As my first post on this blog, I thought I would share a bit about our garden. If you’re interested in learning more about me and how this blog came to be, you can read about that in my About page. Anyway, this is our first family garden, and while we’ve had a few hardships and made a few mistakes with it, we’re getting a little crop, which is exciting. No vegetable tastes as good as the ones you planted yourself. If you haven’t tried, do it! It’s so rewarding eating a dinner and knowing you contributed in a real way.
So, here are some photos of our garden today.
Our cucumbers have been especially problematic. Other than our carrots and radishes, this is the only plant we started from seed. They flourished in the beginning and looked really promising. In fact, every single seed sprouted, and we had to give some plants away to friends (which, in fact, is so rewarding). However, they stalled out a few weeks ago, and while my friend is already up to her ears in fresh cucumbers, ours are only just starting to produce. In fact, this is a photo of our very first cucumber! Inspecting the plant a bit more, it looks like we’ve got several more female flowers that should bloom in the next few days. Now that we’ve got the bee garden, and I’ve learned about self-pollinating (which is a topic for another day), I’m confident that we’ll see more cucumbers in our near future. I’ll keep you posted.
Our cherry tomato plant is the only tomato plant in our garden that is actually producing, although I’m not entirely sure why. Still, we’ve already gotten a few handfuls of cherry tomatoes which have gone wonderfully in salads and pasta dishes, and we’re about to get several more.
Our okra plants were honestly the plants that we had the least expectation from in the beginning. Neither of us has ever planted okra in the past, or even known anyone that did. We planted 3 okra plants, all of which got eaten up quickly by a horde of aphids almost immediately. We really figured that these plants wouldn’t survive, but we’ve by far gotten the best harvest off of our okra plants out of everything we planted this year. If you’ve never had okra before, see if you can get your hands on it. It’s a very popular vegetable here in the south, especially in cajun cuisine. It goes well in gumbo and stews, and it’s also really good steamed with a little bit of onion, salt, and pepper. You have to be careful how you cook it though, because okra can be terribly slimy if you don’t do it right. I like to slice mine and then immediately toss it into a preheated skillet and let both sides blacken a bit before I steam it. You still get a little slime, but not nearly as much as if you just let it steam.
A few weeks ago at the local farmer’s market, we walked past a booth and saw several green onion plants on sale. We had a little spare room in our garden so we went for it and bought a couple of them. I absolutely love green onions in salads and soups, and these are so easy to grow that we’ve already got a big stash. In fact, my next project is to learn how to dry them so I can use them year round!
Also in our garden are a few eggplant plants, which don’t appear to be doing much, and some carrots and radishes which we hope to harvest in the next few weeks.
While we aren’t swimming in vegetables like we’d hoped, we’re learning a lot and have already figured out a lot of things we should do differently next year. In fact, we may even plant a fall garden after this heat dies down and try to get a late harvest before frost so that we can can and freeze some of it for winter. How did your first garden do? Did you learn a lot for the following years?