Since my last garden update in June a lot has happened in my garden. I have enjoyed fresh strawberries, zucchini, cucumbers, romano beans and baby lettuce every day, and lots of wonderful figs. We have a small patch of strawberries that provide us with the best fruit all summer long; we manage to pick a basket every other day!
Look how wonderful they are below, fully ripe and sweet and juicy. Note the shape and size carefully so that you can buy strawberries that look just like them at a farmers' market. Whatever you do, don't buy those giant, perfectly shaped strawberries.
July is also the month when we start harvesting and preserving some of the garden bounty.
We picked our sweet Italian red onions (cipolle di Tropea) and as you see from the picture below we braid them and hang them from my apple tree, which is how we always kept onions in Calabria. This way, they stay in the shade and don't sprout. Not that I have to worry about their sprouting--they don't last past the summer months, because they make for great eating.
My 14-year-old son harvested his potato patch and was very proud of the results; from just a few cuttings he managed to pick 15 pounds. He has just planted another crop, this time of Yukon gold, to see if he can produce two crops in one year. I will let you know how his experiment turns out.
We also harvested my oregano patch. Right after it is in full flower we cut it down to the base.
We tie the long stems in bunches with kitchen string and hang the bunches upside down to let it dry in a shady spot in the garden. This is the oregano that I'll use for the rest of the year for dishes that require it dried. But I always keep a small patch of fresh oregano in the yard; luckily here in California I am able to have fresh herbs all year round.
I also harvested lots of basil and made my first batch of pesto. I freeze it and put it away for the winter months.
The tomatoes are growing up their trellis. They are almost at the top of the poles and all the branches are loaded with tomatoes. In about a month I will have the juiciest, sweetest tomatoes.
The Italian eggplants are just starting now...
...as well as the sweet Italian peppers.
For the next update I will have a garden full of eggplants, tomatoes, romano beans, and hot and sweet peppers. August and September are the best time of year, loaded as they are with all my favorite vegetables.