Maybe I was in way over my head this summer when I decided to expand my backyard garden. After all, it wasn’t the only crazy thing happening in my life. I just switched roles at work, I’ve been busy training for my first summer of triathlons, and I recently adopted two sister kitties. And I know nothing about kitties. And my kitties had parasites 2x, which was not a pretty situation. So there’s that.
Case in point, my goal was to publish this post when my garden looked like this:
It now looks like this:
Oh well. For the past couple of years, my 14 x 20′ garden has produced an obnoxious amount of produce. Yet this year, I wanted more. And I wanted to grow some weird stuff, too. And by weird I mean either a.) stuff that I haven’t grown before, or b.) unique heirloom varieties. So I expanded, and solicited my dad’s help in making raised beds. I may have gone slightly overboard when I started picking out seeds and plants from Johnny’s Selected Seed catalog and my neighborhood nursery. I ended up with over 30 seeds/plants.
Here’s the plan.
There were only a few modifications because I just HAD to get a few extra plants at the nursery that weren’t in the original plan, including curry, rosemary, and parsley. I’m totally cool with squishing plants closer together to make way for MORE.
I could go on and on about garden activities, but that would be boring. So here are a few garden snippets:
- Little nylon socks (AKA Apple socks) may protect apples from insects, but they do not protect apples from squirrels. Earlier this week, I still had a few apples on my tree. It looked like this:
Yesterday, I caught a squirrel with THE LAST nylon-ed honeycrisp apple :O. We even stared at each other for a few seconds while it had that nylon-ed apple in its mouth, which looked absolutely ridiculous. I sincerely hope that nylon is unbearably uncomfortable going down, squirrel. I hate you.
- Like apples, blueberries also need to be protected from city critters. My blueberries were just starting to turn color and were so close to eating, and then some creature ate them. Better luck next year. Oh, and I’ve also learned that blueberry yield can be increased exponentially by growing things that bees love (bee post to come soon… I’m in love with bees).
- Tomatotes like sun. I harvested over 1000 cherry tomatoes from just one plant last year. It allowed me to take the win at our tomato counting contest at work. I ended up changing the location of my tomatoes this year, and put them in the shade versus the sun, and that was a stupid move. It’s not even worth counting them. I guess I’ll be going to the farmers market this year to get copious quantities of tomatoes to make homemade sauce and tomato jam for the winter months.
- Peanuts. I’m so glad I didn’t get suckered into growing a peanut plant again this year. Some may remember this, but two years ago I grew a peanut plant. I thought to myself, “how cool would it be to grow a PEANUT, or PEANUTS?!” And after caring for this tiny plant all summer long, I ultimately got 1.5 peanut pods, or 3 peanuts total. And I soooo should have roasted the peanuts, but I didn’t. And they were disgusting. Blahhh.
- Curry plant. Actual curry powder consists of a blend of seasonings/herbs, with the exact blend varying from region to region. My curry plant? I still don’t know what to think of it, or whether I can actually harvest this plant. One source said to not be fooled by the curry-like aroma. It’s actually not edible or medicinal, it’s finicky, attracts a bunch of pests, and is extremely bitter. They were wondering why greenhouses continue to sell this plant. Another source said that you can actually use it in recipes. It has a super mild flavor, so needs to be paired with subtle favors. So if you happen to know whether or not my curry plant can be used for something, please let me know. Help.
- Pickles. I’ve been making lots of them. Bread & butter-style.
- Parsley. Which I actually thought was cilantro, but soon realized my mistake. And parsley is spelled “parsley” and not “parsly.” I swear I was an awesome speller growing up, and was even able to spell supercalifragilisticexpiladocious in 4th grade. But I can’t spell parsley as a grown adult. I’m reminded of my stupidity every time I go into the garden.
I’m already starting to think about next year’s garden. What else should I be growing? Any tips?