Saturday, June 23

Garden Update - Just Like in the Store!

No matter how many seasons I plant a garden, I am still amazed that one tiny seed can grow into a healthy, hearty plant, producing food that will feed my family through a good part of the season. It seems like a small miracle to me that so much hope and promise can come from one packet costing under $3.

My first celery plant - ever.
My garden this year is no exception, as far as certain crops are concerned. I have had issues with very poor germination in the first planting of beans, peas, cucumbers and watermelon. The second plantings went better with all four, but the corn is a total loss. Every couple of years I try to grow corn since we all enjoy it so much. And every year it is the same story - little to no germination.

Yep, potatoes are my thing.
I have heard it said that some people just can not grow certain things. No one knows why - it is just some fluke of nature. But on that same line of thought, a person can, through no logic or special talents, grow another crop that does beautifully with little effort.

In that case, I am a whiz at potatoes. My two rows of yellow gold are thriving and I just sit back and take the credit. The rest of the garden, as in most years, falls into the "middle of the road" category. There are plants, they are growing. That is all.

Lettuce - just like in the store!
Tomatoes, peppers, onions, a variety of squash and pumpkins, broccoli and celery. All there. All growing.

This is my first year trying celery and it looks pretty good so far. I got two seedlings from a friend and I stuck them in next to the tomatoes. My only question is when and how to harvest celery. It is something that will come back after harvest? How much do I take?

Identification required....
My two raised beds are doing well - one having first year strawberries and the other having lettuce, carrots and radishes. I got my first handful of ripe radishes yesterday for Roy's salad, but the carrots are going to take quite a bit longer.

The lettuce looks delicious and I am going to harvest and serve it with a zesty italian dressing this weekend. It came up a little sparse (low germination again) so I replanted and I am seeing results. It still takes me off guard a little to see the living proof that the food in the produce section is not there by magic. I can actually grow food. The same food that is in the wondrous grocery store. This makes me realize just how much 'conditioning' I have been subject to in my 30+ years of living. "If you want food, you go to the grocery store and buy it.  Period." Ten years of growing food and I am still taken aback by this realization.

I do have some plants that I know are one of three things. And since I have never grown these three things before, I am kind of clueless about which ones are what. Cauliflower, brussels sprouts and broccoli. Ok, I started some broccoli from seed and I know what that looks like but it is still small and these plants are much larger. Another gift from a friend who bought too much for her small garden space, I got two of each of the three mentioned above. I can always wait until they start showing signs of eatable branches, but I just don't like not knowing things. Any help?

A tomato plant in the 'tween' stage.
My tomatoes are doing alright but I am always impatient with them. I know that one day very soon I will wake up and see that they have changed seemingly overnight into huge towering plants, falling over with the weight of their branches and fruit. But now they are still small and just starting to creep up and need the trellis supports. I should be happy that they are still small and unobtrusive and not the tumbling mess I have come to anticipate each season. They are not babies, needing constant attention but they are not the rebellious teenager tomato plants that grow like crazy and get too big for their cages. I call this their "tween" phase. Still very much manageable but the crystal ball shows tough trellising times ahead.

Last but not least, I have two pots of cilantro and corvair spinach sitting next to the end of a row of peas. Spinach, new to me this year also, looks just like those little green leaves that come all packaged in the clear plastic box at the store. "Baby spinach" actually grows in the ground - who knew.

Spinich - just like in the store!
Either I am easy to impress, or I have drastically underestimated the ability of conditioning present in our society. Probably it's a little bit of both. Either way, I kind of like it. I reminds me that things like miracles and hope are still with us in these crazy times.

1 comment:

  1. You can harvest the celery now if you want to. If you just cut off the stems and leave about 1 inch along with the roots in the ground it will keep on growing. You can also do this with store bought celery. You might want to can some of it. Yes you can can it! It is good to use this way in soups. I have a hard time using up celery sometimes but canning it does save some time when you want to whip up a good hot pot of soup in the winter time. I got the recipe from Jackie Clay's canning book. To keep celery longer you can stand it up in a glass of water or put it in some tinfoil in the fridge. Homegrown celery tastes so different from the store bought too. It is stronger in flavor (at least the ones we grew were) and tastes much better.