Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer Garden

One of my great joys is eating the fruits of my labor from the backyard garden.  I've always had garden help from a roommate, but the woman with the garden knowledge moved out this year, and I was on my own.
In the fall, I decided to try planting a "Second Season."  Except I waited way too long, so nothing really grew until spring.  In the spring, I had some unruly romaine lettuce, one head of spinach, and onions.  Look at the size of that lettuce leaf!!

While it was nice to have some produce early on in the gardening season, practically everything bolted, and I wasn't able to use very much of it.  I think this was due to my school schedule prohibiting work in the garden, but I don't entirely recall.

All excuses aside, I did manage to get a lot of plants in the ground over spring break. 

This year, the strawberry patch really took off.  It's huge, and I imagine I'll have to take action to prevent it from spreading out any further.  I think I'll be thinning it out later in the summer, and trying to put something under the berries so they don't rot.

The berries I got were a mixed lot.  They didn't have as much flavor as I was hoping for, and randomly you would bite into a normal looking strawberry and it would taste terrible.  I did some research on how to grow them, and am planning some changes for next year.  I love strawberries, and this patch saved me some serious dough.

Remarkably, the raspberry and blueberry bushes I planted in the fall put out a couple berries.  I intended to eat them, but some scoundrel of an animal got a full belly before I did.
That animal got a lot of full bellies before I took defensive action:
I got that owl statue at Home Depot..He was the very last one, and he only has one eye.  The store employee gave me a discount on the spot.  I think I made out ahead, since now not only do I have an owl, it's a pirate owl as well.  I named him Blackbeard, after his pirate heritage.  Sometimes I rotate him to different fence posts just to mix it up.

Anywho, in the picture above, you can see my mistake...I planted about 5 zucchini plants.  They are so cute when they are seedlings!  You just don't realize how many zucchini they are going to produce.  At first it was fun looking at all the shapes and sizes.

But then I went out of town for two weeks and look what I came back to!!
Ok, I am smiling in the picture, so I have to admit that it wasn't all that bad.  I just peeled back the shell (the skin had turned super tough) and dug out the seeds, and shredded them.  No problemo!

My next challenge hasn't really been photographed yet.  I let the tomatoes rot into the garden last year thinking it would help refresh the soil.  Unfortunately, they re-seeded themselves and made new baby tomato plants!

I did a seed and seedling swap with a friend, so I already had three tomato plants going into the spring.  Unfortunately, I ended up with about 20 or so plants.  Obviously they don't all fit in my small garden plot, but I just couldn't bear to kill them.

I was only able to find homes for 3-4 plants, so I put a few in pots and left the rest in the ground.  The garden is insane right now.

I'm guessing I'll have between 200-500 cherry tomatoes all at once.  My mother has promised to teach me the art of home canning.  My first canning recipe is a zucchini tomato salsa.  Surprise, surprise!

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