Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. ~ Katherine Mansfield

Sunday, July 8, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I hate to be one to espouse procrastination, but sometimes it's the only way to go. Like with gardening. A late garden seems to be de rigueur at my house. In years one and two, this stressed me out. Here in year three, where the final planting didn't happen until this morning, I see it as a bonus.

Stick with me on this, oh you Almanac gardening calendar purists.

The first year that I planted late I avoided the hard frost that crept in the week after Mother's Day. Last year, my late garden missed out on an early-June blizzard. This year? Many timely gardens were wrecked by a freak hail storm and then two straight weeks of 100 degree weather. But my early July garden is beautiful. And, let's be real. I didn't plant from seed, so a plant growing in a pot at Home Depot vs braving the early elements in my garden probably has a better shot anyway.

Gabe prepped the soil this year with organic compost and one round of grass clippings. I am fertilizing every 3 weeks with an organic fish-based fertilizer. Unlike the fish juice of year one, this time I chose one that had been "naturally deodorized with mint." I'm also relying on my trusty old friend the marigold to help fight off bugs. They are much prettier than spiders, and instantly brighten the garden.

For the sake of ease, I decided to skip the crops that didn't work out so well in years past, namely strawberries (dead before they even started), peppers (all leaf, no fruit),  and pumpkins. "How can one mess up pumpkins?" you may ask. Apparently you need flowers of both sexes to get fruit, and my plant was strictly same-on-same. Yes, much like my boyfriends of yore, this plant was gay to the gay. The blooms were quite lovely though, and I would definitely vote in favor of allowing this plant to marry if it so desired.

But I digress...

This year I planted 5 containers of tomatoes: Early Girl (hybrid), Cherokee Purple (heirloom!), Cherry (hybrid) and two Patio (never heard of them, but what the hell, as I am in fact growing tomatoes on a patio). Yeah...I prefer more heirloom varieties, but late season beggars can't be choosers; I had to settle for what was there.

In the beds, I planted 4 zucchini this year. I know, it's a lot. But the year I did 5 it was too many, and 2 proved too few. Keep an eye out as summer progresses and I'll share my favorite recipes as well as freezing tips. This is the easiest vegetable to sneak into foods that kids eat.

Finally, I planted a lot of herbs. Rosemary, parsley, oregano, cilantro, 2 thyme (my new love), and 5 basil. Sweet sweet basil, giver of all things pesto. I still have one final batch in my freezer from last year and can only now bear to use it with my new basil crop being in the ground. As a general rule I only plant sweet basil, but I did branch out this year (once again, making do with what was available) and buy 2 boxwood basil plants. Look at the size of these leaves - now with 100% less chopping!

(Dirty nail courtesy of the soil, with its chewed-down length being the direct result of an anxiety-based oral fixation.) 

My favorite garden find this year came a few months ago in the dollar aisle at Target - little chalkboard garden signs that I wrote on with a white paint pen. I've been saving these since April. (Who plants in April?! Other than retirees and Texans I mean.)

Not only are these Martha Stewart-adorable, they are especially useful when I send Gabe out to clip herbs while I'm cooking. Helps us avoid the "looks like a Christmas tree but smaller" conversations.

And really, I do love to label so these are perfect for me. With that final touch the garden was planted. Bring it, July!


Claudia said...

I'll put in my request for zucchini bread now.. :-)

Kris Bryan! said...

No more fence pumpkins?! Color me disillusioned!

Sarah Derousseau said...

Those signs are really cute- I need some! Also, we planted in March :)

Post a Comment

Join the conversation - we love to hear from you! Please keep it civil and own your words as anonymous comments won't be posted.