I’ve started finding some little friends in my garden.
Actually this first guy is quite a large little friend. He has been hanging out in my lettuce leaves for about a week now. He greets me every morning when I go out to pick our greens for the day. I’m already dreading the day that I have to pull up all the remaining lettuce and he looses his happy little home. I can only hope that when that day comes the other plants in the adjacent beds have become large enough to offer him a welcoming new home.
I’m not actually sure what this next little guy is. I know when we were kids we called them inch worms. Where did he come from and what will he become. I’m assuming this is just a middle stage of his development. As cute as he is I have had to give up a portion of my basil and spinach to his hungry little belly. Not ideal but he and his buddies aren’t so numerous as to be a problem…yet. I’m going to look into organic and ethical ways to deter these little guys from eliminating my basil.
This is meant to be a weekly segment to show the progress and evolution of my garden beds over the rest of this year.
Edible Garden Bed #1
I’m so proud of this first bed! The sage, rosemary, and chives are holdovers from last year that over wintered very well in the bed. I have already drastically cut back the sage and it is taking over again. I will have to rein it in again this weekend.
There are six small basil plants in there that I grew from seeds. They are one of the plants I am so proud of because I was actually able to grow them from seed and transplant them into the garden. They seem pretty happy but aren’t growing quite as quickly as the other plants in the bed.
You can’t see them at all because they are hiding under the turnip greens but there are beautiful little Tom Thumb lettuce heads in there too. The turnips have really taken off and I plan on harvesting them tomorrow and roasting them for lunch.
There are two tomato plants in the back that are starting to take over. With them are a few kale plants. I actually thought the kale would do a lot better but I may have hindered them with the tomatoes. Lastly there is the spinach. I have have some little caterpillars munching away on it so I will probably just pull it soon. When I replant I will make sure to spray them with some type of natural bug repellent.
Edible Garden Bed #2
This bed while not as full will be soon enough. I have four bell pepper plants and two hot pepper plants. Those still need it to get a little warmer before they really take off. I also have four cucumber plants. those may get out of control and need to be thinned out even more but for now I am letting them spread their legs. The peppers and the cucumbers were all grown from seeds and transplanted. The lettuce and the peas in the bed were sown in the bed at the end of April. We have been eating the lettuce but I’m not sure we will get any peas this year. It’s getting hot pretty fast this year.
Edible Garden Bed #3
This bed was mostly planted this last weekend. The only thing that was planted previously were the pole beans. They are still pretty small. The zucchini and the yellow squash are starting to sprout. Just two more plants to go. The other plants we seeded last weekend were the mouse melons and the ground cherries. They are a little slower to sprout. Hopefully over the next couple days I see them start to show themselves.
I can’t wait to check back next week and see what we have. I will also update the containers at that time so I can get an idea of how well they are progressing.
The garden has finally made it’s way to the table! Lettuce from the garden has started appearing on our plates. The spinach has made it’s way there too.
The salad below is made with the Tom Thumb and Loose Leaf from our garden. It’s topped with grilled pineapple and onions, feta cheese, and a squeeze of lime. I also grilled a pork tenderloin to go with it.
This meal was really good! It was pesto and panko crusted chicken thighs with a spinach salad from our garden. The spinach was topped with feta, cucumbers, black olives and a greek vinaigrette.
Container gardening is not something I am good at. I don’t understand how those luscious looking pots at the garden store are made. Never the less I try every year to grow plants in pots and this year is no different.
The three pots above contain some baby herbs. There are a few basils, an Italian parsley, sage, and thyme. They are so small and growing at such a show clip I’m not sure the pots will ever look full.
The next two containers are planted with Lizzano tomatoes. The variety is supposed to grow well in containers. I surely have fingers crossed because we eat a lot of tomatoes in our house. In our area it takes tomatoes a very long time to start producing. This is mostly because the temperatures get too hot almost from the start for them to pollinate… or so I have been told.
I had the most wonderful Mother’s Day. My boys worked hard all afternoon in the heat while I lounged on a blanket! The front bed is planted now. Even better I have everything for my summer vegetable garden planted and some additional flower pretties for my backyard. This is the earliest we have ever had everything done and I am so excited to see how everything grows and transforms. There will be so much to learn from this year that can be applied to future gardens and landscapes. It’s all so exciting.
I am absolutely obsessed with this book right now! I wish I had it before I bought all of my seeds for the season. There are so many good varieties that I want to try and Niki Jabbour does such a wonderful job describing them all.
One of the first things she talks about is how fun it is to plant all the new things but also how not all of them will turn out being something you love. I think that is such a good way to approach gardening. I have planted so many things that grew like monsters in my garden and then we never ended up eating the harvest because it just wasn’t our thing. It didn’t make it any less fun. I’ve also tried things that just never took off but at least I know for future years that whatever the variety was that I tried maybe just isn’t going to make it in the hot Oklahoma sun.
The way the book is set up is really cool. Basically the author says if you like x you should try x y z. As an example, if you like tomatoes you should try tomatillos or ground cherries. Then the author also lists more obscure varieties of tomatoes that you might also be interested in trying.
So basically everything in this book goes into two categories for me:
- Obviously I’m Planting this in the Fall
- Obviously I Have to Try NOW!
This book has me seriously planning my fall garden and spring has barely sprung!
Obviously I’m Planting This In The Fall
Let’s talk just a little bit about category #1.
Well, let’s start with the fact that I have never successfully pulled off a fall garden. The fall weather in Oklahoma is super confusing to me. I bought another book for that and will be talking about that later.
So some of the fall planning includes:
- Watermelon Radishes
- Mache – a salad green
- Petite Snap Greens – a pea like plant grown for the tendrils and tender green
Obviously I Have to Try NOW!
This category is a little risky but there are only a couple items that I just absolutely have to plant right now so it shouldn’t be to hard to give them the extra care they might need with a late start.
The first of these is Mouse Melons. Oh gosh these are so cute. They are tiny cucumber like fruits. They are also known as cucamelons but I think mouse melons sounds so much cuter. According to the book they have a cucumber taste with a hint of citrus. The variety that I chose to purchase was Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumbers.
The next exciting new addition will be these Sweet Dumpling winter squash. They are supposed to grow less sprawling vines and smaller squashes. They should be sweet and hopefully delicious.
The next new thing I just can’t help but try is the ground cherry! This one is the most exciting for me. They grow like tomatoes and taste faintly like tomatoes but supposedly have a sweet pineapple like flavor as well. They can be used in jam and pie and eaten straight off the ground.
I love this book. I’m so glad that I bought it instead of just picking it up at the library. Honestly, if I had gotten it from the library I probably would have ended up buying it anyway. I can tell that this is going to be a book that I will want to look at every year when planning my garden.