Friday, July 18, 2014

Monstrous Zucchini

In case you missed the last post, we have produce!  I was excited about the zucchini last week, namely in that they existed.  Then when they were slightly neglected for a couple days I was even more excited to figure out that the ones I had been picking previously were just babies in comparison to how they can get!

The cilantro is going crazy, so despite harvesting it and some onion you can't even tell.  The learning lesson of the week was that basil needs to be harvested before it flowers (we're not too late, it's okay) and that you actually trim it down so there are only a couple leaves remaining.  Those leaves will then be the new growth.  So if you notice that the basil looks quite sad right now, take heart in those little green leaves starting to sprout out.  They will recover and there will be even more.

Happy veggie face
The unruly squash 

 Look at those tomatoes go, and this was a week ago

The rest of the garden.  The A-frame is where our little friend below was found

Meet our first baby pumpkin

As there is getting to be more produce there has also been more exploration into what to do with these things.  I mean, who can use an entire grocery bag full of basil.  Even with distributing it around town there is lots left over (which means you really ought to come on out and grab some yourself, and tell all of your friends).   So, for some fun storing and cooking ideas:

Basil cubes:

Olive oil

Place basil in a food processor with a bit of olive oil (I just drizzled it on top).  Blend until pureed.  Add water as needed and continue to blend until it forms a paste.  Place this in an ice cube tray and put into the freezer.  When well frozen place the basil cubes in a plastic bag for storage.  These can then be used any time in sauces (spaghetti, whatever), soups, dips, etc.

Zucchini pasta
Diced zucchini
Spaghetti sauce
Green onion
Basil cube (see above, or fresh if available)
Olive oil

Use all of the above to taste.

Place olive oil in large pan over high heat.  When hot add zucchini, green onion, spinach and basil.  Cook until softened, stirring nearly constantly.  Add spaghetti sauce and heat until warm.  Serve.

Veggie egg scramble
Any veggies you have including but not limited to:
yellow, red, orange or green pepper
2-3 eggs
olive oil (or other cooking oil)
salt and pepper to taste

Put a dallop of oil in frying pan with high heat.  When hot add vegetables.  Cook until softened.  If somewhat watery (as from tomato juices) drain.  Add eggs and continue to cook over med-high heat stirring often until egg is cooked through.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Okay okay, I admit the recipes are quite similar.  No actual amounts, essentially stir-frying the veggies and then adding something else.  What can I say, it's easy, delicious and healthy.  You can also try the standard stir-frying of your veggies of choice, then adding some hot peppers, salsa, and even some mexican spices for a more southern taste.

Alright, are you convinced to come check it out yet?  Or want to help?  Here's what you could do:

- Pull weeds or grass from around plants or edges of the cardboard
- Continue to guide the squashes and pumpkins up the trellises and away from other plants
- Tether up the tomato plants again
- Fertilize
- Gather produce!  Take it home, distribute it, eat healthy
- Bring your kids to show them everything growing.  Bring them again, and again to keep watching the process
- Keep an eye out for bulletin boards around town.  Let us know where you see them and we'll make sure a peds patch ad gets put up
- Help deliver produce to organizations around town including The Banquet and Lutheran Social Services
- If you know of other organizations that would accept produce and help distributing it let us know and we will make arrangements with them
- Tell your friends.  We are still working very hard to get the word out and spread interest.

As always feel free to come by any time.  If you want company just let us know and we'll do our best to meet you out there.  If you see some tasks you would like to take on, but have questions about or need equipment (twine, fertilizer, whatever) again just let us know of your interest and we'll hook you up and show you how.  If you have other ideas on how to make the garden a success please share, we are always looking to improve.

Contact us any time you need by commenting here or e-mail at

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Herbs and onion, ready for the taking

The first bits and pieces are ready to be harvested.  There is basil coming in steadily, as well as cilantro and onions.  There are some lemon-y herbs, chamomile and some sugar-substitute (apparently the leaves are really sweet) which only need a week or so to get themselves better established, but then leaves can be plucked from them as well.  The squash plants are coming along nicely and some are actually getting big but I haven't seen any actual squash yet.  The cucumbers (by the trellis in the northeast corner) are still needing some babying but I think they'll come back.

