Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our Family Gardens (Part 4)

PROGRESS! We haz it!

Matt and I have learned a few lessons along our gardening adventures, and I expect many more are heading our way - but so far, things are growing quite steadily, and that's all we could have asked for in our inaugural season.

Check us out! A growing garden! Can you see our mesh? I know it's a little difficult to make it out - but it's there. As I mentioned before, we weren't sure how to attach it in a way that would allow for easy access. We still didn't figure that out, so we just used a few stakes in each of the corners, and some zip ties around the pipe arches to hold it in place.

One morning, we woke up to find that two of our tomato plants had been attacked. We had quite a lot of luck with animals avoiding the garden until this point, so we panicked to get the mesh into place that day. It's not a permanent solution - we still need to take it all apart to weed & then put it back together (which is a pain!), but it works for now. And, actually, the weeds haven't been too terrible, so it doesn't have to be done very often.

The last glimpse you had of the gardens were with pictures taken on May 21st. So, check out the progress we've made in the last three weeks!

Left: May 21st, Right: June 9th

Even more impressive is the left side of the garden! Granted, those plants have had an extra three weeks of growing, but even considering that - they are monstrous!

Left, May 21st, Right: June 9th

Can you even tell what's going on there?! It's outta control! Ahh! It was really kind of alarming to me how quickly the broccoli and lettuce grew - one day they were just healthy little plants, and the next they were mutant bushes!

Here's a closer look. See how huge the lettuce is?! It's so big, it's getting smushed by mesh! We weren't sure when to start taking leaves from them, but now that they're getting to this point we're picking some here and there. It's really quite strong tasting - but when you put it on sandwiches and burgers, you don't notice it as much.

I had Matt and Luke pick a few leaves for BLTs for dinner last night - look at how HUGE the individual leaves are! One of them feeds all three of us! It's really rewarding to eat something that you grew yourself!

Here's a glimpse at one of our growing broccoli crowns!

And here's a look at how the herb garden is growing. This was taken last night just before watering so it looks a bit dry. Everything has grown a bit! We've used the mint leaves in two batches of sun tea, and included some of the parsley in my turkey burgers. Yum! (PS, that sad looking un-planted bunch sitting there is what's left of our red onion bulbs that are still buried in the container they came in. We need to find a place to stick them so they can get growing!)

So yes, things are moving along - and far better than we could have hoped for with such a raw knowledge of gardening. The season is very young, and any number of things could come our way - drought, bugs, and just plain dud plants - so we're not getting overly confident just yet.

We did learn that we need some more room for our lettuce and broccoli next time. They obviously haven't been hindered in their growth, so I don't think the usage of soil was a bad thing - but they simply don't have a lot of room left to grow! Since we're now eating the lettuce here and there, it may clear up a little more space for the rest of the season, but it's a good note for next year. We also need to find better solutions to holding the mesh in place. We never did end up with carrots or pumpkins because we ran out of room, but I know you can plant carrots successfully late in the season, so depending on what we use up this month, maybe we'll add those. I'll have to research pumpkins a bit - I think it would be fun for Luke to pick his own - even if they're small guys.

We definitely need more room for next year, but I'm happy with our small successes so far.

Yay for gardening!

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