Gardening in the Dog Days of Summer

August has arrived and summer is going by fast! Our garden is HUGE and for newbies, we are pretty proud of our garden growth! Our soil this year seems incredibly nutrient dense, since it has not been used for years. Even without supplementing, our veggies are growing with great yields. In a future post, we will discuss the breakdown of our garden this year, what we learned, and how to improve for next year. One thing we know for certain is that for next year, we need to supplement the plot appropriately with organic compost just in case this year’s garden has stripped the soil of its nutrients.

Our tomato plants are full of red tomatoes and more are to come. In Maryland, storms have been really bad this year, knocking down our tomato plants. We adapted this garden trick from an Italian garden full of tomato plants (shown below) to help re-stand our tomato plants up with wooden sticks.

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The Swiss Chard is getting stiffer and taller. If you need Swiss Chard recipe ideas check out our post on how to prepare Swiss Chard.

In a recent post, I showed a before and after of our zucchini plant, and now it is even larger with tons of zucchini to eat! We even were a little late at picking them and one was about 2 feet! It’s best to pick them earlier when they are smaller in size and more nutrient dense. With so much zucchini, we have to be creative with our dishes. Chris recently made mac and cheese with zucchini as the “pasta”, a definite gluten-free dish, low-carb, and a great, healthy swap for regular pasta noodles. We also recently made zucchini fritters which we fried in coconut oil and made with gluten-free flour. So yummy! You can see a pic of them on our instagram feed here. I also made zucchini banana bread adapting this recipe found here and just adding in a cup of grated zucchini (we swapped the wheat flour for gluten-free of course).

Our peppers are were also ready for harvest and soon we will be canning these. In the meantime, Chris enjoys them in different veggie dishes to add a little spice. We were lucky enough to also enjoy our red and spiral beets. When we harvest more beets in a few weeks, we will be canning them using my grandfather’s beet recipe from Abruzzo, Italy.

All of our onions were ready for harvest. Their bulbs were completely out of the soil! See how beautiful and tall they are below.

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We over-planted our melon, pumpkin, and zucchini area without realizing how big they would get! They literally took over half of our garden, and the pumpkin plants started wrapping themselves around our tomato and pepper plants. Our friend told us that pumpkins have these little green spiral parts that will literally wrap themselves around weeds or other plants and strangle them, so that they can survive over them (survival at it’s best!).

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We definitely saw this happening with our pumpkin wrapping these spiral things around the tomato and pepper plants! We had to cut off branches from them, so they would not kill our tomato and pepper plants. This was a lesson learned to extend our garden and to space out our melons, pumpkins, and zucchinis more.

 

Check out our instagram feed @foodmovecollective for more updates and beautiful images of our garden! A recent harvest image is below:

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How is your own garden growing? We would love to hear about your own experience of growing your own food!

About the Author

Sarah Ferrante, Ph.D.

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