Wednesday, June 13, 2012

the garden: an update

Our garden is coming along! :) I've been learning a lot (and still have a lot to learn), have had some disappointments and made mistakes, but am really just enjoying it! Several weeks ago, we had a crazy hailstorm that lasted about 10 minutes. And destroyed some of our plants. Thankfully, a lot of the plants ended up recovering - they looked sad for awhile (damaged leaves, wilted), but I was so glad (and surprised) that they bounced back.
Most of our plants we started from heirloom seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. And I have to admit. I was nervous. Really nervous. I tried growing a few things from seed (cheap seed packets, cheap soil) last year, and nothing ever happened. We started looking around for a reputable seed company (that offered organic seeds) and found Baker Creek. Their seeds are very well-priced - considering they are Heirloom and all seeds are guaranteed non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated, and non-patented. We were sold on trying to start the garden from seed. So we invested about $40 in seeds from Baker Creek. A lot of the seeds we didn't end up using this season. Did you know you can save seeds for a couple years - just pop them in a zip-loc baggie and put them in the refrigerator! :)  

We started the garden a little late (mid-April) since we didn't want to start seeds indoors - we don't have a good window with direct sun for long periods in the day. We started straight into the ground and into containers, using organic potting soil and compost from our compost bin. 

The first to go in the ground (while it was still cool outside) were sugar snap peas. We will start to harvest these soon. I've been reading that once the weather consistently stays in the 80 degree F, they stop producing. We had no idea that these would grow so incredibly tall. We had a little trellis (about 2 feet tall) and they outgrew that. So we added several lines of garden twine another 3-4 feet tall and attached it to the house (this bed is along the back of our home). Unfortunately, the stalks (? plants?) didn't really like garden twine (maybe we were too late to add it?) and started to fall over and snap. Thankfully, there are still a bunch of pods ready to harvest. We have learned how to do these better for next growing season ;)
Roma tomatoes. I think these are the plants I am most excited about ;) I planted three little seeds. And three little seedlings sprouted. I was so excited they sprouted, but I still wasn't sure if they would make it - everywhere I've read, it is strongly discouraged to start tomatoes from seed. But I really wanted heirloom, organic tomatoes. So I went for it. We lost one of the plants in the hailstorm, but the other two are now 18-24" tall. Will definitely be a late harvest, but I'm ok with that :)
I planted some okra from seed and lost several in the hailstorm (planted these late and they were little). My sis bought me a little okra plant from one of her co-workers and it has gone crazy. It doesn't seem to be acting like a typical okra plant (although I'm not completely sure what a typical okra plant does) - it is crawling like a squash plant instead of a stalk (my other okra plant needs a stake/trellis - the packet said they can grow up to 5 feet tall). So, any garden experts know what this plant is? Does the fruit look like an early okra? Maybe a zucchini? Or neither? I feel like it looks kind of like a little okra...
The basil we purchased from a local nursery (along with rosemary, oregano and parsley). I planted basil from seed and ended up have some crazy bug in the soil (that we could never identify, because we couldn't see it) eat it all up before it even sprouted (these were planted in the bed along our house, so the soil has been out in the elements for awhile). I planted some more basil seeds in a container and now have some really nice basil plants. Although for awhile, we had something eating the leaves :( So we purchased an organic insecticidal soap that seems to have taken care of the problem.
We have lots of lovely Big Boston lettuce that we've been enjoying for dinner :) We planted carrots, but I'm not sure if they will make it. I just kind of threw the seeds on the soil and I think I put in too many. Just kind of watching them to see what happens ;) Also waiting on yellow squash (which is flowering all over the place... which hopefully means the fruit is coming!), watermelon, onions and pumpkins (yes, pumpkins. little jack-be-little pumpkins :)).  Hopefully all of the plants will continue to grow and will eventually produce fruit :)
So that's kind of where we are right now with the garden. I will post another update in the next month or so... hopefully with lots of pictures of fresh veggies ;)


  1. Wow lovely garden! Amazing All thoose vegtables. It's also the first time for us to grow vegtables, it really fun, but pur zucchinis didn't make it, I plantes the seeds to early. But our artichoke are really growing. Thank for the photos and have a wondeful Day!

  2. how exciting, ashley!! your garden is beautiful!
    love that the seeds are working out for yall!
    that mystery plant/fruit looks like cucumber to me...esp. if it's viney and trailing. that's exactly what a baby cucumber looks like--and if it is, you will know quickly-they grow FAST! we have a lot of them that we're picking right now. (i'd love to know if that is what it is!?)-they give off little yellow flower blooms like that...

    i put a little picture on FB of some of our progress last week with the garden. we planted from baby plants, so we are getting fruit already! i don't know if you read our blog, but i just did a post on our garden story, too...

    fun times! LOVE hearing your progress and what you're learning--i'm taking notes!! :)

  3. Beautiful garden!
    I believe that you've got a zucchini's flower there and, they're quite good fried, by the way.

  4. your garden rocks! i definitely want to try a little something-i have a super small deck in our apartment with little light, but i'm sure i'll figure something out :)

    thanks for sharing and happy growing!


  5. It looks like you might need to thin out your carrots. If you leave so many so close together you won't have very good results.

  6. This looks great. I love fresh vegetables right out of my garden! Happy summer =)

  7. You've got a cucumber there. Your basil looks good. I like to roll up a leaf and crush it some and use it like perfume on my wrist. Smells so nice!