In the Garden, Weeks 6 and 7

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Well, we’ve arrived! It’s high summer in Minnesota, and that means my garden is the most colorful it’ll be all year. And I’m trying to savor every last moment, beginning with this photo of the garden on the south side of my house. Pictures really don’t do it justice, especially since the wall to the right of the brown eyed susans is festooned with trumpet vine blooms. And to think that a couple of years ago, this spot was overgrown with purple phlox.

The flowers are fantastic, but what’s even more exciting is that we’re slowly stepping into that heavenly time of year when we begin eating our own homegrown produce! Last week I harvested lots of basil and made two batches of yummy pesto. If you’ve never made your own pesto, I recommend giving it a try. It’s so easy and you can use it to flavor pasta, pizzas, or sandwiches. My recipe is based on the pesto included in the first Moosewood Cookbook, only I add a handful of fresh parsley and the juice of one lemon. Check it out below.

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We’ve also begun to harvest raspberries from our community garden plot, so you can expect to see some raspberry jam in an upcoming post. My big berry success story this year, though, is the blueberries. There aren’t enough to make jam or even blueberry pancakes, but every day over the past week I’ve picked 2 or 3 or 4 of these beautiful, deep purple gems and popped them in my mouth (of course I’ve shared some with the boys). After having two blueberry bushes for several years with no fruit, we finally dug them up and planted them in a pot with lots of acidic soil ( I think we added coconut husk matter, if memory serves) and then sunk that pot in the garden. Now when we enrich the soil with coffee grounds or other acidic treatments, the acidity doesn’t dissipate into the surrounding soil. It seems to be making a difference because the bush is loaded with berries. Here’s one day’s harvest, enjoyed immediately after I snapped this photo. FullSizeRender

My oldest harvested our first cabbage this week and we promptly cut it up and made the freshest, most delicious coleslaw ever. It was perfect with his birthday dinner of  turkey Sloppy Joes and fruit salad. This boy can eat two Sloppy Joes and a healthy serving of coleslaw in one sitting, I kid you not.

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Needless to say it was a great couple of weeks in the garden. I’ll leave you with my favorite pesto recipe and a photo of these beautiful lilies from my friend, Jenny. She calls them Kathy lilies, in honor of her mom. I love them!

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Favorite Pesto

3 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

1 bunch fresh parsley

3 large cloves garlic

1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

juice of one lemon salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup olive oil

Place all ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor and grind until well chopped. Scrape down sides of the food processor bowl and slowly add olive oil, mixing until combined. Enjoy! FullSizeRender

For more fun garden projects, check out The Nitty Gritty Gardening Book, available through Amazon, Millbrook Press, and fine garden shops. Thanks to all Nitty Gritty Gardeners who came to our book launch party at Mother Earth Gardens this past week! It was so much fun to celebrate with you!

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