Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Love for my garden

Hey hey! If you haven’t checked out all of the amazing links at the Before and After Party, you are missing out! And don’t forget you can still link up your own till next Monday.

Come on, join in. You know you want to. ;)

I am SO excited about my garden and had to share how it’s coming along! This is hands down one of the most fun, rewarding things I’ve ever done. Delightful, really. Our daily morning routine all summer has been to take Peanut out and then go through our garden to see what’s growing. Love it!

I showed you the basil (and some fabulous recipes) here. It’s growing so fast I can’t keep up with it! The tops of the plant are flowering, which I know can make the basil taste bitter, but I haven’t noticed a difference. I have been pinching off the flowers to try to avoid that.

We also got quite a few yummy strawberries, and a handful of blueberries off one plant as well. The other blueberry plant didn’t produce anything this year. But when we went to our local berry farm a few weeks ago, I got high hopes for my little bitty bushes. One will produce a TON of blueberries once it matures – can’t wait!

For weeks I was able to just step out to our backyard to grab fresh, crisp lettuce for salads. I mean, seriously. How cool is that? Those have since died off, but they were good while they lasted!

I planted two watermelon plants back in May and one of them didn’t make it right off the bat. The other was just pitiful, so I figured it wasn’t going to make it either.

But looky here:

watermelon

Aren’t they just the cutest things you’ve EVER seen? They are perfect miniature watermelon. ;)

Anyone know how to tell when they are ready to harvest? Do you just gauge by size?

I think I’m most excited about my tomatoes and cucumbers though. Many of you warned that the cucumbers would go out of control and they have, but not as bad as I thought they would. I planned on making a trellis but never got to it, and the garden is still doing great! Every once and a while I will move a vine that is creeping somewhere it shouldn’t, but otherwise they haven’t been a problem.

I planted three cucumber plants and I am in HEAVEN!!:

cucumbers

They are everywhere! Last week I started finding ripe cucumbers, and every day since it’s been fun to dig around and see how many more we can find.

They like to hide, and every time I find a new one I think I squeal a little. ;) Just today when I was taking pictures I found another one that was ready:

I have been eating fresh, cool cucumber every day this week. Oh my goodness, I. love. them! I just slice them up and dip them in a bit of ranch dressing.

I planted a regular tomato plant and a cherry tomato plant as well:

cherry tomatoes

I’ve grabbed about ten cherry tomatoes so far, and they are scrumptious!:

There’s a TON that will be ripe any day, so I’m hoping I’ll have enough to cook with. It seems like there are at least 100 growing right now, seriously.

The tomatoes are rocking my world though – my first one was HUGE – I’m guessing at least 14 inches around:

image

And there are so many more, I can’t even count them all – at least 30. On one plant.

Yes, I am the tomato whisperer. :)

tomatoes

Here’s how far we’ve come in less than two months – from my cutie little newbie garden:

garden early

To my overflowing garden:

midsummer garden

It looks a hot mess, I know. But it’s freakin’ awesome. :) (And I so wish the grass was doing as well as the plants!)

The Bub pulled a green tomato off by accident the other day, so I’m hoping to try my hand at fried green tomatoes:

green tomato

I hear it’s pretty easy, yes?

When my first (HUGE) tomato was ready, I knew just what I had to do – one of my favorites!

I LOVE Caprese salad. It’s so easy to make:

caprese salad ingredients

You’ll need a tomato (duh), soft mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper, olive oil, basil leaves (which I forgot to put in the picture! ack!) and I use a touch of red wine vinegar – I like the kick it adds. :)

If you want a really beautiful salad, you can use cherry tomatoes and the mozzarella that comes in tiny balls (usually in a container).

If you’re preparing this for entertaining, the large slices will be beautiful as well:

Just arrange them around a plate like so:

pretty caprese salad

Source for this picture is here because it is waaaay prettier than my awful night time photos. ;)

You’ll just drizzle the oil (don’t be shy about it) and a bit of vinegar, then a bit of salt and pepper.

