Summer 2013 Garden Update

I haven’t updated you on our garden this year since 6 weeks in, at the end of May.  And there’s a reason.  The garden has been WIMPY this year.

The garden was happy when the rain started but by July with the weeks and weeks of rain and little sun, it was just done for.

Here is our garden not too long ago:

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The big boy tomatoes have all been small and not in very good shape. I only was able to make salsa ONCE and even then it was not very good.

We’ve had a few peppers but without the tomatoes to make salsa, they’ve almost been a waste.

My zucchini plants died early on.  I think I only got 2 or 3 zucchinis out of it.

The cucumber plant never seemed to really pick up.  I got 2 or 3 very strange looking cucumbers.

My parsley plant I’ve had since last year rotted out.

The one bright spot is the cherry tomato plant has been giving us a steady stream of tomatoes all year.  Scott eats them like candy and we’ve been able to give several small bags away.

 

Overall, I’m happy we did it again.  I still love to watch the process but this was definitely nothing like last year

A good reminder, though, that some seasons will be plentiful while others are lean and a lot of that has nothing to do with what we control.  Same place, same plants, same gardener but different weather.  To add some life to our garden, I got this porch swing so our visitors could enjoy being outside.  Our hope lies in the fact this season, whether literal and figurative, will be over soon and we can give it another go.

If you have one, how did your garden do this year?

Summer Garden 2013 – 6 Week Update

I was really beginning to think that last year’s garden was a fluke.  Maybe just beginner’s luck.  I am happy to report though that after 6 weeks (ish), the plants in the garden are in fact GROWING.  Yahoo!!

Here are the beds the day we planted in mid April:

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And here it is now:

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We have been getting drenched with rain shower after rain shower here in the Carolinas and the garden has been literally soaking it up.  It’s green and happy and I think everything has at least tripled in size, if not more.

The squash and cucumber plants all have blooms on them.

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Green peppers have popped out which is much earlier than last year.  I think my tomato plants last year overshadowed my pepper plants so I was sure to give it plenty of space this year.

 

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The jalapenos have popped out too.  I always think they are so adorable when they’re tiny like that.

 

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This is our first grape tomato plan—the first one I’ve ever seen, actually–and that top right tomato turning red is our first tomato of the year.

I’ve found this particular tomato plant downright fascinating.  The way the stems are holding the tomatoes, how each stem alternates, evenly space down to the tomato capping the end, to me just screams of its ultimate Creator. 

I mean, how is it that one little tiny seed has all the information in it to know how to do that?  How??  How does it know what leaves to have and how to align these stems and how to make these oval shaped tomatoes that turn to red with so many nutrients inside?  I just can’t get over it.

Insert dumb-founded picture of me here because that’s how I feel.  I keep walking out and looking at this little bunch of tomatoes in complete awe.  If there ever was a time I’d call God awesome, this would be one of them.

 

Talk to me about your garden if you planted one or your favorite vegetable to eat in the summer.

Summer Garden 2013

In case you weren’t around last year at this time, I planted my first summer garden. 

People that know me well know that I do NOT have a green thumb.  One year, Emma gave me a begonia for Mother’s Day and said Mom, do not kill this one!

Against all odds, the garden last year was wildly successful. It was one of my favorite adventures yet.  If you want to catch up on some of the posts, check out the posts in the Gardening Category.

As a quick update from the last post there, my carrot seeds did grow through the winter and I just picked the last 6 or 8 carrots last week.  So awesome being able to pick a carrot and use it a soup.

So, this weekend we planted this year’s summer garden.

It was a quick affair this time. The raised beds were done, the soil was in.  I just weeded it a bit and turned the soil, adding a bit of peat moss.  I have no idea if that’s what I was supposed to do or not—please don’t consider me an expert quite yet.

We went last Saturday morning and got $30 of starter plants—I only include the price so you can see how affordable it is compared to the amount of produce you receive once you have the initial beds ready.

We laid the plants out in their containers.

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And then Emma and I planted them while Lexi opted to play photographer.

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Bella helped where she could—mainly providing the cute factor.

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And here is the official “before” picture for the year:

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It’s hard to tell what’s what, so here is the layout:

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Overall, I have less plants than last year.  The garden was a jungle.  I really would like to add a 3rd box next year.

