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Happy harvesting!


Having a vegetable garden is so much fun! Even my husband is getting a kick out of it! So far, we’ve got tomatoes, beans, peas, pickling cucumbers, zucchini, and scallop squashes. And so much more than I thought we’d be able to get this first year since we’ve been so busy with moving, home-repair and everything else.

I thought this would be one of those hobbies where he’d be supportive but not get involved unless I ask for help on specific projects, but my husband is really getting interested in the garden produce. I didn’t think he even liked pickles, but when I made some refrigerator pickles out of our own cucumbers, he certainly snapped up what I put on the plate! I made a pad thai with our homegrown snap peas and beans, and he just thought it was so great to eat what we had grown in our backyard.

I’ve even got him harvesting tomatoes and weighing them in for me (I want to record my yields, and compare market value of my produce to cost of inputs). I’ll report back in a few months with my totals and results.

We’ve canned a bunch of salsa and tomato sauce from our tomatoes (supplemented by tomatoes from our farmer’s market). Now that I have a house, I’m really enjoying canning produce and lining my pantry shelves with the season’s best.

Recently, I had a September surprise in my garden. I had put my whole packet of “Table Queen” seeds into my garden in July, and a day later, found piles of chewed-up empty shells. When nothing germinated, I assumed some chipmunk marauder had gotten every last seed, and I planted crookneck squash over that section and gave up hope on acorn squashes for the year. What a disappointment! I was really hoping to have some “storage squashes”, and other than a sole “Marina di Chioggia” which I planted much earlier, there wouldn’t be time to grow anything else beyond the acorn squashes.

I was then quite confused when what I thought was a “Summer Crookneck Squash” was producing fruits that refused to grow necks. I waited for the little yellow balls to grow necks… and warts, my book said they should have warts! I worried, because summer squashes should be picked fairly young, but they should have necks. I got concerned, thinking perhaps this was a weird cross (I’ve heard it’s very easy to cross squashes, but I didn’t think a reliable seed company would allow such accidents). …It wasn’t until a REAL summer crookneck fruit showed up on another plant for comparison, that I remembered I had planted acorn squashes in this same area back in July! Hooray! I may get to have storage squashes after all! Hooray for the survival of one lovely plant!

Just to give you an idea of what I’m working with, I thought I’d share a couple pictures of my “half-baked” garden plots. Basically, I cleared out any areas that seemed like they could support veggies and were somewhat separated from the lawn.

On the side of the garage:

By our back deck:

Front yard:

Ditch in the back lawn (that will some day be the site of a proper raised bed – hopefully next year):

And finally a couple of containers thrown in at the end of the season for lettuce:

My husband credits the abundance of garden areas as part of the reason we passed our home inspection so quickly last month. We had assumed the violations from the bank who sold us the house and it became our responsibility to fix those city violations. The inspector saw our redone roof, garage roof and porch railings and saw the gardening. He then decided since it was clear that we really lived there and weren’t leasing it out (hence the credit to the vegetable gardens), that he didn’t need to look inside to know we’d be taking care of all the rest of the details. Although we had taken care of 98% of the interior violations as well, we were quite relieved that the inspector was inclined to give us all the benefit of the doubt and not be super nit picky. Certainly there were a few things he could have nailed us on had he wished to.

So here’s to a fantastic summer! We fixed up our new house, we grew a lot of vegetables (still more to come), and now we can have some fun and I can bond with my new kitchen as the harvest rolls in! I hope all the other vegetable gardeners on Grows on You are having as much success as I have had this first season!

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Well done. Amazing results in such a short time.

17 Sep, 2008


Very fascinating blog and interesting photos.
The moral of the story seems to be ~
if the Inspector is due to call,
plants some lettuces - fast ! :o)

17 Sep, 2008


Will have to move next door to you Rain, I'm sure you'll have a few to spare. : )


17 Sep, 2008


How scary to have an Inspector calling on you! Well done with the veggies - they certainly served more than one purpose.

17 Sep, 2008


Hi Rain! Yes, I know what you mean about veggies! We too have a very new garden here in northern Spain and have been experimenting with veggies, finding what will grow and what not to bother with next year and the more produce we have, the more I delve into my cookery books for chutney, soup and pesto recipes. To sit down to home-made meal, complete with bread and slice of hedgerow pie is an absolute joy. Well done on your achievements and more power to your fork and trowel!

18 Sep, 2008


Well done and congratulations on your success.
All the best, Hywe.

18 Sep, 2008

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