First Harvest ’07

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Every summer since we’ve owned our house, we’ve planted a vegetable garden in the backyard. New Jersey summers are ideal for growing tomatoes, lettuce, and any number of different kinds of vegetables, which are so much better when picked fresh from your garden than bought at the supermarket. This week, we finally were able to reap some of the fruits of our labor.

Here is a logical layout of the 2007 garden.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more garden photos.

This is the herb planter, which has all different kinds of fresh herbs in it — lemon basil, parsley, chives, oregano, rosemary.

A closeup of our lettuce patch, which has various different types of field greens in it.

Right now the tomatoes aren’t ready but the zucchinis are just starting to come in. Cukes will be another couple of weeks. We’ve been fertilizing the garden with TerraCycle, an organic New Jersey product made from worm poop. They take old soda bottles, clean and relabel them, and fill it with “Worm Tea” which is created by composting garbage with a gigantic pile of earthworms. Its sold at Home Depot, and it makes your plants grow like crazy if you spray it on once a week.

Our first harvest — some Asian greens that we got as seedlings from a Korean grocery store and a lone Zucchini.

Zuke closeup.

I decided to use the greens and the zucchini along with some shrimp and red bell pepper to make a noodle stir-fry. I cleaned and de-veined the shrimp, allowing them to drain in a colander and then tossed in cornstarch with fresh ground pepper before stir-frying.

Plated noodles dish.

Shrimp garden noodles closeup.

12 Responses to First Harvest ’07

  1. Beautiful, beautiful food. You are oh-so-right, it is so much better when home grown. A whole new experience for the taste-buds.

    Watch out for that zucchini – they often grow in such awkward, entertaining shapes, it leaves much to the imagination, and lots of family jokes :)

  2. rockyroadoflove says:

    Cool garden photos … There was an article in the NYT a few weeks ago about shallow garden boxes for lettuce and herbs. Three inches deep and 3 feet or so square. You move them from sun to shade, depending on seasons and temperature. Supposedly, you can make lettuce last through the summer—not easy to do in the South. Do you grow red fennel? It’s practically a weed here. It’s wonderful in salads. I like the frilly fronds better than dill.

  3. New Jersey is one of the largest producers of tomatoes and peaches during the summer months. Hawe a look at the following website:

    Our corn is also second to none.

  4. Sandy says:

    DocChuck, there was a time within the memory of some of us still alive when NJ was largely an agricultural state. It was called the garden state because the hugh number of “truck farms” supplied New Yorkers with high quality fresh, local produce. Almost all the larger farms — and these were real farms — not factories — have been developed as condominiums or office parks. The relatively few farms that remain are in the far westernmost corner of the state or in the south. Jason is right. New Jersey tomatoes, corn and peaches remain unequalled in this country (although the peaches in Italy are even better.)

  5. Leigh Long says:

    I am no gardening expert, but some have told me that using fertilizers such as the one you are using cause the plants to keep growing in size rather than setting fruit. Have you followed this pattern of fertilizing consistently during grow season in past years?

  6. In the past we used chemical fertilizers, so I don’t know what to tell you yet. Last year was a weird year, none of our zucchini plants bore fruit. I think that might be due to the bee shortage though. We manually fertilized our zucchinis this year.

  7. nogoodadddy says:

    The corn! They try to sell silver Queen corn here in NC, but it ain’t the same!

    Just wait, in a week or so, you’ll wake up with 7 foot long zucchinis. Those mothers grow like crazy.

  8. rockyroadoflove says:

    We have very few honey bees this year and lots of zucchini blossoms that seem to be falling off without producing squash. How do you manually fertilize them?

  9. Get a little stick or a cotton swab and rub it on the stamens of the male flowers. The male flowers are on a thin stalk and they are usually higher than the female flowers, and the insides have yellow pollen all over the inside. The female flower has a baby zucchini inside it,and you need to rub the pollen on the inside with the stick.

    Enjoy your zucchini sex.

  10. rockyroadoflove says:

    Amazing what bees do for us. Thanks so much. I’ll try it.

  11. Leigh Long says:

    You can also just snip off the male flower and rub it against the female flowers.

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