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Thursday, August 7, 2014

From Lawn to (Yes We did it!!) Vegetable Garden

I feel like we can celebrate God's goodness and faithfulness in providing through our backyard garden. What used to be a backyard of holes and weeds is now a productive food source and its pretty darn cool!
We have been enjoying being out back so much! We grill homemade pizza and eat out on the patio several times a week.
The garden has blessed us with pickling cucumbers in abundance which is awesome! These were something we needed to make our own pickles and relishes as the majority on store shelves come with yellow dye and sugars and some other odd and ends. Our homemade ones fill the fridge, pantry, and freezer (and yes, you can freeze pickles if its to hot to can when you have them in abundance).
My husband's favorites are the bread and butter while I'm a dill pickle girl myself.
Another cool thing we have been blessed to experience is seed saving. So far we have snow peas and cucumbers saved. This photo was taken last week of a lettuce plant I let bolt and just today I collected the puffy white heads that contained the seeds and have stored them as well.
Okay, this is a freaking garden miracle for the northern east coast-- we grew an artichoke from seed!!!!!!!! I was doubtful it would even grow since these are pretty much only grown in California but my husband wanted to just see. And wow, just wow! I think the cooler summer helped it develop and grow.
Now to split it 6 ways! Ha!
Our carrots were another crop I was apprehensive about and we have pulled some crazy freakish looking carrots up but also a good amount that look straight and narrow. So that gives me hope too that our soil is beginning to loosen up and enable them to grow better.
Our pickling cucumbers did take a hit while we were away and they snapped the trellis twine and we had to restring them up but this week we were back to regular production and pickling.
The tomatoes are very lovely-- so neat to grow heirlooms as you get some mammoth looking freakishly shaped fruit! Its very cool! I do wish we had gone with a different canning variety as ours is a bit on the small side. Also, very strange but our tomatoes have really stopped flowering and what I mean is we don't have fruit growing throughout the plant-- just really on the lower levels. Normally I get them all over so again, not sure if this is the cooler summer or heirloom characteristics, but anyway we are still picking these daily and have made sauce for spaghetti twice and pizza once and our hope is we can freeze some too. The fall plants have been planted and here is some cabbage coming along. I have it surrounded by egg shells to deter the slugs and little caterpillars that seem to like these and so far they've been left alone.
Our beans are just gloriously going all over the place.
The purple pole beans are amazing in flavor! Our regular cucumbers are doing well. You can see behind them we have dumped all the old pea plants so they can directly break down back into the soil. We will be layering some newspaper, manure, and woodchips there soon to prepare this area to grow next spring.
The zucchini have been eh. We are getting 1-2 a week but considering we have five large plants I was expecting more. Again, not sure if its because we planted these later or because theyre in the boxes, but next year I may order a different variety or from a different supplier.
We estimate the corn to be between 10-12 feet at this point. It's ginormous! We have about ten ears growing so hopefully we will actually get some corn which would be amazing!
Here is a little bean tee-pee that was getting attacked by rabbits so it's a little late to the game but producing flowers so we should have more beans soon.
We let a radish go to seed and it has produced tons of pods! The pods are actually edible and the kids have enjoyed a few but they are too spicey for me.
The swiss chard is still going strong and if I could tell people to plant one thing, this is it! It keeps producing, is edible cooked and in salads, freezes like spinach, and it's pretty easy to grow as well!
And heres the family again finishing up their dinner while I took the pictures. See all the pretty sunflowers? They're drawing bees in for us!
And they make pretty pickings too!
So, that's a month long overdue update but it's so nice to be out there growing, picking, and yes, still planting! We are learning what worked well, what we'd like to try next year (velour beans are on my list for sure), and how to keep turning the last bits of lawn into more garden!

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