So, here’s the promised garden post. I took these pictures at least a month ago, so really, they bear little resemblance to the garden today. Everything is ripe or past ripe now.
I’ve discovered that pictures of vegetable gardens aren’t the best. Even a garden that is well weeded will look slightly untidy in a photograph. Anyway, this picture shows the rows of beets on the right and carrots on the left. Both are ready or nearly so, and I think I will dig them all up with the help of my youngest sister tomorrow, in preparation for our move.
Here are the lettuces. I have planted lettuce before but have never had as much success as I did this year. The solid mass of lettuce is buttercrunch, which was less bitter than I’ve ever had buttercrunch lettuce be before, but still only okay in comparison to the summertime lettuce, which is in the two rows to the right. Eventually, each of those lettuces got to be a good-sized (cantaloupe-sized?) head, crunchy and crisp like iceberg, but with a bit more flavor. I will only ever buy summertime lettuce seeds in the future. It has been so nice to be able to eat large salads all summer, virtually for free.
My sugar snap peas were delicious, but I clearly didn’t plant enough of them, and I had a hard time keeping them watered enough. On the other side of the chain-link fence is someone else’s garden, which they have on a drip system, and they didn’t want our water to cross the fence. This meant that I would turn it on so only the outer drips of the sprinkler reached the fence line, which, unfortunately, is where the peas were.
These were my pumpkin plants a month ago. Now they’re huge and taking over everywhere, and there are at least four pumpkins growing on them. The seeds were from some of the big jack-o-lantern pumpkins I accidentally grew last year, but this year, the pumpkins are on the small side. I don’t know if it’s just that they aren’t getting as much water or if they’re just plants that produce smaller pumpkins for some reason. Oh well. Not pictured, I also have a couple of watermelon plants that have pea-sized watermelons on them now (finally!). They will probably never produce an edible watermelon, but I don’t care because we’re moving anyway.
This picture of the tomatoes is hilarious also because there is literally no space between one plant and the next now. I have to move branches out of the way to get in there and pick. Some of the cages are tipping over, and chaos is reigning. But also there are tomatoes. Sweet, juicy, warm garden tomatoes. I always forget how delicious they taste until the next crop arrives.
Not pictured are some green bean plants that aren’t doing so well. I think they hadn’t sprouted well enough to photograph when I took these. So . . . that’s my portion of the garden. There’s also this:
Those rows are all green beans. Over a hundred plants. My garden is on the right, where that red chair is tipped over. Past my garden, there are a few rows of corn, and over near the fence line in the background are lots of squash that she planted as well. It’s been kind of stressful helping her to take care of it all. She intended to come every weekend to weed, pick, whatever, but life gets busy and she just hasn’t. In an effort to not let all of it go to waste, I weeded the rows, put insecticide on it when earwigs ate a good fifth of the bean plants, weeded the rows again, picked green beans that were getting huge, weeded the corn, picked zucchini. She has now started coming out more regularly, and she did say I could keep what I wanted because of all my help, which is nice. We’ve been eating green beans a lot, and honestly, I don’t think she misses them, considering she picked half of a large garbage can’s worth of them last week, and there may be that much ready to pick now.
I’m sad that the tomatoes will mostly not be ready before we move because they’re my absolute favorite thing to grow. Not only are they great for munching, salads, Mexican food, etc., but they’re delicious canned, in marinara sauce, and in salsa. I have 13 or 14 plants growing (some volunteers from rotten tomatoes that fell to the ground last year that I somehow successfully transplanted into empty spaces in the garden). If I had managed to can all of them, we may not have had to buy pasta sauce or salsa all year. Maybe. At least for a good six to nine months. Alas.
If you’re in the area, please, please help yourself. My landlady even said I could tell my friends to come pick tomatoes. Come once a week. Take lots.
And finally, a few pictures of the rest of the back back yard:
the swing set
the fire pit
As you can see, it’s not super pretty. It’s usually dry and weedy and prickly, but it has some nice space to run and some fun things in it. I’ve definitely spent a lot of time back there this year. Some weeks, I spent over an hour or two a day. I just love the feeling of working hard outside with the sun shining and knowing I’m making things more beautiful and providing good food for my family while also helping our budget.
Our next yard is small, with no space for a garden, but after this year, maybe the break will be nice. Maybe we can spend lots of time at the park instead. I’m sure the kids wouldn’t complain.