Things to do:
- Weed.  This will be the big task for the immediate time being.  Anything that looks like grass can go, and anything that looks like it shouldn't be there.  If you have questions, ask.  I'd be happy to go over it with you, meet you out there, whatever.
- Water.  Every now and then when we start to have less rain this will be a bigger task.  There are drip hoses set up, but some spots still need to be sprayed with the hose.
- Weedwack.  We even have a weedwacker, just need someone willing to operate it.  We really just need to get around the perimeter to keep the grass under control and the place looking nice.
 - Harvest herbs. As mentioned above, some of these are ready.  They will continue to get big, so we need to be careful not to take too much, but some can certainly be taken.  If you have suggestions of what to do with them please share!  I'm thinking pesto and drying them, but don't really know what else.

As always, feel free to comment on the website or e-mail if you have questions or want to set up a time to meet with others.  Tell your friends, neighbors, or anyone else who may be interested about the garden and just stop by some time to check it out.  I'll be there Saturday at 11 as well.




 French Tarragon


The sweet plant.  :)  I think you eat the leaves like sugar. 

German chamomile 

 Lemon!  It smells amazing.

 Unidentifiable squash.  It's a mystery....

 Onion.  Yum.  Come and get it.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

How the garden grows

 This year's layout.  Row 1 is the one on the left of the picture, and row 6 on the right.

Unknown squash.  It is fungus-y, but as you can see it is still growing.

 Basil!  Pesto, here we come.

 The tomatoes are getting so big.  There is even a blossom on one.

 A row of peppers.  I think they are red, or orange or some other color.

Another type of squash.  We may need to wait a while to figure out what kind.  Butternut, summer squash, or zucchini. . . . .

There's just a couple of eggplants.

 Lots of onions.

Baby pumpkins.  Hard to believe how big they will be in a few weeks.

Let the 2014 Season Begin

Welcome back!

So lot's has happened, without updates.  For those who may be wondering, the very quick synopsis of last year would be that the garden made a ton of produce with the majority donated to Lutheran Social Services and the Ronald McDonald House.  This year our goal is to get greater community involvement and establish relationships with The Banquet and other organizations that can distribute the excess to families who may not otherwise have much access to fresh veggies, and to try to get some kids involved.

 To fill in the most important and exciting things, the garden is getting started for the year.  Most everything is planted and things are coming up.  It is fairly different design from last year with rows the length of the garden.  There are 6 rows, and I will refer to them by number with 1 being the northern-most and 6 the southern (closest to the house).  We are using a weed fabric and cardboard boxes to help keep down on the invasive grass and weeds.  I am happy to say that it has all stayed organic.  Don't be surprised, however, when you get there and there are cardboard boxes along all of the aisles.  This is to keep that darn grass under control.  They may get a bit fragile when wet, but are fairly hardy when dry.  The rocks are there to keep them from blowing around, but should you notice some escapees please feel free to put them back and weigh them down again.

With all the rain this season we have had a return of the squash-y fungus.  It has infected all of the various squashes, pumpkin and cucumber thus far.  We treated it once, and will again shortly and are happy to announce that it is still growing well and seems to be improving so I am optimistic we can get a hold on it.  All of this rain is great to keep down on the watering that needs to be done, but those darn squash are not happy about it, as I suspect that is why this fungus has started.

The tomatoes are thriving, they are happy to have been out there for several days now.  The peppers too are getting themselves established.  There are lots of both!  There are some herbs coming up on the southern-most row, with a bunch of basil, cilantro and some that are as of yet unidentified.

There are some carrots popping up their little heads along the edge of rows 2 and 3 (next to the aisle) however it does seem as though some of those were washed away.

The to-do's for the week (and things that you are welcome to help with should you stop by):
- Pulling grass from in any of the rows, particularly near the carrots on the edges of rows 2 and 3
- Uncovering the herbs in row 6 should the mulch wash into the holes where plants are
- Pulling large weeds along the perimeter, both in and out of the fence, and putting them in the tupperware
- As tomato plants get taller we will be weaving twine between them for support

We will be making a point of having someone there Saturday morning around 11 should you prefer to work with others or under some direction.  Please feel free to contact us through comments here, our e-mail at or via our facebook page under Sioux Falls Neighborhood Garden.