This Week’s Garden Round Up (July 25, 2011)

We have been experiencing a major heat wave the past few days.  There have been excessive heat warnings and record highs. The air quality has been steadying at code “red” meaning it is unhealthy for the general population. Aside from most of my squash, so far both the community garden plot and my home garden are holding their own.

Community Garden Plot

Patio Container Garden: Tomatoes, Beans and Peppers

Squash Planter

My patio container beans got a little overwhelmed and suffered a some leaf damage but are doing okay. So I spent time over the weekend cleaning out the dried up dead leaves. One patio container tomato plant looked droopy and some of the developing tomatoes looked a bit puckery but with some water, the leaves and tomatoes plumped back up.

As I mentioned, most of the squash did not fare so well. But they were on the ropes anyway from the powdery mildew so their demise under the heat stress was not unexpected. One mature plant and three tiny plants survived. I planted more squash seeds and hope the growing season will last long enough for them to produce.

So I hope everything will continue to be okay as we get a few days of respite just in time for another heat wave that is predicted to set upon us later in the week.

As evidenced by the photo above, I harvested a wonderful crop of eggplant, beans and tomatoes.


Peppers, Eggplants and Tomatoes, Oh, My!

A trip to the community garden this past weekend resulted in the harvesting of a few white eggplants called “ghostbusters,” a purple eggplant called “little fingers,” multiple beautiful banana peppers and a few tomatoes. Together with some garlic and onions from my last Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) delivery and mixed herbs from my patio garden, all of these fresh out of the garden wonders were chopped up.  Then the peppers, onions and garlic were slowly sauteed with olive oil until tender, then combined with brown ground beef and slowly cooked for quite a spell. Salt and pepper made their grand entrance to the mix during the cooking process. Using my lovely Le Creuset french oven pot, the eggplant was then layered with the meat/pepper/onion/garlic mixture and put in the oven for more slow cooking. Result:  Poof! yummy creation.  Well, more like a drawn out “poooooooooof,” given the slow cooking process, but you get the point.

This Week's CSA Delivery

I am so totally loving this summer of harvesting and cooking. Now I just need to get moving to find new recipes because this week’s CSA delivery arrived last evening and my community garden plot and patio container garden are both on the verge of an eggplant, tomato and green bean explosion. Oh. my!

“It Makes my Heart Happy”

First Tomatoes Turning Red

I stopped by my community garden plot this evening to check in. To my sheer delight, I had tomatoes turning red, eggplants growing and peppers harvest ready. It seems that the last two days of heavy downpours, followed by sun, helped the garden out.

As I left the community garden, a woman approached me. Gazing over the garden plots, she said that when she looked at all the things growing, it reminded her of her home country and how they grew vegetables. I asked her where she was from and she said, Ghana. We spoke excitedly about the power of gardening and farming and she said that in Ghana, everything her family ate came from their own plot. She asked how one could get a community garden plot and, concerned that she worked during the week, how much time it took weekly for me to keep my plot up.

I told her all about the process of getting a community garden plot through the county and how I tended my plot around my full-time + work schedule.  She then paused, gazed once again over the community garden, and with a joyful facial expression said, “It makes my heart happy to see this!”  I agreed. It makes my heart happy to be part of this amazing opportunity to plant, grow and cultivate from my own community garden plot. I got back in my car and as I drove away, we waved to each other and smiled, acknowledging the joy in our hearts.


Bell Pepper

Banana Pepper

Little Fingers Eggplant

Cubanelle Pepper


Peace over Planting

Well, I had fully intended to plant my tomato seeds this weekend.  I had it all planned out.  At my recent Nursery visit, I purchased “Tricolor Cherry Tomatoes:  Garden Candy” and “Orange Cherry Tomatoes: Sungold” seeds.  I had visions of my last year crop of Sungold and its seemingly never ending production of deep orange sweet “cherry” tomato size magnificence that sent me into a deep trance of worship every time I went out to harvest them for our dinner salad.  I found myself zoning out in dreamland with visions of bucket loads of tomatoes.   So with such thoughts of what would grow in a few short months, I pictured myself spending my weekend grabbing my gardening journal to carefully log in the date, type of seed and information about the tomato (such key information as the germination period, when to transplant, etc.)

But reality did not mesh with my visions.  I kept meaning to go out to the shed to get my grow lamp and pots.  I even talked about how I was about to go out to the shed.  I even put the bag of seeds and recently purchased potting soil on the table to remind me.  But alas, I did not make it out to the shed.  The seeds and potting soil remain in the shopping bag and no seed have been planted.  Why?  Well, peace intervened.  Or I should say the threat to peace intervened.

I work at the United States Institute of Peace and the US House of Representatives recently voted to zero out the funding to our institute. By gardening terms, that means they refused to even provide the hospitable environment in which we could ourselves cultivate the soil and plant the seeds of peace. Consequently, my weekend was consumed with sowing seeds of a different type than tomatoes:  grassroots.  More later on this front.