This summer I decided to plant a bigger garden than last year. Previously, I had a pretty big herb garden, moderately successful peppers, and some failed tomatoes. This year, I still had failed tomatoes, but there were successful peppers (9 different kinds!), eggplants, yellow squash, zucchini, onions, and, the ugliest plant of all, broccoli.
My biggest successes were my peppers:
In fact, we got so many Thai Hot, Cayenne, and Medusa peppers this year, we had to start drying them for the winter.
I had a few other successes, too. My eggplants were excellent and quite beautiful, and my squashes were very tender.
I also had some failures. We planted about 30 onions and only got one, lone normal-sized one. Poor, sad, onion. At least he was tasty. These, while tiny and stunted, were very tender, at least:
I should stop trying to grow tomatoes. We never got more than a few at a time (these were cherry tomato sized, not big ones). I’m sure this is mostly my fault and not nature’s. I’m not the world’s best waterer. That said, I am barred from trying to grow Mr. Stripey tomatoes, as they do not grow at all. This is when we got at least a few on the other two types. This is the very last sugar tomato on the plant. It’s been green for a few weeks. I’m not too hopeful.
I had some weird, freakish monstrosities. Last summer, our broccoli did nothing, so we let the broccoli go all winter. This is what it looks like now. Weird plant.
I didn’t even know what to do with this thing. Do I cut it off and eat it, in hopes it hasn’t gotten too bitter, or do I let it grow free and encourage it to be all that it can be? I know no one wants to see my feet, but I wear a US size 9 women’s to compare.
These aren’t going to win any prizes, but it’s one heavy piece of produce! Unfortunately, it’s true: the smaller they are, the more tender they are. This was one tough mama. As much as I love dipping zucchs in hummus or dip, this called for a grill.
Extra virgin olive oil (to cover)
Thick cut vegetables for grilling
Dump the veggies in a sealable plastic bag. Pour olive oil over the veggies so it coats their surfaces, plus a little to pool at the bottom. Chop the herbs. No one’s winning any beauty contests here, just a rough chop will do fine (dried herbs work too, just don’t use quite as much). Dump those in with the veggies, plus salt and pepper to taste. Seal the bag and smush it around.
Get the grill going and strateigically place the veggies so they are not over direct fire. They need to sweat it out a bit and get some good char lines without being charred. Take them off when they are getting soft, but aren’t mushy.
Grilling these babies made a spectacular side.
Now we’re beginning to move the potted peppers inside. Personally, I’m hoping the Cayenne and Thai Hot make it over the winter inside. They were the MVPs of the garden this year. I will plant more zucchinis, squashes, and eggplants next year. I’m going to leave the broccoli up until it dies. I might not grow any tomatoes next year. It’s just too dissapointing. I might try an actual broccoli next year, and maybe some lettuce or cucumbers. Stay tuned in the spring!