But since I was making mine for a little night time snack, it’s not as pretty – just GOOD:

caprese salad

If you love cheese and tomatoes – you will LOVE THIS. Promise. :) It’s fresh and light and I can’t get enough of it.

Got a favorite tomato recipe? Do share! I’m also on the lookout for a cucumber salad recipe – I’ve seen one that has creamy dressing that looks divine. I’ll let you know if I try it!

I’m also dying to try making pickles from the cucumbers – anyone tried this? Is it difficult?

If you are hesitating about growing your own garden next year, please don’t be intimidated by it! All I did was plant it all, fertilize once, and then water every so often. Everything is in full sun, so that has helped I’m sure. Otherwise it’s been very low maintenance.

The reward for that bit of work is SO worth it. :)

You can see more about how the garden started here.

113 comments:

  1. Now I want to start a garden!! How neat to eat what you grew! :) I just fear that my two little pugs will pee on the garden... I will have to think of a good barrier :)

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  2. Looks so good! I can't wait for my garden to grow. Our garden beds came from our old deck. Come see.

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  3. I love it! I planted a veggie garden for the first time ever this spring too. And I found my first cucumber today! I did wish someone would have told me that the cucumber plant would take over the world! Seriously it has wrapped itself around my tomatoes and peppers! Oy. Enjoy your fresh veggies, isn't it the best feeling in the world!?

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  4. Ok I am was totally intimidated! But after reading this I'm thinking I might be able to pull this off!
    BTW those watermelons couldn't be any cuter!

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  5. Nice crop! I'm jealous. I didn't replant our veggies this year after the landscaper tore up our yard. But, I saved a spot for next year ;-)

    Brittany

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  6. I love this....the food must taste so much better when frown from your garden!! The caprese looks incredible.

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  7. Your garden looks great! I'm a big fan of caprese salad, too. Fried green tomatoes really are easy. I actually just posted a how-to on my blog: http://yesyoucangohomeagain.blogspot.com/

    Enjoy!

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  8. Isn't it crazy how out of control a garden can look? Mine was all tiny plants, neatly spaced. Now they're all overlapping and crazy. My tomatoes have finally exploded...just waiting for them to ripen!!

    Kim over at Newlywoodwards made pickles last summer and had a great post on it!!

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  9. I love it all! oh, how I wish I started a vegetable garden!!

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  10. Totally want to start my own garden now. Maybe next year! Your salad looks deish! :)

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  11. Officially inspired and starving!!!
    :-)

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  12. Supposedly this is when you know a watermelon is ready: there is a little curly cue on the part of the watermelon that's connected to the plant. When it turns brown it's ready to be eaten!

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  13. Go you! that's fantastic! I love my vege patch so much. My tomatoes are going gang-busters too! Pickled cucumbers is super easy and they last for ages - definitely give it a try if (when) you get sick of eating cucumber salad.

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  14. I am so jealous! I have always wanted to grow my own watermelon! They are so cute and little!!

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  15. I love it that you are enjoying the bounty from your garden! That is awesome. I love grilled cheese, bacon, and tomato sandwiches. And for the cucumber...I love cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese and tomato slices.

    And my daughter who is allergic to onions and garlic can't eat store bought pickles, so she made some the other day with other herbs and seasonings and she said they were easy and wonderful. You should give it a try.

    Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

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  16. Your garden looks amazing!! You are truly a tomato whisperer :)

    Hubby and I just had a caprese salad with dinner tonight. Have you tried it with balsamic vinegar? Oh yum!!

    I just blogged about my tomatoes the other day. Isn't it funny how satisfying growing your food is?!

    http://www.frillydetails.com/2011/07/helloooo-tomatoes.html

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  17. Here is a really yummy salad that uses both cucumbers and tomatoes: slice cucumbers and dice tomatoes (as many as you like), crumble on a bunch of feta cheese, drizzle with Kraft Greek Feta & Oregano dressing - so yummy and so easy!!

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  18. as for the watermelon, go by size. just becareful of the mice. they love to chew on them. love seeing pics of your garden i just did a post on my garden too:) the kiddo's and i live in our garden...and yes, it is so rewarding!

