Monday, June 21, 2010

Garden Growth & Fish Firsts

Here's some photos of the garden over the last few weeks. It's grown a ton since we first got our plants in the ground a little over a month ago. The tomato plants are about four feet high, the cucumber vines are flowering and curling, and the peppers are starting to show themselves.

We've gotten a dozen or so yellow squash, some basil, a handful of sungold tomatoes, and a single cucumber in our first week of harvesting. The tomatoes have a few more weeks until they fully ripen, but the big guys (Cherokee Purple and Better Boy) have a few fruits on each plant. We're proud of how it's going so far!

Of course, a first vegetable garden for gardeners with limited experience has its moments of sadness as well. Three of our four yellow squash plants have completely died, even after giving us a few squash each. Our neighbor Sammy came over today as I was digging up the most recent plant. He showed me the shriveled stem and explained that the cause of death is vine borer worm, which wriggles its way into the stem and kills the plant in the process. Like a parasite, the only way to save the plant is risky surgery involving cutting a slit in the stem and pulling out the worm. Blech. Our last squash plant is in the opposite corner of the garden and is still growing strong. I'm worried about the cucumbers, which grow right next to the former yellow squash, but its too early to do exploratory vine borer surgery yet.

Despite the loss of these plants, the squash we've grown is the sweetest I've had. Our other neighbor, Charlie, recommended we harvest them while they're still small. I fried some slices up last night with basil and some salt and pepper, and they were sweet, crunchy, and delicious.

In other exciting foodie news, I joined a fish CSA with my friend Sara. We get weekly deliveries of 2-3 pounds of freshly caught fish and seafood, all cleaned up and delivered to Carrboro from Beaufort County NC via the Core Sound Seafood Community Supported Fishery. It's Sara's first venture back into eating fish after 14 years as a vegetarian, so we went all out our first week. We got a delivery of flounder and shrimp.

Thursday night Sara and I made Flounder Poached in Coconut, Ginger, and Basil Broth. It smelled incredible simmering on the stove and tasted like restaurant-worthy Thai food.

Friday night Erin and I cooked Stir-Fried Ginger Shrimp using a recipe from The Splendid Table. Easy and fresh and messy and tasty.

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