|Fruits of our labor...ok, veggies...but you |
get the point. Watermelon, squash & cucumbers.
I didn't expect much of the garden to last through the heat and since we're still relatively new to gardening, I was curious to see how the different crops fared. The corn has been picked over and is already dried up, withered and brown. I'll be pulling it out of the ground in the next few weeks.
I'm leaving the potatoes in for a little while longer. I'm not sure when they come are ready to harvest but I've read that I should leave them until the part above ground withers and looks to be near dead. I pulled some a week or so ago and they were little golf ball size potatoes. About eight of them were dangling from one root. I microwaved them for about five minutes and served 'em up with butter, cheese and salt. They were tasty and I was now sure that in times of need I could grow potatoes for food. I'm hoping that they grow much larger as I leave them in the ground to grow.
The butternut squash and cucumbers are producing nicely. Wifey has learned how to bake the squash into what I'll call long squash fries. They are quite delicious with a little butter and salt, similar to a mashed potato consistency or maybe a baked yam. We've had one sitting on the kitchen counter for a few weeks now and it doesn't show any signs of going bad yet. We're still learning the shelf life of different organic items. Wifey's homemade bread starts to mold in under two weeks. She made a batch of eight loaves a few weeks ago so some actually sat around for a bit as opposed to her usual four loaf batch that gets eaten in four days.
The cucumbers are growing great but I don't really have a taste for them. Never have. That is, not until we recently started to juice produce. Now, for breakfast, Wifey goes out to the garden and picks a fresh cucumber and tosses it into the juicer with apples, plums, kale and broccoli or celery and I'm able to enjoy a smorgasbord or fruits and veggies in a refreshing morning beverage. I'm thankful for finding the joy of juicing as it allows me to consume the things I normally found unpalatable but yet wanted to grow in my garden.
|Growing fewer than I thought based on|
all the vines & smaller than I expected too.
We only have a few pumpkins that are in the grapefruit size range. The rest a just little golf ball sized fellas. I was hoping that my Halloween we'd be up to our knees in pumpkins and each child would be able to carve their own as well as having plenty for pie making. Not so sure it's going to work out that way. We'll have to wait and see I guess. At least they're growing. I'm happy about that.
Strawberries have made it this far so they should continue to grow. They sprout out a little red gem every now and then. I pick them whenever I see one in hope that the plant can focus it's energy on growing stronger for next season, as some have suggested. Out of five strawberry plants purchased from home depot, three remain and one had a runner creating a daughter plant. So I still have four plants growing. I'm happy with that ratio too.
|This watermelon wasn't quite ready yet :-(|
All in all, our gardening experiment is proving to be a success. We've learned the beginning stages of what it takes to grow our own food (tilling, planting, watering, hand pollinating, pruning, predator proofing, heat shielding) and found it to be both entertaining and enjoyable. The children ask to be involved and have picked their own corn and planted seeds. We set out to add self sustaining skills to our knowledge base this year and gardening certainly leads the pack in usefulness. Now if I could just find some affordable farm land.
How much land do you think is enough to support your family's gardening needs?