Well I’ve gotten a lot of use out of my garden this summer, and it seems to be continuing. I think until at least October I’ll have some more veggies, and the herbs will last until the weather gets too cold. Which makes me sad, because even though autumn is my favorite time of year, and Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday, I have to say summer is awesome. The mere idea that there will be no more beach days for another 8-10 months makes me really, really sad. And the thought that winter (& my archnemesis- snow) is right around that corner makes me even sadder. Winter is a long time, and it feels longer thanks to the never-ending blizzards that usually hit the East Coast. But that’s life, right? It goes in cycles, and you have to take the good with the bad, the rain with the rainbow, etc. All those other platitudes & cliches. But at any rate there’s plenty to look forward to and plenty to keep me busy until next spring & summer rolls around.
Before I get to my garden though… I wanna talk about something. Every year I mention this and this year is no different. As a matter of fact, The Great American Dine-Out is as old as this blog is, which means this is it’s third year. The Great American Dine-Out is an event that stretches over the course of a few days every year. Hundreds and thousands of restaurants all across the country participate, and simply by eating at (or having take out) from one of these restaurants during a certain week in September, you can help to end childhood hunger in America.
Every 6 seconds in this world, an infant dies of starvation. That’s terrible, and it shouldn’t be that way. As a matter of fact, in the time it took me to write this blog post, something like 50+ babies died because they didn’t have food to eat. However, in struggling countries with poor education, poor resources, and poor medical care, it might not be as much of a shock to you. But how about this statistic: in America, for 1 in 6 Americans, hunger is a way of life. Many children, seniors even adults who can’t make ends meet go days without meals. In this country especially, one of the richest in the world, there is no excuse. Right here on our own soil, babies are going hungry.
Every week on this blog I talk about and make delicious recipes, and show pictures of beautiful food, and for example today I’ll be posting pictures of gorgeous fresh vegetables from my garden, etc. And to think that there are something like 50 million Americans who aren’t eating dinner tonight, or maybe haven’t had anything all day to eat, it makes me very sad.
According to Feeding America:
Hunger Statistics on Food Insecurity and Very Low Food Security
- In 2008, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 32.4 million adults and 16.7 million children.
In 2008, 14.6% percent of households (17.1 million households) were food insecure, an increase from 11.1 percent (13.0 million households) in 2007.
In 2008, 5.7 percent of households (6.7 million households) experienced very low food security, an increase from 4.1 percent in 2007.
In 2008, households with children reported food insecurity at almost double the rate for those without children, 21.0 percent compared to 11.3 percent.
In 2008, households that were more likely to experience food insecurity were households with children (21.0 percent), households with children headed by single women (37.2 percent) or single men (27.6 percent), households with incomes below the poverty line (42.2 percent), Black non-Hispanic households (25.7 percent) and Hispanic households (26.9 percent).
In 2008, 8.1 percent of households with seniors (2.3 million households) were food insecure
How can we help? Easy.
Go to the website and find a participating restaurant. Then, during the week of September 19 – 25, eat dinner at one of those restaurants. Or, if you’re a restaurant owner, go to the website and enroll your restaurant. No donations, no checks, no nothing. It’s that easy. Seriously. Just by eating out, you can help. Although, if you’re feeling generous, you can also make a donation. We can stop this, and then move to ending worldwide hunger. We can and we should. For more info, you can follow them on Twitter at @Dine_Out and go to the Share Our Strength Facebook page. And if you want to help out with ending world hunger, take a look at the One.org website, or click the banner on the top left of this page.
Now, I’m off my soapbox. Let’s get back to our regular programming. The first thing I harvested and used was my Cubanelle pepper. It grew two beautiful peppers which promptly were cut down and went into homemade fajitas. Mmm. After I cut these two down, I noticed a bunch of new buds, and as we speak there are two new peppers growing, and more on the way. All from one teeny little plant!
I have a bunch of sweet red peppers growing as we speak, speaking of peppers. These first two pictures were about a week/week and a half apart. I’m still undecided what to do with these. I’m thinking of using them when I make pickles next time (real pickles, not the 24-hour ones I made before), just putting one in each jar as an added flavor. There are 5 fully grown ones, and there are about 6 or 7 buds.
And here’s the bell pepper. It’s starting to change color a bit. Sadly, the other pepper that was growing on this plant was lost in a bad storm. This plant is the only one that stayed very small, and compact. My tomatoes went crazy and took over!
