For the Love of Gardening

>> 3.28.2010

There it is, the first blossom on my Fuji apple tree.

I am not an accomplished gardener...yet.  But I aspire to be... to be able to feed my sweet family nourishing, organic produce out of our very own garden.  I've learned that it is not enough to just have aspirations... I am going to actually have to know what I'm doing.  Soil testing, composting, thinning seedlings, rotating crops... there is a lot to know. 

This is our third year planting a vegetable garden.  The last two years have been an even balance of successes and failures.  I've had great success with all of our herbs (rosemary, sage, parsley, chives, basil, thyme and oregano) and with crookneck squash.  Mild successes have come with carrots, cherry tomatoes, zucchini and sugar pumpkins; and I've had nothing but complete failure with sweet corn, watermelon, bell pepper, leeks, scallions and butternut squash. 

My goal this year is to have my tomatoes flourish.  Saturday, at our local farmers market, we came across some gorgeous beefsteaks.  After talking with the grower I learned the reason for the splitting of my tomatoes last year was due to inconsistent watering.  It's not enough to just have them on a drip-line and water them every-other day~ they must be watered daily.  Because of the high heat during the summer here (upwards of 105° on the bad days) my tomatoes would plump up on watering day and shrivel under the sun the next.  Apparently after so many times of this the splitting occurs.   I am planning to learn to "can" my veggies this fall and tomatoes were what fueled this desire so I will need them in quantity, and quality.  I am also going to plant my tomatoes in separate planters this year to more easily customize my care for them. 

I am also excited about my strawberry patch this year.  I planted 16 ever-bearing transplants last spring but we only harvested about 50 strawberries.  The owner of the local nursery where I purchased them told me not to expect a large crop the first year and to make sure I cut away any of the "daughter" plants that tried to take root.  At the end of last season I let the vines go and several more plants have secured themselves in the soil. I truly have a strawberry patch now, with seemingly hundreds of buds flowering.  And when I caught a glance of my first few berries starting to ripen I couldn't help but think of my favorite spinach and strawberry salad with homemade vinegarette dressing (recipe to be posted soon).  I love gardening!
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2 comments:

Jenna May 20, 2010 at 6:16 PM  

This will be my third year planting a garden as well. I have also had a mix of success and failure, and I am looking forward to another year of learning as I grow. I started my strawberry patch my first year, and last year it was fantastic!! Ask my chipmunks. I'm hoping this year I can get to more of them before Chippy does! Good luck!!

Anne May 20, 2010 at 8:02 PM  

Jenna~
I am cracking up at your chipmunk issues because I am struggling with the same thing only with birds! Apparently they see my beautiful deep red strawberries from miles high and just swoop on down to help themselves. =) My husband secured some netting on top of them and it seems to be working.

Thanks for looking around the blog!

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