Garden Update: 8-5-13

“What is there not to like about having your own vegetable garden?  I mean, seriously folks, you just walk out into your backyard and pick dinner!  It could not get any easier than this.”

OUR GARDEN 8-5-13

Since last week, our garden has come alive with “color”!  We are seeing more and more “red” throughout the garden – Juliet Tomatoes are ripening like crazy now, and the red peppers are now turning red.  So far, we have picked a total of 19 Juliet Tomatoes, 1 Big Boy Tomato, and 1 cucumber. But don’t fret, there will be much much more on their way soon!

OUR GARDEN VEGGIES 8-5-13

JULIET TOMATO 8-5-13

I know what you are thinking that I can’t believe that Val is “counting” her veggies, (I count my blessings too!) but I really want to know how many vegetables our garden produced this year.  I wanted to do this last year, but when I forgot to mark down a lot of things, I gave up the list.  This season, I am on it and have the list in plain view.  I think it would be so neat and rather interesting to know that 500 Juliet Tomatoes were picked this season.  (this number is no joke, as we could possibly get this many)  We enjoyed our first home grown cucumber and some Juliet Tomatoes with dinner last night and NOTHING beats home grown!  Holy cow, these were so fresh, crisp, and tasty, that I was sad when my bowl was empty and I was only looking at my Italian dressing swirling around in the bottom of the bowl.

CUCUMBER 8-5-13

CUCUMBER PATCH 8-5-13

Our cucumbers are on drugs right now, or at least they act like it, as they have grown so high & bushy since last week’s garden post.  When we peeked under all the leaves crawling up the trellis, we saw at least 20+ cucumbers on the vines!  This truly excites us, since our cucs last year hardly produced anything.  But…. since I share our pros and cons of gardening with you, I can tell you that last year we did not use a trellis and just let the cucumbers crawl all through the garden and this year we are using two trellis’s.  This has made a huge difference in their growth!  We find that cucumbers like to climb and they are better off the ground so they can produce better.  (side note:  I have also read that you should use a wood trellis for the cucumbers and not metal, as the metal can heat up with the sun and burn the vines)

SUNFLOWERS 8-5-13

The sunflowers that we got from Auntie Rene have grown with leaps and bounds, and although we can visually see that their height is now taller, we are also counting the siding on the side of the garage to tell how much they have grown.  I am starting to wonder now as to how “high” they are going to get before the huge sunflower emerges.  Does anyone know?  If I am not mistaken, our tallest one is “15 siding slats” high!  LOL

BIG BOY TOMATO 8-5-13

TOMATO GARDEN 8-5-13

The Big Boy Tomatoes right now are so beautiful.  Nice round, firm, and big!  We have been using Epsom Salt around our tomatoes to keep them from splitting and for their growth too, as Epsom Salt is a good provider of Magnesium which tomatoes need.  Our tomato plants last year, as a comparison, lacked in Magnesium, so we corrected that this year.  Last year they split near the top before they were ready to be picked, and since we did not want the same thing to happen this year in our garden, we chose to correct their soil for proper growth.

FLAT DUTCH CABBAGE 8-5-13

The Flat Dutch Cabbage is slowly coming along forming heads.  One of the heads got chewed by “something” (probably the darn bunny I have seen around here), and will one day be turned into stuffed cabbage by Grandma!  Oh, Grandma’s stuffed cabbage is the best!

All in all, another victorious week of gardening and we have kept out any critters from doing any major damage.  Phew!

If you wanted to take a peek back on our older “Garden Updates“, you can view them below.  It is amazing to see the difference in the garden in one week’s time, as I take all of my garden update photographs every Monday.

Garden Update: 7-29-13
Garden Update: 7-22-13
Garden Update: 7-15-13
Garden Update: 7-8-13
Garden Update:  7-1-13

P.S. – How do you like my new logo?  Isn’t it awesome!
LOGO WAS CREATED BY KEY AND ARROW

Yikes, There’s a Vegetable Garden in the Basement!

