Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Special Delivery, gardening updates

I am very proud to announce the birth of my newest nephew on July 15th, 2011!  Congratulations to my little brother and my sister-in-law on the birth of their first child! 

What an amazing moment it was when I saw him for the first time!  Although the birth of my own little Froggy Boots was the most amazing and wonderful moment of my life, I think the birth of my nephew holds a very close second! 

Proud new mommy and daddy!

Froggy Boots was not at all sure about her mommy holding her new baby cousin.  She immediately got the pouty, I'm going to cry lip and started climbing up on my lap.  So, we switched to a bigger chair and she sat with me and baby N.
My husband, who looks almost as proud as when Froggy Boots was born, holding baby N!
The new daddy reading a book to niece Froggy Boots.  He actually got her to crack a smile!

So, the gardening continues in full force, with new crops being harvested and planted on what seems like a daily basis.  The tomato plants are literally gigantic and there are little (and big) green tomatoes popping up all over the place!  I had to use some yarn and tie the plants up in several places despite being in tomato cages!

There are four tomato plants, total.  Two are regular tomatoes and two are grape tomatoes.

The tomato plants are actually taller than me and my husband!
A few days ago I harvested some oregano and some basil.  The oregano I chopped in a food processor, mixed with a little olive oil and froze in ice cube trays.  I then removed the cubes of oregano and placed them in a freezer bag to be stored in the freezer for later use.

The basil I made into homemade pesto sauce (which we all love around my house), not including the cheese and pine nuts, and froze in plastic freezer jars for later use.  The cheese and pine nuts will be added when we decide to use the sauce.

Also in the last few days I harvested most of my green onions.  A couple I used immediately for dinner.   A couple more I sent home with my mom and dad.  And, the rest I cleaned, chopped, and flash froze on a cookie sheet.  Then I moved the frozen, chopped green onions to a freezer bag to store in the freezer for later use.

Chopped green onions heading to the freezer to be flash frozen!

I was absolutely amazed by the wonderful smell of fresh green onions right out of the garden!  They even made my eyes water when I cut them -- something I've never had happen with store-bought green onions.

One of the green onions I harvested had a much larger ball root than the others, so I decided to stick it back in the ground and see if I can get a large white onion out of it.  We'll see how it does -- at this point the green onion part that sticks out of the ground has flopped over and looks sort of wilted.  I probably would have been better off to leave it in the ground and let it grow than to pull it out and then put it back into the ground.

The other thing I decided to do was to re-plant the root portion of the green onions that I chopped off and see if I can get another crop out of them.  I did some research online and found that this should work.  However, I really should have left the root in the ground and chopped the green onion portion off of it.  We'll see what happens!

It's starting to seem like I do a lot of gardening on a whim.  A couple weeks ago I found one of my store-bought heads of garlic starting to sprout in my pantry.  So, I decided, rather than throw it out, I would plant it and see if I can get a crop of garlic out of it.  So, I did exactly that! 

Froggy Boots and I went out into the back yard, filled a pot with soil, made little holes in the soil, and plopped one clove of garlic into each hole.  Froggy Boots did the clove plopping portion!  So far, so good!  The garlic sprouts are getting taller and so I assume the cloves are doing their thing and turning into heads of garlic. 

Here is the garlic after we planted each clove in a pot!

I love garlic!  I love the way it smells and the way it tastes!  The only thing I don't like about garlic is peeling the cloves and pressing them in the garlic press.  But, the work is well worth it for the final product.  And, after recently purchasing some fresh heads of garlic from the farmer's market, I discovered that fresh garlic cloves are much easier to peel than dried, store-bought garlic.  Bonus!

Once the growing season here in Michigan is over, I am really going to miss it!  I am currently devising a plan to try and extend the growing season by bringing the garden inside.  So far the plan includes a long shelf attached to the wall in front of the window in my kitchen with some long planters sitting on top of it. 

And, next year's backyard garden is going to just about double in size!

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