June 24, 2010

When You Aren't the Best Gardener


Last year I was having a baby in March, so we never got around to planting anything in our raised bed gardens. It had been fun during the summer of 2008 when we created the beds to practice growing things for the first time with the kids. We figured this year we would try our hand at it again.

We planted:
Tomatoes (a few different varieties)
Bell Peppers
Banana Peppers

I think that's it. And of course we have three different herbs growing... Chocolate Mint (which has taken over an entire flower bed - if you don't love mint: PLANT IN POTS), Lemon Basil (still in my kitchen window in a tiny pot) and Lemon Balm (the best thing since sliced bread - wish I had more of it).

This year, the basil didn't re-seed. I was kind of depressed about that because last year it was everywhere and I had fresh basil on hand whenever I needed it. I figured I might try to replace it with the lemon basil this year... but it's so tiny still, that I haven't even been able to use it in one dish yet.

Texas is hard on gardens... the heat is rough. The nice thing, though, is that we have at least three growing seasons. Our lettuce is bitter (heat) but beautiful, the radishes and spinach really look bleak (doubt we'll get even one bowl of either), and the corn.... OH, woe is the corn.

TWO tiny nibbler sized cobs have been harvested so far - from four huge stalks. The other two rows of corn never got tall enough before they started growing... so I am not sure what will come of them. At least the fire ants are getting fed.

The cilantro never was. It sprouted and immediately died in the summer sun. I've never been able to grow it, so I buy it at the grocery store; just like I have been my lettuce this year. It's rough watching the lettuce grow in your back yard and having to eat the boxed stuff - because yours tastes like it has aspirin sprinkled all over it.

I did get three or four banana peppers and used them in some Mexican pinto beans one night for dinner. There are two bell peppers looking shiny and green on the plants right now. I can't wait to pick them. They aren't big enough yet.

I only got 4 little onions from the big one I planted. Still not sure how I went wrong there. I'll be planting those again later this fall from seed.

Our tomatoes are pretty much the big winners in our garden. They seem hearty enough to stand on their own - despite our lack of gardening skills. I love picking them just when they are turning yellow-orange and watching them finish to red on my kitchen window sill. Tomatoes are so much better home grown! The baby says, 'Mato' when he sees them, so he usually is the recipient of the cherry tomatoes that we bring in. One day he sank his face into a Roma (before we even knew he liked tomatoes). He just leaned forward when Chickie was telling him what it was and took a huge bite! Now we feed him tomatoes all the time.


If anything, our garden is pretty. My husband loves to water and care for it. It's his "therapy". He likes to unwind after a long day at work by taking the baby out with him to fiddle for a little bit. Baby K now requests that "dada" takes him "ouside" (and he points excitedly) as soon as he walks in the door.

I guess if there isn't much edible out there, at least our garden is serving other purposes. We sure enjoy using the few foods we grow when we are able to harvest our tiny crops. Even if you stink at gardening, I'd still recommend it. Keep trying. Eventually, you are bound to grow something worthwhile!


MommyTopics.com said...

I'm still trying to venture into the land of gardening. I haven't planted anything yet this year, but I'm hoping to hurry and get some seeds in the ground within the next two weeks.

I'm determined to try and grow SOMETHING!!!

You can follow along here:http://www.mommytopics.com/confessions/the-saga-of-a-hindered-but-hopeful-gardener

I'll have to do some research and find out what Lemon Balm is... I've never heard of it!

Rachymommy - MommyTopics.com

Gwen T said...

Beautiful garden! Although I am not a green thumb naturally, we plant a garden every year just because we love fresh, fresh vegetables out of our own garden. This summer though we're traveling more than we're home so our garden plot is empty - however, I'm filing some of your ideas for next year's garden.... Thanks!

Tracy @ Hall of Fame Moms said...

We've got something lemony growing at our house. It was here apparently when we moved in. If you get the leaves moving it gives off a strong lemon (like cleaning agent) smell. I wonder if that is an herb? I'll have to check it out.

Tracy said...

How fun!

Robin Sampson said...

Hey Sweetie,
How are feeling? We have a tone of rocks in TN so I did square foot gardening. So did my daughter. She put hers in before me and her stuff is twice as big producing all kids of veggies. Mine looks puny.

The difference--High Yield Organic fertilizer. I put on mine yesterday and look forward to seeing some real growth.(there is a spiritual lesson in there). Its not easy to find but incredible-- we used the same dirt and same plant-- only fert different. I'll blog b4 and after photos soon.

Try it.

Love you,

Kimberly Eddy said...

Great post.

As a gardener, especially someone who loves to grow basil and other fresh herbs, I want to encourage you about the basil. Not all basil grows big or grows prolifically. The lemon basil tends to stay small. The italian basil or Genovese Basil (not "globe basil") tends to grow big, fast, and doesn't mind heat. I hope that helps.




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