Gardening Joys and Challenges

Urban homestead, gardening in NW, How to start a garden, Living of the grid.
This post is a dairy entry/ notes for next year as a blog seems to be the most reliable place to keep the gardening notes.

This year we had some joys and challenges in the garden arena that are worth keeping a note on. We started our seeding in early March, and that seemed like a pretty darn good date, need to remember that for future references. Our first seeding was of radishes, peas and dill; followed by cilantro, parsley, arugula and salad greens. Dill and cilantro seeds were bought in the spice section of the Whole Foods Market, for under a dollar you get a lot of seed, thanks to my sister for the tip(!!). Will continue to buy there.

  1. Arugula*
  2. Asparagus
  3. Basil
  4. Beans-Shelling/Dry*
  5. Beets*
  6. Cabbage*
  7. Carrots
  8. Cilantro*
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Dill
  11. Eggplants
  12. Garlic*
  13. Green Beans
  14. Green Onions
  15. Jalapenos
  16. Nasturtiums*
  17. Onions*
  18. Parsley
  19. Patty Pans*
  20. Peas
  21. Peppers
  22. Pumpkins*
  23. Salad Greens*
  24. Sorrel*
  25. Spinach*
  26. Strawberries
  27. Tomatoes
  28. Winter Squash
  29. Zucchinis
* indicates first year/attempt

Very glad that we tried the arugula this year, I was officially introduced to it this year, I may have tried it before but did not realize what that nutty spicy thing was and excused it for a good dressing... I allowed some to go to bolting- it produces a lot of seeds and in the process has self seeded and we are enjoying that harvest as well. May try the wild arugula for next year as it is said to be slower to bolt.

Have put some compost on it after we allowed it go to growth, something to remember for next year, to put a good amount of compost in February so that the root system would get a boost. The asparagus has been neglected for some time, so this is probably our first year of decent harvest, hubs got so exited over it that he is now planning on multiplying it via the red seeds it puts out.

Love, absolutely love the basil, seeded the sweet big leafed basil along with a pack of a variety pack of basil, not too impressed with the variety, besides the fact that it had deep purple basil- good looking, but for our taste buds nothing overdoes the big leafed sweet italian basil. Want to try covering it with cloches of some sort next year, so that we could enjoy it earlier...

BEANS- Shelling/ Dry
So exited to grow my own beans, I really enjoy beans and don't mind eating them on regular basis, however not everyone feels the same in our house; nevertheless beans are good for you and we are now growing them! The ying-yang beans are a great bush bean variety to grow again next year. The other two types are not yet mature, but because they are pole beans the harvest is expected to be larger. Minus the ones that the chicken scratched out and ate....Want to try the cannelloni beans next year.

Seed of success has been planted for me with this superfood, but I cannot yet state that I have mastered properly growing them. I did the mistake of trying the interplanting of green beans with beets, even though all sites state that it's a perfect harmonious marriage between the two as the beans fix the nitrogen for the beets, I strongly feel that my harvest would have been a lot better if I gave them both more room, thus sunlight. Dad seeded out the remaining beets in his garden and harvested roots that were two to three times bigger than mine in the same amount of time. I like the variety I planted, just need to give it more room, also want to try the golden variety.

The pleasant surprise goes to cabbage this year, something I haven't ever tried, and bought a pack of seeds because I was in one of those seed buying modes. Up to this year most of my vegetables came to me in a form of a transplant rather than a seed;  I gave it a try, it germinated, than I transplanted them, without much faith of having this delicious, versatile, superfood making it, to my surprise a head after head was harvested, I even ended up making sauerkraut (twice!) all from the garden, with this particular vegetable I really do feel like a success!! As a bonus our rabbits LOVE to munch on the nutricious outer leaves. Just read that cabbage is extremely heavy feeder, so will need to keep that in mind for next year. I should try the red cabbage in addition to the green cabbage next year...

Would like to start timed seeding of cilantro next year, as all of it went to flower right around July 1, and I wanted some for the tomato season for the fresh home made salsas. Seeding in mid July did not produce any harvest, must have been too hot for it to germinate, despite the fact the July this year was below average to say the least. Cilantro was seeded in the herb box along with salad mix, parsley and dill.

There was a time that I could never have our garden produce any edible cucumbers, then there was a time I didn't plant any because the previous year's harvest had me scared, there was so many that I didn't know what to do with them... I think I've achieved a perfect balance this year, that is first (!) with the cucs, we had a comfortable planting of slicers and pickling kinds, which kept the fridge full and the canning going. Also in the mix were the european cucs and the midgets. European, I absolutely loved, but there extra gentle skin is extremely easy to bruise. I kept on forgetting that my tiny cucs had to be picked when they were the size of a pinkey and they ended up looking like baby blow up fish. For next year, not so many Orient Express- they were too crooked this year...

Dill was definitely success I even had the opportunity to harvest all the abandance and freeze it, by rinsing, shaking off the excess water, finally chopping the dill weed, and then I put it up in bags and threw it in the freezer. Dill was planted between the parsley in the herb box, the only problem I did not remember in which row I have seeded so dill and parsley ended up sharing a row. Dill was first to mature thus shadowing the growth of parsley, but I had the other row of parsley to rely on. After the dill was drying as the weather got warmer, that gave way to parsley.

This does it for the ABC and D; hopefully I will feel like make notes on the rest.