Victory Garden 2k17

It’s VICTORY GARDEN time!

It is waaaaay past seed sprouting time but here I am, AS USUAL, late in getting anything going. Remind me next year in February to go ahead and start my dang seeds. These pictures were taken about a week ago on our back deck. In true DIY fashion, I’ve got my plants going in the most random containers…this time it is old cabinet drawers. These are left over from our kitchen demo which still happens to be in a pile on our deck. I’m keeping it real for y’all so don’t judge me!

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LEFT {lettuce}, RIGHT {tomato seedlings}

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AND SOMETHING NEW–potatoes in buckets.

More details on the potato adventure in a later post!

Surely someone had thought of this before me, but HOW GENIUS is this 6-pack holder for growing tomato transplants? Did I just hipster out-do myself and break the internet? They won’t hold up forever, but it’s a pretty great temporary holding container. It’d also make a rather adorable gift. You are welcome.

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Here are some of the notes from my garden plan:

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I’m trying to do a better job of keeping track of what & when I planted, etc. I wish I had taken pictures on 4/20 because everything looked SO HAPPY and flourishing. I had transplanted more tomatoes, started another basket of potatoes, planted some garlic chives, and planted more lettuce. THEN THE RAINS CAME. I made a pretty silly mistake, which is that I had some plants way too close to the overhang of the roof edge and everything got flooded. SAD. FACE. You only get a few little sneak peeks today at what is growing–hopefully I’ll have some more pictures soon.

You may be wondering why I’m planting in containers when I have such a huge back yard…and there are a few reasons for that. The main reason is that me and Mr. Smith are still trying to decide where and how we want to garden on our new property. We have an area that used to be a dog lot that will make a great spot once we get it cleaned out. There’s a ton of privet and other stuff of that ilk growing up through fencing that is nearly impossible to get loose. Anyone have some goats we could borrow for a week or so, lol?

As someone with a history of back issues, we are trying to design a garden that is going to a little easier for me to work in. Yay for raised beds! We are also experimenting with potting tomato plants in big buckets so that we can bring them in a green house over winter and keep some plants going for multiple years. Sounds kinda crazy but some of our favorite youtubers (Deep South Homestead) swear by it and we are going to try it out. I will still have some ground crops (squash, zucchini, cucumbers) eventually.

Have you read the history of what a Victory Garden is? I first read about them through the Meet Molly book way back in the day. I think everyone should have one–wartime or not, it’s a wonderful way to show your family and friends that you care about them. Home grown food = LOVE!

Look at my tags for things that grow for garden pictures from last season!

What is growing in your backyard/porch/window box/field?

Garden update #2, + BONUS recipe

GARDEN UPDATE TIME!

Check out how things are growing in my little garden!

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So the radishes are sort of a fail. I thought I was planting a variety that didn’t need thinning out, but given how these look, I think I was mistaken. I have seeded another pot that have just sprouted true leaves and I definitely gave them a few inches growing room all around. Hopefully they will do better than these. The upside is that I learned radish leaves are edible. Once they get tall they sort of start to have scratchy leaves, but when they are still tender the leaves are really delightful as an addition to salad greens.

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I’m still holding out hope that I thinned the carrots (far left) enough that they’ll produce more than an orange thread. I HATE thinning out plants. It’s dramatic, I know, but it just feels so awful, like I’m aborting little baby plants! Do any of you have this problem? I know that it’s so the other plants will grow, but I still hate it 😦 That said, I also thinned out an additional pot of radishes (far right). I’m gonna be super bummed if these don’t do better, especially after I DID thin them out.

GOOD NEWS: the lettuces are freaking delicious!

BAD NEWS: there was only enough for a side salad!

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This is one of my current favorite things to cook.

“Orecchiette a la North Grove Park Inn”

Ingredients for the pasta (serves 2):

  • 1.5 c. small pasta (like shells or orcchiette)
  • 3 boiled eggs
  • handful tender radish leaves, torn
  • handful fresh dill, torn
  • 4 T EVOO
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the vinaigrette: (combine ingredients in a small mason jar)

  • 3 T spicy mustard
  • 1/4 c. fancy vinegar (I use something like this)
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 t EVOO
  • splash of citrus (whatever you have-oj, lemon, lime)

Cook the pasta to the directions on package. While it’s cooking, chop up the boiled eggs, tear radish leaves and dill and put to side. Drain pasta but leave in the pan. Toss pasta with the EVOO and salt and pepper. Plate the pasta and top with egg, radish leaves and dill. Grind bit of extra S&P. For the TINY salad tear lettuce into bite sized pieces. Shake the ingredients in the mason jar. Dress the lettuce leaves. Enjoy!

WE NEED MOAR LETTUCE SO…

I’m going to experiment with seeding lettuce with this technique. My pals over at The Behrer Home had great luck with their first try at a crop of radishes using this method. I think lettuces should do well this way, too, and then Mr. Smith and I can have an actual plate of salad for supper instead of a teaser taste! Read more here for a tutorial on how to try out this weed-free grow method.

