Our garden is doing pretty good this summer and we’ve been enjoying tomatoes for several weeks now. Tomatoes are my favorite vegetable to grow!
I’m always amazed at the growth this time of year. Our cantaloupe, watermelon and sweet potatoes have all grown out of their beds and appear to be taking over the garden. It definitely is no longer neat and tidy but it is productive!
This is what our garden looked like on July 8, right before I harvested the corn.
Here’s the same view from April 24. It’s amazing how things grow so fast!
I purposely planted fewer cucumbers this year but they are very prolific and we’ve been picking cucumbers for weeks. I’ve made several batches of refrigerator pickles as well as canned Bread and Butter Pickles and Dill Chips.
Our squash and zucchini have done very well this year too. We’ve eaten quite a bit and have blanched and frozen some to add to stir fry this winter.
We had a decent sweet corn harvest. This was our second year to grow corn but the first year in a raised bed. We only had 12 corn stalks but they produced pretty well.
I have several Marigolds planted throughout the garden and I think they’re just lovely. I’ve enjoyed picking small bouquets of marigolds and whatever other flowers are blooming.
We’re also still getting CSA boxes each week (the bottom right picture is one of our CSA boxes).
This past week, I canned Dill Chips and Tomatoes. I ended up with 7 quarts of tomatoes which will be used as the base for chili and vegetable soup this fall and winter. I’m hoping to can quite a few more quarts of tomatoes and hopefully salsa in the coming weeks.
Now that our tomatoes are in, our garden pictures are much more colorful! I’m enjoying our Cherokee Purples the most – they are an amazing tomato! I eat them plain or with bread and mayo for a simple but delicious tomato sandwich. Our yellow pear and cherry tomatoes are doing quite well, I’ve been adding them into my scrambled eggs each morning and that is so yummy. We’ve also picked two of our sugar baby watermelon (top left picture). They’re tiny but taste pretty good!
I’m starting to plan our fall garden and am looking forward to many, many more weeks of gardening and backyard produce!
Oh, how I love the month of June when the garden is full of surprises with nearly trip outside. The squash is starting to produce and there are tiny tomatoes all over tomato plants and we’re eating so many fresh vegetables and beginning to preserve our harvest.
We started gardening around mid-February when we planted our sugar snap peas, kale, collards and carrots. Our kale did very well and was harvested in early May and our sugar snap peas did very well this year too. We picked lots of sugar snap peas over nearly a 4 week period. Our kiddos favorite way to eat them was straight from the vine but we also added them to stir fry, ate them with hummus and I even tried a quart jar of refrigerator pea pickles (the kids love pickles but don’t love these just yet!)
Around mid-April, we had planted most of our garden for this summer. We planted onions, tomatoes, cabbage, squash, zucchini, cucumber, sweet corn, popcorn and peppers. In early May, we added even more tomatoes, potatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe and sweet potatoes.
We also added in 3 new raised beds this spring and I want to expand our garden even more!
This is our garden as it looked on April 24th.
This is the garden from earlier this week on June 6. It had rained nearly every day the previous week and all of our plants had experienced explosive growth (it had been very dry).
Here’s one of our large pea harvests.
This is our very first squash of the summer and two broccoli crowns. Since we don’t spray, we battled cabbage worms for a couple weeks. Since we only had two broccoli plants this spring, we simply picked worms off every evening to try to prevent them from completely destroying the plant.
Last night, Weston joined me and we harvested 3 squash and 1 zucchini. Harvesting is always fun for me but harvesting with my kiddos is even more fun.
Our garden is the largest we’ve ever had and we anticipate eating from our garden quite a bit this summer and hopefully preserving quite a bit, especially tomatoes. However, it’s still not large enough to fully feed us so we decided to join a CSA this summer.
We purchased a half share from a local-ish farm which has a drop in our area. The half share was $400 for 24 weeks which breaks down to just over $16.50 per week. We’re 3 weeks into our CSA and receiving our boxes each week has been such fun, I feel like a kid at Christmas every week when I dig into our box.
We joined the CSA to support local farmers as well as to try new vegetables and hopefully find more foods that we enjoy.
Week 1 box – This one included cherry tomatoes, peas, broccoli, baby collards, radishes, turnips and cabbage.
The baby collards, radishes and turnips are not vegetables I normally purchase. In fact, I didn’t even realize that radishes were a spicy vegetable. And, nobody in our family is a fan of the radishes, at least not yet!
I sautéed the baby collards, chopped them up and added them to a quiche, it was delicious.
