Friday Fluff: Let’s play in my garden!

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?!

Hangin' with my gnomies.

Hangin’ with my gnomies.

There’s more after the jump! Click “continue reading” to move on.

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2012’s Summer Garden

It’s that time of year – when I spend lots of time watering and digging in the dirt! Here’s this year’s vegetable garden:

Garden!

Currently we have six types of tomatoes growing: San Marzano Roma, Tomatillos, Golden Peach, Black Krim, Beefsteak and Cherry. We also have four different types of peppers: bell peppers and a couple varieties of hot peppers. We have zuchinni, squash, cucumber, beans, basil, pumpkins and mint.

San Marzano Roma

We’re starting to get big clusters of tomatoes on all of our plants – these San Marzano Roma’s are an italian heirloom tomato that will be fantastic made into a sweet marinara sauce or dried in the sun.

Straight Eight Cucumbers

We have “Burpless” Straight Eight cucumbers, that I’m training to grow up a trellis rather than spread out on the ground. Does anyone know why cucumbers and some types of tomatoes are called burpless? It’s weird. I’ve never know cucumbers or tomatoes to make me burp but maybe I’m in the minority…? Strange.

Yellow Squash

I only planted ONE squash plant this year, because you know I’ll still be having to leave them on people’s porch at night to get rid of them. Last year I made the mistake of planting three zucchini plants, and I got so sick of them I let them grow until they were as big as baseball bats and could be used as battering rams. I’ll clip these little guys much sooner, and enjoy the sweet and light flavor in stir fries and on the grill.

Tomatillos

Tomatillos are a new addition to my garden. I love tomatillo salsa, and when I saw a tomatillo plant at Home Depot, I jumped at the chance. Aren’t they weird looking?! They’re like alien seed pods, but the plant makes such pretty yellow flowers that eventually turn into the alien seed pod. I’ll be making a lot of salsa this year.

Gardening is one of my very favorite things because it’s relaxing, and rewarding! What other hard work rewards you with delicious, homegrown and organic food? A tiny red tomato plucked off the vibe is amazing on a sunny day, just like a slice of sweet, garden grown cucumber.

Are you growing any vegetables this year? What are they?

How does your garden grow?

I love my garden, and have been known to spend several hours digging in the dirt on weekends… emerging in the dusk hours with mud streaked all over my arms and plant pollen dotting my hands. I did today, in fact.

My Garden - and Yes, that is a mooning gnome.

I do this for the chance to grow my own food – which is the coolest thing ever. Last night, our dear friends Jason and Juan came over for an Italian feast, part of which was my homemade pesto tortellini. The pesto was superb – and made from 2 bunches of my own backyard basil. It’s such a neat feeling to eat something that you lovingly grew yourself – and it’s cool to know that you’ve essentially made a meal that cost only the price of the seed packet and occasional waterings.

Thanks basil, for making a delicious pesto!

Here’s a small sampling of some other things I hope to be harvesting soon, beginning with tomatoes. The ones shown here are a cherry variety, called “Matt’s Wild Cherry.”. I also have a Roma plant (that’s the biggest plant in the image above), an heirloom Brandywine, and a striped variety called Tigerella.

Matt's Wild Cherry Tomatoes

I have about 9 cucumber plants, from the “burpless” variety (that always makes me giggle – you’d never think cucumbers would be something that would make you burp), to a Persian, to a “tendergreen hybrid”. They’re just now starting to grow, about the size of a baby carrot and covered with the funny little spikes.

Baby "Burpless" Cucumber

My strawberries are hanging in there, and I was excited today to see one tiny little green berry. Strawberries don’t seem to do well in the San Fernando Valley, or maybe I’m just making that up, because I guess 40 minutes north in Ventura County is the strawberry growing capital of the world. Maybe I’m just not cut out for strawberry plants.

Little Green Strawberry

And last but not least, a favorite of mine… ARTICHOKES! This massive plant started from a tiny seedling I bought at the farmer’s market for $1. Now, it’s easily one of the biggest plants in the yard, and as you can see, loaded with artichokes.

Don't choke up over the beauty of my artichokes.

Some of the other goodies I have growing that aren’t shown include yellow squash, zucchini, green onions, green peppers, hot peppers, yellow corn and chocolate mint. I can’t wait for the days I spend digging into the vines and rummaging among the thickly-scented tomato leaves for ripe fruit. Should be about a month and a half and I’ll be posting pictures of my harvest. You better believe there will be some great food porn images then!