I describe this blog as “Household” and include gardening, not just cooking and recipes. However I realize that in all of the posts I’ve shared to date I’ve written nothing about gardens. I don’t really know why, since I spend a good amount of my free time in the garden. To be totally honest gardening was a lot easier to manage years back when I was a stay at home mom. I’d bring the kids out in the yard and they’d play while I puttered around in my gardens. Back then they also used to want to help – especially in the vegetable garden! I never complained about a few extra helping hands! Nowadays, the kids are grown and often not here. Add to that the fact that I now have a full-time job so I can no longer work on the gardens whenever I please. It used to be that I’d head out early in the day before it got too hot to plant, weed or water. These days I find that after I’ve worked a full day I have less desire to crawl around outside pulling weeds. That’s especially true on those summer days when it’s in the 90’s, hot and humid! I admit lately, each spring, I consider not planting a vegetable garden. And the thought has even crossed my mind to till under one of my flower beds and replant grass. But when it comes right down to it, I don’t have the heart to do either so the flowers continue to bloom and the vegetable garden is once again planted.
For any one thinking of starting a garden, either flower or vegetable, they do take work, but much like cooking something fantastic, the end result is well worth the effort. Over the years I’ve planted many different vegetables. This year in the vegetable garden I’ve planted tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, yellow squash, jalapenos, corn, green beans and bell peppers. Yes, I realize I need to cut back on the amount I plant. It’s a lot for mainly just two people. However while each year I think about planting less, I just can’t seem to stop myself. (It’s a sickness I tell you! 🙂 ) My original thoughts for any vegetable garden posts was to take pictures of the stages of the garden from tilling, to planting and so forth. But, since the vegetables are already planted I guess that won’t exactly work. I’ve done a vegetable garden for a number of years so the soil is rich and full. Regardless, I do still amend the soil with compost or manure before tilling and use fertilizer when planting. (For fertilizer you can use organic or non – that’s your choice. I won’t judge!) I also try to rotate my crops, meaning I don’t plant the same vegetable in the same spot year after year. Over the course of time I’ve found what part of the garden works best for each vegetable.
I do not grow my vegetables from seed. I have in the past and if you have the time and desire to do so that’s great! I’m fortunate enough to have an awesome farm stand not too far from my home and I typically purchase my plants there. Once planted it’s a weekly job to weed as you do not want the weeds to over take the newly planted vegetables. I think I got my love for gardens from my grandfather. He had many, like me both flower and vegetable. My grandfather lived until he was 103 and I remember him out tending his gardens when he was well into his 90’s! He was forever weeding and always told me you had to pull the weeds to keep the plants happy and healthy. Strangely, years later when my youngest was little, I went with him on a school field trip to an apple orchard and farm. The lady that owned the farm gave us a tour which included her vegetable gardens. I was shocked to see that her gardens were full of weeds. She claimed that weeding was a waste of time and that the vegetables grew better with the weeds around them. Granted I don’t really know which theory is correct however I much prefer my garden to be as weed free as possible so I’ve always gone with Gramp’s approach! It’s work but especially as the new plants are trying to establish themselves I think removing any weeds is best.
I just finished weeding the garden for today and I’ve tied up my tomato plants once again. You need to do so from time to time as the tomatoes grow. Some people use cages which are good too as tomatoes and cucumbers like to climb and they’re “happiest” if you give them something to climb on. Yes that’s another pearl of wisdom from Gramp! 🙂 I remember asking him how he knew if the plants were “unhappy” and he said “Well, they don’t grow”…..huh….can’t really argue with that!
So far in the garden the lettuce is ready and we’ve picked quite a bit of it. I’ll post some more updates as the season goes on and will share some tips and recipes for some of the goodies I grow!