and canning tomatoes to a couple of heirloom varieties and a cherry tomato plant. Bringing up the rear of this portion of the garden are 5 types of pepper plants- ranging from sweet bell peppers to the hottest one I could find. Oh, and I planted a couple of cabbages too, but they didn't make it into the pictures.
Then there's the back half:
These are all of the vining plants: pickling cucumbers, zucchini, acorn squash, and even some pumpkins. My oldest daughter insisted that we had to plant sunflowers, so they will make up the back border of our garden.
I'm pretty sure that the fence my husband built isn't tall enough to keep the deer out (we have a lot of deer who think that our backyard is their personal pasture), but I'm hoping the mixture of putrefied eggs, dried blood, and garlic oil that I sprayed around fence will deter them. (I bought the mixture- just in case any of you were thinking that I've been drying blood in my food dehydrator and rotting eggs in my garage. Gross!) Wish me luck! I'm so excited about my garden, that if that doesn't work, I may just set up camp out there and attempt scare the critters away all night...
Before I head out of grab my camping gear, I'd like to to share a recipe.
Recently, I threw together a pasta with summer squash. Hopefully, in a couple of months, I can make this with the zucchini from my garden! I had pasta leftover from the Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Sauce I served last week, so I decided to use up the leftovers by tossing them with some sauteed summer squash. It was so simple to make and totally delicious.
I began by heating some olive oil in a skillet. Then I sliced up a zucchini, a yellow squash, and half of a sweet onion. I added them to the oil and sprinkled on some seasoning salt.
Cook until the veggies start to caramelize a bit, turning a nice brown color.
Then stir in some wide egg noodles and toss them around until incorporated into the mixture and heated through.
Dish it up with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and that's dinner!
Summer Squash with Noodles
1 small to medium firm zucchini
1 small to medium yellow squash
1/2 medium sweet onion
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup wide egg noodles, prepared according to package directions
salt and pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, for topping
Heat oil in a large skillet with sides. Add sliced zucchini, yellow squash, and onion. Sprinkle with seasoning salt. Saute until the vegetables begin to brown and are tender. Toss with cooked noodles and heat through. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving.
Since I spent the weekend working out in the lawn and garden, I didn't have time to come up with a meal plan. Here are some upcoming posts to look for on Krista's Kitchen:
How to Freeze Asparagus
Rhubarb Pudding Cake
Thai Shrimp Curry
I hope that you are all enjoying the first days of June!