Garden Delights!

Have you ever seen a zucchini this big?

the fairly good zuke!

the fairly good zuke!

THIRTEEN INCHES OF DELICIOUSNESS!

It was just the perfect size for stuffing … So I got some garlic, onion, red bell pepper, some chicken sausage (if you’re a veggie, you can leave this out or opt for rice instead – I will try that next time.)  I grilled up the sausage and set that aside, halved the zucchini & scooped out the insides, then put a little oil in the pan and browned up some diced onion & garlic, added in the zucchini innards, then added in the bell pepper, added back in the sausage & cooked for a few more minutes.

Meanwhile, I dunked the halved zucchini hallows into a boiling pot of water to get them a little softer than just raw.  I poured some marinara sauce in the bottom of a cooking dish, then placed the zucchini halves in there, and stuffed them with my mixture.  Then, I topped mine with mozzarella cheese & parmesan cheese, (skipped that on The Husband’s zuke,) and baked them for about 30 minutes or so.  Voila!  Easy peasy din din.

The World's Biggest Stuffed Zucchini!

The World’s Biggest Stuffed Zucchini!

Then, today I made little caprese bites – they were so good!  Look how cute they are:

Everything came from my garden, except the mozzarella ... and the toothpicks :)

Everything came from my garden, except the mozzarella … and the toothpicks 🙂

These little delicious cherry poppers are the only tomatoes the pests have not destroyed.  I am in a battle & I will prevail!  I could have eaten every last one of these, but I was nice and shared them with my Fairly Good Father In Law 🙂

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Where does the time go? And how does my fairly good garden grow?

I cannot believe it’s been over 30 days since my last blog entry! That’s simply unacceptable. It’s a good thing I’m not getting paid to do this 🙂

Seriously, June was a busy month, (and that’s a good thing!) I started working again … freelance & from home for the most part.  I make my own hours and can still make certain that my family is the NUMBER ONE priority. So far, it’s been really great, very lucrative & exciting.  The Husband is super supportive & that is really the secret to my success.

Why did I get a job?  Because I have home improvement projects that I want to get done & I don’t want to put a burden on our household finances.  Next up: A fence between us and the neighbors to the east.  Fences make good neighbors.  I hope they get on the ball with us & get this accomplished before the end of summer.  I’ve already had 2 conversations with this guy & he strikes me as a “Guy’s Guy.”  Translation: He doesn’t want to discuss fences with the Fairly Good Mother.  He wants to talk fences with The MAN of the HOUSE. ~Insert EyeRoll Here~

So, I’m busy & making money for fences and gardens and drapes and entertainment centers … but at what cost?  No cost to the family – they’re good, well fed with delicious organic treats from my garden, but you know something’s got to give.  Well then, what suffers? Writing. Blogging. Cooking. I’m seeking to find that balance. It took me a minute to work back in the exercise, but that is a necessary thing!  I can’t deal with myself if I’m feeling bloated and creaky.  Pilates is my savior.  I love it.  And thankfully, it feels like July will be less hectic and so I’m glad that I have a chance to catch up.

When you last saw my fledgling little fairly good garden, it looked like this:

the fairly good garden

the fairly good garden

Here’s what it looked like just 3 weeks ago when I fully intended to write a blog post updating you as to the condition of this garden:

the fairly good garden | June 2013

the fairly good garden | June 2013

Seriously – that was taken ONE MONTH after I planted the dang thing!  I’ve reaped the LARGEST zucchini I have ever seen from this beautiful bountiful garden.  I’ve eaten the sweetest strawberries, I’ve made pesto with my basil, I’ve made salad with my salad mix … and I just clipped off a brand spankin’ ruby red Habanero Chili and I cultivated a little baby artichoke, but I feel like it was the runt of the ‘choke family & so it did not get eaten.

prolly should have cut this guy when it looked like this, but I wanted to see if it would get bigger ... (that's what she said.)

prolly should have cut this guy when it looked like this, but I wanted to see if it would get bigger … (that’s what she said.)

and these weren't even the largest of the zucchinis!

and these weren’t even the largest of the zucchinis!

gardening is fun!

gardening is fun!

Things that are not going so well in the garden (*PLEASE, Tips, Tricks & Suggestions are ENCOURAGED!)

