Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The last week or two has seen a lot of vegetables on my table, partly because the summer garden is finally producing.

On Monday, we roasted some beets, boiled some green beans, and sliced some cucumbers and tomatoes, and set them on the table in separate bowls to combine and dress with oil, vinegar, mayonaise and mustard, and experiment with different flavors. I was surprised to find that my favorite was green beans and sliced beets with oil and vinegar, although any of them with oil and salt was delicious, too. The tomatoes are the first Juliet and Super Italian Paste tomatoes from the garden. By the end of the week or early next week we'll have our first heirlooms (Cherokee purple!).

Last night, Loris sauteed carrots in olive oil, which we ate with some REALLY strong cheese he picked up at the co-op. On the side, we had sliced cucumbers with oil, vinegar, and mustard, and tomatoes with basil, olive oil, and burrata. If you like fresh mozzarella, you have never had burrata, and you have a chance to buy some, do it! It's amazing stuff.

We'll only have one or two more dinners with carrots and beets from the garden, but pretty soon we'll be eating peppers and tomatoes, and soon after that we'll hopefully have zucchini and eggplant. And hopefully we keep getting cucumber and green beans.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Juliet tomato

I really like the Juliet variety tomato, even though it is a hybrid and not an heirloom, and even though I am not normally a big fan of cherry tomatoes. I first tried the Juliet variety two years ago in my first real summer garden, and I loved it, mostly because it is so versatile and prolific. The fruits actually look like pint-sized roma tomatoes.

As such, I used them for everything - snacking, slicing, in salads, cooked with fish, and most importantly, added to the romas for tomato sauce.

This year, I only planted one, and now I regret it. In the future, I thinkI'd like to plant several to supplement my sauce tomatoes, because really, this beauty produces so many tomatoes! It's such a great option for when the sauce tomatoes don't do that well. Or if, as in my case, I decided to only plant half as many sauce tomatoes as usual, and the heirlooms I planted instead (brandywines) aren't doing too fantastic just yet.

The only real problem with the Juliet is that I can't keep up with pruning it, and it takes over the garden. I gave up trying to prune and stake it, and instead I sunk another stake at the end of the row and I am wrapping twine around the two stakes, and trying to keep the plant tethered in the middle. I think that will be a reasonable way to grow them in the future - between two stakes.

Now I'm already looking forward to next year's garden.