It's that time of year again... when ginormous cucumbers seem to be the norm and the kids walk around gnawing on raw zucchini as a mid-day snack.

Last year, we put in a drip system and converted our large side yard full of dead grass into a garden.  In it's second year, our garden is thriving and we're drowning in vegetables, literally.  If I had to drown, this would definitely be the way to do it.


In addition to last year's space, this year we added an expanded corn and pumpkin patch on the other side of the house, as well as strawberries and raspberries that border all along the fence.

The kids sure are being great sports about all the vegetables, especially when I serve them boiled beets and corn on the cob for a snack.  When they are hungry I tell them to just go out in the garden and find some cherry tomatoes or peas to snack on.  Luke and Charlie have become very skilled at cutting lettuce for an impromptu salad.  I have discovered that kids will eat almost anything if they feel like they had a part in growing it.

The real challenge has been consuming everything we grow.  Of course we give some away, but I hate wasting it! To give you an idea of what I'm up against, pictured below is the amount of a typical daily harvest: yellow wax beans, green beans, corn, beets, various types of tomatoes, sugar snap peas, eggplant, and of course, zucchini.  This picture does not include the spinach, green leaf and red leaf lettuces, chards, basil, thyme, parsley and mint that is always available to pick when I need it. It really is an extension of my pantry and I save a significant amount of money each summer since I don't have to go to the grocery store as much.

Here are some links to my favorite recipes using what I grow in my garden:

Eggplant Parmesan 
Zucchini Parmesan
Vegetable Soup
Eggplant Panini with Pesto (my kids even eat these)
Caprese Salad
Pumpkin Bread
Tomato Basil Pasta
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Curried Chicken and Rice Soup
Shish Kebabs with Grilled Vegetables

Other tips for using everything you can't preserve -

Add Zucchini and Spinach to EVERYTHING.
Grilled or Boiled Corn with loads of butter and salt make a delicious snack.
Make pesto from the basil and freeze it.
Turn the salad into a whole meal by adding a protein to it. i.e., chicken salad.
Throw everything in a pan and sautee it in olive oil.  Sprinkle it with mozzarella cheese.

One last tip for using up your garden's harvest is to encourage your family to move down the street from you. My fantastic sister-in-law, Trine (pronounced TREEN-UH or as Erik likes to call her, LA TRINE), lives just 5 houses away, and she always seem willing to help us in this "trial" during the summer.

Happy Gardening!


  1. Just love Ameila's picture!!

  2. Can I come eat some of your fresh veggies? Our garden turned out the best it's ever been, but still nowhere near as impressive as yours!

  3. Love seeing Trine! and you of course...and your garden makes me so happy :) the baked zucchini fingers have become a hotly requested item around here... sweat 'em with salt first for 30min and eliminate the sogginess. Go Veggies!!



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