Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Garden Update

Well, as the summer season comes to a close I thought I would reflect on my garden so far. We planted tomatoes, what we thought was lettuce in an embedded paper from Kraft - turned out it was some kind of flowery thing, turnips, watermelon, what we thought was cucumber - according to the package - turned out to be spaghetti squash, canteloupe (grew one plant but then it died away), pumpkins, zucchini, yellow squash, spaghetti squash (so, yes, we have a bunch now), green beans, yellow beans, & peas. Also in pots are more tomatoes, hot peppers, mesclun greens, cilantro, nastrutiums, spinach (didn't work too well as I planted to late), & basil. And the perinneal herbs I have growing are chives, sage, oregano, terragon, mint & some cilantro that re-seeds itself every year.

We do a lasagna garden and I planted everything in mounds. The tomatoes are coming along nicely and we have recently been enjoying them. We planted Early Girls in pots, so we have had some tomatoes for a while, some cherry tomatoes in a pot & in the garden, and Big Boys in the garden. I think this year I will be chopping & freezing the tomatoes like I did with the ones I got from my mom last year (we finished using those up about a month ago).

We had a plentiful crop of zucchini (from one plant) and yellow squash (from 3 plants) and I made many dishes and shredded quite a bit & put in freezer to use this winter.

The spaghetti squash is new to us. I made it once & it's ok. The hubby didn't care for it as much, so now I need to find some recipes other than just "faux" spaghetti (which is how we ate it just the once).

We have about 5 pumpkins in the garden and they are almost fully orange. Next year I think I will plant them later. But they look great, pretty uniform and actually perfect looking and the vines are still healthy, so they are still out there. So, we will carve one or two this year and save the others to cook & make stuff with. I kinda wish I would have planted some bigger ones because now I wish I had one to gut & take pictures of the baby inside of, but he will be very little at Halloween (just born), so I might be able to use our pumpkins.

We didn't get to eat as many of the beans as I would have liked. We had something eating them, but I could never find anything except lots of holes in my leaves and half eaten beans. So, next year we will have to approach these differently.

We did good with the peas and ate most of those right out of the garden. But we did have several stir-frys with pea pods in, as well as putting some turnips in there (I am the only one who really likes them here.)

We had pots of basil inside & outside and the inside one did much better and is still growing strong. The pot of mesclun greens grew nicely (this was new to me) and I liked them, but the hubby didn't care for the mix of flavors. Oh well. I liked them and would mix with lettuce for a salad.

The peppers & nasturtiums did well and the kid loves the idea of being able to eat the flower, even if she didn't care so much for the radishy type flavor.

Oh! We also planted 2 raspberry bushes. One of them died on us, but the other did pretty good and we enjoyed a small amount of our own raspberries which we picked out there.. And we had planted strawberries in these hanging bag things, but they didn't work (or the cherry tomatoes in one too). So, we won't do those bag things anymore. I would like to get some strawberries established at some point.

Watermelon has been growing well. We had our first Sugar Baby watermelon the other night. They are quite juicy, but also quite seedy. We still have a couple more and the kid is very happy to have them and enjoyed the watermelon so far.

We are now attempting some late summer gardening. The kid & I planted more mesclun (which is up & growing already) and cucumbers on Sunday and just tonight planted some lettuce, spinach & radishes, as well as some cilantro in a pot. Not sure how the cucumbers will turn out because they need a couple months and they could get nipped by frost, but we thought we would try anyways, since we didn't get any. All the mounds for these are in the middle of the garden, so I can tarp if I need to. I just need to pay attention to the forecast & get out there.

The kid discovered that she loves cilantro and has been eating it out of the herb garden, although now it has all gone to seed & dried. So, while the seeds we collected continue to dry, I did buy some other cilantro seeds and we just planted some in a pot that we can bring inside and we will try to grow cilantro through the winter.

We have been collecting seeds to plant for next year and so far what we have drying is: yellow squash, hot peppers, Big Boy tomatoes, peas, & cilantro. We will harvest some zucchini, pumpkin & maybe some spaghetti squash (not sure about that yet) and our other tomatoes as well.

We'll see how the rest of the garden goes for the next 2 months and if any more garden spots open in the next month I might try to establish some more spinach. The organic gardening class I went to walked about how there are CSAs in MN & WI that grow spinach year round and discussed how to do that. I love spinach, so I might like to try that. But we'll see what else opens up and when the baby comes.

Next year I would like to create a small raised bed for kid to have as her own garden space and we can plant the beans, peas, & cilantro in there. And maybe some leaf lettuce. Those are all good things that she can pick herself and grow quickly.

This winter we try to keep some herbs going and also grow alfalfa sprouts again (just bought some more of those seeds). And we'll start some plants indoors again. The cherry tomatoes, watermelon & marigolds we planted early have done great. I also would like to expand my herb garden to include thyme next year, since that will come back each year in our zone. And next year I want to be sure to get in cucumbers and I think I will pass on the turnips since no one else eats them. Maybe we will try some potatoes next year. I think the kid will like cutting up potatoes and planting them.

Oh - the other thing I might like to get in the garden here soon is some garlic. It needs to be planted by mid-September at the latest (for our zone), so I need to get to a garden center to buy some bulbs. They overwinter and will be ready to harvest by the time I need the space for the rest of the garden.

1 comment:

Tru said...

Careful with your Big Boy tomato seeds. I don't think they are heirloom, so they won't come true to seed, but rather revert back to a parent plant. So, who knows what kind you'll get, maybe better tasting, but maybe not as big.