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  19. I don't like tomatoes but my mouth was watering over the mozzarella!!

    Di

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  20. I've been scared that it would be a ton of work, but you make it seem so easy. I'd love to see more posts about your garden. You must have a crazy green thumb. Are you doing a fall garden?

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  21. I totally have you beat for cute watermelons. Lookie here! http://www.flickr.com/photos/brendajos/5935077889/ They are getting bigger now... about the size of small apples. :-)

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  22. Have you ever tried little cucumber sandwiches? Spread a little cream cheese on wheat or multi-grain crackers. Sprinkle with a little dill week and add a big fat cucumber slice. You can top it with a tomato slice too. That was my lunch from my garden today. :)

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  23. I loved how when I started gardening I was excited like you are! I wasn't planning on the additional benefit of appreciating how God takes a tiny seed, lets us be stewards of it, and turns something so small into something so bountiful. A beautiful metaphor for the potential he plants in us!

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  24. What an awesome looking little garden! (I can say little because it's teeeeny tiny compared to our 40x40 mammoth. ;-)
    Pickles are super easy. If you're making bread and butter, I suggest Alton Brown's recipe (on foodnetwork - AB's B&B's is what it's named).
    We make enough pickles to last a year - which has become quite a lot in the past few years because my kids like to eat them as a snack!

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  25. LOL to the fact you want to make pickles as one of the other bloggies I follow JUST posted about this! Here is the link! http://www.hunterandkristenlunsford.blogspot.com/

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  26. It looks wonderful! I love the crazy growth that gardens put on in the middle of summer. I've got a trellis buried under vines somewhere in my garden! For the watermelons- they are ripe when the tendril nearest the melon turns brown.

    Also try this with your cukes and cherry tomatoes-- sliced cuke and sliced cherry tomatoes with a little olive oil, salt and pepper-- quick and tasty little salad!

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  27. and the best thing about growing your own is you KNOW there are NO pestisides or chemicals used in growing it!! -thats tru healthy eating !

    GO backyard garden!!!

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  28. If you want a super-easy, super-yummy pickle recipe that you don't have to can email me. My grandma's refrigerator pickles are the BOMB!
    heather underscore tvedt at hotmail dot com

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  29. Fresh tomatoes from the garden taste insane. Divine. I love how they smell, even. LOVE.

    Do you like salmon? My very, very favorite salmon recipe EVAH is this one: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/grilled-salmon-with-sherry-vinegar-honey-glaze-and-spicy-tomato-relish-recipe2/index.html

    The tomato relish is to die for.

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  30. I'm so happy for you and the great garden! But I have to admit I am crushed! I planted one too and while it has gone crazy out of control as well, the veggies (tomatoes and cucumbers) are teeny tiny and growing slow and the eggplant and zucchini are blossoming, but NO veggies. We had little jalepenos too, but they are growing agonizingly slow. We made raised beds this year with expensive soil and water regularly (because we haven't had much rain besides a brief hurricane-like episode this Monday. I wonder if we are doing something wrong...

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  31. So awesome! This post made me so envious! I went out to my garden this afternoon to check on my tomatoes and they were ALL GONE! Not a single tomato on 16 plants! Deer or raccoon must have gotten to them. Your tomatoes are gorgeous as are the cucumbers! I love your enthusiasm! Vegetable gardens are the best!!

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  32. Yum! Sounds good! this is my FAVORITE tomato recipe, it's so light, quick, and easy.
    http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/garlicky-broiled-salmon-tomatoes-00000000006891/index.html

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  33. you are NOT alone on the caprese salads... I too love them and can't wait until my tomatoes catch up to my basil!!! I put kalamata olives in mine chopped or sliced as well as balsamic vinegar instead of red wine.. it's YUMMO!!!!I've also made a caprese with plain fun cooked noodles and just used the vinegar for the "sauce." When i do this, i use extra tomatoes and it's just wonderful!!! Enjoy your beautiful garden, it's awesome!!!

