Many of you have been asking for garden updates, and I keep meaning to do it and then getting SO excited that things are growing and changing that I haven't felt like I could make one that was up to date! Oh well, here I am biting the bullet for you as I realize that these plants will continue to grow all summer... awesome! I'm still feeling like a super-dork for loving my plants like babies, but it really is gratifying to see things flourish when I know they started out as mere seeds! I'll admit that sometimes I shun the few plants I bought already started from the nursery — I'm not feeling nearly as attached to them since it feels like I took a shortcut! I mean, if you did as much research as I did into topics like commercial hydroponics and read guides on how to look after plants, then taking care of them is something you would priorities. Plus, growing them from scratch and looking after them is an achievement in itself.
Nevertheless, I will be excited when my nursery-bought tomato plants, strawberries, and jalapeños start producing!
Everything has been in the greenhouse up until recently. I moved the peas outside a few weeks ago, but everything else has been waiting for us to build some raised beds. The weather has been warm here (75 F), so I've been leaving the top half of the door open on the greenhouse to keep the temperature down, and to let the bees in. It really is amazing to see the greenhouse coming along so nicely. Hopefully, this may inspire you to think about using something like Cultivar greenhouses yourself for your own gardening efforts. We finally built the raised beds almost two weeks ago now, but have been trying to find time to get soil! We're too busy! Yesterday we finally tried, and discovered our vehicular situation isn't adequate for the amount of dirt we need, so we're having two yards of soil/compost mix delivered tomorrow. Then we'll get to planting!
I'm worried that they are too much in the shade, as the leaves on the trees around our house are now blocking a lot of sunlight. Oh well — hopefully some things make it through!
Here is the FULL rundown — you asked, and you shall receive! Excuse the over-exposed photos, I have little patience doing anything with the plants besides actually taking care of them!
- Arugula: The arugula is ready! We need to start eating salads more often, otherwise we might be swimming in greens this summer.
- Basil: I had a starter from the nursery, which is struggling, but those that I started from seed are flourishing! I thinned them down to four in one pot, then separated them each into their own pot. I will probably soon plant three of those outside in the ground. I can't wait to have an overabundance of basil (pesto, anyone?).
- Beets: The beets are my pride and joy! They were the first to really look like anything, and now I just want to eat the greens — even though I know the roots aren't ready. These need to be transplanted outside, at which point I will probably plant another row of seeds.
- Carrots: I'M SO EXCITED about the carrots! They are looking strong and wonderful, and hopefully most of them are purple (I bought a rainbow pack of seeds) — how cool would a purple carrot cake be?
- Chives: I have more chives (none of which I actually planted) than I could ever imagine. Anyone have a good use for POUNDS of chives?
- Cilantro: I also had a starter of cilantro, which promptly died. I started some from seed a few weeks ago and it appears to be doing well, although not to the point where I can harvest any yet.
- Jalapeños: I bought this plant from Home Depot and am REALLY hoping to get a lot of jalapenos! I know they like warm weather, so I am thinking about just keeping them in the greenhouse all summer — it gets quite warm in there!
- Lemon Balm: This was already established in our planters out front — I didn't have to do a thing but weed around it! I'm having fun mashing this into fizzy drinks!
- Mint: The mint was HUGE and looking awesome, until I left it for one hot day in a small pot in the greenhouse. It wilted hardcore, and got gross. I re-potted it and watered it heavily, and now is growing like a weed again! I had to trim quite a bit of it off, but it is growing fast enough that I don't think it will be a problem.
- Onions: I have no clue what I'm doing here. I guess that statement really applies to anything I'm growing, but especially onions. They have long shoots sticking up, but it's a mystery to me if anything is going on down under.
- Parsley: Awesome! I'm finding all sorts of uses for parsley I never though necessary — and it grows fantastically!
- Peas: Peas, peas, peas. I planted two varieties of peas in the greenhouse, both of which grew at astronomical rates. One kind promptly started shriveling up at the bottom (the leaves dried and turned a creamy color), and I have no pronounced them dead. I transplanted the others outside a few weeks ago, and have since felt like I botched a lobotomy.
They look alright, but are starting to have the same shriveling on their lower leaves. I'm not sure they'll make it... but I know I have a lot of time so I'll just plant some more. Anyone have any experience with this? See the picture below for more of a close up... I think they're getting plenty of water, but maybe they need a lot more than everything else?
- Peppers: I'll admit, I've been neglecting these. They are in small pots and definitely feeling crowded — I need to get these in the ground ASAP.
- Rosemary: Again, I'll admit to neglecting the rosemary. It's doing fine, but is in a tiny little pot and I haven't thinned as much as I should. I plan to re-pot soon.
- Spinach: I didn't realize I had bought "tall standing" spinach, so we have some HUGE (by huge I mean tall) spinach plants. They're producing like crazy, which means we no longer need to buy our 10 lb bag of spinach at Costco every few weeks! I'll probably buy some seeds for "normal" spinach as soon as I get a chance.
- Strawberries: We just bought two little plants yesterday, a woods (shade) variety which will hopefully thrive in our shady yard.
- Tomatoes: We bought three (edit: now four!) different varieties of tomatoes, already established, and plan to locate them in the front of the house where the planters get the most light. They might make the move this afternoon!
- Yellow Summer Squash: They're forming! I love watching the squash form from little beads under the flowers — they just keep growing! These yellow squash are growing much more slowly than the zucchini, but I should also keep in mind that I planted them at least two weeks later.
- Zucchini: AWESOME. I go check on them multiple times a day because they grow SO fast. I swear, I could sit and watch them grow and actually SEE it happening. I have two that are almost ready to eat, and you can see one below that is getting pretty big too!
I hope I haven't forgotten anything (anyone?) — I'll try to do updates on the garden each month this summer! When we went to get dirt yesterday, we picked up a lot more seed packets (vegetables and some flowers this time, too!), so we'll be planting a lot more in the next week or so. You'll definitely be seeing more recipes with fresh food from the garden, and perhaps pictures will sneak into those posts too!