What I added more: jalapeño peppers

What I cut back on: tomato and zucchini (holy tomatoes and zucchini, Batman!)

New things I’m trying:  Grape tomatoes and cucumber

Things I didn’t bring back: Broccoli and lettuce, which I didn’t think had a great return on money for us.

My one concern for this year is that since last summer we replaced our fence with the 6’ privacy fence.  Tucker kept jumping the 4’ picket fence.  Tucker!

The back line which has all the tomato plants don’t get nearly as much sun so it will be interesting to see if they are as productive as last year.

I just can’t explain how awesome it was to see everything grow. 

If you need some extra inspiration, be sure to check out this post where I talk about the film East of Eden. I might have to give it another viewing myself.

Overall, I’m super duper excited to see how it turns out again and highly suggest anyone to give it a try. 

Do you garden?  Have you planted yet?

On Planting Seeds

Have I told you lately how much I loved gardening this year?  My pepper plants are still producing and we just took out our tomato plants this past weekend.   I can’t even count how many batches of salsa I made this summer.  It. was. glorious.  I’m pretty sure I lived off smoothies and salsa for about 6 weeks straight.

Also this last week I decided to take the plunge and plant carrot seeds.  I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before but I am terrified of seeds.  Like, T-total terrified.

What if they don’t grow? 

What if I waste all my time, money, water and space and it does…nothing?

What if I stare at the dirt hoping and praying for change and it just keeps looking like…dirt? 

But today?  Today I came home after two days of rain and look:

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Do you see, do you see?  It’s baby carrots!  Baby carrot plants!  It’s working!  The seeds are really growing!  I know preschoolers and their Dixie cups are laughing at my inability to believe a seed would actually grow but honest to goodness, I didn’t think they would.  I felt like a momma in the maternity ward and had Scott take a picture.

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God didn’t waste a single moment of that garden.  He hasn’t all year.  I’m still leaning into this new mentor relationship and I feel the same way about it as I do those little carrot seeds. 

What if she doesn’t grow? 

What if I waste all my time, money, emotions and she does…nothing? 

What if I stare at the dirt hoping and praying and it just keeps looking like dirt?  I mean, not that she’s dirt, but you know, not living up to her growth potential and all that.

And God just said, you’re planting seeds, Amy.  Give it time.  Give it what it needs to flourish.  It’s supposed to work this way. 

I’m so scared of the risk and doubtful of the growth but I know it has to be better than never planting the seed at all.

Garden Update – Month 3

Can you believe it’s already been a month since my last garden update?  I almost didn’t do another one because I didn’t think the garden had changed much but um, wow.  You’ll see in a minute it has.

When we planted:

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Month 1:

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Month 2:

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And now, Month 3:

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So, um, yeah.  The tomatoes and zucchini are going kind of nuts (sorry the coloring is weird.  It had just rained and the sun was going down when I took these).

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The squash on this side is about 3 feet outside of the box and just hangs over it.

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The tomatoes are using the fence and are growing outside of our yard.

 

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I look at this picture and cannot believe it is me.  I grew vegetables, ya’ll.  My aunt over the weekend said, “Who would have thought you would have a garden?”  Not me, folks!

 

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Emma was so impressed with this perfect little tomato tonight.  It had gotten blood red hidden at the very bottom and back.  

You wouldn’t know it, but I still have jalapeno peppers, green peppers, basil, marigolds and parsley growing underneath all that too. 

We’ve been using up the zucchini by making chocolate zucchini bread, zucchini cakes, and sautéed zucchini and onions.  So far with the tomatoes, we’ve done tomato sandwiches and tomato slices for July 4th cheeseburgers.  I’ve gotten more basil and parsley than I can keep track of and at least 6-8 jalapeno peppers to make jalapeno poppers.  I’d say the investment of about $35 in plants has been well worth it.

I say it every time I write an update, but I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed my little garden.  It’s just enough to keep me busy but not overwhelm me.  I love fussing over the tomato plants and getting them tied up correctly and watching the zucchini nearly grow before my eyes.  I love to trim back the parsley and basil.  I’m turning into a little garden geek.  I LOVE IT.