Last year we had the most amazing, fruitful, and food-filled summer. I think back to it so fondly and it seems like it was so far away, visiting cottages and spending time in Niagara with family. We spent time at Nana and Papa's garden picking blackberries, hot peppers, garlic and tomatoes, and snacking on meat from Papa's homemade smoker. We visited a little blueberry farm, and canned peaches and pears with my mom. Oh, and we made a million jars of jam which everyone got as Christmas gifts.
It was also the summer of our "food blog" which we started but couldn't keep up with. I admire everyone who has a food blog, the effort it takes to make food is enough, but to document it every step of the way?! We might try it again someday, but for now I have already got enough blogging projects on the go.
Soon I would like to have a blueberry bush of my own.
This summer has been awesome as well, in a different way. The heat is insane (and I miss the slightly less hot Canadian climate) but it's done wonders for our garden which is the best we have ever had. The cat loves coming outside onto the roof with us, her favourite place it this shady alcove near the kitchen window. She likes to chirp at the birds.
Take a peek at our garden just a few months ago in May, and you'll see that it has changed significantly. Our makeshift garden now looks pretty real. We shifted some things around to focus on some larger plants, and added two big plastic buckets (cheap, from Target) for them to set down real roots in.
We finished off our first batch of lettuces and spinach, and I recently planted a few new seeds of green leaf lettuce for a second crop. Gone are the bok choy which attracted a lot of little bugs (haven't had much of a bug problem anymore, and from the looks of it we have a lot of spiders). The coriander and dill is gone as well, we ate some, lost some to over-maturity, and made more room for our more important Thai basil and green onions. The catnip plant is drying in the kitchen (cat loves to chew on the dried leaves more than the fresh ones), and the carrots were stolen by some birds or squirrels.
Talking about our garden like this makes me feel like I know what I'm doing!
These little peppers which we thought were going to become full green peppers for a while, stayed small and turned yellow, then orange, then red. I picked all the red ones yesterday to make some chili coriander relish (and canned it!). There are still at least 30 little hot peppers on this plant.
And our tomato plant is amazing, what a difference it makes when you pay close attention to a few plants instead of the million we planted in the beginning. It's tree-like now almost, and we had to prop it up with sticks.
Look at this little baby! I tried counting them this morning but lost count at SIXTY! They are about the size of plums. We've tasted a few so far and they are a rich red colour and extremely flavourful compared to store bought tomatoes.
Our strawberry plant is growing like a weed, but as we learned they don't give much fruit in their first year. We got two tiny little strawberries from it, and they were delicious but I want more!!!
Here is the new crop of lettuce, planted from seed one week ago. Growing fast! I feel like everyone in Philadelphia should have a garden, the weather is so good for it.
So I can't really compare this summer to last, but I do wish we had the advantage of a car so we could visit the many farms in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. And summer is nice but I really can't wait for fall... cooler weather and some fruit canning (with the Italian market as my invaluable resource for affordable seconds).
Now that I think of it, I should post more about our food adventures right here.