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  34. Ah yes, you've been bitten by the bug. I got bit at 19. You can pop on over to my blog to see where the bug bite leads after 16 years. Here's a link to some pics from last week: http://rindymae.blogspot.com/2011/07/alstroemeria-is-blooming.html
    Maybe just a tad bit of an obsession. Maybe.
    Here's a super duper easy recipe to use up some of those cucs. It's grandma's, so keep it top secret, 'kay?

    CUCUMBER CHIPS

    Peel and slice cucumbers very thin.
    Put in a bowl and pour in
    1/4 C vinegar, 1/4 C sugar, and enough water to cover.

    Keep in the fridge until you're prepared to consume a little piece of heaven.

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  35. Make sure when you make your fried green tomatoes to use a cornmeal coating rather than a flour coating. It will hold up much better to the moisture from the tomato. Also, you will want to fry in a high heat oil (peanut or even canola would work well) because you will want the coating to fry up quickly without ruining the tomato. Can't wait to see how yours turn out! :)

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  36. Love caprese salad. It's also great with balsamic vinegar instead of red wine. It's the reason why I grow tomatoes and basil. Great blog. Love all the fab projects!

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  37. mmm caprese salad is my favorite light snack too! My secret is smearing a little bit of pesto sauce onto each piece of mozzarella, it'll give you a whole new take on caprese, I promise!
    Bisous,
    Rachel
    http://lovealamode.wordpress.com

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  38. If you like cherry tomatoes, you should try Sun golds. They are so sweet and delicious that I pop them off the vine and eat them like candy.

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  39. Sarah I'm with you! I keep calling myself "the old granny" because I am IN LOVE with my garden! It was so much work when I was putting it in, and several times, I freaked, going "I've spent this much time AND money on this! What if I don't want to work on it and let it go to weeds??"

    But I love it like my 5th child. Serious.

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  40. Congratulations on an awesome garden! I'm just trying to keep the small tree in my den from dying, so I'm jealous...and inspired : ) Anyway, we just had this delicious cucumber salad at a recent potluck and everyone loved it. It's from our good friend, Martha.

    http://www.marthastewart.com:80/317461/cucumber-salad-with-sour-cream-and-dill

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  41. Caprese Salad is my favorite!! Your garden IS awesome!! Wow what kind of plant food are you using?

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

    Do come and enter my new Giveaway, a painting!

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  42. I miss having a garden... living in an apartment sucks big time. I love garden tomatoes with cottage cheese and some salt and pepper..so good!

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  43. Your watermelon is ready when the white spot (on the bottom) turns yellowish. Good Luck

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  44. It's so rewarding to grow your own garden! That salad looks yum!!

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  45. WOW you garden is doing fab. And the tomatos wow that is crazy how mcuh you have on it. You adding plant foods? Our garden is not doing so hot. And we planted a huge garden. We lost our squarsh weeks ago also my green beans. But my tomoto plants are huge. The ones that I planted first have yet to produce tomotaos yet. Its driving me nuts...lol My topsy turvy have got some off it. My bell peppers are finally producing. Its just been slow. I think its been due to here in Texas we are having beyond hot temps and lack of rain. Its very dry here. Our ground is cracking in some places. I have to water alot in the garden. But good to see someone else having better luck. Looks great.

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  46. If a raised garden is created in an area that is not convenient to utilizing ones home downspout, the same effect can be achieved by using a water hose. If this becomes the method of choice, be sure to control the water flow. It is better to allow the water to SLOWLY fill the base of your raised bed vegetable garden and then turn the water off prior to flooding the bed.

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  47. What a great vegetable garden!!
    And how cute are these watermelons?? I just had their bigger brother for lunch. Yumm! ;)
    xoxo,
    Vanessa

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  48. Yum! This looks awesome... if only my tomatoes would turn red already!

    Stopping by from SITS and am a new follower!

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  49. put your green tomatoes in a cardboard box and layers news papers on top and the green tomatoes should ripen.