Here’s my cucumber! It finally grew! The pictures are all a day apart, except the last one which is obviously the cucumber after it was done growing (and right before it became pickles). This dude totally snuck up on me. So long I went without seeing any signs of cukes and then bam! Here he was. Then right after he started, a bunch of others came out of nowehere. Two whole garden posts and no cucumbers… then all of a sudden they decide to join the party. Nice of them to come around… I heard the pickles were great. Muahahahaha! If you’re interested in the pickle recipe I used, it’s here. Keep in mind, this is ONE pickle’s progress… since then I’ve harvested two more and there are crazy amounts of cukes left on the vine still growing. I cut this one off a bit early, because the best kind of cucumbers to use when making pickles are ones with little to no seeds, meaning “younger.” The darker they are and the more mature seeds they have, the worse they are for pickling.
Cucumbers always look dirty & obscene, don’t they? Haha.
And remember this guy? My patio tomato. This first picture is the last one you saw of him, from my last garden post. The next few are his progress since then, and the final picture is him, in my hand, totally perfect and gorgeous… and about to be sliced and eaten fresh with salt & pepper. Keep in mind, this is a little tomato, not a regular sized one!
That little tomato (and his buddy that was harvested two days later) was super delicious. Thankfully, there are 4 or 5 more just like him on his vine, plus more buds.
My eggplant FINALLY decided to join the party too! After losing two previous buds to wind/rain, I got a few that started and stuck with me. Then we had another torrential rainstorm, and I was terrified I’d lose them, but they were still here. I kind of forgot about him for a while… so the first picture and the second one are kinda far apart, I can’t remember how long. The third is about four or five days after the second, the fourth is a few days after that and the fifth picture is a close up of one of the other 4 eggplant blossoms also growing on the same vine. Four eggplants, maybe more. Not bad for one little plant in a pot, eh?
I’m really pleased with all of my veggies! And it just goes to show you, you don’t need a large plot of land dedicated to a big garden to grow your own vegetables. For every single one of these, I used big pots to grow them in. And they did just fine, in fact, they thrived. Although I admit, after reading this blog I sort of love the idea of living on a farm. Imagine having your own eggs, your own milk, your own everything- right at your front door? No pesticides, no chemicals, no antibiotics, no unnatural hormones, etc. It really is amazing. I’m in no way downplaying the amount of work that goes into being a farmer, not at all. I just think that the pros (and rewards) must out-weigh the cons. Would I be able to slaughter a chicken? Probably not. I’m a puss-cake, I admit. However a vegetable/herb farm or one with cows for fresh milk sounds heavenly. I know, I must sound like Marie Antoinette with her “Le Petit Trianon “; a self-proclaimed city girl wanting to traipse around in the mud and muck & live a “simpler life.” But it’s true. That’s very appealing to me. Although if I didn’t live within a certain distance from a big museum, shopping area or restaurants, I’d probably lose my mind. However after seeing Food, Inc I’m even more against chemically processed food than before. I’d love to have my own sustainable farm and never have to depend on any company for the majority of my nutrition ever again.
Next year I think I’ll expand to some more things; I’ll continue with the tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, peppers, etc. But I’ll also try some new things. I don’t know what yet, but I’m excited to have something to look forward to and prepare for. I’d like to get more than one of each next time… have a whole row of each. I’d also like to expand my herbs. Get some thyme, etc. And try catnip again, since mine didn’t fare well. Who knows. Maybe by then I’ll build a coop and get some chickens. Haha. Kidding.
I was very excited about my tomatoes! They were amazing. Here are the Celebrity tomatoes (each picture a day apart):
And Big Boy:
There will most likely be another update before the cold weather fully sets in. I can’t wait to make homemade eggplant parmigiana with my own eggplants and use my tomatoes for the sauce. I cut down my rosemary and used it to season a roast chicken last week and I plan on making rosemary lavender olive oil hand scrub with whatever is left once the weather gets cool. I’ve been cutting down the parsley and basil and lavender religiously and drying them for use over the winter, and I have plans for the chives this week (I’m thinking a re-do of these might be in order). Depending on how many more tomatoes I get before the cold weather, I might make some sauce to store up or I might give them away. I know one of my eggplants is already taken (Jay’s mom) and a cucumber as well, so I’m sure the tomatoes will be in demand. The fresh flavor of a vegetable cut right off the vine and eaten is amazing. You can’t get that unless you grow it yourself, or walk next door to someone who does.
Before you go… remember there are 10 days left to enter the Cupcake Rehab 3rd birthday giveaway.