Many posts here at the Co-Op have been about eating lately, and that has really helped me focus again when it comes to the vegetable garden. Several things have not gone well this season in the garden, and I was getting pretty down about it. The whole "look" of the vegetable garden just doesn't look pretty this year and many of the crops aren't performing up to par compared to a "normal" year.
Reading about eating, cooking and harvesting has reminded me that the real purpose of the vegetable garden is to be more self-sustainable by feeding the family. I have complained much this year about the lack of big and beautiful tomatoes. If you have ever read my personal blog, you know that I am a tomato fanatic. In years past, I not only have enjoyed eating and preserving tomatoes, but I often get sidetracked on growing the largest tomato, growing odd tasting white tomatoes or seeing how many different colors I can produce. A lot of this kind of growing is more for novelty than for feeding the family. This year, groundhogs ate many of my tomato plants and the weather has not been helpful with the surviving plants. It has been so cool and wet that I am just hoping that my tomato plants don't develop blight!
The lack of tomatoes this summer has forced me to look at the garden more as a whole. Even though I have felt that the summer garden has been a disappointment, we have been able to eat many meals from it. We have had a decent supply of potatoes and green beans, small tomatoes and cucumbers. We have had a large supply of onions, bell peppers and zucchini. The weather conditions that have been hurting the tomatoes helped the onions, which I wrote about in my last GardenDesk post.
Since we have two teenage daughters, they are increasingly interested in cooking. It has been fun to be able to go to the garden as a family, harvest some veggies and make a quick meal together. The girls think it is so neat that they often take pictures of our meals before we eat them. Since we mainly have onions and peppers we have had fajitas several times now. Here are a few quick pictures:
Peppers, Onions and Tomatoes from the garden.
The other thing that Renee and the girls have had fun with in the kitchen this year is zucchini. They have found many ways to prepare it for the table.
Of course there is Zucchini Bread:
and frying it up with some onions:
We have many other pictures of different dishes that we have eaten from the garden. I find this a bit funny, but it has helped me to remember why we are raising these vegetables in the first place. Even though the bounty looks different this year from past years, I suppose that we are being simple and frugal by eating what the garden is giving us.
We have also been able to freeze a lot of zucchini and we are currently looking for a dehydrator to help us preserve much of the bounty. I suppose that is material for a future post.
I hope you too have been able to raise and eat some of your own food. There truly is a simple satisfaction in it.