How Does Your Garden Grow?

It actually grows quite well this year!

I have actual radishes this time around–last year, I planted seeds, and they sprouted, but I never got to the radish stage.  The herbs are growing well (although the cilantro has pretty much lived out it’s life span already!) and we’ve already used fresh basil and cilantro in meals.  I have lots of squash blossoms and jalepeño flowers, but no actual fruits of those yet.  And the carrot leaves are just beginning to peek through.  Not bad for having been planted just over a month ago!

The onions and garlic have been interesting.  The garlic grew really nice, and I thought it was “done,” so I pulled it, and it came out looking like a loose bunch of green onions.  I’m assuming it wasn’t quite ready to be picked, but it appears to still be usable, so I’ll just chalk that up to a learning experience.  The red onions were growing well, but I’m pretty sure that our resident rabbit, who I’ve seen a few times, (once in the garden bed, sniffing around the garlic), is eating the tops, because I’ve found lots of bulbs with the tops mysteriously down right to ground level.

The tomatoes are doing the best.  And by the best, I mean producing at an alarming rate.  It was finally dry enough for me to really inspect them the other day–I knew there had been lots of flowers, but I hadn’t had the opportunity to look for actual tomatoes.  Well, I started finding them, and I got curious, so I counted, and there are approximately 45 tomatoes growing out there right now!!!  And that’s just the first growth cycle of the summer.  I hope they do well, and keep growing at this rate–there’s nothing I like better in the summer than a fresh tomato sprinkled with salt, or a nice BLT, or some homemade pico de gallo.

Gardening is a lot of work, but the rewards certainly make it worth it!

Garden 2009

The garden has been planted for over a week now, and so far, I’m off to a better start than last year.  By that I mean that we haven’t had a late frost that killed off all my plants, and nothing has eaten them (so far!), so it’s going well, for now anyway.

It’s very much the same as last year’s garden.  Tomatoes (but more of them!), zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, jalapeños, red onions, carrots and radishes from seed (the radishes are sprouting already), basil, cilantro, and rosemary (something new, because it smells amazing!).

I am also apparently growing pumpkins.  I put our fall pumpkins in the garden beds last year, figuring they’d make for good compost.  I guess I assumed that the seeds would not survive the winter.  I was wrong.  Way wrong.  I’ve got at least 20 pumpkin vines started–I’m going to thin them out eventually, but for now, I’m letting them grow to see which ones are really good, and then I’ll leave a few, and see if we can’t grow a few pumpkins of our own.

The nectarine tree is also doing well, which is something of a surprise to me–I thought the shock of being transplanted would mean no fruit at all for at least one season.  But, there are several very tiny, very purple (also surprising!) nectarines, particularly on the lower branches, so we’ll see how those grow.

I’m very excited about the things we’re trying to grow, and really hoping the garden is successful.  I have visions of homemade pico de gallo, pesto, and zucchini bread (among other things), made with home-grown produce.


Garden Wrap-Up

Well, our first year of gardening has come to an end.  The vegetable beds have been turned over, plants and remaining vegetables composted into the whole thing.  All in all, it was an interesting experience!

The tomatoes did the best.  I’d say we got about 15-20 that we ate, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but given the condition of our yard, was better than I was expecting.  There were another 20-30 that just didn’t get a chance to ripen–because of the cool, rainy spring, they flowered late, and left me with a lot of small, green tomatoes at the end of the season, when the garden was no longer in direct sunlight.

The basil was also amazing.  After losing two plants early on to some overly curious animal, the other two really took off, and were the size of small bushes when it was all said and done.  We enjoyed a lot of fresh pesto.

We got a few decent sized cucumbers, and they were quite tasty.  None of the zucchini or yellow squash worked out, though.  The blossoms were beautiful, and we had quite a few of them on the vine, but they all spoiled after a few days.  No idea what that was all about.

Both the jalapeños and carrots were miniature size.  No surprise with the carrots–I figured with the state of the soil in the yard, they probably wouldn’t go down too deep.  They were still delicious, though.  True to her nickname, Bunny especially liked them!  We didn’t actually use any of the jalapeños.  We got about six to eight of them, but they didn’t ripen at the same time, and they were seriously two inches long at the most.  I just couldn’t figure out how use them–no idea what happened there!

The radishes and onions completely bombed.  The celery grew alright, but our resident caterpillars ate most of it.  Oh well, they probably needed it more than we did, and I did get some cool pictures of them. The cilantro was wonderful, and now that I know about it’s short growing cycle, I can plant it in rotations in the future.

So, I think I’ll probably try my hand at gardening again next year.  I’ll probably focus more on tomatoes and less on the other stuff, since they grew so well, and we use them so much.  I would like to figure out the jalapeños, though, so that I could have most of the ingredients to make fresh pico next summer!

Garden Update

So, here’s what’s going on in the garden:

  • 4 Beefsteak tomatoes and 10 Roma tomatoes currently on the vine–none have ripened yet.
  • 2 yellow summer squash growing–we had a third, but it shriveled.
  • 1 zucchini getting bigger by the minute!
  • 2 very small, very cute jalepeños
  • 3 celery plants that actually look like (small) celery
  • And, what I can only describe as two basil bushes!

I had four broccoli plants, one of them died, and, quite frankly, the others aren’t looking so hot…the one that died was on the flood end of the garden, and the one that was next to it is the other worst looking.  I still have some hope for one of them, but we’ll see.  I’ve also lost one zucchini plant, and the other two didn’t look so good, but at least one of them is producing fruit, and the other one has blossomed, so we’ll see what we get out of those.

The cucumbers have been interesting.  Lost one plant early, and I thought one of them was stunted, but that one has really taken off recently.  Tons of blossoms, and lots of little cucumbers starting, but most have shriveled.  I did have one get to maturity, which I actually just picked, and we’ll be slicing into soon. Not sure what went wrong with the others, but hopefully the one I have will be good!  I also had one incident with a cucumber plant vining onto the celery…had to untangle it.  Didn’t know they’d grow so fast or be so aggressive–hope they don’t try to vine onto me!

The radishes I planted didn’t turn out so well, but the carrots are doing OK.  We sampled one, and I think they need a little more time, but soon…

The onions all bombed–maybe root vegetables and I don’t get along so well!

The cilantro was awesome, grew really fast, flavored some of our food really well.  I did not know, however, how quickly it flowers, and I also didn’t know that once it flowers, it’s done growing, so that ended pretty fast.

Anyway, that’s what’s new in our garden.  I’m still hoping for some semi-homemade pico with the tomatoes and jalapeños, even if I will have to buy the onions and cilantro for it!  Mostly, I just want some nice, fresh tomatoes, and it’s looking good on that front–just need some more time.