Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Garden Bounty

This blog focuses on what grows in my garden so it isn't often that you get to see how I use some of my garden goodies. Today I thought I would share a couple of ways we use garden goodies. If you would like to see more ways we use the garden produce, please visit my cooking blog.

garden saladSummer Garden Salad

We eat some type of salad almost daily year round so really look forward to fresh, home grown salad greens and vegetables. I usually grow a total of 8 square feet of salad greens. This year I only put in 4 square feet because of the new beds and trying to maximize what I could grow until the additional beds go in this fall. With the below average temperatures this summer the lettuces have been abundant! We are enjoying Grand Rapid leaf lettuce, mesclun mix and Chinese mustard.

This colourful salad was made just as the tomatoes started ripening. It included the first ripe Lemon Boy tomato, red tomato (farm market), red onion, nasturtium, basil and mint with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese. A couple of days later I was picking the first of the cherry tomatoes and yesterday picked three nice size Heinz 1439 tomatoes so the days of buying tomatoes are over until well after first frost. When frost threatens I'll strip the vines of any green tomatoes and allow those to ripen indoors so we will have a rather steady supply of tomatoes for quite some time.

Creole Sauce & Salsa

In addition to fresh eating I preserve as much as I can from the garden. Pictured are two of the tomato based products I made last year (more here). I make a lot of tomato based products, approximately 25 different products which means I don't grow all the tomatoes I use. Those tomatoes that I don't grow are grown by a relative in a cash crop operation. I usually go through 10 hampers of these tomatoes each fall. However, my home grown tomatoes especially the cherry tomatoes find their way into canning jars.

Hot and sweet peppers are made into jellies and used in a variety of sauces. They are also froze and dried for later use. Fresh herbs are used into a variety of sauces, used in flavoured vinegars, made into jellies and dried. Beans are canned by themselves or in soups. So the garden provides a fair amount of food for later use as well.

I'm still planting in the garden which helps to maintain a continuous supply of fresh produce until first frost. This is one aspect of using the square foot gardening method that I really like. My neighbours' vegetable gardens are planted in traditional row fashion. As the rows are harvested they are left empty which makes no sense to me. In my vegetable beds the squares are replanted as soon as they are harvested so even though the growing space is smaller my yields are considerably higher.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


  1. I'm impressed! Do you work full time? I have summers off, but I'm back to work now. I don't seem to find the time to can any more. I did when I was in my twenties. I try to get tomatoes chopped up and frozen in plastic bags. I also freeze chopped peppers and onions.

    Your salad is pretty. I love growing a variety of kinds of lettuce. My best crop is early spring, but I like to try a fall crop as well.

  2. Hi Sue, this is basically a life style for us. I've canned ever since being a newlywed :) I'm currently enjoying life at home for the time being but was out of the home for several years when the kids were younger. Putting up food from the garden is just the way we've always done it regardless of what was going on in our lives. I put up about 1,200 jars each year and would still do that even if I were working full time. I also do a lot of freezing which works well too.

    Thanks for the compliment on the salad. This year the crop is lasting longer because it has been so cool here. Unless the weather breaks it is going to be a bumper year for fall lettuce as well.


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