Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sharing Garden Pictures: First Fruits 2011

Strawberries are so super easy to grow; just be sure to give them plenty of room because they spread a lot every summer.  That is chocolate mint in the picture as well.  I decided to let it run like a weed in our herb bed and I have not regretted it.  This chocolate mint seems both the sweetest and tastiest of the mints, and it also seems happier and more lush in my garden than regular peppermint or spearmint.

Speaking of strawberries by the way, I have recently discovered how easy it is to make chocolate covered strawberries, and this has been our favorite sweet treat this spring.  To make them, I just empty a cup or so of semi-sweet chocolate chips (not Nestle!) into a glass measuring cup and melt them in the microwave.  On my microwave, this takes 3 30 second cycles (stir between each 30 second nuking).  Then you just dip the berries in he smooth melted chocolate and set them on wax paper.  Stick them in the refrigerator to chill; it really only takes a few minutes for the chocolate to harden.  Share them with someone you love, and enjoy!  Strawberries are loaded with healthy goodness, and dark chocolate has antioxidants and bromine and other good stuff for your I consider these to be a health food and we enjoy them often without guilt!

These blueberries are of the Emerald variety.  We bought four varieties of blueberries in the fall, and this variety has the largest berries.  I wonder how long they will take to turn blue!

Husky Cherry Tomatoes.  I know some folks in more northern latitudes may feel amazed to see our tomatoes fruiting already, but please realize that it gets so hot here that our plants peter out (at 10 feet tall, sometimes) usually in late July, and then we will have no fresh tomatoes until late September or so, if we plant a second crop. It looks like this year I might succeed in having lettuce and tomatoes to harvest together.  This is hard to do here as it is quickly too hot for the lettuce, which bolts to seed.  Last year they almost missed each other- tomatoes seem to take a while to ripen and as the first tomatoes were ripening on the plants, the lettuce was starting to bolt.  I think we got one big salad for a party, and then the lettuce was done just as the tomatoes got started.  This year I planted some lettuce later than usual, chose an all-season mix, and knock on wood, we should have a few weeks of lettuce and tomatoes harvested together for salads.

These are a variety of Passionflower that do not fruit, unfortunately.  But the flowers are amazing and the vines seem happy and want to run rampant in this hot and humid climate.

I hope to make time for a fun sewing post soon.  Until then, Happy Growing!