4-20-13 GETTING READY FOR GARDENING

As the days pass us by, it just gets one day closer to gardening season.  Boy oh boy, we can’t wait to garden again!  Last year was our first time ever gardening, and like I have said before, we have learned a lot along the way.  We had many plants kick the bucket on us in our first year, but that is because we did not really know what in the heck we were doing.  We just stuck those little plants into the ground, watered them, and hoped for the best.

This year, things are starting off differently.  We know that a grow light should not be on 24/7, and we corrected this immediately this year.  We give our little plants light during the day, and shut off the grow lights at night.  We have learned that plants need to sleep too.  We have also learned that once you transplant your seedlings into bigger peat pots after they have outgrown the seed tray, that they cannot be placed too close together.  Air needs to circulate around the peat pots so mold does not grow on the pots. If mold does start to grow on the peat pots, it can damage your plant, and also spread to the others.  Not a good thing.

When it came time for us to transplant our seedlings into bigger pots, we did use peat pots, but then I remembered that we had a lot of nice plastic pots saved in the garage from the prior year when we bought plants for the garden.  I did start most of our little plants into the peat pots, but then decided to change a lot of them into these nice plastic pots.  Now, I have noticed that by using these larger plastic pots, that no mold has grown on any pots, but I have also spaced them out nicely on the table so air can still circulate around them.  All in all, it is a learning process and we are so glad that what we have learned along the way, is now paying off.  Our plants are much healthier this year, than last year.

3-14-13 Cabbage

3-14-13 Cabbage

4-20-13 FLAT DUTCH CABBAGE

To our amazement we noticed yesterday that a couple of our Flat Dutch cabbage plants are getting huge leaves on them.  We went “WOW” when I headed down to check on them in the morning.  I started laughing and said that the next time I check on them, that a little cabbage head will probably be on them!  Not really, but by the way they are getting bigger, it would not surprise me.

4-20-13 TOMATOES

We still have a month to go to keep these plants growing until we plant them into the garden.  We need to watch for when our last frost day is, then we will be able to take the plants outside for a few minutes each day to get them used to the sun.  Another huge lesson we learned.  We did not do this last year, and it killed our plants, not all of them, but nonetheless, it killed quite a few.  The plants went into shock and died on us.

4-20-13 RED PEPPERS

Plants need to take a few days to a week to get used to the sun and different temps.  Each day, you take all the plants outside for just a few minutes at a time (about 15 minutes on the first day, then increase the time outside each day), until you have done this for about a week.  After that, you can plant your nice veggies into the garden.  I know what you are thinking… that is a lot of work!  It most definitely is, but hardening off your plants is a must do in order for them to succeed in the garden.  Just for our tomato plants alone, we have about 18 plants!  I am going to have to get a large try to carry all of these outside for sure!

We also have many green and red pepper plants too and they are coming along nicely.  By the time it is ready to plant them in the garden, they will be nice and big and have a better chance of survival.  I can’t wait to pick home grown peppers, because we use red peppers in our dinners almost every night.  And, this year I will be able to make some awesome stuffed green peppers for dinner too!  I know that Roy is real happy that I know how to cook, as he enjoys all of my creations!  For example, the other night I marinated some chicken split breasts in Marzetti’s Balsamic Vinegar and sprinkled some oregano on them.  They marinated for a few hours before they headed into the oven, and boy oh boy did they turn out awesome.  I think Roy has a new favorite dinner now!  Marinating your chicken does make the world of difference in the taste of your meal!

Gardening is a lot of work, but once you start reaping what you sow, it all makes everything worth it!  I am dreaming of the day this summer when I do my first post on my homemade salsa!  I am sure that it will not last long, as I am a salsa junkie!  With the amount of tomato plants that we have, there will be a good chance of an over-abundance of salsa this year for sure!  And, if you live anywhere near us, you could also benefit from our garden crop this year, as we love to share!