Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How Does My Garden Grow?

Why, very well, thank you very much!  In fact, it is really coming along swimmingly.  This is a photo of my butternut squash plant and the baby squash forming behind the squash blossom.  The length of the squash here was about one inch long and about as thick as my pinky finger. 

As one new to the joys of gardening, this being only the second year of trying to grow vegetables, there is something really magical about seeing things grow.  It is akin to the wonder of watching your children grow and reach different milestones in their lives.  Last year, I got my garden going a little too late, and the only thing that grew were the Chinese bitter melon that only I like to eat.  Texas gets very hot quick, so we have to get the plants in the ground early in the spring to get them established so they can tolerate the heat.  The tomato plants last year did not do JACK. I planted them too late and even though it is a heat loving plant, it just was too hot and I did not get A. Single. Damn. Tomato.

Anyways, here is the same plant only about a week later:

Here, the squash has grown to about 3 inches long and has plumped up some.  The photo does not do it justice.  It is so shiny and very pretty with its' pale green vertical stripes.  I saved the seeds last fall from a store bought squash.  I planted six seeds, which is probably too much, now that I see how the plants are growing.  The vines are starting to fill out and there are numerous babies on each of them.  I think I'm going to have a bumper crop if the critters stay away. <knock wood>

The beds are filling out.  I realized, being the novice that I am, that I needed to do something about the paths.  The weeds keep growing almost over the beds, and I'm always ever cautious of the snakes (yes, we have some on occasion).  This winter, we plan on cutting down at least two diseased trees in our yard. At that time, I am planning on renting a wood chipper so I can then recycle the wood chips to use as a mulch cover for the paths to keep the weeds under control.  But until then, I have to deal with the tall weeds in the paths that the lawn mower can't get to.

One thing I noticed since getting the large tires in the yard is how much I like them.  Yes, they are ugly to look at but I really don't care about that.  This backyard is not visible from the street or prying eyes of neighbors looking in, so aesthetics is not that important.  What I like about them is the fact that the plants are elevated almost twice as high as the those in the wooden raised beds.  That makes for easy weeding and harvesting.  It is very easy on the knees if all you have to do to is bend down instead of kneeling by the bed.  (I guess I'm not as young as I think I am. . .) 

The other day, I gathered the first of the tomatoes and jalapenos and made some homemade pico de gallo.  I chopped up the tomatoes, jalapenos, a bit of onions and tossed all that with a bit of salt and a splash of lime juice from a bottle.  Let the flavors meld for a bit in the refrigerator, and voila!

The. Best. Damn. Pico. De. Gallo. EVER!  It was divine with some tortilla chips. My husband and I made a light lunch with just that. 

All of the tomatoes I used were sort of funky looking, and I think if my garden was a commercial operation, they never would have made it to the store.  But they tasted better than the ones from the store, and it really made me realize how much waste there must be in a commercial farming operation that can only sell perfect looking vegetables to the grocery stores. Food for thought, literally.

How does YOUR garden grow?

1 comment:

  1. Hi ! from Connecticut. Gardening is a learning experience even after 20 years of trying LOL.I use any plastic{ mostly black },garbage bags , soil bags etc. to cover my paths, and hold it down with used bricks, stones. You could use cardboard boxes. But clear area first. I really don't care if it doesn't look pretty, I'm tried of weeding . If it gets too hot where you are , have you thought of a shade cloth? I use one and it can be reuse for many years.I grow all the usual stuff ,plus berries. Right now we are eating spring onions, chives, Bok choy ,lettuce,spinach,Chinese cabbage, peas are not producing yet. I try to grow plants that come up every year, and veggies that cost too much to buy. I can and freeze most of it.My sister laughed at me because I was trying to grow potatoes, till they went to $4.00 a bag. Good luck with your garden, Roxy