Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Score one point for the gardener!

The last time I updated you with details about my new SFG, I spread tales of carnage and gore complete with my own personal grim reaper. I'm not sure what happened between then and now, but things have really perked up. I gave the garden a nice bath of fish fertilizer, which is about the most vile-smelling substance on the face of the earth. It makes your entire garden smell like cat breath. Maybe the stink bath helped? Or maybe the garden just had to sort of grow into itself… but whatever it was things are growing surprisingly well.

Here are the two boxes. First the one on the left.

Then the one on the right.

The broccoli is coming in nicely, although the broccoli seeds I planted were duds - none of them sprouted, oddly enough. I'll take the one seedling I purchased and run with it since it's daring to survive.

The black eyed peas are nice and green and tall. I have no earthly idea how they grow or what they look like upon harvest or even how to cook them, so it's a given that these will be my best producers. If I have no idea how to eat a vegetable it's a given it'll be the only thing that grows. Hence my successful okra this summer. I'd like to add that I still have brand new okra plants that are growing up through our lawn with flowers and baby okra on them. Go figure.

Neither bell pepper plant looks especially healthy, but one has three bell peppers and the other has one bell pepper. They're all mishapen and twisted, but I'm down with that if they continue to grow. One bell pepper plant lasted less than a week under my care. RIP.

I've got three tomato plants doing well. One has small green tomatoes, one has tons of flowers and one isn't looking so great. Two out of three is a big fat win in my gardening book so I'll take it! Hell, one out of three is great in my book. I don't know at what point tomato plants decide that it's too wintery to keep growing, but I don't think they'll last into next year will they? That was rhetorical. The answer is obviously no. We're talking about my garden afterall. I'll be lucky if they survive the month.

The Kentucky Wonder beans have bounced back and have started slowly climbing up the trellis. I'm dying to see if any of these will survive my black thumb and actually produce. I'm definitely crossing my fingers for these. Farmer B is quite happy that his trellis is being used. I was about to glue dead bean plants to the trellis to make him feel better about building it when these little shoots started climbing up of their own accord.

The Swiss Chard seems to be doing well. I have no earthly idea when this is ready, how to harvest it or what to do with it once harvested. Do you cook it? Put it in with a salad or what? Once again, this is a guarantee that things will grow well in my garden. Any thoughts? Dare I chop this beast down and eat it?

The English peas aren't doing well at all. Please take some time to marvel at my awesome trellis complete with green tape and sticks. There are white flowers, but the plants are thin, yellowed and sickly. I'm guessing these will be chicken food before Thanksgiving.

I got a few radishes the other day, which was nice. Apparently any idiot can grow a radish so I won't brag about it. I had an egg in my pocket when I was pulling the radishes so it snuck into the photo too.

There's my big SFG update. I'm always surprised when I go out there and things are alive. The plants may quiver when I come near, but when I stay away from them for a couple of days they seem to thrive. I'm still not holding my breath that anything edible will come from the garden, but we're on the right track for once.


Jeff Vandiver said...

See? It ain't that difficult....Everything looks very good, but you better hurry up and harvest that romaine lettuce. (It's trying to go to seed, which will make it very bitter). I think the sugar snap peas are having a difficult time with the heat - that's all.

Ribbit said...

Woohoo! Isn't it great when things go well. Gardening is like childbirth....you forget how terrible it can be when you see how wonderful it is.

Stefaneener said...

It looks very nice, really. Not as though it's cowering in fear at all.

Chard? Chop the leaves and saute with a LOT of garlic in olive oil, some salt, and yum it up with parmesan. Or, saute onions until they're sweet, add chopped chard leaves (stems if they're small) and saute until the chard is soft. Then turn off the heat, stir in either goat or feta cheese and sprinkle with chopped, toasted walnuts.

Young chard is great in salads, but it gets higher in oxalic acid as it matures. I don't like the "squeaky" feeling it gives to my teeth, so I cook it.

Oh, it also chops nicely into soups. I treat the stems as celery in that recipe.

Anonymous said...

Zone 9B here as well... last fall I kept my tomato plants going all the way to the end of January, by stringing an extra set of Christmas lights (C7 sized, not the minis) loosely around the plants and stakes, and then covering them with frost cloth any time there was threat of frost. My garden is up next to the house with a plug right there, but if you can run an extension cord out to your beds, it's worth a shot.

D said...

I am jealous. My garden is just starting and yours looks fantastic. Great job!

Erin said...

Are you outside doing the "Yay, I'm a gardener" dance yet? You should be! Way to go, Kate, it's looking great! I haven't tried Swiss Chard any way other than tearing little leaves into a salad, but I hear the tossed in oil/garlic thing in the pan is good too. I grow Swiss Chard all over the place just because it's pretty in my boxes and container plantings, lol. Congrats... so those WERE green speckles we saw showing up on those black thumbs in your picture the other day, LOL

Kate and Crew said...

EG - yeah, the Romaine lettuce has been weirding me out. Last time I grew it I got large leaves that kind of grew out. This time I've gotten small leaves that are growing up. I have taken a bunch off it, but it's growing faster than we can eat it - but such tiny leaves. Weird.

Stefaneer - THANKS for the swiss chard advice! I'll give it a go for sure. Do you cut pieces off like you do with lettuce?

Deborah - You just used two words that have never been directed at my garden on my blog "I'm jealous"

Erin - green smudges on fingers? No, that was chicken poop.

Daphne Gould said...

What Stef said about chard. I also like it in quiche (use like spinach, cook it first and squeeze ALL the water out), with green onions and cheddar cheese. Yum!

Hey don't think a radish is so easy to grow. In my garden it is a hard crop to get to grow. I know it is supposed to be easy, but it isn't always.

Darla said...

It looks great! Fish fertilizer I haven't tried. I keep reading about it so there must be something to it!

Dani said...

Woohoo Kate! Everything looks awesome!

Stefaneener said...

Yes, harvest from the outside. Enjoy! I'm on a mission to share my favorite recipes.

Annie*s Granny said...

Yay, Kate! You are officially a REAL gardener, and everything looks just lovely...you're like an old pro now!

By the way, I'm one of those idiots who can't grow a decent radish, so bite your tongue!

Unknown said...

Woo hoo! I think you're the envy of every gardener north of the 40th parallel right now! Great garden!

Here in the NW, we use small uncooked chard leaves in our sandwiches in place of lettuce. Also, you can use it like spinach--as in spinach ricotta pie, or .... Yummy! Like Stefaneener said, saute it up and add some garlic--then to ensure a small child may try it--add slivered almonds and a heaping helping of raisins. The sugary raisins make anything taste good, eh?

Muum said...

thumbs up on your garden! fun to look at something green (snow due here today or tomorrow).

Momma_S said...

So, what's your radish secret? I've tried twice--just finished pulling my second round, and my largest wasn't even the size of a quarter! Grrrr... I'm debating on trying a 3rd time but I don't even like the darn things!

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I've really gotten behind in my blog reading. How cool to see an egg in your hand, and your square foot garden looks awesome!

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