in the kitchen

Weekly Meal Plan with Garden Failures

Weekly Meal Plan
These cucumbers were from last year’s harvest, not this year.

This time of year is all about eating what’s fresh and grown in our garden (or in my neighbor’s garden – with permission of course) before it goes bad. Harvest season really does happen in the city – even in small backyards like ours. We had some successes in the growing department and other-not-successes at all.

Here’s what went well in my garden this year:

Tomatoes – they went wild and I didn’t get them staked properly early on (one of the problems of being gone on a trip for 3-weeks!). There are only 3 plants here and they are still producing fruit but more slowly now.

Tomatoes gone wild

Green beans – we just keep getting these beans although now they are a bit chewier so they need cooking a little longer. Some of our “pole beans” were confused and never got tall but grew as a bush instead. I’m sure it couldn’t have been the bean planters!

Basil – I planted one plant from Trader Joe’s and then came across a fire-sale of basil plants while out for a bike ride one day and bought three more plants and plopped them into the ground. After pinching back the leaves, watering them, and giving them some TLC, they really came back to life. They really produced some nice leaves and were made into pesto this past week.

Here’s what did not go well in my garden:

Cucumbers – Could there be more sad and pathetic cucumbers? Slugs took down several of my cucumber plants in early spring and I think they snacked on the other plants the rest of the summer. This is all we got from our cucumber plants.

Sad and pathetic cucumbers – yes, that’s a teaspoon.

Cabbage – I am definitely not planting cabbage again. This was my first attempt and it wasn’t worth the space it took up. Now, it’s growing a mini-cabbage on top. I should probably harvest it but I’m waiting to see if perhaps another cabbage will grow out of that one!


Carrots – Clay soil? Lack of regular watering? Either or both these contributed to these mutant carrots. Yes, they look funny but they still taste better than any store-bought baby carrots.

Weekly Meal Plan

And finally….

Our newest chickens have started laying. We were convinced one of the hens was a rooster (we’ve had two roosters so we fancied ourselves experts on the subject) and then my son came rushing into the house to tell us that “Spike” had laid an egg! He thought the poor “rooster” was constipated because he went out into the yard, squatted on the grass, and began shaking. A few seconds later, out popped an egg! Yes, friends, that is science in the backyard.

Fresh eggs

We’re having a difficult time changing our pronoun usage and still refer to him as a him or he and not a she. His name was also changed from “Chick-a-bitty” to “Spike” because he has a little spike of feathers that poke up on the back of his head. We also agreed that “Spike” was a better name for a rooster than “Chick-a-bitty”,  as in more manly.

He, I mean she, also seems to only lay eggs that are double-yoke eggs. The eggs are literally double the size of the other newest hen, Bella. I have no idea why he – I mean she,  is laying double-yoke eggs but it’s always interesting to compare Spike’s eggs with the other layers.

Laying hens
Spike and Bella – laying hens and neither is a rooster.

Weekly Meal Plan

This meal plan is from Monday, September 24, 2012 to Sunday, September 30, 2012.

Monday: burritos with pinto beans, shredded pork (from freezer), fresh salsa, sour cream sauce

Tuesday: pinto beans, shredded pork (from freezer), fresh salsa, sour cream sauce served over brown rice (leftovers)

Wednesday: Indian spiced lentils (vegetarian style) served over fresh spinach

Thursday: Indian spiced lentils (leftovers) with spinach salad

Friday: egg strata with vegetables from garden

Saturday: whole wheat pasta with garlic sauce and carrots

Sunday: roasted chicken, quinoa and green salad

My daughter skipped cooking this week. She was sick and very busy. My son owed me two dinners – he skipped cooking the week before – so he made dinner on both Saturday and Sunday.

What worked out well in your garden this season? What didn’t work out well?

Go Gingham related links:

Go Gingham food philosophy – yes, there is one
New to cooking at home? Fear not!
Pantry basics for the home cook – what’s in my pantry
Refrigerator basics for the home cook – what’s in my refrigerator
Egg salad sandwiches – you’ll wish you had chickens

3 thoughts on “Weekly Meal Plan with Garden Failures

  1. Awesome!!! I love chicken stories!!! I love the name “Spike” for your hen. She must be a tough broad, laying those double-yoked eggs! Congrats on getting eggs from your newest! Did the older chickens accept the new ones easily?


  2. I only planted cherry tomatoes -3 plants, and some herbs – rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley and mint. Some basil in a pot on the balcony so earwigs don’t eat it before me. Everything grew real good – I will cut rosemary and thyme to dry. Already dried some oregano. Make pasta with cherry tomatoes and fresh basil weekly and my grdaughter eats the tomatoes by the handful. Love summer – My rhubarb did not do so well – don’t know why.


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