It was a great weekend at Lana’s Cooking headquarters (a.k.a. Nana and BeeBop's house). Saturday morning I drove up to Jae-Mor Farms Market which is just a little north of Gainesville and had a great time browsing and buying wonderful fresh produce. Brought home some of the sweetest strawberries I've had in a long time. They're in the pot right now waiting to be canned as preserves later today! Also brought home some cukes, fresh okra and Amish-made butter.
While I was looking over the okra, a lady asked me how I cooked mine. I told her I like it all different ways, but my favorite is with tomatoes and onions. She looked really puzzled and asked me if that was some kind of soup. I started explaining the recipe to her which seemed to confuse her even more, so I just pulled out one of my blog cards and told where to look online to find my recipe. She shouted, "Wow, ya'll! She's a blogger!" Funny!
By the way, the okra was fried this time. And let me tell you something - it was fantastic! It will be making an appearance here very soon.
BeeBop spent Saturday afternoon mulching and cleaning garden and flower beds. Everything looks so neat and nice right now! He's a hard worker, that BeeBop. Let me share some photos of what our garden is looking like right about now.
We don't need a large garden - it's just the two of us - so BeeBop built me some planting boxes into a hillside in our back yard. That's A and Mag's play area on the right. The planter boxes are on the left, back behind them are blueberry bushes and further back is a lovely swing under a shady arbor.
A side view of the planter boxes. The height makes working in the garden much easier!
This year's tomatoes include one red beefsteak, one yellow, one striped and one...I don't remember!
The garden peppers - one each sweet green, red and yellow. I like variety. Also, a new to me hot pepper. It's supposed to be long and red with medium heat. That's just the way I like them.
Of course we have a couple of yellow squash and several cucumbers. The trellis is already set for them to climb right on up as they grow.
Both the cucumbers and squash are already blooming. Now, if I can just keep the deer out of them! Last year they ate nearly my entire crop of squash and zucchini. Made a mess in the planters, too. That's why I have the marigolds all around the edges. I read somewhere that deer dislike the scent and will stay away. We'll see!
There's also some zucchini in there, but somehow I didn't get a photo of them. Oh, well, you know what zucchini look like!
A quick look at the blueberries. They're loaded right now. And I need to come up with some way to keep the birds and deer off of them when they start turning color. Any ideas?
Now, I don't just plant in the boxes. I have much more in pots on the deck. Let me show you.
I have a beautiful patio peach tree in a huge pot. There's a bumper crop of peaches on there this year, but I don't really know how to take care of them. Gonna have to do some research on them.
Also, a pot with a Sweet 100 tomato and a jalapeno pepper together. There's a tiny baby jalapeno on there and it's full of blooms. I like to mix plants in the same container. One of my favorite combinations is a orangey-red cherry tomato with purple petunias. Makes a gorgeous pot!
Also on the deck is this bush tomato. It's meant for growing in a pot and is supposed to remain somewhat compact. First time trying this one. I'll let you know how that works out.
Moving on around the deck I have a long planter with mixed mesclun lettuces and radishes. This is my second crop of those this year. Easiest things I've ever grown.
On the other end of the planter is this pretty Ashley lettuce. It has a lovely red tone. Should be ready to cut in a few days.
Don't forget the herbs! There's a small rosemary, a spearmint and a strawberry jar full of oregano and sage that overwintered and is starting to revive now.
More herbs. Thyme, basil, dill (poor dill - I almost drowned it), pineapple sage and oregano.
And, last but not least, chives! That pot of chives moved here with us nearly three years ago. It was already about five years old then. And this year it has just gone crazy! I'm trying to think of ways to use them so if you have any great recipes using chives, please let me know.
So, there you have it. A tour of our little backyard garden.
Do you plant a garden? If you do, what are your favorite plants?