Wednesday, August 21, 2013

how does our garden grow?

apparently, very good.

this was a project we started in june, getting ready for the summer and wanting to grow our own vegetables.  why not, right?  bobby and i talked about putting the garden in the side yard where he stores his camaro.  it's the perfect little space that gets great sunlight throughout the day.  the rest of our yard is very shady - and in need of some major gardening tlc. but that's a project for another time.

the first weekend we researched containers, went to the hardware supply store and got to work.  bobby and jordan built the containers from treated wood.  he made 4 boxes measuring 3 feet by 5 feet.  they came together in a weekend and we were good to go.

the following weekend we took sofia to the gardening store (the same one i went to with my parents when i was a little girl) to pick out the plants.  that was fun and overwhelming. what variety of tomatoes do we want?  do we plant watermelon? is it too late to plant strawberries? how many do we need? we asked a lot of questions and got everything answered from the garden guy and from people who were also shopping and were willing to share their expertise.  one woman recommended a tomato plant that she had success with and it's doing great for us too.  we grabbed planter's mix and we were on our way.

we filled the boxes, mixed the soil and started planting. bobby finished it off by installing the sprinkler system.

here's what we are growing:
one box for herbs: basil, thyme, parsley and mint.  one box for  tomato plants: cherry, roma, regular. one box for zucchini and bell peppers and one for the strawberry plants.

bobby also designed these covers for the boxes to keep the summer sun from scorching the plants.  but the summer has been so mild and i started noticing that the plants, especially the tomato plants, were starting to bump up against the mesh, so we removed it.  and that's when things really took off.

the herbs i knew would do well.  i've grown mint before and know how it can take over.  between that and the basil they overshadowed the parsley and thyme so those two didn't make it or are lost underneath the other plants.

it was great seeing the zucchini blossoms start to come out.  they are so pretty and i've been tempted to stuff and fry them but haven't gotten around to it.

the zucchini has gone crazy! we have more than we could ever use.  and i learned to not let them grow this big.  you have to pick them everyday or they will.

and the tomatoes,  these are my favorite.  i pick them everyday.  small orange ones, nice pear shaped red ones, and big, round, juicy ones.  they are flourishing and growing and so yummy.

we've run into a few issues along the way.  probably the number one mistake was planting too much.  the boxes are very cramped.  we easily could have cut our choices in half. we were being over zealous i guess.  lesson learned.

the tomato cages are not tall enough.  some of the branches are hanging over the cages and are heavy with fruit so they need to be tied up. a project for this weekend. it's now all one big intertwined mess.  but they are growing.

the strawberries never had a chance.  we think it was the watering system.  there just wasn't enough water for them to grow.  and to be honest, other than planting them on mounds we didn't really know anything about growing them so we just let those fade away.

we haven't found any tomato worms but we did have some strange fungus growing.  hopefully we got rid of it all.  i forget to cut the flowers off the basil and i know that is a important to keep them growing. i try to go out in the morning before the bees attack to do that but there are so many.

i love going out to the garden every morning to see what's changed.  i took these pictures to show the growth over the summer:




the best part is that we use what we grow.

we eat lots of tomatoes at our house.  i will pack them for lunch for the kids and they eat them like grapes.  i throw them in my salad or chop them up for chicken hot dogs.

i use a vegetable peeler for the zucchini and cook the ribbons with tomatoes and use that as a topping for the pasta, so good!  bobby's grandma made zucchini bread with some of them.  i have given away a lot.

i add the basil to pizza, pasta, or bruschetta.  and the mint we put in tea, lemonade and maybe an occasional sunday cocktail.

this morning's bounty
i am doing some research on what to plant next.  i've seen some gorgeous lettuce gardens that i might try in one of the boxes.  carrots, broccoli, beans, and onions.  or i'll just clean up and prep the boxes for the spring.  looking forward to all of it.

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