Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Learning Experience

At the beginning of summer, I wrote an article on my garden. I wasn't sure that I could grow anything except kids. Needless to say, I have been surprised. If you read the post, then you remember me saying that I thought my garden was going to be too big and I would never have enough stuff to fill it. Wrong!!! If anything, it was too small! But let's start from the beginning:
None of my original seedling tomato plants came up. I was so upset and went and bought 3 plants from K Mart. No one else had any left. I planted those and a few weeks later, I noticed the 2 plants coming from seeds that looked like a tomato plant. One was beside one of the store bought ones. The other was at the opposite end of the row from the tomatoes where the bell peppers were supposed to be. They just grew and grew. Three of my plants were over 5 1/2 feet tall. They were so tall and so heavy that they buckled under their own weight. Then, I noticed a plant in a place that I never expected. On the front side of my house next to the porch. Don't know how it got there but it is producing tomatoes so why knock it! I have been able to freeze 4 quarts of roasted tomatoes, can 10 jars of salsa, make tomato sandwiches and spaghetti sauce. All in all, they were a HUGE success!
I mentioned bell peppers earlier. They, too are huge, at least the plants are. They come almost to my waist but until this week I haven't seen any fruit on them. This bummed me out because Isabela really loves bell peppers but she has had none. There is one on there now so we will see how that goes.
Michael planted a row of cucumbers as an afterthought, really. Man, did they produce! We have had cukes at almost every meal except breakfast. We have given them away. And we have made jars and jars of pickles. I don't know how long they will last, though, because the kids love them so much. They just now quit growing any good ones on the vine and we are tired of them!
The green beans did fairly well. I blanched and froze 5 quarts of them.
There were some things that didn't do as well. The cantaloupe and watermelon would grow a few inches and then just rot on the vine. The collards got eaten up by bugs and the black eyed peas only produced a little. I had no idea how to harvest them and when they were ready so I picked some too soon and others too late. Nothing to write home about! I am thankful that Michael's grandma sent us several dozen quarts of field peas for our freezer for the winter. They sure are good!
So all in all what did we learn? More space next year! More pesticide! The cukes and melons need their own separate space or they will take over. Plant tomato plants next year and don't worry about seedlings. We need to weed more but in my defense, I couldn't walk between the rows. Still learning about bell peppers, though. I want potatoes and onions in the garden next year so any practical advice for that is appreciated.
I would like to plant some fall veggies but we are not fond of squash or pumpkins. Any ideas? Now, if I could just make a rice paddy then my family would be set!
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