Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sprouts 2012

Between making time to get to the Sunday morning Farmer's Market to buy our seeds and the general busyness of the childfolk, we planted our garden late this year, in May. I planted basil, tomatoes, bell peppers, cantaloupe, cilantro, zucchini, and some other random seeds I can't remember. My garden guru Jenny always gives me her leftover seed, and I know there were some exotic things like Japanese eggplant and some beans.

This is what our garden looked like in July.

I grew one small cantaloupe, but I had a lot of vine and I could see there were different kinds of leaves and melons growing. I had planted Persian melons last year without much success, and either last year or this year I had also planted some baby watermelon seeds that Jenny gave me - I was pleasantly surprised when I my vines turned out to be baby watermelon vine!


Initially, the cantaloupe vine was doing well, and I wasn't sure what I was going to get when we cut this melon open, but lo and behold, it was a not-yet-ripe watermelon.  I learned to leave the melons on the vine longer to ripen.  I think the watermelon vine strangled out the cantaloupe vine, because after the initial little cantaloupe we grew, my cantaloupe melons would become about tennis ball-sized, and then kind of just rot on the vine. 

My zucchini plants did well initially and I grew a couple of large zucchinis, but then the zucchinis started rotting on the vine when they were fairly small before I could harvest (fancy word for "pick") them. I think I just don't have space for the giant zucchini plants to thrive, which is a bummer because we eat a ton of zucchini. 

My basil took a while to start growing, and I had pretty much given up on my tomato plants which hadn't produced AT ALL. Same thing with my bell peppers, which I have had good success with the past two years, so I was really disappointed that my bell peppers did not do well. I usually have one potted bell pepper plant that does awesome, and then a garden bed plant that does okay. At that point, the plants are in the back right and they hadn't really grown much at all - they were probably about a food tall.

And then came Fall.

You know, when all the plants are supposed to die?

Well, August and September are when my garden really took off. Here's a photo I took earlier today of my little urban jungle. I love how the vines are overflowing onto the patio and rock. Clearly, I need more space to grow melon. (Someday, someday...)

See the vine spilling out and creeping along the rocks and wall?

Most of what you see here is basil and the overflowing vine is mostly watermelon. We have had about four great watermelons, and still have another three on the vine still growing and ripening. AND I have dozens of cherry tomatoes, although they are all still green. Four have finally turned pink, so I am still holding out hope for a Fall cherry tomato crop. Even though I am actually ready to clear some things out so I can plant a winter garden, I am going to wait out my tomatoes. And I desperately need to make and freeze a ton of pesto so that the basil doesn't go to waste. And this is after two weeks of bringing bag fulls of basil to giveaway to Bible study. Good thing I love me some basil. We have also had about four bell peppers. My potted bell pepper seed never sprouted, but my garden bed bell pepper plants are doing pretty well - I can see the beginnings of a few more bell peppers on the plants now, another reason I want to wait to start the winter garden.

Enjoying our homegrown watermelon

So once my tomatoes and bell peppers settle down, I am ready to clear out and plant my first ever winter garden. I can't wait to grow lettuce!!!! Lettuce and kale and cilantro and parsley - I think those are what I'm most looking forward to. And I want to try onions and carrots, although I don't really have enough space for carrots.

Here's a list of everything you can plant in October, per my garden guru:
 Artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussel sprout, cabbage (I like to do bok choy!), carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, collards, endive, fava beans, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, parsnips, peas, radishes, spinach, turnips. Herbs: arugula, anise, cilantro, chives, catnip, dill, fennel, parsley, sage, summer savory. Flower: zinnias and sweet peas.
And my other gardening friends recommended

Someday maybe I will live in a big farmhouse and have giant garden beds and chickens and a cow who sticks her head in my kitchen window in the morning, but until then, I love my little backyard urban jungle.


  1. This is awesome, Keeley! I would love to try doing something like this someday. For now, urban is quite an understatement for us!
    Melissa C.

  2. Hahaha I love that I'm your garden guru! My garden is really taking off, too. It was a weird summer for gardens everywhere. I planted beans on the last day of August, which is supposed to be rather late. But in the last week I have harvested a TON! So every year is different.

    As always, I have plenty of seeds if you want some :) You could also try some peas! Those are fun to grow bc even if you don't get a ton, you can just pick them off and crunch on them right there. Also, I started using a different soil mix ... custom blend. It's amazing. Seriously. Like, can't even believe the difference.