Salad roundup

I love salads. We’re getting out of salad weather here in Chicago, but I thought I’d post a bunch of them anyway. Maybe you’ll get some ideas for your own salads.

Caprese salad with farmers market tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and fresh mozerella.

Caprese salad with farmers market tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and fresh mozzarella.

Potato arugula salad with mustard dressing.

Potato arugula salad with mustard dressing.

Another caprese salad, with cherry tomatoes.

Another caprese salad, with cherry tomatoes.

Chicken salad with mayo, dried cranberries, and walnuts.

Chicken salad with mayo, dried cranberries, and walnuts.

Salad with various home grown lettuces, tomatoes, and chives.

Salad with various home grown lettuces, tomatoes, and chives.

Salad with home grown lettuce, cherry and grape tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Salad with home grown lettuce, cherry and grape tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Tossed Greek salad with tomatoes, feta, olives, cucumbers, and dried herbs.

Tossed Greek salad with tomatoes, feta, olives, cucumbers, and dried herbs.

Home grown salad fixins.

Home grown salad fixins.

Tossed salad with tomatoes, bell peppers, and parm.

Tossed salad with tomatoes, bell peppers, and parm.

Home grown cherry tomatoes, feta with olive oil and herbs, and bell peppers with lettuce.

Home grown cherry tomatoes, feta with olive oil and herbs, and bell peppers with lettuce.

Salad with corn, tomatoes, black beans, and parm.

Salad with corn, tomatoes, black beans, and parm.

Butter lettuce with olives, feta, white beans, and a fried egg.

Butter lettuce with olives, feta, white beans, and a fried egg.

Garden fresh salad

Garden fresh salad.

Lettuce, cherry tomatoes, green beans, and cucumbers.

Lettuce, cherry tomatoes, green beans, and cucumbers.

Lettuce, cucumbers, green beans, chicken and blue cheese dressing.

Lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans, chicken and blue cheese dressing.

Lettuce, green beans, and parm.

Lettuce, green beans, and parm.

Caprese salad.

Caprese salad.

Pasta salad with arugula, tomatoes, white beans, corn, and chicken.

Pasta salad with arugula, tomatoes, white beans, corn, and chicken.

 

 

My Colorado Garden- tomatoes

It’s hard to grow tomatoes in Colorado. But I had excellent luck this year. The best ever. I’ve been trying for 5 years, so it’s about time. Each year has gone better and better as I’ve figured out how to deal with our flaky weather. Also this year we had pretty good weather, so it was a little easier.

I started way back in April, brought everything outside in May and I got my first tomato in mid-July. We finally dismantled the garden last week and lo and behold there were a few ripe tomatoes that had been hiding and made it thru the frost. So, technically, I got my last tomato on November 11th.

I think I had about 20 tomato plants. I got hundreds of tomatoes.

  • Rainbow Blend cherry tomatoes: These are my favorite. It’s a pack of several different colored cherry type tomatoes. They work really well in Colorado. Since they’re small, they come in quickly and they produce a lot. The rainbow blend was fun- I never knew what I was going to get. The very best tomatoes of the whole year were from this pack- I’m pretty sure they’re Green Grape! If you want to grow tomatoes in Colorado I highly recommend these.
  • Super Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes: Another small and tasty variety- easy to grow.
  • Siberian Red and Better Bush tomatoes: I guess these were the really plain, basic, medium sized tomatoes I kept getting. Reliable and good flavor- nothing super sublime, but a million times better than anything you’d get at the grocery store, of course. I have no idea which was which. I guess I should take better notes next time.
  • Mr. Stripey Heirloom: These were fun and tasty. They came in really late, tho, and a bunch of them never ripened at all before the frost. They also cracked a lot. Much more than any of the others. This doesn’t really affect the flavor, but it makes them look not so pretty.
  • Mystery Tomato: The most prolific tomato plants I had, I have no idea the name of. I didn’t take notes about them when I planted the seeds and I don’t seem to have the seed packet anymore. I’ll research for next year, tho. They were high producers and the tomatoes were really good. You’ve seen them in almost every picture I’ve posted. I had tons of them. They’re the darker, oblong ones.
  • We had fresh tomatoes just about every day from July to October

    We had fresh tomatoes just about every day from July to October

    In October when it started to get cold and we had a couple of snow days, I covered the tomatoes with blankets around the shelter and plastic on top. I secured it all with clamps so the wind wouldn’t disturb it. it wasn’t very pretty but it worked pretty well. It stayed really warm in there. Still, just to be on the safe side, from time to time I picked  some before they were fully ripe and let them ripen in the house. I wound up doing this with eight bowls full!

    Tomato shelter to keep th plants warm

    Tomato shelter to keep th plants warm

    Tomato shelter

    Tomato shelter

    It was very warm inside the shelter

    It was very warm inside the shelter

    Tomatoes picked for indoor ripening

    Tomatoes picked for indoor ripening

    I put the tomatoes in shallow bowls with brown paper, added a banana, and covered them with more brown paper.

    I put the tomatoes in shallow bowls with brown paper, added a banana for ethylene- the ripening gas, and covered them with more brown paper.

    Some of them were really good but some of them wound up tasting really weird.

