Taking a little break from all the baby talk today to speak to my fellow garden folks. Or people who live vicariously through my garden (looking at you Mommy McD!) Basically, I just wanted to share a little update on how things are going here at Midwest Garden de’Casa Jones.
Last year all I had was a little section of the yard for two tomato plants. I tried to grow some bush beans, but the local bunnies decided they’d rather eat them. This year I decided to go much bigger with three raised garden beds and a few well placed pots. Here’s how we’re standing so far, about halfway through the summer.
GARDEN BOX #1
- First Planting: Cucumbers, 4 Broccoli, 6 White Onions
- Second Planting: Cucumbers, 6 White Onions, 2 Varieties of Lettuce
I thought when I planted the cucumber starter that it wasn’t going to make it. But now, OH CRAP. I wasn’t sure when I planted it if I needed a trellis, and clearly I definitely did. This plant has spread out all over hell as you can see, and I’m going to be finding cucumbers through the rest of the summer all over the deck and flowers. Next year I’ll be a little smarter and build this guy a nice climbing structure (and when I say ‘I’ this of course means ‘Adam’) so I don’t have to hunt for my fresh cucumbers. So far I’ve only picked four cucumbers, so I decided to start small and test my pickle recipe on a little batch to make sure I don’t make a whole batch of pickles only to find I hate my recipe. Anyone who has a recipe they love, feel free to share!
The onions are still plumping up, and I was pleased to see that my broccoli decided not to all come in at the same time, allowing me to space out eating some fresh and harvesting some to freeze (they used to live in the empty section you see above). Sadly I decided to skip the blanching step in broccoli freeze prep, and after freezing them fresh off the plant I found the little broccoli bulbs breaking off! They’re packed away now, but I’m worried how they’ll be once I unfreeze and attempt to cook them. Lesson learned I guess! Also, with the broccoli all harvested this left me room to plant two kinds of lettuce in their place. Should be eating those in 30-40 days. Currently it will come up where you see the blank spot in the bed. Grow lettuce, grow!
GARDEN BOX #2
- First Planting: Cherry Tomatoes, 1 Broccoli, Zucchini, Pole Beans
- Second Planting: Cherry Tomatoes, Pole Beans, Brussel Sprouts
My second box has the best sun of the bunch, which is why my zucchini plant turned into a producing monster (it used to live in the now empty space of the box). I can’t even count the amount of fresh zucchini we’ve eaten, and the amount I’ve frozen should last till spring easily. Sadly the rain this summer has been record breaking, so the plant quickly tired out and began rotting and growing fungus. Considering the amount of zucchini I harvested, I didn’t hesitate to call it done and pull the plant. The never ending rain and low temps have also done a number on my cherry tomato plant as you can see. There are lots of little green tomatoes growing away and I’ve picked a bunch so far, but the leaf rot running through the plant is taking over. The one broccoli plant was quickly harvested and pulled, and the beans at the back of the box love their little trellis and are happily growing me many many green beans! I’ve had one big harvest so far, but looking forward to more. It’s still producing like crazy.
Now with the zucchini and broccoli cleared out of the front of the box it left room for me to plant some brussel sprouts from seed. I’ve never grown brussel sprouts before, but I know they’re a ‘plant in July – harvest in the fall’ plant, I also know I LOVE eating them, so here’s to seeing how they do! Stay tuned for this RIVETING development.
GARDEN BOX #3
- First Planting: Beef Steak Heirloom Tomatoes, Jalapeno, Yellow Squash, Carrots
- Second Planting: Beef Steak Heirloom Tomatoes, Jalapeno, Carrots, 2 Basil, Lettuce (?)
This final box gets some of the less desirable sun, something I didn’t know when I first planted here. Note for next summer! The rain, plus the lower amount of full sun means my beef steak tomatoes are growing, but they’re also dealing with leaf rot, and I just don’t think I’ll harvest as many tomatoes as I will from the cherry tomato plant. Lesson learned for next year, no tomatoes in box #3! The jalepeno plant has produced three little spicy friends, and we’ve eaten exactly zero of them. Oopse! I have decided I’m not growing jalepeno next year. Turns out, I DON’T COOK WITH IT! Lesson learned. The yellow squash plant was a beast to end all beasts (used to live in the now empty section of the box). It needed it’s own box clearly seeing as it squished my carrots and began growing outside the box into the flowers behind it! Which made finding fresh squash a mission impossible task. Again, the weather made the decision for me and after a HEALTHY harvest this summer, I decided it was time to go when the zucchini plant was removed.
With the squash removed I finally could thin out my carrots and give them the fighting chance and sunlight they require. They should do much better now. With the open space I planted two basil plants and I think the timing should work out nicely because usually I plant basil in the spring and my plant bolts before I have a single ripe tomato. Now I should have fresh basil and ripe tomatoes at the same time. Imagine that! I think I also added a row of lettuce to this box, but to be honest I am totally clueless thinking back. Blame pregnancy brain. If I did plant lettuce I will be eating a LOT of salad in 30-40 days. Here’s to hoping it’s something else!
So there we have it folks. My absolutely THRILLING account of my midwest garden so far.
Let’s be honest. I wrote this 150% for me and me alone, and I’m ok with that.