I’ve been enjoying my garden tremendously this summer! I first wanted to share with you a few of the delicious things we’ve been eating, and then my plans for our fall & winter garden.
The lettuce has started to wilt and bolt, but I have managed to make a couple last garden salads!
The little chocolate cherry tomatoes? I have to say they are the sweetest I’ve ever tasted!
Check out that color!
We also enjoyed one of our onions the other night, too. I’m letting the others bulb up a bit more, then I will let them dry in the sun to form skins for storing.
What’s been one of the easiest things to grow, and slow to bolt? I’d have to say Swiss Chard and this Dinosaur Kale. Not only are they hardy plants, they are “cut and come again” which means we just snip the leaves as we need and they come right on back! I plan on planting a few more for the fall. I recommend either for a beginning gardener. We use them primarily for making our green smoothies, but I also sometimes will just throw a bunch into a steamer and we’ll eat it under our entree, much as you would pasta or rice. It’s a lighter, more healthful alternative!
Some of my early summer garden was a bit spent, such as the raspberries, peas, and lettuces, so I decided to clean things up a bit and make way for my late summer and fall garden!
I started on my raspberry container, by cutting down all the canes that had produced fruit this year. It was easy to spot them because their stems were brown, whereas the others were green. I also cut back the mint and removed any dead or wilted leaves. Then, I added new string to tie the canes in. This may well need tidying again in the spring after any new growth pops up, but this should keep things looking clean through fall.
The lettuces and spinach in this box were out of control, and it was sadly time to say “buh bye.” After removing the wilted leaves, I was able to better care for my kale and chard, removing the badly damaged pieces (I have had an issue with cabbage worm this year!). I’m hoping that having some “air” to circulate around these plants will keep them disease free. I also chopped down my bolted cilantro and found a few baby plants growing at the base! You’ll also see a row of onions at the far left of the box.
So this is my favorite thing growing in my garden – Hidatsa Heirloom Beans! I’ve grown bush beans before, but never pole. Even more special, these are dry shelling beans, and I can’t wait to try them. Here’s the photo from Amazon on how they should look when done:
It really feels like I might one day climb this beanstalk up to the clouds to search for a giant!
I’m excited to see that some of my heat-loving vegetables are coming along, too.
The first of my “early girl” tomatoes is starting to blush. Not very “early” if you ask me, but then again I’m sitting here on August 3rd, looking out a foggy day….
I’m especially excited about these lil’ guys! They are miniature bell peppers! I’ve never grown peppers before, but my thinking was that in our short growing season, “miniature” is always a good bet. That’s why I’ve opted for miniature peppers, cherry tomatoes, and…
Baby cucumbers! Oh my, aren’t these cute? My cucumber plants just took off in the last few weeks and are flowering like crazy. I’m hoping to have a few cukes with a big plate of hummus and pita very soon!
Another new vegetable I’m trying this year is celeriac (AKA celery root). This is a first attempt, mind you, and I’ve had a few issues. I started it by seed and only a few plants germinated and were hardy enough for me to transplant. But I’m excited that four healthy plants are now thriving in my garden. Hey, I’ll take that!
Here’s a view of my mostly-cleaned up garden:
So…some developments. My husband and I have been talking. It’s clear I have no shortage of stuff I can grow, and these boxes have gotten some serious use. So we are looking to do two things over the next several months:
1) create more growing space by “linking” some of the boxes. The goal will be to keep a pretty aesthetic while adding more space to grow food. We’ll still have to allow for easy in and around access to everything. I also plan on filling in with more flowers to attract beneficial insects and bees as part of my effort to keep things organic.
2) build a small greenhouse! We have some space in the very back of our garden that we plan to do this. Believe it or not, we’ve collected some old windows in good shape (for free!) and a heater (for free!). I’m not sure how long or when we’ll be able to complete this, but it’s very much in the works. I look forward to learning how to extend the season and will definitely share with you more about this project as it unfolds.
I’ve also realized that the soil in my garden has definitely settled since our initial plantings. My goal is to keep the fall/winter garden limited so I can work on improving the soil in the other boxes over the fall and winter. However, I do plan on growing: collards, kale, parsnips, beets, lettuces, garlic, and on a whim, I’ve decided to try an overwintering fennel variety (one of my favorite vegetables). I did not grow garlic last year and am so mad at myself for not doing so! I grew some the year prior and it was the most flavorful garlic I’ve ever eaten and stored for well over 9 months. (Here’s my garlic post if you want more.) I did order this hardneck garlic variety last night because it sometimes sells out. It won’t ship until September, but I’ll be ready! (And PS if you want something ridiculously easy/virtually no care to grow? Try garlic!)
I would love to hear how your garden is growing! If you have a blog post about it, feel free to leave a link in the comments! Also, if you have a smaller space, have you checked out Erica’s Urban Gardening series? She’s growing everything from squash to tomatoes – all from the landing of her 3rd story apartment!