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  50. I make this pickle recipe all the time and they are easy and so yummy = http://allrecipes.com/recipe/summertime-sweet-pickles/detail.aspx

    Don't be turned off by the fact that they are sweet pickles - I'm not a sweet pickle gal but the cider vinegar is just so good. They're not preserved or anything but you'll want to eat them all right away anyway and you can just keep adding cucumbers into the brine for awhile.

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  51. LOVE garden tomatoes!! I hope you've been having some "tamater" sandwiches too! YUM. Now I need to find some friends who did gardens this year and get some!!

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  52. I'm linking over from SITS.... and am happy to have found your site. I loved your interview and look forward to reading regularly!

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  53. Those watermelon are so cute! Great pictures!

    Stopping by from SITS! :-)

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  54. What a beautiful big tomato! I can't wait for my first ripe tomato of the year!

    I LOVE your blog. I'm so glad I found it this morning. :)

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  55. Oh yum! Who would have thought that tomatoes could look so beautiful!? I am sitting here with my coffee and instead of hoping for a cinnamon roll I am thinking that tomato looks pretty good right now! LOL

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  56. Stopping by from SITS, love the mini watermelons... they kinda look like cherry tomato sized watermelons, who knew there was such a thing?!

    Make it a great day!

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  57. AHH!! Caprese salad is my freaking FAVORITE summer food! I've already eaten more than my fair share this season--but I don't plan on letting that stop me :) Your garden looks fabulous...thanks for sharing!

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  58. My daughter is growing a garden for the first time this year and your excitement sounds just like hers. She is just thrilled at what she is getting from her garden!!

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  59. Caprese Salad is our absolute FAVORITE! We use balsamic vinegar though and I have a deep love for a specail oil & vinegar store in Charlottesville, va the sells 25yr aged Balsamic. It. Is. Amazing.

    I'm inspired to try lettuce next year thanks to you!

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  60. Isn't getting your own produce so much fun? (And yes, hard work). I tripled the size of my garden this year and realize that I am way too lazy to care for one that big, so it's a total hot mess but I just dig around all the weeds to find my treasures. We are talking I planted 25 cuke plants, same with tom and squash. I need to get my act together now and freeze some of this for the winter when produce prices are really high. Loved seeing your cute watermelons. :)

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  61. You guys are ahead of us, growing wise. I look forward to some harvesting, too. And those watermelon are cute. Coming from SITS.

    LisaDay

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  62. Your garden is looking GREAT! Three cheers for you! I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping that all the naughty vermin don't get my produce. We're a few weeks behind you....I'm still waiting for that first cucumber. :) It's worth the wait!

    What kind of watermelons did you grow?

    Pickles are easy to make but it'll take some trial and error sessions to find a recipe you love. There are lots of fun and tasty recipes out there that aren't hard. I use something called Pickle Crisp (along with icing the cucumbers for a long time) to make crisp pickles. Otherwise they end up rather soft. It just depends on what you like! (are you interested in water bath canning?)

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  63. Awesome garden! We planted our first this season and so far so good! Stopping by from SITS, off to read more of your wonderful blog :)

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  64. Here is the pickle recipe that we use at our house. It's been in the family for years and no one knows where it came from. These are refrigerator pickles--not for canning.

    6 cucumbers, sliced, 1 cup onion, chopped, 1 cup red or green pepper chopped. Put above ingredients in a large jar with a lid and cover with, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup salt, 1 T each mustard seed and celery seed.

    Let the mixture sit over night. Occasionally turn the jar to mix the flavors. The cukes will release their liquid. The taste is light and crisp! I have also used a large bowl--plastic not stainless.

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  65. My parents didn't have a garden when I was growing up, so now that I have one, I get just as excited as you! Here is the pickle recipe I used. My hubby has never liked pickles but LOVES these.

    http://wearealreadythere.blogspot.com/2009/09/day-in-life-day-6.html

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  66. Stopping in from SITS and what a BEAUTIFUL blog you have here! Love Caprese salad; haven't had one in ages, but it's the perfect summer food. And the pictures of your garden are delightful. I can't wait until I move out of my apartment and into a house so I grow my own veggies, too :)

    Hope you are enjoying your summer!

