Tomato Harvest

I’m picking all kinds of tomatoes daily now, and have found lots of yummy ways to use them.Tomato SaladGrape and cherry tomatoes retain their shape well, so I use them with onions and green peppers and lots of herbs in Tomato Salad. I pretty much always have a bowl of this in the fridge.salsa and ingredientsI also keep a bowl of fresh Salsa at all times. I take it easy on the jalapenos, because not everyone likes it as spicy as I do.Tomato QuicheOn the days when I don’t pick many tomatoes, I’ll make an Herb and Tomato Quiche.Tomato PieIf I pick a lot, I’ll make Tomato Pie.Garden Vegetable SoupIf I am overwhelmed with tomatoes, I’ll chop them up, saute with onion & garlic, and add anything I have in the vegetable drawers. This has cabbage, mushrooms, corn, and, of course, lots of fresh herbs. I don’t fuss much with it now, I just freeze it all for later. Some cold December evening I’ll thaw a container and add some cooked chicken or beef or lentils. I’ll adjust the seasoning then, and think back on the days when my garden was bursting and it was too hot for soup.

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salmon wrap prior to grilling

grilled salmon wraps

Ripe CabbageI’m getting lovely cabbages now, French Breakfast Radishand I’m still getting Heirloom French Breakfast Radishes (those French people must have sturdy stomachs first thing in the morning.)Salmon wrap produce ingredientsTo the radishes and cabbage, I added dill (still thrilled) and Swiss Chard (nearing the end).salmon wrap prior to grillingI used the large cabbage leaves and Swiss Chard as a wrap, topped it with cooked rice mixed with a bit of sour cream. I topped that with thinly sliced radishes, a 3 ounce salmon steak, and lots of dill. I used 2 skewers  to hold things together and grilled until it was firm to the touch.grilled salmon wrapGrilled Salmon Wraps : even the leftovers were amazing.

free heirloom seeds

So, not only do my local libraries supply me with all the books I can read (no small task), the Woodbury and Pitman branches here in Gloucester County, NJ also lend out seeds.

Free packaged heirloom seeds

a selection of seeds at the Woodbury, NJ seed bank

They give me free heirloom seeds; I plant them, enjoy the bounty, and give them back some seeds at the end of the season. (And no fines if it doesn’t work out.) Sweet deal!

Below are just a few of the flower, vegetable and herb seeds I picked up. All it takes is a library card.

heirloom vegetables, flowers, and herbs

Watermelon radish, Traveler jalapeno pepper, Monarda bergamot, Callipe blend carrots, White sage

I’m hoping my backyard looks like this in a couple of months.

companion gardening

I just finished an organic heirloom gardening class, and I am wildly excited about companion gardening. That’s the art/science/voodoo of grouping plants that are beneficial to one another. I am planning small clusters of companion plants instead of one large plot with everything lumped together.tomato, basil, chive

I can feel a full garden re-do coming on . . .

tomatoes

Every year around this time, I start to run out of ways to use up all the tomatoes. Here’s a list of my current favorites:

1) tomato & pesto sandwich
2) tomato pie
3) tomato salad with green beans & black olives
4) pizza topping
5) salsa (always)
6) halve cherry tomatoes, chop green pepper & onions & sprinkle with oregano. Keep in the fridge ready to add to: pasta, omelets, salad, soup, quiche, or pizza

Cherry tomatoes, chopped green pepper & onions with fresh oregano

Cherry tomatoes, chopped green pepper & onions with fresh oregano

How do you use tomatoes?

gardening

I can’t keep myself out of the garden. The laundry is piling up and my desk is a mess because I am spending way too much time checking on the progress of the sweet peas and planting flowers around the herb garden.

There’s something so compelling about planting a seed and watching it sprout, nurturing the plant and then picking and eating the produce. It feels like a little bit of magic, and it makes me see vegetables in a whole new way.