  • I have a Very Hungry Caterpillar roaming around the garden … Or perhaps there are two.  I’ve met two of them and moved them to another area of the yard.  They have wreaked havoc though!  I used something that was non-toxic, all organic & totally safe – it was literally like pepper and $h!t or something … I cannot remember the name. It was a powder and I used it all in two applications.
  • HOLY Zucchini & Squash Leaves, People!  I know for sure that Adam & Eve must have used these leaves as primitive undergarments.  These are the LARGEST Freaking Leaves I’ve ever seen!  And they’re prickly as f^ck.  Seriously, get your damn gloves on before you go trimming them up!  They crowd all the other veggies in my garden.  I trimmed about 20% of the leaves back with no clear repercussions.  Still got a massive zuke off that thing.
  • Cilantro is gone.  It took off when the temperatures soared here last month & I’m sad because I was planning on making a kick-ass salsa with my tomatillos, tomatoes, chili peppers & cilantro.  It went to flower, I cut it back (probably stupidly.) and 1 out of 2 of my plants is straight up dead.
  • Arugula went to seed.  Also a victim of the 100+ temps here & I read that I should stop watering it and let the seed pods dry out then cultivate them for next season.  Sound right?
  • Basil is stunted & I don’t know why.  I snap off the tops when it starts to flower.  Again, I think that the heat + the Very Hungry Caterpillar has something to do with it.
  • The strawberries aren’t producing as much as I thought.  Same with my cucumber plant.
  • I think I over-planted … Oops!  Live and Learn.

So there you have it, my dear friends … That’s what’s happening right now.  I will snap more pics.  I’m waiting for my tomatoes.  Patiently.  And the only one I saw had a nice little caterpillar hole in the bottom which made me want to put on my magnifying glasses & go on a Caterpillar hunt!

Oh, one last thing … what was for dinner tonight?  Well, I have to share because it was so good … Another awesome find from Oh She Glows!  Veggie Spring Rolls (vegan-dish.) It was light, it was easy & it was so delicious!  I licked the last of the peanut sauce off the blades of my food processor & no, I’m not joking.  My dear friend had made this during her visit in April & I have been meaning to make it ever since then.  So good.  And perfect for not wanting to cook in 100 degree weather.  And yes, I used my basil … but no, sadly, I had to purchase the cilantro.

The Fairly Good Garden ~ Update!

I’m having a blast watching my garden grow … Like Miss Mary Quite Contrary.

Garden 11 days after planting

Garden 11 days after planting

I’ve even already harvested my arugula & made my spring arugula & bacon pasta dish.  Only this time I made it with lemon pepper paparedelle pasta from Trader’s & MAN, was it the most PERFECT pasta to go with the flavors of this dish!!  Summer Pasta with Arugula & Bacon | The Fairly Good Mother

Artichoke! | The Fairly Good Mother And, I see a little bud on one of my artichoke plants!  That makes my mouth water.

We’ve already picked and eaten some of the strawberries & they were decadent!  The Boy is loving our garden.  Tristan & Loran Variety Strawberries | The Fairly Good Mother

The Fairly Good Garden

 

the fairly good garden

the fairly good garden

Since we moved into the new house almost a year ago, I have wanted an organic veggie & fruit garden bed.  I considered raised beds, and looked at a lot of different options.  I fired our original landscaper, and our new guy is fabulous!  He’s more expensive, but worth it because our front yard is easily the prettiest one on the street!

Well, that’s because of both of us … I take a vested interest in our landscaping & don’t just rely on the hired help!

So I told Mr. Landscaper my desire for an organic garden & asked him about raised beds … he said he could do much better than that, we could section off a portion of where the lantana was growing, dig down deep, get rid of all the dirt & fill it with organic soil and make a barrier around it- a beautiful border.  So I said ok.  They did that & I went to a local nursery where I found the certified organic, non-gmo veggies that I wanted to plant & I spent Friday, Saturday & part of Sunday and Monday planting away!

the magickal garden

the fairly good garden

I was a little enthusiastic about how many items I could fit into this section of my garden, so I had to resort to some pots!  No worries!  I wanted to do that anyway 🙂

Here’s what is planted in my garden:
Tomatoes (4 different varieties)
Tomatillos
Artichokes
Habanero Peppers
Serrano Chili Peppers
Red Peppers
Black Beauty Squash (zuccini)
Yellow Crook Neck Squash
Pole Beans (aka green beans)
Strawberries (Loran & Tristan variety)
Salad mix
Arugula
Herbs: Basil, Cilantro, Sage, Parsley, Rue & Rosemary