Saturday, August 6, 2011

the garden: a learning process {otherwise known as me thinking out loud}


Check it out on Flickr to see what's what.
The garden is doing pretty good. Not too many pests...no disease yet...so far much of it is quite lush.

The tomatoes are doing great. They are taller than me, and about as wide. We definitely planted enough of them...we've got bite-size tomatoes galore. They are wonderful right off the vine (definitely something to be said for organic gardening)...and they are fantastic in Chris' homemade salsa. Poor guy makes a big batch and we descend on it like locusts...it's gone before he knows it! The bigger tomatoes are taking longer to ripen...but once they do, we're in business.

The peppers are thriving, too. Anaheim's, pasillas, jalapenos and a purple bell pepper. So far we've harvested one purple bell pepper. One. But there are lots of little ones forming...so I'm looking forward to that. They taste good...but even more than that, they are very pretty in the garden. The Anaheim's and the jalapenos are loaded with peppers...so good in the salsa and delicious roasted and then served on paninis...one of our favorite meals. (Thank goodness my family loves a good sandwich...talk about an easy dinner.)

Cantaloupe. Chris planted cantaloupe on a whim. I had been told that it was hard to grow. So I took that word as gospel and never even gave it a try. Chris threw caution to the wind and went for it...and they are doing pretty well! I think we've got 4 or 5 baby melons growing! Good job honey.


So far so good.

Well, except for the disappointments of the season.

Out of the dozen or so (at least) sunflower seeds I planted, I've got one sunflower growing. One. But I have a feeling it's going to be beautiful once it blooms. It's finally getting ready to flower. Don't you just love how they literally follow the sun? So interesting.

The squash plants are huge and green and lush...and have produced two zucchinis. Two. TWO. I feel cheated. I am letting the Blue Hubbard grow and grow and grow...so far there are two or three baby squash growing. That's it. The acorn squash got shaded out by the zucchini plant...which is fine, we figured out we're not crazy about acorn squash, anyway.

Green beans...I harvested one meals worth of beans. And it's not looking like I'm going to get much more than that. Which is sad...we all love fresh green beans.

Cucumbers? I planted two plants. One survived. And so far, harvest tally is.......two cucumbers. They were really good cucumbers...but...there were only two of them. Again, this is fine as we're not really big cucumber fans. Ian used to eat them like an apple...literally half of a cucumber at a time. But...he claims he doesn't like them anymore. At this point, we're all in agreement that the best way to eat cucumbers is pickled. That changes garden planning...ya know?

So. What does all of this mean?

It means that plans for next year's garden are going to be a bit different.

We'll still plant lots of tomatoes because we love them on BLT's and sliced as a side dish and in salsa. Tomatoes are a no-brainer. Oh...and peppers, too. Easy to grow. And can be roasted and frozen.

Zucchini...lots of plain ol' zucchini plants. No squash. No acorns. No blue something-or-others. Just zucchini. Bam. Done.

Green beans. We love them. I need to plant LOTS of them. Lots and lots. And I need to plant them away from tomatoes and in plenty of sunshine. The year before last we had a great green bean season. I grew pole beans...on poles made of tree branches...they got plenty of sun and they gave us plenty of green beans. I will try it that way again and then plant even more so we have enough to freeze a bit for winter.

Cucumbers. I need to read up on planting pickling cucumbers. I want to know how many I need to plant to get a decent pickle harvest. And then figure out if I have the room. Or figure out how to make room. And if it's not going to work...save my time, money and garden space and go out to the local stand and BUY a ton of pickling cucumbers and call it a day.

I would love to grow corn...but sun and space are a bit limited for a decent corn crop. And it's affordable enough that I can buy it local...and it is so delicious. (And truth be told...I'm the only one in my family that loves corn on the cob. Love it. But I probably don't need all that much.)

The smart thing is to grow food that we want to eat. If not, it's a lot of work and time and water...for nothing. Right? Right.

Gardening is definitely a learning process. And just when you think you've got something figured out...the dynamics change and you have to rethink the whole thing. No wonder I enjoy gardening...it never gets boring!

How does your garden grow? Learning anything new this season?

3 comments:

Denise said...

your tomato plants sound like mine. i just hope the fruit all turns red. like soon.

i think the compost we brought in was really helpful. oh, and i think i was watering my zucchini too much. i need to do a post like this.

Susan said...

I have been harvesting peas and freezing them. I too will do some things different next year. Like the way I plant my peas. I planted them in a planter box with 4 rows and put in stakes with twine to grow on but it is too hard on my back to reach the rows in the middle so next year I will plant them in the new inground garden that we are adding to our garden box garden area and plant one long row. space and sun I have in abundance the problem I have is too short of season. We have had such cold wet springs the past few years that Its been tough for the plants to really take off. Then we get an early frost just about the time my tomatoes are getting ripe.

teekaroo said...

I love hearing about other gardens and what you would do differently. My garden has become a jungle. Oh, and of the entire packet of pea seeds I planted, I got one. One plant! I thought peas were easy to grow. I've been contemplating what I'd do differently lately also. The neighbors probably think I'm crazy standing out in the yard staring at the garden and gesturing to myself. I'm needing to post a garden update also.