Hello everybody! We made it to Friday, wheee! Today will be a fluffy Friday, because I have a fluff post for you. We can’t be all detox and sad elephant stories and medical diagnoses all the time, right?! Each year, my husband and I take great pride in our backyard garden. Several years ago we built raised beds and have planted tomatoes, kale, hot peppers, tomatillos, cucumbers, chives and beets ever since. Take a look!
1) I love kitschy things, especially in my garden. My brother got me this set of fun vintage gnomes last year for Christmas. Doesn’t he look great next to my cucumbers?!
There’s more after the jump! Click “continue reading” to move on.
2) One of my very favorite things about Southern California is that it’s introduced me to all kinds of yummy new foods, one of them being Persian cucumbers. Persian cucumbers are much smaller and firmer than their standard American burpless cucumbers. (Isn’t burpless a funny term? Personally I never found cucumbers to be burp-inducing but apparently someone did…) This year I found Persian cucumber seeds at my local nursery and have been enjoying a Persian cucumber almost daily!
3) We’re getting into that 2-month time frame where we have more tomatoes than we know what to do with. I’ve already given away three big bags to my co-workers. We avoided growing zucchini for this very reason. EXCESS! Here’s our Early Girl plant, bursting with new fruit. Did you know if you regularly harvest your red tomatoes it encourages new fruit to set? Don’t leave those red tomatoes hangin’!
Here’s our Purple Cherokee tomato plant, by far my favorite thing growing in the yard this year. They turn this beautiful dusty mauve color with green on top and they taste AMAZING. The purple cherokee is a very sweet tomato and they’re super rich, perfect for slicing into thick wedges and sprinkling with salt. Deeeelicious! If you want your tomatoes to be really sweet, add 1 cup of epsom salts to the soil before you plant.
4) Even if you don’t have a green thumb, I promise you that basil will thrive under your care. You can get seeds nearly everywhere, and Trader Joes is selling gigantic plants for about $3.99, a killer deal considering how much basil costs on its own just an herb. Fresh basil is great to put in stir frys, sauces, even salads. I like pureeing mine with garlic, olive oil and a hard parmesan cheese to make a pseudo-pesto.
5) Catnip is another herb that’s impossible to kill. I bought a small plant for my kitties and within weeks it had overtaken the planter box. My cat loves rolling around in this getting higher than a kite. You can also dry it and make tea for yourself. I giggle every time I go out to water because the plants are all smashed and its clear that the neighborhood cats have been getting their nip fix. I guess I’m the dealer on the street.
6) And lastly, here’s something that shouldn’t be in my garden, but is… an escaped indoor cat! Our kitten Oliver has learned how to stick his paw far enough under the screen door to force it open. I guess we won’t be using that screendoor any more. It’s such a tough thing with cats, because I know being outside is like heaven for them, but after what happened to our dear sweet Leo, we just can’t bear to lose another cat the same way. Do you have an indoor or outdoor cat?
That’s all today. Are you growing a garden this year? Being in the yard is one of my favorite ways to de-stress, and cooking with fresh, organic ingredients is amazing in so many ways, for your health, your wallet, the environment… the list goes on. I hope you have an amazing day and I’ll see you on Monday! PS… want some tomatoes?