Saturday, August 3, 2013

A magical garden

I am THRILLED with the success of our garden!  Beyond thrilled!  Ecstatic! Rejoiced! Amazed!  In awe!  The lettuce and spinach was delicious, and I put away 3 pounds of frozen spinach (as in, pounds after it had been blanched and drained and was ready for the freezer) before it went to seed and started getting bitter.  Then it was worm food.  The peas were next, amazing us with 3 enormous bowls full, that took hours to hull and were worth every ounce of effort.  Not bad for just wanting a "taste!"  But those are all done as well now.  We pulled them up and our raised bed that was planted first now only has a small row of carrots in it.  I plan on filling it again in a few more weeks with more lettuce and spinach for a fall crop. 

The raspberries, which we didn't expect much from this year, have delighted us with a few handfuls of the most delicious, sweet berries imaginable.  We really love them... but you have to be fast on your toes if you're going to beat Katie or Annalisa to them. The 10 tiny strawberry starts that came up and survived the transplant(s) have also been bearing fruit; never enough to slice on your cereal, but enough to pop in your mouth and smile.  It gives us lots of hope for upcoming years and delicious eating that will just keep getting better.

We put a few pumpkin plants in the far back corner just for the kids to enjoy.  As an afterthought, I picked up a 50 cent package of sunflower seeds and planted a few of those too. Now, it's one of our favorite spots in the whole yard as the sunflowers are nearly 12 feet tall and the pumpkins are huge.  On Lee's last day of Kindergarten, he brought home a cup with a sunflower and pumpkin sprout in it.  All us parents know these cups... a science experiment or perhaps a church experiment on faith... at any rate, it's one of those things that you stick in a windowsill and eventually forget and then it withers up and dies and you slip it into the trash before the child notices...  Well, I knew the thing would probably die, but since I had literally been planting pumpkins and sunflowers just a few days prior, I decided to put the sprouts in the ground.  That's our biggest pumpkin plant now, and has got a jack-o-lantern in the making at least 30 pounds big!  It's HUGE!  This picture really doesn't do it justice.  Lee is pretty proud of his pumpkin that lived.

As for the rest of the garden, everything is loving the amazing topsoil and worm compost.  The onions are the size of baseballs, the pepper plants have given us a few sweet peppers, the tomatoes are loaded with green tomatoes and the cherry tomatoes are finally starting to ripen, and I've made zucchini casserole, zucchini bread, and zucchini pizza bites all this week... but the big producer of the week is the green beans.  I have gone so many years without a garden that I really wanted to grow enough to can.  On Monday I had a friend help me put up 3 pickings (I had picked twice; once before our trip and once after, and she had come once during the trip to pick and we combined all three pickings to bottle) and we got 20 pints and 7 quarts of beans!  Today, as I type this, I have another 10 pints in the pressure cooker--and in fact it just barely came up to pressure.  I'd better go start the timer for 15 min.  Hang on, be right back...

Who knew that the secret to a successful garden was starting with good soil, adding some good compost, watering regularly, planting at the right time, adding really great seeds and plants in carefully plotted land so as to enhance pollination and reduce bugs, weeding often, and singing to the plants while you work?  It's like magic! :)


Granny D Fifield said...

Magic indeed is what it is....seasoned with a lot of work!!
Way to go!!!

Laurie Fifield said...

Who knew? You knew! I'm absolutely thrilled with the amazing gardening that my daughters are doing, and I'm sure that your Great Grandmother Lawrence is up there in heaven whispering sweet things to your plants.