Monday, May 27, 2013

Balcony Garden: Harvest Monday #26

The caterpillars continued to wage war on my poor old tomatoes right until the very end.  I continued to pick the caterpillars off and turf them over the balcony. I'm not sure who won the war but I have a feeling it's not me. This guy had sneakily been munching away on the far side of this tomatoes and it wasn't until I leaned in for a closer inspection that I saw he'd demolish the whole back half of the fruit. Rude (although it's interesting to see the caterpillars always seem to "become" the colour of whatever it is they are eating).

We've come to the end of things with my tomatoes - another small bowl full were rescued from the garden before the caterpillar calls his friends over and has a dinner party on my poor old Tiny Toms. Some of the tomatoes have splits in them which I recently read is a sign of inconsistent watering...yep, I'd go with that.

It seems that it's not only the tomatoes under siege. I'd noticed loads of small holes and chomp marks on my eggplant leaves and for the life of me could NOT identify a culprit...until now that is.  Sneaky little guy hiding under a leaf. A little spider has also set up home in the eggplant but he's not eating anything other than bugs so he can stay.

I only ended with five eggplants growing and it took SO long - nearly nine months - to get them to a point where they are edible. The eggplants are so beautiful to look at that it seems a shame to cut into them...but if I don't eat them I'm pretty sure some else will! I'm not really sure how to tell when eggplants are ready to harvest but these guys seemed big enough so I risked it.

I always cut into everything I grow on the balcony as I'm paranoid about some nasty grub getting into my veggies (and also worried that someone else will get to eat the fruits of my labour). A quick slice and dice shows that these babies are all mine!

I also have two pots of basil growing - about six plants in all. They're not really doing well and to be honest I don't like the overpowering smell of it either.  I've made pesto twice with my basil...but what else to do with it?

So we have eggplants, tomatoes and basil all ripe at the same time - sounds perfect for an easy eggplant parmigiana I'd say (recipe from here).  The basil and tomatoes got added to a store bought jar of tomato pasta sauce and whilst the bulk of the sauce was from a shop it was nice to know that some of it was grown by me. There's also about 12kgs of cheese in there - so not a diet friendly dish (but really tasty)!

This eggplant parmigiana is another eggplant meal whipped up for the #meatFreeWeek challenge I participated in during March this year. I have to say cooking vegetarian for the week was really enjoyable and so much more easy than I thought. I didn't struggle for ideas which I thought would be my major problem and in fact could've done another week of pure vegetarian meals.  Not sure The Boy could've though.

You can view more Harvest Monday posts on Daphne's Dandelions blog.


  1. getting all fancy with the GIF.... I love my basil plants - use them a lot.

  2. Oooooh, looks delicious! Love the "cheeks" on that tomato too ;)

    I do the same thing with my veggies. Sliced before eaten, so I don't end up ingesting any surprise protein....which wouldn't be a problem if caterpillars didn't taste so terrible!

  3. I love basil, i put it through eggs, pies, curry, salads and heaps more!
    Im so sick of creepy crawlies getting to my produce before i do! HATE!

  4. I wish I had a green thumb. I can't even get herbs to last more than a week in my garden!

  5. Oh look at your bubbling dish....clever! You are doing so well to still be harvesting tomatoes, eggplant and basil, it sounds like it is still summer time on balcony. Your eggplant look great, so healthy. Awesome photos of the caterpillars, even though they are so annoying!

    I sometimes put basil in salads or sandwiches, just like any other salad leaf. It is also great scattered freshly over pizza or pasta.

  6. So much cheesy goodness, and I think I'd be equally heartbroken to find out someone had been eating all my hard work!

  7. ive been told that basil only thrives if u plant it in the ground, growing mine in polystyrene boxes is pretty fail, my sister in law put her into the ground and shes got a thriving shrub! ive made basil ice cream and pesto with my basil, but tbh there is only so many places you can sue basil!

  8. Those green tomatoes look lovely....just what I'm looking for (you can't buy green tomatoes at the greengrocers!) I'm having trouble keeping my herbs alive...I need to let them go to seed and start again. Tomatoes are next on the must try to grow...I so don't have a green thumb!

  9. Love your animated bubbling photo!

  10. I wonder if it's balcony gardens that caterpillars like because there's nothing else to eat around the place. Now that I have a whole yard, not just a balcony, I don't seem to have a problem with pests any more.

    Add basil to your salads and if you make home made pizza - smother!

  11. I love my garden but I am constantly fighting the bugs and then the bush turkeys when the tomatoes are ripe :/ I do love having tomatoes, basil and eggplant though. It is great to have a meal ready in your garden for the picking. Your eggplant looks YUM!

  12. I've also noticed that basil grows better in the ground, my parents tried some in pots and they didn't do as well as those in the backyard!

  13. just as well to check you don't have a slug in the middle of your meat free meal - though maybe the Boy would enjoy a bit of added animal protein - ha ha

    your eggplants look lovely, as does the parma. my mum gave me a pot of basil and I've used it in pesto on the weekend - but I did quite enjoy picking off leaves for pasta sauces of a little pot I had on the kitchen window sill - having said that I am amazed my pots lasted and I don't have a good record with basil in pots

  14. So much awesome!! I managed to catch all the caterpillars invading my kangaroo paw - the tricky thing is the style of the leaves of that plant, they fold over like creases and the tricky bugs are often hidden inside crease! Grrr... By the way, the eggplants look awesome! When did you originally plant the tomato seeds?


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