Garden Update – May 15

Who knew that this garden thing would be so much work?  If you’ve been following my crazy garden adventure – crazy because who really makes a 2000+ square foot garden with virtually no experience?  (Me, that’s who.)

So here we are at the middle of May. I have everything in the ground so I wanted to give you an update.

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I grew parsley from seed indoors and transplanted it outdoors.  This one is doing great! I don’t cook with fresh parsley all that much, but it’s nice to have. My main purpose is to dry it because it’s a key ingredient in my homemade ranch dressing mix, which I use exclusively now (since the packaged kind is so expensive). I use it in all sorts of recipes and I also make homemade ranch dressing.

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Here is a look at the first batch of lettuce I planted in my container.  When will it cease to amaze me how such a large plant can come from such a small seed? I’ve determined that it must be impossible for a gardener to be an atheist.

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Here are my other two herb planters. On the left are parsley and cilantro, both grown indoors from seed.  The cilantro was grown from last year’s cilantro seed that I harvested after it bolted.  On the right is lemon thyme that survived the winter.

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Here are my bush beans in one of my raised beds.  They haven’t taken off as quickly as I would have liked, and I spent some time dousing them to get the black ants off them. Now they seem to be doing better.

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Here are my pole beans in one of my beds.  They haven’t grown as fast either, and only a fraction of the ones I planted germinated.  I will probably have to plant more soon.

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Here are pole beans at the base of my bamboo “tent” Drew and I built from bamboo that my friend Stephanie so kindly brought me.  Again, not as many germinated as I thought. I’m seeing a pattern here. One reason I planted so many beans was that it’s supposed to be the easiest crop.  I haven’t found that to be the case, unless I’m just not patient enough.

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Here is another look of the bean tent. My plan is for the beans to climb the tepee and create a fun place for the kids to play outside this summer.

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In the “bean tepee garden” I also planted squash from seed. They are finally coming up thanks to the warm weather.

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Here are my beautiful potatoes I planted in the “tepee garden.”  I’m very excited about them!

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But I’m not excited about the visitors I’ve found on them – Colorado Potato Beetles.  Yesterday I caught 14 of them and squished my second set of eggs.  Not sure what else to do, but catching them has become kind of fun, though I’m sure the novelty will wear off soon.  One reason that it’s a little fun…

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is that I get to feed the beetles to the chicks!  They love them.

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This is a very blurry picture of how something is eating my blueberries.  I put cayenne pepper on them but they are still gone, a few at a time. I have plenty left but I hope I’ll have some left by the time they ripen!

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This is my blueberry bush bed, adorned with beautiful flowers my mom bought me for Mother’s Day.

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This is my broccoli raised bed with onions.  It’s hard to see but I planted basil in the lower left and thyme in the lower right. Both I grew from seed indoors.  I planted oregano from seed and I’m waiting for that to sprout.  Also in the broccoli raised bed I have rosemary and dill.  The dill is to dry and use in my ranch dressing mix.

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Here is a picture of one of the three squash plants that survived the transplant.  The stem looks pitiful, but it is growing new leaves so hopefully the warm weather will help it thrive.  I haven’t found any more cucumber beetles since I killed 4 several weeks ago.

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I planted several peppers in my salsa garden last week.  Peppers were my best crop last year and I had enough to freeze for winter. I have rarely had to purchase a pepper all winter.

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Here is okra that I just planted about 10 days ago, already coming up. We LOVE our fried okra – our whole family. I am hoping to grow enough to eat fresh and freeze for the whole winter. I planted 14 plants, hoping they all thrive.

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Though my cabbage has been a disappointment, the carrots in this raised bed are growing very well!

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And here are my broccoli. I’ll be harvesting them soon, before they start to go to flower. I was hoping for a large head like I get at the grocery store, but I guess this is better than nothing.

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You can see strawberries here, along with pumpkins.  My coworker Elaine last year told me about an idea she had heard.  When you’re done with your Halloweeen pumpkin, dig it out and put potting soil it it, along with a few of the seeds. Set it in your garden and the rind will break down.  The seeds will germinate when it’s time, producing pumpkins.  So far, so good!

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Here is a picture of the tomatoes in my salsa garden. They did not do well with the cold spell a couple of weeks ago, and they’re finally showing new growth.  I hope they start growing quickly, because I just ordered a vegetable strainer attachment for my KitchenAid mixer to help with canning.  Plus, Matt has been hinting for some homemade spaghetti sauce. 🙂

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Here is a look of another batch of lettuce I planted, with two of my first potatoes planted that ended up surviving the torrential downpours.

All in all, I’m fairly pleased. Of course I’d love for everything to be knocking my socks off, but I am a beginner after all.  Any success is better than I would have had if I hadn’t tried, right?

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