Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Abounding Abundance - garden

Part of the Abounding Abundance blog is gardening. Since living in our present house, we have planted a garden every year. It allows my farmer husband the opportunity to play in the dirt. It gives me the opportunity to dream up new ways to use the produce in our menus.

Our favorite plants are tomatoes and green peppers. Much to our chagrin and annoyance, tomatoes and green peppers are typically the two plants we struggle with the most. We have never been able to pinpoint what the problem is as it seems to vary year to year. Some years we get stem rot from too much rain. One year we put the mulch down too early and everything molded after more torrential rain. Sometimes I wonder if it's our neighbor's black walnut tree that is causing so many problems. I've read that when rain water runs off a black walnut tree, it's toxic to garden plants. Really, it's hard to tell. We've done soil testing and countless other experiments to try and make the garden better. Things ranging from crushing egg shells and planting them with the tomatoes for extra calcium, planting marigolds as a bug deterrent, to making an au natural mixture of milk and water to use as a fungicide. We haven't had stellar results with any of those experiments.

My friend Katie asked if we were going to plant a garden this year - heck yes! Just because we had a baby, doesn't make us less hungry. Besides, planting a garden is a money saver if you make the most out of it. And true to Team Lance & Kara, we not only planted a garden, we expanded the garden. I guess we're always trying to test the limits of our sanity :) And if we manage to produce a successful tomato crop, I've already agreed to canning tomatoes. Lance and I also have plans on putting up sweet corn too. And probably drying apples again. Yep, I've confirmed it. I'm nuts. But like we always do - go big or go home. It's always an all or nothing game with us. Hit rewind of previous summers: Strawberry jam ... Applesauce ... Lance would say freezing breast milk.

Anyway, getting back to the point. Our garden. Each year we try and plant something new. Last year it was eggplant (which never did anything. We got our first blossom in late September) and onions (the onions got toppled in a windstorm and never really grew). In fact our garden was planted super late to begin with. My memory is hazy, but I think Lucan was born before anything was planted. I'm not sure, those first days were tumultuous to say the least. As far as new things go, we have a yellow tomato plant. We replanted eggplant again and it never came up. I wanted to do garlic, but we ran out of time. So the only true new item in our garden this year is spinach. The garden this year is pretty standard for us:

Cucumbers. I love me some girlie cucumber sandwiches.

Green beans. We really didn't need to plant more as each year I freeze gallon ziplock bags full of them. Lance was digging at the bottom of our freezer and found 2009 ones. Opps.

Sugar snap peas. Perfect for snacking and stir frys. Once the peas are done, Lance is going to plant late season carrots. Carrots will be a first for me.

The peas climb quite well on the fence. The peas, green beans, and cucumbers share three sides of this fence.

Some Early Girl tomatoes peeping through. I cannot wait for my first tomato of the season. It will be a banner day!

Edamame. Much cheaper than buying it. Ours is from special order seed as seedlings aren't mainstream enough to be found in a local green house.

Hot pepper plant for salsa. I learned my lesson last year - use rubber gloves when dicing. Otherwise you could be left with one on-fire eye from inadvertently rubbing it.

Cilantro trying to take over my basil. Cilantro and basil are my two favorite herbs in the entire world. You cannot substitute dried for the freshness and quality of garden picked cilantro and basil.

I really do need to cut back my cilantro.

Cherry tomato. We're also growing Roma tomatoes too, which is my favorite variety. They are the perfect cooking tomato.

Spinach. Yum. We also planted lettuce, but it didn't come up. Bummer.

Baby zucchinis. I'm sure in two weeks I'll have them coming out of my ears and I won't be able to get rid of them or sneak them into any other foods without arousing Lance's suspicion.

See what I'm talking about? This zuc is one plant. It's a monster. Just think if we'd plant multiples. Bad idea.

Very weedy onions.

Butternut squash. Speaking of which, we still have two from last year. They really do last indefinitely. Regardless, we need to get rid of them. I think we've already roasted three and frozen them. Last year we had a bumper crop of butternut squash - the plant jumped the fence and was halfway across the yard.

Mary, Mary quite contrary - this is how my garden grows!


Nicole @ one half world said...

Good for you for doing the garden plus a newborn baby!! And you know we'll take any leftover zucchini or squash or cucumbers. Josh loves those cucumber sandwiches! :)

Rachel and Jamie said...

Yes awesome job Kara! I have garden envy! And we will also gladly take any leftovers... :)