Click on the image for more information.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First Fruits

Yesterday, we had dinner with vegetables from the garden.


I would have posted pictures of the finished product, but by the time I thought of it I was neck-deep in cooking and prepping.

We had cucumbers, tomatoes and potatoes in yesterday's meal. Today, I'll make fajitas with jalapeno, bell peppers, tomatoes and cilantro from the garden.

The garden is a work in progress since I don't know how the previous owners used it. I can tell it will need more (much more) compost and Greg is going to try to rig up the water so it can water while I'm gone.

The heat has been pretty oppressive so we are having to water regularly to keep everything producing. Being away for several days took its toll. I was afraid I might lose some of the plants but we gave them a good drink yesterday and this morning they look much better.

Today we will build the compost bins. I am really looking forward to making compost. It beats chemical amendments by a mile.

What isn't doing so well?

Snow peas did okay, but now that the heat is here, they're done until I can sow them in the fall. I think I was too stingy with the water with them. When I try them again, I'll be more diligent to make sure they always get enough to drink.

Cucumbers: I had to start them twice since we got hit by a surprise frost. The bigger surprise was that many of our other frost-bitten veggies survived. They're stunted, but they are producing.

Basil: Everybody else's basil grows like a weed. I get a pathetic single stem. What am I doing wrong? I planted it in a pot. Would it have grown better directly in the ground?

Heirloom tomatoes: They are lush and have a few flowers, but not nearly as many as the hybrid tomatoes. They are in a shadier spot and in huge pots.

Experts? How close can I move them to hybrid tomatoes without risking cross pollination?

Radishes: I know. It's supposed to be the easiest veggie in the world to grow, but I can't raise a decent radish to save my life. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I have had a lifetime of failure with radishes. Glad I'm not Scarlett O'Hara and have to depend on them to survive. LOL!

All you gardeners out there. What has been the easiest fruit or vegetable you've ever grown? Which one bedevils you every year?

Copyright © 2009 Maria Zannini --


Kaz Augustin said...

Hey M! Congratulations. It's a wonderful feeling being able to grow your own food, isn't it? Okay, from my experiences:

Snow peas. Yes, water, water, water. Then they come out plump and juicy. Also, you can use the shooting tips (about 4 inches worth, including the tendrils) as a young vegetable in stir-fries.

Basil. Could be too much heat. That's what I'm suffering from here. Try it under shadecloth (I'll be moving the position and resowing) and I'm sure you'll see an improvement. They also like water.

Heirloom tomatoes: Fewer flowers but the taste is incomparable. My favourites are still the striped varieties. The hybrids are sterile, so the only thing you have to worry about is cross-pollinating between heirlooms.

Radishes: Again, could be heat. Could be water. We've always had good harvests of radishes and the fresher they are, the less 'bite' they have. Great for kids.

Easiest? Garlic. And, man, you CAN NOT beat fresh garlic. It sounds so stupid ... why grow some when you can just go down to the store and buy a few cloves for cents. But, believe me, it's not the same thing. Grow garlic. As easy as, and with bountiful rewards.

In an episode of synchronicity, I bought some ginger at the supermarket tonight and will be planting out a knob tomorrow. So far, rosemary, sage, dill and parsley are doing fine. Basil is a re-do. Chilli tree is in rehabilitation! Can't find bay (laurel) to save my life. Happy gardening. And remember: shadecloth, shadecloth, shadecloth.

Marianne Arkins said...

I'm so jealous -- my veggies are still tiny!

Re: tomatoes -- they CRAVE sun and heat. If they don't get enough of it, they don't do well. But, make sure they're watered, too. Also, heirlooms will never produce like your hybrids, so don't wonder why you have so few. I got only 5 - 6 heirlooms per plant last year as opposed to dozens on my others.

Basil: I always plant mine in the ground and it does fabulously.

Radishes (and other root crops): I struggle with these, partly because of the shorter season and partly because of the blasted wire worms. I don't plant them anymore (mostly because of the wire worms... grrrr)

Good luck!!

Maria Zannini said...

Hi Kaz!

Ref: Chilli tree is in rehabilitation!

That is priceless! I'm going to have to remember that.

I will move the basil to a shadier location and in the ground. I have just the spot. Thanks!

Maria Zannini said...

Oh, Marianne. I was hoping you'd pop in.

It never occured to me that heirlooms would produce less. Duh! I thought I was doing something wrong. I am an heirloom virgin.

Ref: wireworms
Man, nature is out to get you. I've never even heard of wireworms. Our biggest threat are grasshoppers--hungry hoppers.

Ref: basil
I have a bare spot needing some company so I will try it there.


Jannette Johnson said...

Our veggies are doing alright, as long as I can keep the chipmunk out of the garden. Going to make a mixture with garlic to spray around the primeter.

Radishes are doing great, up almost half an inch already but the weather hasn't been that hot. Carrots have sprouted too, but I have to thin them out.

Tomatoes are good, a few flowers, and the same with pumpkins. Squash hasn't sprouted yet, and I have one sprig of corn. Onions, green pepper, and egg plant seem to be doing alright, and strawberries are flowering and bearing some fruit.

And our apple tree is going to be a real pain this year. The entire tree was a white puff-ball, looks like we're going to have a good year for apple-golf this fall.

Maria Zannini said...

Ooh, garlic spray. Good idea. I wonder if it would work on the neighbor's guinea hens that keep visiting.

I completely forgot to plant garlic this year too. We go through a lot of it here.

Shelley Munro said...

There's nothing more satisfying than eating veges from the garden. Hubby was eating his radishes just last night.

Silverbeet seems to grow fairly easily plus herbs such as parsley.

Re: the tomatoes - that would be a problem. I'm afraid I don't know the answer.

Maria Zannini said...

I'd never heard of Silverbeet. I will look it up. Thanks!