A little porch update in pictures: There will be tons of little 4 inch-long eggplants it seems. This is my first time growing eggplant in containers and I am very happy with the result.
A few days ago, I finally got around to make garlic scape pesto with my harvested scapes. As usual, I froze it in ice cube trays and then transferred the pesto cubes to freezer bags for later use. Yum!
The plants on my Southwest-facing back porch are doing well for the most part. We had plenty of rain lately and last week we had a couple of really hot days so those tiny chard and kale seedlings are finally catching up. I am very impressed with the potatoes and the lettuce.
Earlier this week, I made (up) a Greek-inspired quick dinner. I fried up leeks, onion, garlic and a bell pepper and added ground beef to it. I added tomato paste to make it more like a sauce and seasoned it with paprika, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, oregano. Topped it with feta and fresh parsley and served over rice. Quick, easy and delicious.
The (overwintered) leeks and onions were from my garden plot, the parsley from my back porch.
The plants on my back porch are doing well. I am growing tomatoes (Paul Robeson), eggplant (Fairy Tale), hot pepper (Jedi Jalapeño), cut lettuce, butter lettuce, potatoes, Swiss Chard and herbs (mint, sage, thyme, rosemary, basil and parsley). Also on the porch are our grapefruit “tree”, our palm – both are indoor plants during the colder months – and several potted perennials: lavender, Osteospermum and Dianthus.
A couple of nights ago, we enjoyed the first (partially) home-grown dinner of the season: fettuccine with sauteed asparagus and mushrooms in a garlicky lemon-feta sauce. The (purple!) asparagus came from my garden plot, the parsley from my back porch. Delicious!
Finally, spring is here. It has been so cold and wet these past weeks, everything in my garden is late. So far, I have only planted peas, spinach, radishes, carrots and lettuce in my plot. The rhubarb is coming up as are the first spears of asparagus.
I went to Allendale Farm this morning to get herbs for my back porch. I indeed got parsley, sage and thyme, but they were out of rosemary. I also got a six-pack each of basil, cauliflower and “Buttercrunch” head lettuce. I will plant a couple of the basil and lettuce cells in pots on my porch. The rest will go into my plot together with the cauliflower and some parsley.
I also got some flowers: lavender “Kew Red” and Osteospermum. Both are planted in containers on the back porch. And I purchased dahlia tubers (the one I overwintered in the basement did not survive – I forgot to keep them moist throughout the winter), garden twine, labels, environmentally-friendly insecticidal soap (to keep the aphids in check) and organic fish & seaweed fertilizer.
My share today: Ping Tung eggplant, rutabaga, flat parsley, red Russian kale, jalapeno and ghost peppers (not pictured: tons of Thai basil).
I spent some time at City Natives this chilly early fall morning, harvesting most of the produce and cleaning out all the raised vegetable beds. The beds will be demolished and the entire garden will be restructured and rearranged. We hauled in hot peppers, eggplant, rutabagas, red Russian kale and parsley, and there was still a ton of callaloo and hot peppers left in the ground for a later harvest, both of them in the ground-level beds.
Edit (a few days after the harvest): Here is what I did with the vegetables in the kitchen. I cubed and roasted the rutabaga in olive oil in the oven for an hour at 400F, and finished it with a couple of tablespoons of butter and fresh parsley from the back porch. This made a very tasty side dish. I turned the parsley into chimichurri, which was served as a condiment to potato wedges and alongside sauteed chicken breasts. The kale became kale pesto, which was served over fettuccine. I also used the kale pesto as a condiment for sandwiches, which were piled with harissa-roasted green beans and a fried egg. I used the eggplants to make this delicious Chinese eggplant with garlic sauce, which I served over rice. The hot peppers went into a big pot of black bean chili. No complaints from the family.
I harvested a lot of basil today, about a third of what is in my plot. I will puree the washed and dried leaves with olive oil and freeze for use in the winter. I find that just freezing the basil in oil makes it more versatile for cooking and it keeps better. I use it to top soups or as pesto for pasta, pizza, potatoes or chicken. I just add the cheese and pine nuts (for pasta) later during cooking.
Today’s produce harvested other than basil. (My first red dahlia is finally blooming!)