I had cooked turnips only once before and nobody liked them, including me. I found this recipe for Scalloped Turnips which was super simple and very, very good. John David said they were the best turnips he’d ever had.
I was thrilled to have my first fresh tomato of the summer. I promptly made a loaf of sourdough bread and enjoyed a tomato sandwich which is my favorite way to eat tomatoes!
No one in our family loves cucumbers, unless they’re pickled. I’ll eat them but they’re not my favorite. I ate one with hummus and then added it to a salad, then other I tossed into pickle juice to make refrigerator pickles.
The daikon radish was a completely new vegetable, I had never even heard of it. I chopped it up and added it to a stir fry which seemed like an easy way to eat it. Neither John David or I liked it, the taste was pretty mild but it was quite stringy and I did not like the texture one bit.
My kiddos were super excited about this box because it had beets! They watched an episode of A Chef’s Life a few weeks ago where Vivian made a beet cake and they’ve been hoping beets would show up in our box so we could make a beet cake.
I found this recipe for Fudgy Beet Cupcakes. I followed it exactly, except I did substitute milk for almond milk. The kids helped me prep the cake and were super excited to eat the cupcakes. They were surprisingly delicious. They were very moist and chocolatey but had a slight earthy flavor from the beets. Weston wasn’t a huge fan of these but everybody else really enjoyed them.
And, following the ‘waste not, want not’ motto, I even used the beet greens! I sautéed them in olive oil with onion and added them along with potatoes to a quiche was was pretty good.
We’re having the collards for dinner tonight with beans, cornbread and zuchinni relish which I’ve made from last week’s zuchinni from our CSA box and our zuchinni we’ve harvested.
I’m looking forward to harvesting even more, branching out and trying new veggies and recipes with our CSA veggies, preserving as much as I can and planning our fall garden in the weeks ahead.
And, after a bout with a stomach bug, I am even more thankful for you.
I can toss bedding and clothes that are covered with throw up in and hit the ‘rinse’ button and you take care of the icky mess.
Once you’ve rinsed, I simply add in detergent, hit another button and 48 minutes later, clean laundry emerges.
You’ve worked hard these past few days, working nearly non-stop.
Thank you for washing our laundry.
And, thank you so much for having a rinse cycle and making cleaning up throw up just a bit easier.
We’ve been dealing with a weird stomach bug over the past few days. Cecilia has thrown up multiple times- including all over both of us while I was wearing her in the Boba at a church picnic. Ick. Even though she’s throwing up, she seems just fine and is playing like normal. I’m looking forward to whatever this is being over and I really am so thankful for my washing machine!
Our family has been on a journey towards real food since the birth of our first child.
We started our first baby on rice cereal at 6 months and he was eating other grains (like Cheerios) before the age of one.
Our approach to baby food is different for our third baby. We are keeping her grain-free until after she turns one. Babies do not produce enzymes to digest cereals and it’s best to wait until after they are one to introduce grains.
If you’re avoiding grains, what do you feed baby?
First Baby Foods
Soft Boiled Egg Yolk
We slowly introduced soft boiled egg yolk starting at 6 months old. (Just the egg yolk, no egg white – the egg white is the allergen!) Soft boiled egg yolk is simple to prepare and our baby girl loved and still loves her egg yolks.
She ate soft boiled egg yolks for the first few weeks of solids and then we introduced a little bit of banana into her diet. Banana is an easy baby food – just mash it a bit and it’s ready to eat.
Puréed Foods for the Beginning Eater
Around 7.5 months, we started introducing other foods in addition to egg yolk and banana.
Avocado is another easy baby food – just mash it and feed baby. We steamed the squash, baked the sweet potatoes and cooked apples, peaches and pears before puréeing.
The squash, sweet potatoes, apples, peaches and pears can be prepared in large batches and frozen (I freeze in ice cube trays). Preparing foods ahead of time and freezing is a convenient way to have homemade baby food easily accessible.
Finger Foods for Baby
(All of these foods cut into teeny pieces)
Hard Boiled Egg Yolk
Around 9 months old, she started gobbling up her purées and was interested in feeding herself. We began offering her tiny cubes of various foods and allowing her to feed herself. She’s good at getting the teeny pieces of food into her mouth and it’s adorable to watch her chubby little hands as she feeds herself.
She’s 10 months old and keeping baby grain free has been easy so far.
For feeding her on the go, I pack a small cooler bag and bring along her homemade baby foods. Yes, it takes more effort than carrying around convenient dry puffs or Cheerios but it’s worth the effort to keep her digestive system healthy.