Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Growing Challenge: First Harvest

Well, not technically my very first, but it is my first that I actually remembered to photograph. And therein lies all the difference.

I've pulled little bits of asparagus here and there. Not enough to actually get enough to cook, mind you, but enough to snack on while working in the garden. I clipped enough cilantro to use in the Thai Chicken recipe, right before it bolted (The cilantro, not the chicken.) in its desperate summer transformation into coriander. I've even pulled a carrot out to nibble on and a few leaves of lettuce for hamburgers. The time had come, however, to see if the mice had left me any strawberries and to taste them.

Strawberry plants.
The strawberry plants are massive this year. I think I frightened them by tossing lots of soil over them. Perhaps they thought they were going to be smothered? I did try, but apparently their desire to grow and fruit was stronger than I thought. Unfortunately, since they're on the same watering system as the rest of the plants, I think they're getting a little too much water. Some of the berries, the smaller ones, are extremely tasty while the larger ones are diluted and somewhat mushy. Oh well! I'll figure it out at some point.

There's always next year.

Right now, that's my mantra. If something doesn't appear to be going so well, I give myself a break by chanting, "There's always next year!". It makes me feel better.

Even if I'm possibly lying to myself. Hah!

Moving on...the tomatillo plants (My first time planting these.) are looking really good. Purple de Milpa is on the left and Toma Verde is on the right.
Pre-salsa version.

Also in the tomato family is the ground cherry. (I've never grown this before, either.) I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out. Is it as prolific as tomato plants? Is one enough for a family or not?
Ground cherry.

Heather pointed out that there are mites chewing on parts of it, but that some other critter appears to have them in check, since it hasn't taken over the whole plant. I kid you not when I tell you that to survive in my yard, you've gotta be tough! I don't have the time or energy to spray and poke and prod at plants. The birds, bugs and other critters are my first line of defense against the Bad Bugs and it appears to be working out! Yay for lazy gardening!

Below is one of the 4 different types of watermelons we planted. They all look pretty good so far! I really need to get out there and switch out the spray heads for drippers. Yeah, I'll get right on that!
Watermelon 'Sugar Baby'.

During a visit to another farm, we were offered extra seed potatoes that the farmer had "left over". After sowing her rows and rows and rows of potatoes, she had great big bags of seed potatoes left, so we gratefully grabbed a few handfuls and popped them in. There are three varieties here: All Blue, La Ratte and German Butterball. I'm looking forward to trying them all. (Yet another first for me. I feel like a newbie with all of these new veggies I've never actually grown before!)


Strangely enough I was running out of room to put in more plants, so I squeezed the potatoes in amongst the squash and next to the watermelons. It's gonna get crowded in there!

Holes for Taters.

My assorted squash are all up and doing well. I'm looking forward to figuring out how to store all of them! Pumpkin, yellow squash, zucchini, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, acorn and buttercup squash. I think we're gonna have a lot of soup this winter....

Squash plants! Pumpkin? Acorn? Who knows!

My pile of beans and basil plants are all moving along nicely. I really need to get in there and thin out the basil. I've grown both before and killed them both. Or have gotten 6 beans and 4 leaves. I get distracted, often, with all of the other things I have going on and wind up losing my harvest to being too busy to harvest!
Beans and basil.

Then there are my tomato plants. They've really started going crazy and if it weren't for the fact that this picture is now a week old, you'd really see the difference in height. I need to get in there and tie them up to their stakes, it's getting wild in there!

16 tomatoes, 12 peppers, and a few marigolds for grins.

Guess what I found in the tomato patch?


Why don't you look surprised? I'm always surprised when my plants do what they're supposed to do. Gardening is funny for me that way: I always feel like I'm totally faking it, so when something turns out just right, it gives me a little thrill. I get my thrills where I can.
Cherokee Purple.

Gardener's Delight.

Snow White.

There are plenty more tomatoes in there now, but it's late and I need to sleep.

So what are you growing this year?


Missy said...

Tomatoes, peppers, strawberries (first year so I don't expect much), basil, cilantro, oregano. My cilantro has all sorts of lovely flowers on it and is out of control. The basil will be there soon. The oregano is just now looking ready for harvest, but I think the massiveness of my tomato plants is choking it out. Any suggestions about how to dry herbs? I got more than I will ever use fresh.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Your cilantro, like mine, is busy turning into coriander. All else fails, save a few seeds to have fresh coriander and then toss a few seeds down and cover them to start a fall crop of cilantro. That's my plan! Next year I'm going to plant LOTS more!

Drying herbs is actually pretty easy (not that I've done it yet...). You're looking for a dry, dim location with fairly still air. An attic would be perfect. Failing that, tie them upside down in bunches in a dry, dimly lit room and wait. Or try spreading the herbs out on a screen laid flat. Or Google. Always good! : )

filthEdesign said...

we're growing cherry tomatoes - husky and some generic variety just labeled "cherry tomatoes" when we bought the starter plants.

we've had a ton of rain and they're on the south side of the house and they're doing famously :)

photo here

we also have 2 pepper plants, a red and a yellow, but one of them has a disease i think :(

and then i threw a cucumber in for S&Gs.

we've had a couple real tomato harvests, like 10 or so red at a time and 4 cucumbers total, and we're growing tons of basil - i can't get enough for pesto :)

and we planted 2 fireglow japanese red maples and lots of plants and flowers in raised beds here. :)

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Hey Em! I liked your planters! Where do you get the giant galvanized steel tubes from?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...