Friday, July 12, 2013

Fresh Garden Fruits and Veggies

For some reason, veggies grown right in your backyard just taste better. Maybe it's the freshness - picked and eaten the same day, they don't lost nutrients or taste. Maybe it's that they are harvested AT ripeness, instead of picked a few days early to merely soften during the 1500-mile trip ahead of them. Maybe it's the fact that you know exactly were they were grown, and who they were picked by, instead of trying not to think about which part of China they were imported from. :\
Regardless, they just taste better.
Fresh radishes, cucumbers, and zucchini, picked right at home!
Served with sour cream, these made for an excellent dinner smorgasbord.
We've been feasting on veggies from the garden this week. Due the late planting, we're only beginning to get our yield. But it sure has been tasty!
For starters, the green beans are growing up faster than we can pick (and eat) them.
Cutting two day's worth of green beans from the garden. We only planted them
in about 2/3 of a single square foot bed. (!!) I gave the tops to the chickens
(that's what the blue plate is for...they got graham cracker too).
The radishes exploded. We've replanted a few times already. The manure and wood chips retain so much moisture, I can FEEL the juices of the radish when I take a bite. It's SOOOO tasty and crunchy.
Two varieties of radish provide some crunch and spice.
The pea harvest has been more of a trickle so far, even though some of the plants are pushing 5 feet tall.
The peas are crunchy, juicy, and really, really yummy!
Our first salad bed has been giving us some amazing arugula and lettuce varieties. Caterpillars ate the kale and nearly all of the cabbage leaves, though. Sad. The guineas are still a bit too young, and still in training mode as to where 'home' is, so they're a good 4 weeks out still.
The lettuce and arugula are doing great, and taste great, too.
The kale (lower right corner) was caterpillar food. We pulled
it all and fed it to the chickens. Carrots are still developing.
And praise the Lord, the blackberries have been bountiful! We've enjoyed anywhere from 5 to 20 blackberries a day from our two bushes. I'd like about 8 more bushes next year. They are very tart, yet quite sweet, and superbly rich and juicy.
Picked at the peak of ripeness, these home-grown
blackberries are WAY better than store-bought.
And then there's the cucumbers. Oh good heavens, the cucumbers. They have absolutely taken over the garden. Thing #2 has been a great veggie picker, and he's the only one small and spry enough to venture into the vines and get some.
"Do I have to go in there again?"
To the left, the cucumbers are drowning out some tomatoes and okra, and have
spread to about 4' outside of the bed..
To the right, the cucumbers have been encroaching into the green beans' territory.
Between them, there used to be a walking path. :\
The cukes taste FANTASTIC, however, despite our mutterings on where we'd like to stick all of those out-of-control vines. We're only getting the early birds, so to speak. Soon, we expect to be pulling 10-12 a day. Then...pickle party!
Cukes and zukes, fresh picked, crunchy, and SO juicy. MM!
So all in all, the garden has been extremely successful thus far...relatively speaking. Given it is only year 2 of trying to grow stuff, and we are still learning a LOT (like where NOT to plant cucumbers), I'd say we're doing great.
Some of the tomatoes are starting to grow a little wild, so we're looking into pruning methods on those.
The pumpkins have really taken off. The watermelons are slow-developing, but I imagine they'll hit their stride in a week or so.The other melons are doing very well.
It's an exciting time at the ol' homestead.

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