I’m coming to you a little late on this lovely Monday morning. I had plans for a full Sunday of photo editing [from a few portrait sessions] + working on this post. It was going to be a productive day.
What happened instead was a full day of manual labor. Productive, but in a different sort of way.
Saturday morning, Chris got the idea we needed to start a new yard project. Our porch is about 90% done but we’re at a bit of a stopping point until we get a water line moved underneath the house. So why not start something new? Let’s bust up a 7’ x 20’ foot space of concrete in front of our house! Instead of planting grass in the tree lawn area, someone got the brilliant idea to pour 4” of concrete there instead. Less maintenance I suppose?? Multiply 7’ x 20’ then by a 4” depth and that is a lot of concrete. It’s also too much math for a Monday morning.
Chris started with a sledge hammer and tried to bust it out manually. Four hours later we decided to rent a jack hammer. So our Sunday consisted of breaking apart and hauling all of that concrete about 20’ into our yard, to at some point pile into a truck to take to a concrete recycling center. I don’t think I’ll be lifting weights for the next 3 weeks!
When that was all finished we filled the empty space with dirt. A lot, lot, LOT of dirt. We are hoping lay mulch and plant a tree in the next few days. Even just with the dirt, the space looks so much better. Definitely worth the time and energy.
Now can I totally change gears and talk about our garden?
The photo below would have you believe it’s doing quite well, right?
Here is the embarrassing zoomed out view.
We have 2 rainbow chard plants that are thriving, two cucumber plants [far right] that are trucking along, and a pepper plant [far left] that has somehow survived.
Surrounding the largest pepper plant are 3 other types pepper plants that are holding on on for dear life. A few weeks ago they looked like goners but are somehow making a comeback.
The cucumbers were the last seeds I planted and popped up pretty fast.
I planted seeds in all but 1 or 2 squares, so there definitely should have been a lot more green veggies growing in these photos.
So what do I think happened?
#1] I have no clue what I’m doing.
#2] The summer conditions have been extreme, even for Colorado. Temperatures were in the 100’s for over a week and are now consistently in the mid 90’s. We also had a few months with almost zero rain. Finally, about a week ago we had a few consistent storms.
And then I realized…
#3] I was totally under watering my poor veggies! I was so afraid of over watering that I managed to exactly the opposite. It’s so hard to know how much to water and it really varies depending on your location. I was watering everyday in the early evening but definitely not enough.
Once we had a week of water the cucumbers, chard, and peppers all started to thrive.
A good friend told me it was totally doable to plant more lettuce this time of year. So I decided to bust out my butter lettuce, romaine, kale, and chard seeds and get to planting. In just 3-4 days they started popping!
During my first planting it took over 2 weeks to see any green!
This is a small spinach plant from the first round of planting about 2.5 months ago. Nice of you to finally show!
I was on the edge of my seat anxiously awaiting the day I could harvest something from the garden. Rainbow chard was first up!
The leaves were tender + buttery.
The stems were crisp + colorful.
I typically cook chard in a pan and add a little butter + salt. However, I wanted to enjoy these vibrant green leaves in their raw form.
I grabbed a handful of basil, chopped some strawberries, halved an avocado, and threw it all in the blender. With a few squeezes of lemon juice, salt + pepper, this creamy summer dressing was born.
Strawberry Basil Avocado Cream Dressing [yields ~3/4 cup]
- 1/2 avocado
- 3/4 cup chopped strawberries
- 3 Tbsp chopped basil, loosely packed
- 5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 + 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Place all ingredients into a blender, food processor, or magic bullet and process until creamy and smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Taste and add more salt/pepper/maple syrup if desired.
- Keep refrigerated for 4-5 days in a sealed container.
The chard leaves were mixed with baby spinach and topped with herbed goat cheese, pepitas, and fresh Colorado cherries. The sweet + savory of the dressing paired well with these toppings.
Kind of a long post for such a short recipe.
But hopefully it was worth the wait.
-- Also, check out my latest post at Ashley McLaughlin Photography. One of my best friends Melissa and her adorable family are front + center on the photo blog today!