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  67. Yum! I love, love, LOVE caprese salad! I like to drizzle balsamic glaze over it as well. Yummy!

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  68. We are growing watermelon this year also.. I just picked 17 of them this morning. You can tell a watermelon is ready when the tendril across from the vine has dried up and is brown. The watermelon will also turn yellow on the underside and then knocking on it to hear a hollow sound. Hope this is helpful...good luck!
    Dawn C.

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  69. I'm jealous! I am still an apartment dweller so no garden for me. Thank goodness for the farmers market!!! I love making fresh tomato sauce, so I can't wait to have a garden of my own... or a really nice neighbor with a garden. ;)

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  71. I love your garden. Listen, my garden is a hot mess too. My Butternut Squash has a mind of its own, but it is worth it! Keep gardening. :)

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  72. Oh my goodness -- you make me want to redo my garden. My fave's were always the cherry tomatoes. Love the ideas here too. Blessings.

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  73. I'm jealous of your little garden! It's been so hot and dry here that no matter how much I water, my plants and flowers are just not doing well.

    If you love tomatoes, you will love a panzanella salad.

    Cut sourdough bread into bite sized cubes. You want about 3 cups of bread cubes. Drizzle them with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a 350 degree oven til just barely golden brown. Let cool.

    In your salad bowl, chop up tomatoes, red onion and cucumbers. Just before serving, dump in the bread cubes and add your favorite olive oil vinaigrette. Toss and serve.

    It's one of our favorite Summer salads and particularly good with a steak.

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  74. LOVE Caprese salad! I've been known to just take tomatoes, olive oil and a little s&p, mix it in a bowl and eat. Use bread (especially crusty Artisan bread) to soak up the oil at the end! Mmm...Fresh tomatoes are the BEST!

    Hubs vetoed my idea to grow a garden this year...I will have to live vicariously through you & yours. :)

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  75. Congratulations on your day in the SITS sun! It's wonderful to visit with those who were one the first original SITStas.
    Your garden is lovely.
    Growing fresh vegies is one of my favorite things about summer. I start planning, deep in the cold of winter, what I will plant come spring.

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  76. Beautiful pictures! Your garden looks delicious!

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  77. sooo cute: ) congrats on a successful garden!!! :) YAY!

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  78. Here is a very easy recipe for a cucumber salad. Enjoy!
    Cucumber Noodle Salad

    2 7 oz boxes of small ring macaroni, cooked
    1 cup celery, chopped
    1 cup onion, chopped
    2 cups cucumber, leave on peel and slice real thin or dice

    Dressing:
    1 ½ cups Miracle Whip
    ½ cup vinegar
    1 ½ cups sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    ¼ teaspoon pepper
    ½ teaspoon nutmeg, optional

    Pour dressing over salad and refrigerate overnight.

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  79. I am so inspired by your hard work! We have problems with voles, deer, bunnies and the like and I just haven't been willing to put the work in and not have produce - but the raised bed idea is growing on me. And maybe I could start with something easy like containers on our back porch. Thank you for sharing. xoxo michele

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  80. Wow! I am SOOOO jealous! My cucumber plant was doing really well then bugs or something took over. Boo! :( I had lots of little ones starting too. I ended up pulling that out yesterday. Here's to next year. I also have 3 tomatoes growing. Can't wait for them to turn red....:0

    Good job!

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  81. Great little garden! You can get so much out of a little space. I love to garden. Last year I grew cucumbers and make refridgerator bread and butter pickles. SO EASY to make! You'll be feeling like a Domestic Goddess if you don't already! With the weird weather in CA this year, my garden is not so advanced as yours. I just posted my garden pics yesterday. Happy SITS Day! Your blog is beautiful!

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  82. Hey Sarah! Your garden looks amazing!! I was a little too late to start my garden this year, but, after seeing yours, I'm totally doing it next year!! Thanks for the inspiration. Also, if you find that you're running out of time to eat your veggies before they spoil, you can always make a veggie smoothie. Here's the recipe I recently posted:
    http://www.freestylinbeth.com/2011/06/green-smoothie.html
    Check it out if you have a free minute!