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Here are two of the zucchini  plants. They’re really sprouting leaves! The squash look pretty much the same so I’m not bombarding you with pictures of the same looking thing over and over. OH LOOK MOAR DIRT AND LEAF TIME 😉

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This is a moon flower that also came from my cousin Sherrill and uncle, Bryce. She says it only blooms at night and that it is prolific in growing once planted in the ground. And obviously, I haven’t planted it in the ground yet, so here it sits under my carport. I just can’t decide where it should go yet!

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Here is the main crowning achievement, my piece de resistance, my ASPARAGUS PLANT! Now I know that EVERYONE says not to plant asparagus in pots, but I’m trying it because I’m not planning on living at my rental house forever, so I’d like to get a plant started that I can take with me when I leave.

The big part of the plant does not look so hot, and in fact I thought I had already killed it. The other night, I moved some plants out from under the eaves so they could get a drink from the nice soft rain that was falling. I looked in the asparagus pot to check on the little tomato and dill plants (that I have got to re-pot) and SAW THE STALK! There, standing tall and proud, was an asparagus! I hope the positive progress continues!

So, how are your gardens growing?

Have you tried any new plants or seeds or growing methods?

Tell me all about it!

How does your garden grow?

Here is the start of the garden! The picture on the left was taken on March 26 and the one on the right was taken April 17. So far things are moving along pretty well for someone who hasn’t had a garden in at least seven years. Mr. Smith and I made a list of things we’d like to try to grow in the meager space I have at my house. I’m hoping to get a zucchini plant to put in today back in the back spot that looks like a mound of dirt. That’s where I’ve had a compost-y area for the past 2 years and the dirt is getting pretty nice.

I’d like to try Brussel’s sprouts and Mr. Smith wants to try asparagus. Both of these are plants that take a few seasons to really get going and since we both live in rentals we are thinking of trying to grow one of each in pots. I’ve read a bit online about doing this successfully but please chime in if you have any advice!

I seeded these radishes on 3/26 and took the picture on the left on 4/5. The picture on the right I took on 4/17. I know you’re *supposed* to thin them out, but this is a variety that does okay in pots and close-r together. I’ll keep you posted on whether this ends up being true. Speaking of true, the true leaves are really starting to get going, so I’m thinking I might be able to harvest in the next week or ten days.

I meant to start another bucket of lettuce like a week after the first one but I just got around to doing that yesterday 4/16 so the continual lettuce will take a little longer than I anticipated. Lettuce sprouts pretty quick though so I think I’ll catch back up in no time.

Do you recognize what those buckets are made out of? LOL, it’s kitty litter containers. I have tried so many litters over the years and unfortunately the stuff that works the best for my girls is stuff that comes in these dumb plastic containers. I repurpose them for all sorts of things, including planters. I just cut the tops off, and poke a bunch of holes in the bottom for drainage and they work pretty well. After a season I’ll recycle them (to prevent leaching of anything toxic after a few months in the sun) and start another batch.

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HUZZAH!

Finally, some true leaves of DILL! I have the WORST luck with this herb! My great uncle Bryce has epic stands of the stuff much to the chagrin of the rest of his kin! I’ve tried buying plants and I’ve tried seeding directly in the ground, but never in pots. Maybe this is the ticket? I know it’s still early, but I am hopeful and excited. Dill is my most favorite summer flavor and I hope this is the year I finally grow a reasonable amount of my own.

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I started these Big Boy tomato plants from seed in the first few days of March. I divided them up and transplanted them and ended up with about 13 plants that are probably going to grow to maturity. These are the plants in the white plastic dish tub in the top pictures. I also impulse bought a yellow tomato variety that is the one in the bigger terracotta pot. We may be running out our ears in tomatoes later this summer!

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Now I know that mint is not hard to grow, but I’m still proud of this year’s stand. Last year I bought a regular peppermint plant and a chocolate mint plant and propagated about 6 cuttings of each. The regular is the tall stuff in the back and there is some of the chocolate in the front right–it’s got darker leaves and leaves that are smoother and more petite. The plants did okay last summer, but this year we shall not hurt for mint in our cocktails. Bring on the mojitos and mint juleps!

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Allen the Aloe has gotten moved outside for his summer vacation. It looks like he’ll need a new pot this year! I’ve had this aloe for about 3 years–my mom got it for my 31st birthday as part of a beautiful pot full of other succulents that I promptly killed. It really only took off after I put the frames of the sunglasses in the pot two years ago–I dug the frames out of the garden bed my first year at this house. I have a friend Allen who wears glasses like that, so I named the plant after him. I think it has greatly increased the happiness of the plant and therefore has helped it grow! It’s the silly little things, right?

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Speaking of digging thing out of the beds, I found these, too! Aren’t they the sweetest? It makes me kind of sad to think that some kids probably made them and they got left behind at moving time, but now they are mine and I will take them with me and love them forever.

Do you have a garden this year? What are you growing? Do you have any advice for me?

Stay tuned for garden updates as the season continues!