Little did we know just how well our garden has actually done. Surprising since our first failed and the container gardens weren't that great. We've kept it 100% organic, in the interest of the health of our children and of ourselves (and we really can't afford pesticides and fertilizers anyways).
We've gone from this, the early stages of this year's garden:
And to this: And finally this. Looks like a bunch of weeds! We had to stake up the bell peppers & eggplants 'cause they kept laying over.
If you're new to the blog, I'm sure you're wondering what in the world we've planted. Here' what's growing in our garden:
Summer Squash, Zucchini Squash
Our squash & zucchini plants keep producing more & more. Thankfully, they freeze well, and make great gifts for friends & family. Picture above is some of the squash with a motherload of cucumbers and lots of jalapenos, too.
We were able to make homemade pickles from some of our cucumber harvest!
I've made plenty of Pepper Poppers with the jalapenos we've harvested. We've got peppers of all sizes growing on our 3 jalapeno plants.Yellow & Green Bell Peppers
Our yellow bell peppers have all come out green. I haven't let them grow long enough to see if they'll turn yellow or stay green. One of our bell pepper plants has the funniest-shaped fruit, more like jumbo jalapenos than bell peppers.
I harvested one aubergine eggplant already, and got 3 more growing on the plant.
This is our 3rd white eggplant. They're really interesting to watch grow because they do look like an egg growing on a plant.
There are 6 ears of corn tha are ready to put up. I'm so excited! We'll harvest these Sunday evening for dinner. Got more ears growing on some smaller plants, too. "Watchin' my corn pop up in rows!"
Our two carrots have become quite close neighbors with our watermelon. So far they're doing well and are continuing to grow.
Here's one of our first little baby cantaloupes. They are really fuzzy at this size. We've found several, and we're looking forward to watching them ripen into juicy, yummy fruit.
No little watermelons growing just yet, but boy is it spreading! We've seen plenty of flowers, so we know it's trying to do its job. I think I might pinch off some of the ends to encourage it to go to seed for good.
I forgot to take a pic of our strawberries. They've slowed down some, but are still producing good red fruit. The bunnies have finally stopped attacking the fruit, thankfully.Blueberries
We had some of the prettiest blueberries growing on this bush. And then the bunnies ate them. And then the bunnies at the bush. Thankfully, the blueberry bush is alive, but the blueberries are far-gone. In the near future, we'll put up a chicken wire fence along our picket fence to keep the bunnies out for next season.Raspberries
Some of our raspberries were bunny-confiscated, but I managed to eat a few before they got to them. Happily, the plant sprouted new growth and new berries, which are up high and bunny-proof (hopefully bird-proof, too!). I'd like to use these raspberries in my cereal for breakfast during the week.
Our blackberry bush had a few flowers but they never produced any berries. It has a lot of new growth, but I'm not sure if we'll get berries. Maybe in the Fall season we'll have some. If anything, there's always next year. :)
The oregano was a surprised success. My daughter helped me plant seeds, and she accidentally dumped the oregano seeds in the wrong place. I thought they'd blown away because I couldn't see where she dropped them (they are very tiny & blend into the soil). Then one day as I was picking some weeds, I noticed leaves that were a different shape than what I'd seen. I picked a couple leaves, rubbed them in my fingers, sniffed & discovered we had oregano growing! Worked out good because I've used plenty of oregano in our meals. I'll also dry the rest of the oregano out about the end of July and bottle some of it up for Christmas presents.
No picture here. Forgot to take a pic. I plan on drying these and making Garlic Chive Mashed Potatoes in the next couple weeks.Leeks
Only a handful of the leek seeds actually sprouted, but they at least some grew!Radishes
After the initial attack by caterpillars, my radishes made a full recovery, yay!Big Boy Tomatoes
We'll be harvesting these soon, and there's a lot more growing. My plan is to use some of the tomatoes to make homemade ketchup, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce.
Parks Whopper Tomato
Ony one tomato growing on my one & only Parks Whopper this year. Last year's Parks Whopper, which was a container plant, had about 4 or 5. The plant's been really weird--acts like it's dead or dying with very dry leaves, but this lone tomato is doing so well, we hate the thought of pulling up the plant.
We planted these way too late in the season, but surprisingly they flowered and have sprouted pea pods, even with the heat of summer and the plants only got about 6 or 7 inches tall. I just harvested the pea pods and will use them in a freezer meal I'll make.
Blue Lake Green Beans
Green beans growing up a trellis hubs made for me. The window is a new addition to our house, and hubs hadn't added the window trim at the time of this picture, in case you were wondering about the foil-like tape around the window. :)
Red Leaf Lettuce
We harvested about 4 heads of lettuce and made some scrumptuous salads with them. The bunnies finished off the remaining heads before we were able to harvest them. I'm glad that I was at least able to try it before the bunnies took over.
So if you're considering starting your own garden, I highly recommend it. Even if it fails (as our measly gardens did for several years), just remember that each failure is a teaching opportunity. We learned to change the location of our garden, to use compost, to use a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler, that cardboard is an excellent weed barrier...and on & on. By no means are we experts, but we are doing our part to be self-reliant and save on our overall monthly grocery expenses. It's a really nice feeling.