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  83. Mmmm, I love caprese salad too! Super easy cucumber "salad" that I use a dip.

    Diced cucumber
    Cottage cheese
    Tobasco sauce to taste

    Sounds bizarred, but is soooo yummy on crackers!

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  84. Try this: Thinly slice cucumbers (I don't even peel them). Mix a few small spoonfuls of mayo in a bowl with the dry ranch dressing mix-for the ratio I usually try to make it look pasty, not to much mayo. Then add the cucumbers and some snipped chives and stir and refrigerate. This is ready in an hour or so, and you'll need to stir again before serving since the cucumbers give off water and will dilute the pasty mayo/ranch mixture (which is why I said easy on the mayo). Delicious!

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  85. Oh, thanks for the reminder - I need to go water my tomatoes right now! This summer heat is sucking them dry, but my four plants are already a foot taller than the tomato cage! We don't have enough bees around here, so I plant four to get much of any tomatoes, but I've got a couple that are starting to change color at last!

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  86. Your garden goodies look delicious! I have a brown thumb and gave up gardening years ago.

    Just stopped by from SITS to say Hello! Hope you find time to do the same.

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  87. It looks like you have quite a wonderful garden! I planted a couple upside down tomato plants this year. The kids love to pick off the ripe ones for me. I might have to do more next year!
    Happy "second" SITS day!

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  88. Hey there! Here from SITS! I'm always amazed at the awesome blogs out there that I didn't even know existed... like yours!

    Your garden looks great. Cucumbers always grow like crazy! Ours are always out of control and our raised bed gardens look just like yours!

    Hope you're having a great day. I'd love to have you stop by The Southern Institute when you get a chance and say hello. I'll be following your blog now.

    Blessings!
    Jenny

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  89. You are getting a lot of veggies out of that little garden! I live in Italy and just wanted to let you know that we don't put vinegar on a caprese salad, at least not in my neck of the woods.

    Stopped by from SITS!

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  90. We LOVE fresh garden tomatoes in our house too! I never thought of making a Caprese salad, though I LOVE them!

    One of our favorite things to do with our tomatoes is make big huge BLTs! ME OH MY! Summertime is never complete with out a yummy BLT!

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  91. Happy 2nd SITS day! Your tomatoes are gorgeous. I wish mine had grown half as well.

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  92. Wow, love the garden!! I have 2 tomato plants that have done really well so far, I am also trying my hand at broccoli this year but I have no idea where it goes from here(just stocks and leaves, no 'tree' part yet ;)

    Stopping by from SITS! I love your decorating ideas and your thoughts on blogging, stay happy and love your blog, it will love you back! Congrats!

    have an amazing day!

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  93. Just found you via SITS. So glad I did! I came over for the home design gig but was captivated by your garden. I had a very, very, very, VERY bad experience with over-ambitious mint that tried to take over my garden one fateful summer. But maybe...just maybe...I will try again.

    Maybe.

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  94. I agree - gardening is the best! I have had really good success with bread and butter pickles. They are easier then regular pickles but with a good reward. I like it because it uses the regular sized veggies as opposed to many small sized for regular pickes. Enjoy your bounty!

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  95. Yum! You're making me drool! The last time I planted tomatoes, two years ago, we had three plants, and they were growing beautifully! And then when they were about half-grown, my two-year-old went out and threw every. single. one. of the green tomatoes down the window well. And that was my last gardening venture. Will try again next year, now that my backyard remodel is done!

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  96. My fave salad is chopped tomato, chopped cucumber, chunks of avocado and a squeeze of lime.
    When you mix it all together the avo and lime make a sort of dressing which is aweome!

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  97. Thanks for the reminder that gardening is rewarding; I'm in a funk right now and think only of the work. With my basil & parsley, I keep some cropped for tasty herbs & let the rest flower to use in flower vases inside.

