Friday, June 15, 2012

My Kitchen Garden Wish List

I still haven't been blogging or blog hopping very much lately and I miss it! I have been using some 'me time' to read and play around on twitter and Instagram, but it doesn't have the same level of engagement as blogging. I know I keep saying this, but I hope to catch up with all of you very soon. In the meantime, please tell me what's new and what's been keeping YOU busy lately?

My plan was to have a post up last month last week this week about my newly established, finished vegetable garden but alas, I'm still not finished! ArGh! I'm easily two months behind schedule, but that's okay. At least I'm finally getting somewhere with it and I will be growing things in there very soon. Hopefully I'll be able to harvest tomatoes before the fall frost. Ha ha I'm kidding. It shouldn't be that late. ; )

I'm going to save a lot of my thoughts and ideas about establishing a new vegetable garden for its own post when my garden is finished and I can post before, after and in between photos. In the meantime, I'll talk about my kitchen garden wish list. I'm not going to be able to plant all of my wish list this year and maybe not even ever if I don't have the space, but I've been thinking about what I'd like to grow. In the years that I had a vegetable garden [in the space which our four year old home addition now occupies], I learned a lot about what I can and can't grow easily, if it's worth it to grown my own of certain items, and so on. I've also been thinking lately about what we like to eat in my family that we do not get often enough in our organic co-op. Why work hard to grow stuff I already get from local farmers. Better to focus my efforts on the things I want more of for my family. Makes sense, right?

My kitchen garden wish list:
sugar snap peas
beets [ever since I discovered how lovely raw beets are in salad!]
herbs [especially basil and cilantro]
tomatoes [heirlooms]
zucchini [for baby squash with blossoms attached]

I already have a rhubarb plant in a pot that I bought years ago and never planted in a permanent spot. It's truly amazing the plant is still alive. I can't wait to see how it responds when I finally plant it in a happy spot. I also have some perennial herbs growing in various places in my landscaping that I'd like to replant into the new kitchen garden area so everything is more accessible. I have mint, chocolate mint, oregano, chives, garlic chives [also called Chinese chives, I think], thyme and the tiniest potted French tarragon plant that really needs its own spot in the soil to thrive.

Asparagus takes a lot of space and time to get established and you need a lot to provide a respectable harvest for a family of five, so I don't know if it's practical for a small garden. Same goes for strawberries. I tried blueberry bushes many years ago, but it was a major battle with the birds for a small handful of berries. It just so happens that deer and rabbits like to eat the tender branches in the winter and one year they pruned my little bushes down to the ground. That didn't turn out so well. Perhaps raspberry bushes are less appealing to them and I can give them a try.

What edibles are on your kitchen garden wish list?

In other vegetable news, the local growing season is taking off around here and it shows in my latest co-op box:
Organic goodness in yesterday's co-op box
Look at all those greens! Two HUGE bunches of Red Russian kale, garlic scapes**, two bunches of arugula, red leaf lettuce, broccoli and dill. We also got Yukon gold potatoes and from CA-- oranges, carrots, and nectarines; a tomato, bananas and NJ blueberries!

**garlic scapes are the flowering stalk tops of hardneck garlic plants. They are cut off during the growing period just before this 'flower' starts to develop into seeds or tiny bulbs. This helps force the plant to put its energy into growing plump garlic bulb in the soil.

In what ways would you eat and or cook this organic goodness? I'm especially looking for inspiration with the arugula and garlic scapes.

The weather this weekend is going to be divine here in my neighborhood and I've got lots of healthy plans on my calendar: A 35 mile bike ride Saturday morning, a visit to a local farmer's market right after with my cycling partner, juicing some of these glorious vegetables at another friend's house later and then finishing up my new kitchen garden the rest of the weekend. I'll be sure to squeeze in some time with the family, watch a bit of Euro 2012 football and probably a midday nap in there somewhere, too! (I love those)... ^_^

What are some of your plans this weekend? Whatever you're up to... hope it's fabulous. xo

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Weekend Cooking, a weekly blog event hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food related post to share--a food related book review (fiction or nonfiction), cookbook review, movie review, a recipe, random thoughts, gadgets, food quotations, photographs, etc. Please visit Beth's blog for more information and join the fun! 

Note: your post does not have to be posted on the weekend, but do visit Beth's blog over the weekend to link up your post. 


  1. For the arugula I have these 2 recipes saved: Chicken and Prosciutto Salad with Arugula and Asiago ( and Arugula salad with Cara Cara oranges, Pecorino and Shrimp ( For garlic scapes I have this quick pasta with garlic scapes saved ( and this pesto (
    I can't wait to hear what you make.

  2. Supposed to be 107 here on Saturday. I'm escaping to a Sushi restaurant and the movies!

  3. Linda :: Those recipes look fabulous--especially the salads! I think I may even have a few thin slices of prosciutto in my freezer. I am considering experimenting with the arugula and garlic scapes in a pesto together. Maybe even tonight! Thanks for the inspiration! :)

    Samantha :: 107 degrees? Oh boy. Sushi and the movies sounds just about right for tomorrow, then. What are you thinking of seeing?

