Monday, July 25, 2011

How My Garden Grows

So, chickens may not be my thing, but gardening is much more tolerable.

While my dreams of gathering eggs in a vintage sundress and apron may have never come true, (See the link above) I have, in fact, gathered veggies and herbs in a sundress and apron. On several occasions.

As I have said before, I am not a natural born gardener; I kill a lot of plants with my ignorance, and everything I do keep alive is only because of what I have learned in books, magazines, and mostly on the Internet.

 So this year, instead of just going and buying plants in the spring, I decided I was going to start my own from seeds.
 I did tomatoes, and that was a huge fail. Out of all the packages of seed I started in the very late winter/early spring, I have two plants growing. The rest of my tomato patch is from plants I purchased after my failed seedling attempt.

I also started peppers, which are a little late, but thriving beautifully.

 And, I saved basil seeds from last years crop and re-planted the seeds this spring, and to my amazement, they grew, and I have been enjoying basil from the plants for some months.

 I also have dahlias, zinnias, and marigold I planted from seeds given to me by a friend who saved them from her plants. So that was pretty cool.

 Also started from seeds, kinda accidentally, was my pumpkin patch; which resulted from my dumping of the rotten harvest decor pumpkins off of my front porch in the garden, where they sat all winter, and in the chilly early spring, popped up in globs. I transplanted them into rows, and had very healthy pumpkin vines all over. Last week I harvested them, cooked and pureed them and now they're in my freezer waiting to go  into pies, bread, and roulade.

 I kina got overly excited about my garden, after the cold winter; and I planted all kinds of stuff: broccoli, cabbage, spinach, Swiss chard, lettuce, onions, and carrots for my early garden; a lot of which is in the freezer already.


 I also planted green beans, the previously mentioned tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash,and a whole field of red potatoes. That was Kevin's idea. Plus, I get okra from our friend. Our corn didn't make it. For some weird reason....

 We're getting everything from friends; three people we know have "too much garden" and we're getting buckets full from them and buckets full from ours, and giving buckets full away, and canning buckets full.

 I kid you not.

 My enclosed back porch is stacked with buckets, crates, and bushel baskets, waiting to be canned or given away.

 Most mornings you can find me in the garden weeding, hoeing, picking, and watering along with my feline garden buddies.
 Most afternoons - even during the recent heat wave - I can be found in the kitchen - washing, snapping, chopping, mixing, stuffing, boiling, peeling,  blanching, and more than anything, sweating and wilting.


 Of course we've been eating it as fast as we can as well..... BLT, tomato pie, tomato sandwiches, stuffed tomatoes, home made salsa, cucumber salad, cucumber chicken salad, squash and zucchini on the grill, oven fried okra, and anything else we can think of.

There is something very fulfilling about walking out to the garden - whether or not I am wearing a vintage sundress and apron - picking vegetables straight off the plant, walking back into the kitchen, and making them into a meal.
It is also satisfying to look at a plate of food and know where every item came from - because I grew and butchered them with my own two hands. (Or my husband's two hands; as he is in charge of the  butchering that gets done.)

I certainly have gained an appreciation for the women of yesteryear and all they did to make sure their families were fed; when there were no grocery stores, farmer's markets or roadside stands to buy food from; or if there was, there was no money to buy food with.

(This is a group of about five tomatoes that grew together in a mass.)

 In the next few weeks I'll be getting my fall plots ready; with more broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, carrots, cauliflower, and whatever else can be planted in the fall. Plus our field of "salad greens".

 And all winter long we'll be enjoying Summer from a jar.


Catherine said...

Our garden has been producing lots, too. Luckily, the different kinds of fruits and veggies come in different waves, so as one is going out another is coming in. That makes it slightly less stressful...

Rose Red said...

congratulations on the production! This year gardening really paid off!

Tabby Tiger said...

Wow. You are not born a real gardener but you really have the hands of a gardener. You really manage great with those harvest. Curious with the tomato, what happened to that? I never encounter something like that on my garden.

Piano Toy said...

Hi! I don't think you are a newbie, your actually a pro in gardening. Look at that great harvest of carrots. That is a sign of a gardener who knows already the techniques. Keep it up!