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Garden update

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So, it’s been a few weeks since my original post on my garden.  Things have mostly taken off.  The seeds that I planted are only kind of working.  No signs of beets or carrots yet.  Here’s hoping they will show at some point.  Also, I think the heat from last week seems to maybe have killed one of my hot pepper plants and my garlic maybe.  But some of the tomatoes have gone CRAZY!  Also, you can see the yellow squash growing!!

Garden Update

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Garden Update

So, I wanted to give a quick update on my little garden.  I’ve added a few plants to fill the square feet that I had open.  I added a grape tomato plant, a sweet pepper plant (not a bell pepper hopefully), and I planted garlic!  I also ended up taking out the chives as I have no real use for them and added in rosemary instead.  Everything seems to be coming in pretty nicely!

It’s Gardening Time!

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It’s Gardening Time!

Earlier this year we (my husband, cat, and I) moved to a new place.  I loved our old place.  It was in the Hampden/Roland Park area of Baltimore.  It had a deck that you could see all the way to the harbor.  We had a parking lot that usually one of us could park in.  I could walk to two different grocery stores, numerous shops, restaurants, and bars.  But the place was getting pretty cramped and it only had one bathroom, which can get a bit problematic when two people want to use it at the same time.  So, now I’m living in the county.  It’s really just outside of the city and is still just off 83, which allows me to get into work pretty easily, plus it is much closer for Ernie to get to work.

One of the perks about living in the county is that we have space.  We live in a duplex with 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, and a yard.  This space will hopefully mean we can get more animals (dog!) and I can plant a garden.  I tried a community garden a few years ago.  I got some radishes, beets, a few tomatoes, lettuce, and surprisingly some carrots.  But I failed at it.  The garden was in a park, not by my house, so I had to detour every day to go water.  That got old REALLY quickly.  So every day became every other day, became every third day….  You get the picture.

This year I am DETERMINED to get this right!  I am loosely following the Square Foot Gardening method by Mel Bartholomew.  I bought my dirt, which was a mixture of potting soil, peat moss, and some mulch.  I’m also terrible about following planting schedules, so I’m hoping my plants survive.  Lastly, I really really REALLY hope that I’m going to have enough fruit and vegetables that I can try canning/pickling.

Here’s the basic layout:

Full Garden

Big plants: (Clockwise from top left) Zucchini, spaghetti squash, japanese eggplant, and yellow squash.

Big plants

Small plants (clockwise from bottom left): beefsteak tomato, cucumbers, yellow tomato, yellow pear, empty, mesculun greens, arugula, onions, beets, beets, radish, jalapeno, empty, empty, onions, radish.

Oh, and I bought a blackberry plant.  I have no idea if it’ll take or when it will start producing fruit.  I’m assuming not til next year at the earliest.

Herbs (parsley, oregano, sage, thyme, basil, and chives)

Cucumber container plant

Little babies!

Any suggestions for my empty square feet?

Vegetable Tian

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Vegetable Tian

I originally wanted to make this recipe for Thanksgiving this next year.  I have it in my recipes on my Pinterest as a recipe that I wanted to make it for Thanksgiving.  With Passover being here, I wanted to make something visually appealing and delicious as well, so this recipe seemed to fit the bill.  There is nothing in it that makes it specifically FOR Passover, which is why I like it even more!

If you’ve never used a mandolin before, you are missing out.  It makes slicing vegetables in precise widths SO much easier.  And there are other inserts to use, including ones to julienne as well.  Caution: BE CAREFUL.  I totally sliced my thumb while slicing my potato.  Secondly, only FIRM vegetables can be used on a mandolin.  Do not try to cut the tomato unless you have a really nice one with serrated edges or something of that sort.  My $20 mandolin from Bed, Bath, and Beyond is not the most sophisticated piece of equipment.

Vegetable Tian

  • 2 TBSP  olive oil (divided)
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 russet potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 3 large roma tomatoes
  • Salt, black pepper, and thyme
  • Optional: parmesan cheese or possibly nutritional yeast

Preheat the oven to 375.  Coat your baking dish with olive oil non-stick spray (use a round baking dish since it looks better).  Heat a pan to medium then add the olive oil and onion.  Cook until the onions are translucent, about eight minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two, until the garlic is softened.  Add the onion and garlic to the baking dish.

Slice the potatoes, zucchini, squash, and tomatoes in 1/4 in slices.  Or use the mandolin.  In a single layer, arrange the vegetables in the pan on top of the onions and garlic.  If using a circular dish, layer one vegetable on top of the next, leaving a slight overhang with each vegetable.  Keep going around the edge and then add to the middle.  Season the vegetables with salt, pepper, and thyme.  Drizzle the last tablespoon of olive oil on top.

Cover the dish with tinfoil and cook for 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.  Uncover the dish and grate the cheese on top if you plan on using it.  Bake for another 25-30 minutes to allow the dish to crisp up.  Enjoy!

Note: I cooked this dish to the point of cooking the potatoes through, then planned on finishing it at my mom’s, which would crisp up the veggies.  It didn’t happen.  It also wasn’t in the oven long enough.  So, make sure you get it nice and crisp at the end so it doesn’t get soggy.