  4. *struck dump by the blueberries*

    The good thing about vegetable gardens is the flexibility in planting...all the best! And it's good to have 'me' time. I had plans to be online this week, but the temperatures have been so low I haven't gone into the office to turn the computer on :(

    Oh, and beets = beetroot, yes? We call it the latter here. I have an old family recipe for bottling it in vinegar - YUM! But then I love vinegar :) My mother was never a fan, but I was like a bee to honey when she was bottling. I'd 'hover' over the pan and inhale :)

  5. I adore scapes! I have tons and tons. Cook with them, eat them raw, pickle them.

    Don't forget to eat those beet greens! Roasted beets are just the most wonderful thing.

  6. Blueberry pancakes would be on my Father's Day brunch menu for sure.

  7. I have been spending more and more time screwing around on Twitter too! Do you play the hash tag game? LOL! It is a lot of fun. I also follow this guy who pretends to be Prince Charles - he's hysterical!

    I am impressed by the gardening!! :D

  8. orannia.. We LOVE blueberries in my house. I'm so excited the local season is NOW. I hope to go blueberry picking at our local farm this coming week. :)

    So it's pretty cold in NZ already? Keep warm by reading some steamy books. ;)

    Yes, beetroot. We just call them beets, but yes, same thing. That's so sweet that you have such comforting memories of pickling beets with your mom. :) I have never had pickled beets! I roast them or steam them and have an Indian recipe for beets with mustard seeds that I like. But this winter I discovered eating raw beets in my salad and I LOVE IT! I julienne them into small matchsticks.

    Beth F ... How do you have tons and tons of garlic scapes? Are you growing garlic in your garden?

    We didn't get beets in our share this week, but when we do I most certainly eat the greens! I usually eat them first because they're surprisingly delicate! We get whole beets often in our co-op and I used to just think they were just okay, but I've grown to really love them in the last year or so.

    Carole.. Thanks, you have a great week, too! :)

    (Diane) bookchickdi ... Bingo! We had blueberry pancakes and bacon for breakfast today. The bacon was a special treat. Uncured Apple Smoked Bacon from Trader Joe's. I highly recommend it.

    Libby ... Do we follow each other on twitter? I'll check. I do use and or follow hash tags now and then. So fun!

    Ha! Re: Prince Charles pretender. Heck, I follow the Bronx Zoo Cobra and of course, Voldemort. People are so clever.

    The other week I spent SO much time following TWO hash tags. #BEA12 and #ALC11. The latter was for the Aids Life Cycle Ride in California--2000+ cyclists riding 545 miles from San Francisco to LA in 7 days. My online friend Samantha was participating and I followed her along and got so inspired (I'm weekend cyclist myself), I ended up following other riders, too. Complete strangers! But I was so inspired by their athleticism and amazing spirit. It was very addictive.

    Of course I also follow #weekendcooking. I'm also participating in a photo-a-day challenge for June and am posting on instagram and twitter using #photoadayJune.

    Gotta love social media!!!

  9. Looks so yummy! and that's awesome about the garden. I agree that you should focus on stuff you can't get or stuff you know if you grow yourself, will be better than the Coop!

    I've been watching Masterchef Australia and their produces look so fresh and all. Beets are something I'm going to eat more. Need to try it with goat cheese :P

  10. I have never tried beets raw. It is on my must do list now! Nice post Christine, makes me hungry!

  11. One of these days I will live in a house (right now I'm in an apartment) with a little garden plot. I'd love to be able to grow my own tomatoes and lettuce greens!

    Your co-op bounty looks delicious!

  12. I haven't planted our garden this year, instead we have a few containers. I hope to plant again next year. Ooh, we love blueberries. Daughter eats them frozen as a chilly snack in the Summer and they're great in smoothies and I make a blueberry cobbler that Daughter drools over. *g* Never thought of having beets in our salad. May have to try that.
    Best wishes for a wonderful weekend and following week!

  13. I have vague intentions of getting some raised garden beds put in so that I can grow some vegies. Not sure why seeing as I keep on killing everything that I attempt to grow in pots.

  14. I keep meaning to email my sister and mom to see if they're interested in splitting a CSA box with me! I love the idea but just don't think I could eat it all in our household.

    If I had a garden I'd love to have squash, zucchini, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and some berries. And herbs--parsley, basil, rosemary, and cilantro. We have beds made and had every intention of planting last spring but were afraid of another terrible summer. Now that it's been "mild" we're kicking ourselves.

  15. I have always wanted to be able to grow peppers, but no luck. I do have asparagus and rhubarb and they do well, but the raspberries were a huge failure.

  16. Your beet (LOL!) recipes sound great! Let me know if you ever want to pickle them and I'll flip you the recipe :)


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