One of my Facebook friends asked recently if I’d do a garden update post soon, and it was a good reminder (thanks Megen!). I went out and took some pictures this morning, but I was strategic in what I photographed. That means you’re going to see only the good parts of the garden. Not the carrot bed that is half weeds or the onions that have been infiltrated with marigolds (we planted them a couple years ago in most of the beds to keep bugs away, and they reproduce like bunnies every year). But trust me, there are plenty of weeds out there! Next year, we’re hoping that the basement will be finished and so will the giant irrigation/sprinkler project we tackled this summer. So we should have more time for weeding. We shall see.
One thing we did this year that has been very successful was black plastic on the beds with holes cut for the seedlings. We did that on five of our ten raised beds, and not only did it cut way back on weeds, but it also seems to have made the plants grow like crazy. Maybe because the plastic heated up the ground early in the season and gave them nice warm soil for getting their roots going?
This is the pepper bed, but you can’t tell from this picture because of the ONE tomato plant that ended up in the front of it.
I had an extra tomato plant back in the spring, and some extra spaces in the pepper bed. So I figured they could share. Only the tomato plant has grown to about eight feet in diameter and is taking over.
But it doesn’t seem to bother the pepper plants, and they’re still producing like crazy in the shade of the tomato.
I harvested all of these in about three minutes a few days ago.
And then I made them into quinoa stuffed peppers (and my husband picked me flowers from our yard). Some for dinner, some for the freezer – they work great in the crock pot. You just freeze the raw stuffed peppers and then when you’re ready to cook them, put them in a crock pot with spaghetti sauce and let them cook all day.
Anyway, back to the garden. We have lots of greens out there, including collards and even a few new small greens that I planted in July after tearing out the early spring crop that had gone to seed.
And lots of basil! I think I have seven plants, and they’re all huge.
We also have tons of tomatoes. Not all of them are giant garden-eating plants like the one in the pepper bed, but they all seem to appreciate the black plastic and the new drip irrigation system we have out there this year.
I love seeing a plant all covered in cherry tomatoes! It makes me smile. Especially since we can eat handfuls of them anytime we want, without any plastic cartons (or $4 price tags for a little pint!)
There are plenty of big tomatoes too, and I’ll be starting the canning and/or roasting and freezing process soon.
We scaled back our garden this year. Instead of 27 beds, we have 14, one of which has a drip line (currently turned off) but was allowed to remain fallow this year. In a couple other beds (potatoes, and another crop of early greens that we didn’t replace) we’ve already finished the harvest and have been able to turn off the water to those beds. The drip system is much better than our previous overhead watering system. The grass in between the beds has gone dormant since it’s no longer getting watered, which means we don’t have to get out there with the reel mower and mow it all the time. And the black plastic was such a success that I think we’ll add it to a couple more beds next year.
Any garden stories to share? I hope all my readers in the northern hemisphere are having a great garden season!