First Signs of Life!

IMG_2877

Woo hoo!!! Our first asparagus spears are up! I’ve been out looking for them every day for the past week to no avail, and then wouldn’t you know it, the one day I didn’t go, my husband came back and reported he’d found three spears. We only have a 4′ X 4′ box for our asparagus, so as you can imagine, we don’t get a lot at a time. That’s okay, though — what we do get is delicious!

That’s the only thing we have growing right now. I don’t think we’re going to get any blueberries at all this year. I don’t know if the cold snap got them or what, but we don’t have any blooms. We do at least have leaves coming in, though, so they’re not dead.

Guy In Garden

A couple of weeks ago, my husband went out to make some repairs on one of our boxes and discovered that he had to replace all the boards. What we thought were some rotten spots were actually termite damage. That lettuce and spinach you see in the background? All gone — it never died out over the winter, but it was too bitter to eat, so we turned it all under. It didn’t feed us from our plates, but it will feed us in the nourishment our new plants will get from it.

I planted some more in the box you see him repairing there. We’ve had a nice rain, so I expect to see some poking up before too long.

Now that it’s starting to warm up and stay light longer, my hands are just itching to get in the dirt! Our beds are prepared; now we’re just waiting for the threat of frost to pass. It looks like our last frost/freeze date is May 12th, but I may cheat a little and start a week early. The first year, I didn’t know any better and put them out before then and they did great. Last year, I tried to do things by the book and still had a pitiful garden…. I guess it just takes patience and experimentation to find out what works best.

While I wait, I’ll just keep going out and checking for other signs of life….

Happy growing!

~Terri

 

New Year, New Growing Season

I just saw that it’s been two years since I posted anything. Where does the time go? I’m going to try to do better, I promise.

Last year’s garden was certainly not worth writing about; in fact, it was downright depressing. We had a LOT of rain throughout the Spring, and I think everything just pretty much drowned.

My one success story for the season was my basil. I started it from seed last year, and I had larger, more vigorous plants than I’ve ever had. I made plenty of pesto from that!

Basil 2016

There was one other thing of note, though not a good note…. Some kind of critters that I’ve never seen before showed up on my cucumber plants. They were really cool-looking, but they were definitely not friends of my cukes. I still don’t know what they are. Do you recognize them?

Cucumber Critters

Here’s hoping for a better garden this year!

Progress!

It’s been a while since I posted anything on here. You know how it is….. You have good intentions, but those “intentions” don’t get you very far if you don’t do something about them. I am probably the world’s greatest procrastinator, and I kept thinking “I’ll do it later.” Well, here it is about three weeks later, and I’m just getting around to it….

I thought I would post a few pictures of the garden’s progress so far. I was so worried for a while there that nothing seemed to be growing, but things have definitely hit their stride now.

My Mom gave me the best compliment anyone could give me when she saw it this past weekend. She said, “Your Uncle Herman would be proud.” He was the person who gave me my first tomato plant (and some horse manure to go with it) and piqued my interest in gardening. I hope he would be pleased to know how much he inspired me.

June 12, 2015
June 12, 2015
July 16, 2015
July 16, 2015
July 22, 2015
July 22, 2015

 

Fast Food

Fresh-cut Basil

Fresh-cut Basil

Pesto Pasta
Pesto Pasta

I have a confession:  My stomach rules me! When I’m hungry, I can’t think about anything but food. Some of the old wisdom of things to do to keep from eating is just wasted on me. None of it works. All I can think is, “I have to eat,” “I’m starving,” “I can’t wait another hour while I cook something to eat!”

On those days, it sure is nice to have one of those go-to meals that takes less than 30 minutes to fix. Now that things are growing well in the garden, I have one more option to add to my “go-to” list – pesto pasta. Pesto is really easy to make – it’s just basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, and a little sea salt. Process the basil, pine nuts, garlic and sea salt in your food processor, add the olive oil as it’s running, then add the parmesan cheese, and voila! You’re done!

Of course, you have to cook your pasta, but that usually takes less than 20 minutes unless you’re gluten-free like me. Then it can take just a few minutes longer.

Now I realize green pasta might not look appetizing to some folks, but I promise, it’s delicious.

I grilled up some chicken breasts to go with this. I just cut them into thin slices and put them on the grill right before I started the water boiling for the pasta. While the water was coming to a boil, I whipped up the pesto, and once the pasta was done, so was the chicken. A small salad completed the meal.

We had a great, fresh-tasting “fast food” meal that we could feel good about.

Patience Is A Virtue

At The Beginning   May 13, 2015
At The Beginning
May 13, 2015
On June 12th
On June 12th

Patience IS a virtue. Unfortunately, it is not one that I was blessed with.

I know better, but somewhere in my mind, I want to be able to stick the plants in the ground and have them mature overnight. I’ve been getting discouraged because although my plants looked very healthy, they didn’t seem to be growing very much. I was worried, particularly with the tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini, that they might not be getting enough sun. We have a tree that seems to be casting a LOT more shade over the garden this year than it did last.

Another worry was that this year, unlike last, I didn’t dig bone meal into the soil when I planted. I read that there was some concern over Mad Cow disease with the bone meal, and although I think it’s probably perfectly safe, I decided not to use it this year. I dug in some greensand and rock phosphate a few weeks before planting instead.

Now while I was doing all this worrying, our little plants were busy working. Many of them were still young seedlings when I set them out, and they had a lot of work to do to establish healthy root systems and strong stems. Now that they’ve done that, they seem to have hit a bit of a growth spurt this week. They’ve grown quite a bit, and are looking really healthy. I hope that’s a sign of good things to come. I can’t wait to eat all those veggies!

New Arrivals

Plants from Territorial (1 of 1)

   Yippee! More plants for my little garden have arrived! I started quite a few things from seed, but since I’m still new to this gardening thing, I decided to order some plants also. I got my shipment from Territorial Seed Company, www.territorialseed.com yesterday, and I couldn’t be happier! They were extremely well packed, and after a little drink of water, they’re looking fantastic today. Now I just have to wait for it to warm back up a little before I plant them. We’ve had a cold front move through our area, and I want to make sure the soil is warm enough for the eggplants and red bell peppers.

    I planted tomatoes and lavender last weekend, and I set out the cucumbers and zucchini on Wednesday. I also planted spinach and carrot seeds. Now that I’m planting more and starting some things from seeds, I’m learning a few lessons, maybe the hard way…..

    1. I have to make sure I am organized and write down what I learn from my research right away, and get my planting schedule done accordingly. Case in point:  I should have planted my spinach seeds when I planted the lettuce. I hope we’re still going to have a little spinach to eat before it gets too hot.

    2. I have to remember that it’s not a competition. I get a little plant envy when I see that others’ gardens seem further along than ours is, but then I remember that the same thing happened last year and the garden did great.

    3. Only plant things you really like, because if they do well, you might be eating a lot of them. I’m already giving away lettuce and herbs because we have a surplus. Of course, that makes me extremely happy, because there’s nothing better than sharing your blessings with others.

    The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know, but learning is part of the joy of this whole process. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Lettuce Eat Salad

Yesterday we got our first lettuce of the season out of the garden. I cut it yesterday morning, washed the living daylights out of it (we grow organically, so some bugs seem to be inevitable), and put it in the fridge to use for dinner. Since it was our first lettuce, we decided it should be the star of the show. I made a salad with orange chicken, mandarin oranges, avocado, and candied pecans. It was delicious!

First Lettuce Oriental Chicken Salad (1 of 1)