    I had probably 75 tomatoes left when it was finally just too cold- the froze so I couldn't do anything with them

    I had probably 75 tomatoes left when it was finally just too cold- they froze so I couldn't do anything with them

    These little guys were hiding underneath a bunch of other plants, so they made it through the frost.

    These little guys were hiding underneath a bunch of other plants, so they made it through the frost.

    I had soooooo many tomatoes this year I am hesitant to plant as many next year. But you never can tell here what’s going to happen here. I might try to start a little earlier so I can get tomatoes before July. And I might not plant Mr. Stripey again since so many of them didn’t ripen before it was too late. I have a few months to think about it!

    Garden!

    Well, it snowed last week and is supposed to get pretty frosty again tomorrow night. I brought in almost all my plants and covered my tomatoes with quilts and plastic. They were fine during the cold snap last week, hopefully they’ll make it another week or two!

    As soon as the season is really over and everything is done I’ll do some recaps about what did well and what didn’t.

    Meanwhile, here are some pics of the garden throughout the summer and early fall.

    Huge basil plant in the front yard.

    Huge basil plant in the front yard.

    Pepper plant in the front yard.

    Pepper plant in the front yard.

    The basil has become out of control!

    The basil has become out of control!

    Sweet little sweet pea in the front yard.

    Sweet little sweet pea in the front yard.

    Fuschias in the front.

    Fuschias in the front.

    Nasturtiums

    Nasturtiums

    The sunflower seeds I planted in the summer actually grew!

    The sunflower seeds I planted in the summer actually grew!

    Sunflowers!

    Sunflowers!

    Sunflowers!

    Sunflowers!

    Sunflowers!

    Sunflowers!

    I bought a jasmine plant in February andit was very happy outside over the summer.

    I bought a jasmine plant in February andit was very happy outside over the summer.

    These cosmos just showed up everywhere!

    These cosmos just showed up everywhere!

    Little baby tomato plants.

    Little baby tomato plants.

    I heard you can grow salad greens pretty far into winter, so we'll see.

    I heard you can grow salad greens pretty far into winter, so we'll see.

    Arugula is very easy to grow.

    Arugula is very easy to grow.

    I brought the herbs inside. I hope they do ok on this windowsill.

    I brought the herbs inside. I hope they do ok on this windowsill.

    Tomatoes, leeks, squash in the back yard.

    Tomatoes, leeks, squash in the back yard.

    Cucumbers in the back.

    Cucumbers in the back.

    Another shot of the back yard.

    Another shot of the back yard.

    Another shot of the back yard.

    Another shot of the back yard.

    Got lots of cucumbers.

    Got lots of cucumbers.

    Some weird squash.

    Some weird squash.

    We got tomatoes and salad every day for three months!

    We got tomatoes and salad every day for three months!

    I picked these almost ripe ones before the frost and am going to see if they ripen in the kitchen.

    I picked these almost ripe ones before the frost and am going to see if they ripen in the kitchen.

     

    My Colorado Garden

    From the first week in August:

    The tomato plants are huge and there are quite a few tomatoes on them, but they are taking forever to turn red!

    The tomato plants are huge and there are quite a few tomatoes on them, but they are taking forever to turn red!

    These are the first tomatoes I got- all the way at the end of July. Last year I had tons by then.

    These are the first tomatoes I got- all the way at the end of July. Last year I had tons by then.

    There are a few that are starting to turn red.

    There are a few that are starting to turn red.

    But most are still green. I planted mostly large tomatoes this year and last year was all small and tiny ones. Maybe that's what I should stick to.

    But most are still green. I planted mostly large tomatoes this year and last year was all small and tiny ones. Maybe that's what I should stick to.

    There's a single zucchini- but it's huge. I shouldn't have let it get so big. It was very seedy.

    There's a single zucchini- but it's huge. I shouldn't have let it get so big. It was very seedy.

    Sunflowers do really well here.

    Sunflowers do really well here.

    So I planted some more sunflower seeds in the front yard, in the ground. Should be pretty in a month or so.

    So I planted some more sunflower seeds in the front yard, in the ground. Should be pretty in a month or so.

    The basil is doing really well, the peppers are not doing anything much, and the nasturtiums aren't doing that great, either. Maybe because they're all in the same pot.

    The basil is doing really well, the peppers are not doing anything much, and the nasturtiums aren't doing that great, either. Maybe because they're all in the same pot.

    Lots of salad- easy to grow!

    Lots of salad- easy to grow!

    My first harvest- way into July!

    My first harvest- way into July!

    Next year I want to have a big in-ground garden so hopefully it will do better!

    My Colorado Garden

    For those of you keeping track, here’s how the garden and yard looked in the third week in July.
    Backyard garden, late July, 2011

    Backyard garden, late July, 2011

    The peas just dried up one day! But the tomatoes are doing great.

    The peas just dried up one day! But the tomatoes are doing great.

    It's a forest of tomatoes!

    It's a forest of tomatoes!

    It's a forest of tomatoes and a single zuchinni

    It's a forest of tomatoes and a single zuchinni

    Tomatoes were still green on July 23rd.

    Tomatoes were still green on July 23rd.

    Lots of cucumbers!

    Lots of cucumbers!

    Lots of cucumbers!

    Lots of cucumbers!

    The green and purple beans are doing well.

    The green and purple beans are doing well.

    Salad and chives

    Salad and chives

    And a cute little sweet pea

    And a cute little sweet pea

    More soon!