Monday, September 19, 2011

don't forget your veggies

because you never know when your husband is going to come home and tell you that you are having dinner guests arrive this evening. What kind of side dish can I possibly whip up?

Out to the garden I rush: some tomatoes, squash, and basil. The pantry houses a box of pasta and Italian dressing. Bingo, a side dish worth the compliments. This season I had ample basil, summer squash, butternut squash, eggplant, banana peppers, and tomatoes (jet star, Juliet, Rutgers). It was was my best season to date but still room for much improvement.

In the beginning, I planted a few tomato plants from starters. My father-in-law donated some remaining starters from his garden (which is immaculate and easily puts mine to shame) so I was able to also grow a few peppers. Not much else. I had some luck with the veggies but spent more time extracting weeds than goods to eat. Each year I've had a little more success than the last. Our dogs have helped keep intruders away and I only know this because the one summer we left for Florida, my plants were devoured go the core. It hasn't happened so long as we aren't away for more than a long weekend. I plant marigolds around the perimeter because I read the odor keeps animals out and my sunflowers go along the shed because I read this keeps the birds away. Though, few sunflowers grow strong and I now understand the runoff from the shed washes the seeds away. Some river rocks will solve this problem.

This year we built a raised bed garden. In addition, my father gifted Chad with a composter. It is big, round, and looks like it was dropped from the mother ship but it sure does the trick. Since the old rabbit cage was now free from apple cores and yard debris, I used it to protect the seeds I started. When rebuilding the deck, Chad found some trays under the wood that were probably not used to grow anything legal but that is what I intended to do. It worked. A plastic tarp tied to the top of the cage protected my seeds from the elements and within about 6 weeks, I was ready to transplant to the garden my snap peas, tomatoes, peppers, etc. The boys love to help so Charlie picked any weeds he could find and Carter wrote the labels for each plant. By the end of the season Charlie loved to pick the tomatoes and help dead-head the marigolds.
The new bed built this summer. I will fill it with soil and top with leaves for the winter. This will be for tomatoes in the spring.

The owl and marigolds ward off my predators. The tomatoes clearly need more support.

Our composter sits at the far corner.

My Oma gave me a butternut squash and later in the season an asparagus (that she pronounces ass-par-aah-gus). It all worked and by the end of the season I realized that my tomatoes needed more support. There is some old lattice in the shed so I built an additional bed that I can put this in next year. A truck load of top soil and some leaves sitting all winter will strengthen the new bed. I will have a bed for tomatoes and one for everything else. I'll likely do marigolds as they help with the bugs, critters, and add color. When my plants are young, I use coffee grounds from the maker and rub it on the leaves. If anything, I use no chemicals. My veggies may not be gigantic and shiny and super natural like those at the grocery but they sure taste better (and won't poison my family).

1 comment:

  1. Your blog is the perfect mix of personal and informative. I'm going to pass it along to some of my friends with greener thumbs than mine.