Our gardens have continued to be productive over the last couple weeks. The latest things that are ready to eat are the orange mini bell peppers and the scarlett runner beans growing up the pillars of our front porch. We also harvested our first cucumber (hopefully we get a few more!). We are still getting a lot of tomatoes, in particular the black cherry tomatoes, and a lot of ground cherries. Brian put together a veggie feta salad with the ripe tomatoes, cucumber and mini peppers. Below are some photos of the latest veggies to ripen and Brian’s salad.
On a less positive note, I think that the red tomato cherries I was growing in pots are finally dead. They have been battling what seems to be a fungal disease and they have officially lost. According to this article on possible causes of tomato wilt and death I think they suffered from vascular wilt. Oh well, we planted so many tomatoes that I think we can spare three plants! Here’s picture of one of the unhappy tomato plants.
I also finally got around to planting some cool season crops to harvest in the fall. I am probably at least a couple weeks late since I think we get our first frost October 5, but I still planted buttercrunch lettuce, snowball turnips and arugula anyways (thanks Patricia for the arugula seeds!). We left Mika alone in the backyard that same day, and she made quick work of digging up my freshly planted garden. So the following day I replanted and surrounded that part of the garden bed with chicken wire. Frustrating but she’s been pretty good this year so hard to complain too much. Below is a picture of the back garden and the chicken wire protection.
Speaking of the back garden, we have lots of kale that is ready to eat. I’ve never cooked with it before, so if anyone has any good recipe ideas, let me know!
So the ground cherries are falling on the ground ripe, but I can’t say that I am the biggest fan (Brian and Mika have no complaints though!) They taste kind of citrusy and maybe a bit tropical, but aren’t really too sweet. They do resemble tomatoes and kind of have the same texture. Anyways, since I wasn’t about to eat handfuls straight from the garden, I did a bit of online research to look for recipe ideas. I found a couple websites that suggested making salsa among other things (e.g., pie and compote). I adapted a few salsa recipes so that it worked for what we had in the garden and it turned out well. I think it lasted maybe 10 minutes when I served it last week at a bbq 🙂
Here’s the recipe I ended up using:
1 cup husked ground cherries. Cut them into halves or quarters.
2 cups black cherry tomatoes (any tomatoes would probably do, but these ones were nice and sweet and worked well). Cut into eighths.
Half a super chili pepper (could add more if you like your salsa spicy, and substitute other types of chili peppers). Dice it up really small.
1/4 cup red onion, diced really small.
Juice of one lime
About 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
If you chop the tomatoes and leave them in a colander for about 1 hour the salsa doesn’t turn out too watery. You can also throw the ground cherries and cilantro in the colander with the tomatoes and combine with the rest when you are ready to serve the salsa (I just had a bowl ready with the lime juice, hot pepper, sugar and salt and pepper and added the other ingredients to the bowl when I was ready to serve it).
We had the first three ingredients in the garden, but had to get the last few at the store (I didn’t grow cilantro this year because most recipes call for so much that I never seem to have enough in my garden anyways). I will definitely be making this again. It takes us about a week right now to collect enough ground cherries off of the plants to make the salsa, but it is worth the wait 🙂
Here is a picture of the ingredients…
the halved ground cherries…
black cherry tomatoes cut into eighths…
…and the end result! (half eaten already because I almost forgot to take a picture!)
Also, some fun facts about ground cherries: In doing my online research for recipe ideas, I found out that ground cherries grow wild in certain parts of the world. Apparently in Hawaii they grow along roads. And apparently they are likely to self seed in the garden if you don’t pick up all the ground cherries. Right now that doesn’t really seem like a bad thing! The ground cherries we grew are called Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherries, and apparently they originate from Poland and are good for colder climates. Also, they don’t need staking like tomatoes, and we found that the plant we have in a pot grows great. Highly recommend growing this plant in your garden!
This week we harvested the first zucchini of the season! It was pretty big and starting to turn green, so we figured it was ready to eat. It was delicious – we cooked it in a stir fry and ate some raw.
We also tasted our first ground cherries. They are pretty small right now when you take them out of their husks, but sweet and delicious just like candy:). And we now have some purple beans which are also quite good. They are smaller than the scarlet runner beans and the yellow wax beans we had last year, but the color is amazing. They weren’t as prolific as most beans I’ve planted, so might need to plant a fall crop somewhere else in the yard.
And in other gardening news, the tomatoes are starting to ripen with all the 30 degree+ weather we’ve been having and the pepper plants are starting to produce peppers.
Perhaps the most entertaining thing is that Brian decided to build a protective cage around his rubarb plant, because Mika has stepped on it a few times. The size of the cage is the amusing part… He really thinks it is going to grow to that size this season. I think it might take a few seasons to get to that point though ;)Oh well, we can use the cage to hold extra leaves and compost this fall 🙂
Here are some pics from this week. If you click on the pictures you should be able to view them in a larger size as part of a slide show.
Last Saturday (May 12) we took a walk through Dows Lake (arboretum) and I took my camera because on previous dog walks I had seen that the crab apple trees were just about to bloom. I managed to get some pictures, but maybe not as many as I had originally hoped. I had planned to take pictures of each tree, and also take photos of the names. Last year when we were shopping for a crab apple tree I found it really useful to be able to view so many different specimens in one spot. The wind and Mika ended up destroying the crab apple tree we bought (a Thunderchild crab apple in case anyone’s interested), but its nice that I can still go to Dows and appreciate the trees there 😉