Tag Archives: vegetables

What’s Green and Growing Outta Control?

veggie garden

This girl’s vegetable bed!

vegetable bed

It’s been a month since the veggies went into the ground. And boy, have they exploded! There’s been nothing to harvest yet, but one lone green pepper is working it’s way to a “pick-able” status, and just in the last few days, a bunch of flowers have popped up on the tomatoes and cucumber.

cucumber blossom

I’m hopeful that Operation Homegrown Eats 2013 will soon find some fresh salad fixins on my plate.

My Most Ingenious Recipe Ever

I don’t want to brag, but really, this might be the best. thing. I’ve. ever. created.

Hidden Veggie Chili - TwoPurpleCouches.com

I’m not a mom, but I do know how hard it is to get my husband to eat his vegetables. He’s a lot more food-adventurous than the meat-and-potatoes 17-year-old I met way back when, but he’s still a skeptic. So with all the Resolution things I’m trying out this year, I’m looking for ways to get more veggies into our diets (and fewer grains and dairy… which isn’t hard for Tom because he’s lactose intolerant, but I, however, would marry a wedge of cheese if I could). We love homemade chili, and I’ve tried out different recipes with zucchini, tomatoes, etc, but they all seem like they’re lacking something – awesome spices. So the other day I got to thinking… why not add the spices from our favorite traditional chili recipe to one of the veggie-heavy recipes?


Hidden-Veggie Chili is born!

If you’re into this sort of thing, grab a pen, paper, and your crockpot (oh yea, it’s also a crockpot meal! can you say jackpot??)

Hidden-Veggie Chili, an original TwoPurpleCouches Kitchen Creation

1lb lean ground turkey

1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 lg shallot, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

2 zucchini, sliced

1 sm butternut squash, chopped (i find they’re easier to work with when they’ve been softened in a microwave first. then you can scoop/cut the flesh away from the peel/rind)

1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

2 8-oz cans tomato sauce

1 1/2 pkgs Frank’s Chili Powder (if you don’t have this brand… i would recommend quite a few tablespoons of your favorite chili powder)

1 tsp. allspice

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

dash (or more) of hot sauce

1 tbsp Worchesteshire sauce

1 can chili beans

1/2 – 1 c. water, if desired

Stovetop: brown meat, garlic and onions. drain any fat. add rest of ingredients, cover and cook 2 1/2 – 3 hours. add chili beans in the last half-hour.

Crockpot: toss all ingredients, minus chili beans, in the crockpot. cook on low 6-8 hours. add chili beans in the last half-hour.

Oh, and Tom’s exact words after having a few bites, “Unfortunately, I can’t tell that there are vegetables in this.” Talk about a back-handed compliment, huh?

Do you have a go-to recipe for hiding veggies? Is your husband or significant other also a skeptic when it comes to trying new things, food or otherwise??

It’s Aliiiiiiiiive!

Thought I’d share another update on our veggie garden! It’s been 5 weeks since we planted our garden, and things are literally bursting at the seams!

The squash is like the vegetable version of the Incredible Hulk – see how the leaves are squished up against the netting!! But no zucchinis to eat yet.

I have a tendency to make a lot of impulse purchases from the veggie, fruit and herb section at Lowe’s. Weird, I know. I guess it could be worse. This summer’s impulse buy was 1 tiny cantaloupe in a 3-inch pot. Fast-forward 5 weeks and it has completely consumed the left-hand side of the bed. It’s growing up the side of the netting and sending little shoots out that grasp onto anything within reach – zucchini stems, the tomato plants, etc. It’s threatening to overtake the strawberry plant behind it, but I’m keeping it in check with my handy dandy clippers! I think this means I’d better create a more solid plan before I plant next year’s veggies!


My 4 cucumber plants have a lot of small shoots on them, and one in particular is starting to look like an actual cucumber! Hopefully it’ll be ready to harvest soon!

I also noticed a few tomatoes hiding among the leaves…

I definitely waited a little too long to transplant my veggies – I know a lot of people have been harvesting for a few weeks now. But maybe this means we’ll be reaping in fresh produce into the fall months!

Vegging Out – Part II

I have finally taken the leap & planted my veggies in the ground! Eek! I know it sounds silly, but this was kind of a big deal for me, mostly because I have an uneasy feeling that every deer within a 10 mile radius is going to feast like there’s no tomorrow. And I’ll be left with a bed full of half-chewed leaves.

But anyways, let’s get to how it went down. First, I chose the area that I wanted to use, then Tom & I cleared it. I loosely referenced square-foot gardening guides, and decided to try a 3×6 area:

clearing the future garden space of leftover straw from the grass seeding

Tom used the end of a shovel to section off the area, and then we began digging up the grass. We added 4 bags of topsoil and mixed in 1 bag of manure. We bought the cheapest topsoil and manure we could find at Lowe’s (the brand is Gardener’s Pride). Once it was spread around to our satisfaction, we drew 1×1 foot lines in the soil with the edge of our shovel so I could break down plant placement within each square.

1×1 foot sections — ready for planting!

I lined up my plants, and once they were in the right spot, in the ground they went! Here’s a shot of the final product (before we draped them in netting to keep the critters out):

the finished product

I won’t insult your design-savvy eyes with the rudimentary Microsoft Word table I drew of the bed plantings. Just know that I have it for reference 🙂  Hopefully, in the next few weeks, we’ll be reaping in crops of tomatoes, green bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, cantaloupe and strawberries!

Have you ever tried square-foot gardening? What was your experience like?