Category Archives: Garden Bounty

Seedling Progress

Seedlings

This is the 6th person at my kitchen table right now!  More like the 5th and 6th person since it’s taking up more space.  Family meals have moved to the dining room full time.

Does my kitchen look cluttered, messy, disorganized?  Perhaps to the naked eye, not to me though.  I see baby seedlings ready to grow into full size plants soon and then bear fruits and vegetables all summer long.  I can’t wait!

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Garden Season 2016

Let the gardening begin!  Last week right before we left town our seeds arrived and I was bummed not to have time to get the seedlings started.  Today I finally had the time to get things going.  Garden season 2016 has officially begun and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am!

I look forward to the first asparagus popping up through the dirt.  The first spring lettuces.  Don’t even get me started on the tomatoes, fresh off the vine and straight into my mouth.

  
We are a little behind schedule this year.  Normally our seedlings would have been started in early February.  Life and it’s chaos got in the way this year!  At least we still have plenty of time, we aren’t that late.

The hardest part is going through the seed catalogs and deciding what to get.  I want so much, I couldn’t possibly plant it all.  Eventually it comes down to what we will eat the most and is practical for us.  The things I don’t use as often I can still buy at the farmer’s market.  

  
Tomatoes, that is my biggest challenge.  I love them the most and there are so many varieties.  They are all so different and used for different things.  Cherry and grape tomatoes are perfect for snacks and salads.  Then you have slicing tomatoes, canning tomatoes, sauce tomatoes…  Sometimes I just can’t control myself.  I showed great restraint this year and narrowed it down to six varieties.

Generally we try something new every year too.  Last year it was eggplant but it didn’t do too well.  I’m trying again this year and hoping for the best.  We also have orange cauliflower, okra and a few other vegetables we haven’t had great success with.  

Josh is planning on removing a couple more trees by the garden so hopefully I’ll get another row to accommodate my large selection of seedlings!  Last year the tomatoes were out of control and bent all the cages so we need a new staking system for them as well.

  
So anyway, back to my seedlings for this year.  It’s a pretty simple process and there are many ways to do it.  I like to fill my containers with the soil and then get to work.  I cut skewers short enough that they will fit with the lid once it’s on.  Then I put washi tape on the stick and write the name of the plant.  This is what works for me, everyone is different. You just need to make sure you mark your plants well because once they sprout they all look alike for a while!

I use the skewer sign to dig a little hole and then drop in a couple seeds, fill it back up and mark the row with the sign.  Once the tray is done water it and cover.  Sit back and in just a few days you will usually start to see something sprouting.  It is so incredibly exciting, the boys love it too.

  
It is well worth sacrificing my kitchen table for 4-6 weeks to have fresh produce right out my door all summer!  Eventually the trays get moved to the porch when it warms up a little more.  I also plan on doing another tray later.  It’s nice to have a second crop of tomatoes later in the summer.  Living in the South we have a very long growing season!

I highly recommend planting a garden, especially if you have children.  It is an invaluable lesson for them to see their food growing from seed to final product.  My children will go to the garden and eat right there.  Sometimes it may be a weed they are eating, but it’s something green!  They love watching the carrots grow and digging them up, eating them before they wash the dirt off.  Usually tomato phobic, they will eat yellow pear or grape tomatoes straight from the garden.  

  
If you want your children to eat well this is the best thing you can do for them.  Space can be an issue, not everyone has room for a biG garden.  There are plants that grow well in pots and would do well on a balcony or other small space.  This year I got eggplant, tomatoes and even a watermelon that are supposed to do well in pots.

Stay tuned and you’ll see plenty of garden progress.  It’s kind of like taking pictures of newborn children, I get so excited and can’t help myself!

  

Garden Madness

Here is a glimpse at what is happening in our lives, the garden more specifically. It takes a good chunk of time!

I spend many mornings picking tomatoes. Morning is the only time that is remotely tolerable and even them I’m covered in sweat after a short while. Sometimes the boys will help, other times not so much!

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Garden Update

We finally got the garden up and going several weeks ago. It was a multiple weekend project. Josh tilled the entire garden, made the rows, added cow manure, placed the irrigation across the rows and then we put the tarp on top to minimize our weeds. THEN it was time to plant the seedlings or vegetables that go straight from seed.

It was an adventure! The boys helped do some of the planting. In their Easter baskets they received some carrot seeds, flower seeds, a shovel, small rake and a strawberry plant. They were so incredibly excited! Daddy took them out to plant everything while I cleaned up the brunch mess. His idea of adult supervision differs from mine….they did whatever they wanted so we have carrot seeds all over and flower seeds in the vegetable patch as opposed to the flower pots. They had fun though and that is what counts….I will get more flower seeds though!
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Preserving the Flavors of the Fourth

Here is how I have spent my holiday thus far…blackberry picking with the boys while Josh had to work. Pickings were slim so I wasn’t able to do as much as I wanted. The boys were very disappointed there wasn’t enough to make cobbler!

We came home and I worked in the garden. I had to hunt things down for my harvest. We had another heavy rain yesterday so many plants were hanging over. The cucumber plants are hanging all over the pepper plants. The melons are all over.

Here is what I managed to pick this morning…

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Today’s harvest includes tomatoes (golden nuggets, grape, yellow pear, zebra cherry, full size zebra), a MASSIVE zucchini, a cantaloupe, blackberries, cucumbers, tomatillos and a pepper.

What to do with it all? I canned two and a half jars of cantaloupe jam with vanilla (a first time and I must say it is SUPERB) and two jars of spiced blackberry jam.

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I also made a pot of cherry tomato sauce. We had some earlier in the week with pasta and it was wonderful. It is cooling and waiting to be bagged and frozen.

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Then after all that I was able to put the yellow pear tomatoes and cucumbers in bowls. Have you seen these before…they are Mexican Sour Gherkins. They are the best cucumbers ever!! They look like dollhouse sized watermelons but are really a bite sized cucumber. We MUST plant these every year now! I will pickle them at a later date, I’m exhausted!

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If you want to know what boys do while their mom is harvesting in the garden, here is a clue….

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Should you care to see more pics of these muddy boys swing on over to Dalrymple Clan Adventures.

Tomato Time

Here is a quick photo update of the garden. This HUGE basket is just what I picked today!

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The full size tomatoes are finally getting ripe. We have been eating the cherry and small yellow pear tomatoes for a couple weeks now.

Zucchini and squash are also still coming along. Needless to say we’ve been eating a lot of them too. I also made three loaves of zucchini bread Sunday night! This weekend will be a huge batch of zucchini tots to freeze. Should time ever allow…aka Josh not need my help with his garage, I may even find some time to can. Or not, time will tell!

Do you have a garden? How is it coming along?

Guess what’s for dinner here tonight? Pasta with homemade tomato sauce. Imagine that! Lunch was salad with lots of tomatoes and cucumbers. Breakfast was scrambled eggs with tomatoes. See a theme?!

Garden Update

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I can almost taste the tomatoes! We tied the plants up a couple weekends ago and it is smelling like tomato plants. They have such a distinct smell, I just love it! There are plenty of blossoms and even some baby tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes seem to be the first to grow. Continue reading