Check out how the Golden Garden is Thriving!
It is now mid August, and the garden growing strong. I have been picking lots of yummy veggies for the past couple weeks. We have been having a rough few weeks with no rain and many very hot, sunny days. This weather has definitely taken its toll on the garden. I have been watering it daily, and I have been saving on my water bill by using buckets of water from the kiddie pool we have been filling up for the kids. The water in the pool gets fairly dirty very quickly, so instead of just dumping it out to refill it, I have been hauling it over to each plant.
My girls’ favorite plant so far is the sugar snap peas. The plant grew so big that I had to attach a string to the top of the cage I made so it could continue to grow upwards and have support. The girls love picking these. They say the peas taste like candy, they are that sweet. I have to agree with them; they are so much sweeter than the ones I have bought at the store. We have only picked about 20 of them so far, but there are a bunch more growing for us to enjoy soon.
The green beans have grown well. Last week, I harvested over 100 of them for dinner, and I’m fairly sure I will have another big harvest again in a week or two. Normally, it can be hard to get my children to eat their green beans, especially my youngest. He seems to think if it’s green, he should throw it across the table. I was very pleasantly surprised when he couldn’t stop shoveling them into his mouth along with the rest of the children, not to mention the adults of the house.
Our basil plant has grown HUGE. I have been picking leaves off here and there to use in my cooking. I also chop some up and add it to our salads. It helps by giving the salad nice fresh pops every few bites. I’m watching the plant closely. As soon as it starts to flower, I’m going to harvest all the leaves to dry them out and bottle them to use in my cooking all winter long.
The Rosemary seeds I planted (twice) never sprouted, so I gave in and bought a small Rosemary plant at the store. I transplanted it into the garden. It is still very small, and the basil planted next to it overshadows it almost completely. I should have know better and planted it in its own spot. I’m hoping that once the basil is harvested to dry and the rosemary has more room to grow that it will shoot up a bit.
I’m so excited for fresh green bell peppers from the garden! If you remember from my last garden post (https://sunbeamsandheartstrings.wordpress.com/2015/06/22/growing-and-adapting-a-garden/), these plants came from my wonderful neighbor, Betty. They have grown so big and have about 10 little peppers growing on them so far. Some are almost 3 inches long already. Recently, I came up with a cream cheese stuffed peppers recipe that I would LOVE to try using these peppers once they are full sized (recipe coming soon)!
We got to enjoy some very large, cool, and delicious cucumbers a couple weeks ago. Unfortunately, the heat and lack of rain has done a number on the cucumber plants. 😦 They have all dried up. Even with extra watering daily, I was not able to salvage them. I gave up the other day and just picked all the cucumbers that were on the plants because they were not growing anymore and were starting to soften just sitting there.
The carrots look like they are growing great. The green tops are huge and I can see the tops of some of the carrots poking out of the ground. These will be harvested probably mid September, as long as it doesn’t get cold early this year. Living in Pennsylvania, you can never predict when winter will hit. I have been thinning them out here and there by pulling ones that look small and too close to bigger ones. All the ones I have pulled are about three inches long and very sweet. I’m hoping the full sized ones are just as tasty.
The parsley is also growing great. The plant is very tall, and it has taken over the whole tire planter. I believe the oregano growing next to it has been completely overgrown and killed by the parsley. I have been using the parsley in my cooking and salads as well. I will be drying it out as well to be used all through the winter. I am thinking there is going to be quite a bit, so I will be sharing with Karen and her family as well.
I’m surprised to say the lettuce is still growing well and hasn’t gone to seed yet. I was going to replant the lettuce once it was not able to be used again so I could have a whole second batch, but it seems we won’t have to do that this year. We have been eating a lot of Salads with the different lettuce that has come from this seed blend. The kids’ favorite is the butter leaf lettuce. It is very tender and not bitter at all.
The spinach style we went with was a baby spinach hybrid, so it produces quite a lot of little baby spinach leaves that my family loves in our salad. This is our first time trying this kind of spinach plant, and it is growing great. In the last garden post I wrote, I was worried because of the rainstorm we had. I thought the plants had drowned, but it seems the extra water helped them flourish instead. Since I have been picking lots of baby spinach, we have been eating more salads, and I also added it to the stuffed peppers I mentioned above.
Both of the potato tire stacks are now 3 tires high. They have stopped growing up, but they are still nice and green and haven’t flowered. The hardest thing about them is not knowing how the potatoes are growing and having no way to check them. We are very impatiently waiting for the fall so we can harvest them to see how well they grew and how many potatoes they produced.
The tomato plants are doing great. I normally don’t have good luck with tomatoes, but this year my luck seems to be changing. We have at least 6 tomatoes growing to a good size. They are still green, so I’m just waiting for them to ripen. Once they are ready, I plan to make tomato soup with them, because fresh from the garden tomato soup is beyond delicious. The plants did at one point start to fall over. so I added in some dowel rods and tied the plants to them to keep them upright. There were a few days that I was getting worried about the amount of sun the tomatoes were getting because the leaves started to get a bit dry and droopy looking. I had my brother move the planters to an area that had less direct sunlight, watered them a bit extra, and they perked back up.
I had to harvest one of the onion plants early due to a child mishap. The other onion plant started to show signs that it was ready (the ends all turned brown and started to droop), so I broke them off and let the onion sit in the ground to ripen. After a week, I dug up the onion and left it out in the sun to dry out for about 2 days. I then brought it to a warm dark place for 2 more days (our garage). My brother has been so excited about the onions we grew, so once the last one was ready, I let him make onion rings out of it. They were beyond amazing!
We are very pleased with our garden this year so far. Even if we were not able to produce anything else edible this year, I would say it was a success. We will continue to impatiently wait to get to harvest the carrots and potatoes, dry out herbs to use all winter, and enjoy more wonderfully delicious garden vegetables.. I will be doing a final post once the garden is over for the season.
Did you have a garden this year? I hope yours is flourishing as well!