Quick “Our Garden” book update before we get to this week’s blog post. I’ve updated the events page to include a more detailed description of Steve and my appearance at the annual Scholarshare Children’s Book Festival. Check it out here for more information. I’ve also added a few more garden resources for both current and new gardeners. There’s something for everyone, so mosey on over if you are so inclined. And now–on with the show.
I’ll be honest. I’ve been a little disappointed with this year’s tomato crop in the Domek backyard.
Originally, there were 21 plants. My soil was perhaps a bit overtaxed, and having a limited area to plant, I haven’t rotated crops probably as much as I should. In truth, given the year we’ve had around these parts, it is a wonder we’ve got any tomatoes at all. But in spite of all of this, my optimistic gardening nature prevailed and I was fully prepared to can quart after quart of tomatoes for use in fall braises and winter soups.
Care to guess how many quarts of tomatoes I’ve canned? Or how many times I’ve used my new handy-dandy (owned by Andy) electric tomato press on actual tomatoes? I’ll give you a hint–Siri insults you when you ask her to divide by this number. That’s right ladies and germs–a goose egg. A big fat zero.
But that’s ok. Kids can still pick cherry tomatoes when they have the inkling. We’ve had salads for dinner more-often-than-not. So maybe that should be enough.
The rest of the garden is doing ok. Cucumbers are producing fairly well. Made a batch of refrigerator pickles (featured on Good Day Sacramento) that we are all still eating. Peppers, I made the mistake of placing in the least light-filled area of the garden. So production has been rather slow. I’ve always said I’m a “screw up and learn” gardener, and this was kind of a screw up. Hopefully I learn.
Speaking of screw ups, I dumbly planted squash in containers this year and have gotten about 1/23 of the normal amount of zucchini, crookneck and patty pan squash that we’d normally have harvested at this point. The containers, while ok for peppers and the occasional tomato–really should be grown in open soil. Or soil that is fertilized waaaaay more often than I remember to do it. Unfortunately, this has meant that I’ve only made two batches of the best zucchini bread in the history of the world, the chocolate zucchini bread from Simply Recipes. I realize I talk about this sweet bread a great deal. Obsess about it even. And maybe this is weird. But if obsessing about chocolate zucchini bread is wrong, then baby I don’t want to be right.
Moving on–beans are the one crop that has really taken off. Taking a page out of “Our Garden,” the bean tepee we planted last spring is fully covered, and we are getting lots of purple beans and the more common green beans. And the resulting fort is a pretty cool place for kiddos to hang out.
Finally, I’ve also planted Okinowan sweet potatoes that are probably coming ripe soon. I’ve never grown these, so I don’t really know when exactly they’ll be ready. Later this week, I plan to carefully use a pitchfork to lift up some of the root and see if the taters are getting close. Apparently, they are some of the healthiest foods you can eat, so I hope the yield is good. And by “good,” I mean–at least one so we can eat it.
As I mentioned in last week’s blog post–just because I love gardening, doesn’t mean I’m an expert. Far from it. My only hope is that by making every mistake in the book at least once, I can avoid making the same mistake more than four or five times at later dates. Also–I have kind of a bad memory, so it makes the “learn” part of the “screw up and learn” a bit more difficult.
Also–I have kind of a bad memory, so it makes the “learn” part of the “screw up and learn” a bit more difficult.
I kid. Ha. My daughter thinks that joke is hilarious, so whatever. And that’s one of the things that makes it even more enjoyable. I mean, if I didn’t laugh at myself, I’d miss out on 93% of the things to laugh about in my house. Also–have you heard that 61% of statistics are made up on the spot? Crazy, huh?
Grapes came in ok, but I ended getting hit hard with some powdery mildew on them. It won’t hurt you, but the stuff looks unappetizing at best. So, my grand plan is to let them all dry on the vine and then try my hand at making raisin wine. Should be pretty sweet…(At this point, if this were a broadcast of the Muppet Show, Statler and Waldorf would be actively heckling.)
So, that’s the state of my garden at this point. Love to hear how your gardens are faring in the comments section. Let me know if you have a minute. And with that, good night and good luck.