Growing your own food, even a container of tomatoes or fresh herbs, is so rewarding! I started a small garden about 5 years ago and honestly didn’t know what I was doing. I planted things waaayyy too close together, paired the wrong things, and underestimated how huge some plants would get. But, I was instantly addicted.
There is something incredibly therapeutic about putting your hands in the soil and watching a teeny-tiny plant blossom and grow into an edible masterpiece. I have the utmost respect for people who grow food for a living; it is hard work and requires problem solving and dedication to successfully complete. I think I’ll stick to growing a few veggies and herbs each year and leave the tough stuff to the pros.
I briefly shared my current gardening adventures during my Spring post a few weeks back and so much has changed since then! Its fun looking back at photos of the starter plants because it gives me a sense of accomplishment. Every evening I check on my plants and fuss with them; pull a few weeds there…adjust the tomato cages here… This year’s garden includes: swiss chard, green bell peppers, serrano peppers, grape tomatoes, regular tomatoes, basil, chives, parsley, thyme, rosemary, and tarragon.
Each year my gardening skills grow as I find successes and failures. This year is no exception, of course. The swiss chard has been the biggest disappointment so far; for years I grew beautiful large leaves of swiss chard at a rate I could hardly keep up with. This year as soon as the leaves are large enough to harvest they turn brown, wilt, and have holes in them. Bummer. I’m not giving up though; I will definitely try again next year after doing more research. Suggestions are appreciated!
The tomatoes have been the biggest triumph so far. The grape tomato plants started off as little starters and have since exploded into a viney mess currently boasting approximately 264 yellow flowers…but whose counting? Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I am expecting an impressive crop this year! The regular tomatoes also have many little green tomatoes. The toughest part about growing them is waiting for the green tomatoes to ripen and turn red. As soon as the flowers fall off and the little tomato begins to grow I instantly expect them to be ready to go. Apparently I’m still learning patience…impatiently.
All the herbs have exceeded my expectations in regards to yield and size. Homegrown herbs keeps giving and giving; the more you snip the more the plant will produce. Herbs = instant gratification since you aren’t waiting for any ripening to take place. So far two batches of pesto are stashed in the freezer awaiting a cold winter’s night and we have enjoyed pesto pasta as well. Now I need to brainstorm how to use up all that parsley…
Hot peppers, serrano peppers specifically, are my favorite to grow. One small starter can produce dozens of spicy peppers. I love cooking with spicy peppers but often forget to buy them at the grocery store; having a back-up stash on the patio comes in handy! The first two little peppers started growing this week! Between the tomatoes and the hot peppers this garden has “salsa” written alllllll over it!
So far, so good on the gardening front this year. I will post another update once the veggies are ready for harvest. What are you growing this year?