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.
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.
Week 2 box – Lettuce, cabbage, zuchinni, squash, tomato, broccoli, cucumber and daikon radish.
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.
Week 3 box – Tomatoes, turnips, cauliflower, squash, cucumber, collards and beets.
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.
Do you garden? What are you growing?