Kitchen Garden – Early August – and Recipe

5 Aug

The first tomato

My kitchen garden is small, and mostly healthy, but I think the final result will be a low yield this season and that’s okay. I’ve already enjoyed a couple of small tomatoes as well as rosemary, basil, lemon thyme and cilantro. There’s more to come, as you can see from the picture. Also, my Christmas cactus seems very comfortable among the herbs and veggies, so I expect amazing blooms from it around early December, when it usually blooms.

The first tomato, harvested and admired for a day, was added to sliced fresh mozzarella and a few leaves of fresh basil inside two slices of my favorite sandwich bread, buttered, for a quick and delicious panini. I use my panini pan, which has a heavy cover to press the sandwich together, aiding and abetting the delicious meltiness on the inside and crunchiness on the outside, but it works on a regular grill or frying pan with another heavy pan on top to compress the sandwich.

With this garden setup, I’ve gleaned some new insight about gardening by observing, reading, and talking to experienced gardeners. I’m fairly certain I’ve not fed the plants often enough. And I learned that cilantro likes a sandy soil, which I did not provide, and which I imagine is why it has steadily withered to just yellowish stalks with barely any leaves. See the photo below if you want to know what that looks like. Good lesson, and I was lucky enough to harvest cilantro very early in the season for use in a few terrific batches of homemade salsa and guacamole.

After years of battling with slugs, I’ve vowed (once again) never to attempt growing marigolds. Whether in the ground or in plant pots, my marigolds have always been decimated by slugs. I’ve put tiny little containers of beer out to help the slugs to get drunk and forget about the marigolds. I’ve added crushed egg shells to surround the base of the marigold plants, as I read that slugs would rather not travel over ground cover with sharp edges. We must grow super-powerful slugs in our yard (maybe it’s the beer!), as these deterrents have been unsuccessful after repeated applications. I know you can pour salt on a slug to kill it, but I just can’t do it. Like having a baby, though, I’ll probably forget about the pain of the slug battle with the passing of time and plant marigolds again in a couple of years…

Sad cilantro

Sad withered cilantro, in a pot with lazy basil

Happy August to you! Please share any gardening tips you may have, particularly with regard to slugs.

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