Food!

Of course, one of the best parts of having a garden is the food! After our recent pick, we chopped up tomatoes and cucumbers and added them to some tuna to make a fresh salad. Later, I made a veggie pizza and added some of our garden cucumbers. And, summer isn’t summer without roasted green beans tossed in olive oil and garlic. Delish! (More to come, of course!) 🙂

Veggies at the Community Garden

Just like our home gardens, our community gardens grew while we were away. There were cucumbers, green beans, and tomatoes, although in less quantity. Our donation plot is not as fruitful as we’d like; this is the plot that had the thistles, so many weeds, and I wonder if the soil is not as nutrient rich. Our family plot, located right next to it, seems to be healthier and it produces more.

The boys helped pick and pick and pick green beans. So did Ty! Each plot produced a pound of green beans!

There were many roma tomatoes available at each space and only two, small cucumbers at the donation plot.

We’ve donated vegetables to Caring Hands – a food pantry – twice now: huge cucumbers the first time, green beans, tomatoes and two, small cucumbers the second time. Jude handed them over to the volunteer for a family to enjoy.

Back from Vacation

One of the best parts about returning home from a vacation is returning to our gardens to see how they’ve grown. We were gone for a whole week, so ours had a lot of wonderful surprises waiting for us!

First of all, Jude’s cucumber plants went crazy! There were over seven, 10-plus inch cucumbers hanging from his trellis, and the trellis couldn’t take it. It flopped over onto our fairy garden. When Jude lifted it, he giggled with delight at all the giant cucumbers dangling. One was over 14 inches!

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Rex found a 14-incher in his garden, too, hiding within his trellis. (Jude’s was maybe ½-inch longer.)

Next, there was red peppered everywhere as many of our roma and cherry tomatoes were ripe. Rex has two roma plants, and he collected at least six, and I have a plant and gathered probably three. Collectively, we picked at least 15 cherry tomatoes.

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The green beans were abundant and ready for a first picking, as well. Ty had the most in his garden; he picked a shirt-full. Jude and Morris had a lot, too, and together, the three harvested over a pound of green beans.

There were many small treasures we found, as well. Morris picked two of his hot peppers, and his acorn squash is growing larger. Tyler has a three-inch eggplant growing now, which has been fun to watch.

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Each boy collected their harvests in separate bowls, proud of what they’ve grown.

Giant Zucchini!

Excitement at the Community Garden! It had been about a week since we last visited and tonight we found giants! Amazing, enormous zucchini! One weighed 3 pounds and the other weighed 1.15 pounds.

Plus, four cucumbers were ready at our plot. Each boy picked one, and Ty got the other.

And, the green beans are starting! Boys picked and ate their first of the season.

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What fun surprises!

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Others’ Gardens: The Community Garden

I knew we would learn more about gardening by watching others’ gardens at the Community Garden. Methods I’d read about can be see at work here:

-Mounds of dirt lifted around tomato plants.

-Plastic and tin coffee cans placed around tomato plants.

-Stakes and cages of all sizes supporting plants.

-A variety of trellises for cucumbers: decorative gates, two garden stakes with wire strung between, low, rectangular cages, and simple wire walls.

-Gardens covered in landscape fabric with holes only for plants.

-Lots of decorations, from pinwheels to smiley wooden flowers.

*The pictures show peas on a trellis, which we’ve never done before, but clearly makes sense. The other shows hanging cucumbers hanging from a circular cage. Cool.

We added a wooden, square trellis for one of our gardens, made by my grandfather in Ottosen, Iowa. I love how rustic it looks and how supportive it is. So does Jude; he was fascinated by it when he saw it and asked if he can have it in his garden next year. Thanks, Grandpa Louie!

By the way, the landscape fabric and mulch we added a few weeks ago has helped tremendously! Hooray! Our gardens look much less weedy and loved. 🙂