Tales From My Veggie Garden 2009 I

I am going to “try” to do at least a weekly update on my veggie garden. Hopefully things will go well and I will be able to update much more often as everything starts to grow.

We had very little luck last year as we lost our entire veggie bed because of back yard excavation for our addition. I tried container pots, but then when our 1 yr old was born with a heart defect and ended up in the NICU with open heart surgery, the whole thing pretty much died, aside from a few tomatoes. A year later and Owain is doing great!

Food is a huge expense for our growing family. I have 4 young boys!! Who are someday going to be 4 teenage boys! For years I have planted enough to be able to pull from the garden and throw on the grill. Now I need to learn how to grow a huge garden in a small space, with food for the grill as well as the freezer and for canning. We have a city lot, 50 x 150 and very little back yard. I have been experimenting, with varied results with canning jelly for about 6-8 months now and I am ready to learn how to go big. The big garden has to come first though!

This year, we managed to reclaim about half of our garden space and it is all corn. About 50-60 plants in all, I think. I will have to count them. We spent all of Mother’s Day weekend transplanting our shade garden, some shrubs, some ferns and bulbs and turned it into a veggie garden. On the side of the house, just outside our side kitchen door, some black raspberry clusters were transplanted from the corn garden and we found a few new wild shoots coming up in what used to be the shade garden. We almost doubled the size of our main black raspberry bush on the side of the house. By this time next year the new shoots will be the same size as the existing bush…YUM!! On that same side we dug up a forsythia bush and the last of the hostas that always seem to come back no matter how many times I dig them up. The forsythia bush was in front of a little privacy fence we made out of lattice and seemed like the perfect place to plant the pole beans.

When I started gardening, I started out with planting mostly seeds and buying a few plants. Then as we had more children and less time, I started buying more plants…which turned out to be pretty frustrating when half of the plants died when we got too busy. This year I went back to seeds and planted all seeds. Around 200 seed pods to start out with! I guess we started too early this year because we had an odd frost/freeze warning last week. Luckily, most of my plants were still the the trays…but several had died and many were on their way out. After the frost/freeze warning, we had several days of rain & then my parents were visiting for the Memorial Day weekend and no planting got done. I replanted all of my lost little seedling and even more of the plants that didn’t die…just in case.

Mother’s Day weekend, though, we managed to plant about 20 corn seedlings and dropped new seeds in between each corn plant along with another row of at least a 12-15 seeds tight up against the garden border for one last row. Most of the new seeds came up Memorial Day weekend and about 80 percent of the seedlings planted are thriving and getting tall.

We also planted about a dozen pole bean seedlings and tossed in several seeds in between each plant. Only about 25 percent of the original bean plants survived though, very sad, but the new seeds are coming up nicely. Now we need to find a way to get rid of the rabbit eating the new plants! I know it is the same rabbit that was eating my veggies from containers right outside of my kitchen and my front door last year. Sorry to say this rabbit, but your days are numbered, move along…know that you have been warned. Anyways, for good measure, I planted about another 15 more seeds today and am hoping to get rid of that rabbit before it kills all of my plants.

That same day I took my container of sweet peas outside to plant along with the pole beans, but never had the chance. They have been sitting in the container on the stoop outside of my kitchen door since Mother’s Day and started vining up a hanging pot that was sitting next to it. The pot contained at one time, my attempted (yet again) strawberry plants that I was hoping to finally figure out how to grow…alas, no luck. The sweet peas seemed to be very happy clinging to the hanging pot, so today I dug a quick hole in the center of it, picked up the whole twisted bundle of sweet peas and tossed them in. And again, for good measure, planted several new seeds around the outside of the pot. Now I don’t have to find time to make a T-pee for the little peas and move on to something new. So instead of having sweet peas vining up, they will be hanging down. We will see how this goes.

My kids planted several Sunflower seeds, so today, I got the seedlings in the ground. They did not look like they were going very well in their little container, so I hope they make it. I love huge Sunflower plants! They are so majestic and bright. And yet again, for good measure, I planted the entire rest of the bag of seeds. All I really need is for one Sunflower plant to grow tall and strong for each of my 3 oldest children and I will be happy…most importantly, they will be happy! While weeding and making room for the Sunflowers, I harvested some huge wild onions that I will be tossing on the grill tonight with our chicken.

I have still not yet made it out to my new veggie garden to plant anything…and all 18 of my tomato plants have died waiting to be planted. I had 6 cherry, 6 roma and 6 big slicer seedlings that were thriving, they were huge and doing great, but they couldn’t handle the wait and slowly began to wither away, no matter what I tried. I lost the very last one yesterday.

I do have many red and yellow peppers, eggplants, beets, dill, basil, cucumbers, honey dew, watermelon, cantaloupe, brussel’s sprouts, squash and zucchini. Many of them are the original seedlings from April, but many more are new seedlings. All of them will get planted by the end of this weekend though…they have to, I feel the pressure to get them in the ground before they die, but also to get them planted to get a good harvest out of them.

So that is were my veggie garden stands right now. As the plants start to grow…and even if they die, I will be posting tales of planting a lot of plants in a small space and posting as I harvest and what I cook with them. And I will definitely be posting some pictures of both the garden and the veggies after they are harvested. I am so excited for my garden this year!

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