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  98. Hi! Coming over for a visit from your feature post on SITS :-)

    As a full-blooded, born and grown Italian, a love for vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh mozzarella is probably in my DNA - which is why I too, love caprese salad. I usually make it the traditional way, with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, but sometimes in winter, when I don't have fresh basil, I mix a bit of pesto with balsamic vinegar and drizzle that over the sliced tomatoes and mozzarella - soooo good.

    Your garden is lovely! I am completely lacking anything remotely resembling a green thumb, but that looks really encouraging! And I do love fresh, pesticide-free produce :-)

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  99. I am so happy to know that I am not the only one who squeals when discovering a ripe "something" in the garden! I halved a bowl full of cherry maters from the garden last night and tossed in three string cheese sticks, cut into rings, some fresh basil, S and P, Balsamic and Olive Oil...so yummy!

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  100. caprese salad? ah, my absolute summer favorite! looks wonderful and must taste wonderful too. Sure wish i could drop by for a bite of that garden fresh tomato :) diane @ home sweet homemade

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  101. To your garden grow is such a bliss. I planted cucumbers and a lot of flowers a month back and since then the first thing i do in the morning is to have a look at my plants.
    Your tomatoes are huge, indeed :) Lucky you! Having a garden of your own must have cut down on your grocery shopping ;)

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  102. There's nothing better than cooking with fresh ingredients straight from the garden! Your salad looks absolutely delicious!

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  103. Wow! You're garden has really came a long ways since you planted it. The cucumbers and tomatoes look great. Nothing tastes better than a fresh cucumber and tomato out of the garden. Good Going!!!

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  104. I've made lots of {dill} pickles. I've tried several recipes and as it turns out, the ones my family likes the best are made with the dill pickle mix you can buy at Walmart. It makes it pretty easy. Just can them and you're good to go!

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  105. Your garden is amazing! Congrats on all the goodies that it is producing. I am very inspired. I love your excitement over it also, it's contagious!!
    Have a beautiful day!

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  106. The watermelon is ready when the underside is yellow (not white, not green), which indicates it has been sitting on the ground ripening for a longer time. It should feel heavy for it's size. I'm a former Watermelon Queen - ask me anything about watermelons :).

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  107. OMG those little baby watermelons are so darn cute! I can't wait until I have the space to grow a garden...it's beautiful :)

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  108. Add me some (more) good reasons to creating a garden in my backyard!

    Some tips about home accessories, visit and give comment too!
    http://blog.myrealart.com

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  109. WOW...your garden is rockin' compared to mine!! It's been so hot here nothing is wanting to produce...everything is flowering and growing, but nothing wants to set on. As for when your watermelon is ready and size, it will depend on the type of watermelon. We planted sweet crimson, and they'll get to be the size of a soccer ball. They are ready to pick when the little "pig tails" fall off, which you'll see as they get bigger. I love it when they first start growing, they are so cute!!

    A good cucumber salad that is quick and easy is: slice up cucumber in a bowl, pour in some ranch, and then some milk to thin it up a bit (you'll want enough of that mixture to cover the cucumbers and then some). Then add in minced onion, salt & pepper (to taste), and bacon bits. Stir it all together and enjoy!

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  110. I hate to be a pain but I just saw my picture of the caprese salad on pinterest and realized that someone has been using it on their blog without my permission and without giving me credit. The photo is from For the Love of Cooking.net

    The link is here: http://fortheloveofcooking-recipes.blogspot.com/2008/05/caprese-salad.html

    Thank you! Cheers.

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  111. Love it! I have never tried to make pickles before, but I sure love me a Caprese Salad!;) Yours looks delish!

    My Tomato plants aren't doing all that well. I have 3 and only one looks promising. Our dog keeps taking the ripe ones off the vine, putting a hole in the tomato and then leaving it on the lawn. What the...?!

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  112. You have a really nice garden! I just love the pictures you posted! The melons look really cute... hope they grow up and become big! The tomatoes look very healthy and I just love that they don;t look like the ones from the store!Keep up the good work

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  113. Wow!Your tomatoes are amazing! The color and its size is really perfect. I love the salad too. Congratulations on your harvest.

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