The first ripe tomatoes – Sungold. These are a hybrid variety, so they will likely be taken off the list for next year since I want to focus on the heirloom varieties.
Here you can see three different plant types mixing together: watermelon (the really lobed ones), blue pumpkin (the largest ones), and cantaloupe (the in-betweenies).
A small watermelon! EEP! Can’t wait.
The beginnings of a blue pumpkin.
I found three cantaloupes under all those leaves! Crossing every possible digit that these babies make it ok. We love cantaloupe.
Volunteer plants are so much fun. I noticed a squash vine growing in my garden where none was planted, and thought I’d let it grow and see what it was. Looks like it will be a pumpkin! Also notice another volunteer in the background – this is purslane, an edible weed. Yum!
The zucchini has given up the ghost. Not a great year for zucchini. Too little rain.
My two tomatillo plants are sprawling and loaded with fruit. I can hardly believe it, after thinking when I planted them out that they were so small and wondering if they had enough time to catch up!
Another volunteer/edible weed: lamb’s quarters.
Chinese ornamental hot pepper. So many flowers! I can’t wait to see this when all the peppers are red.
Super chili hot peppers! They’re larger than I expected them to be.
Well. That’s it for now. How is your garden growing?
My girls had to start some seeds last week, when they saw that my kits were all ready!
They both started flowers. No flower seeds come with the kits, though – they raided my stash to choose their own seeds.
The morning glories have come up already! They were quick. They’re annuals, which is perhaps why they germinated so quickly. I’ve never tried them before, so I’m hoping they survive to see the real outside sunshine and grow tall along some twine or a trellis. Someone was telling me about growing morning glories mixed in with pole beans – beautiful and edible, growing together and looking pretty too.
If you want a Seed Starting Kit, let me know! $35 for 17 different kinds of seeds, plus a tray to start them in, and the potting soil, and compost to plant them out with, and little label tags, instructions, and dried chamomile flowers to make a disease-preventing potion for your wee seedlings. It’s a deal.
Here’s the seed list. Those that are not indicated organic, are at the very least untreated and non-GMO.
Indoor-Starting Seed Types:
Organic Beefsteak Tomatoes
Green to Red Sweet Peppers
Organic Brandywine Tomatoes
Green Bunching Onions
Organic Genovese Basil
Organic Pie/Carving Pumpkin
And for seeding outdoors:
Sugar Snap Peas
The Seed Starting Kit is new, too. It will hopefully be ready in the next few weeks.
Here’s the general idea: I want to provide a great start to a backyard garden. Maybe I should call them “Garden Starting Kits”. So the kit has a seedling tray, soil, seeds, tags, some dried chamomile flowers, and an instruction manual.
The seedling tray is a smaller size, and the seed amounts are also small – only enough to plant the tray for this year. With a few extras just in case. Usually seed packets have way too many seeds for the average home gardener, so I thought I’d help solve the problem of excess seeds by reducing the amount in the packages.
The dried chamomile flowers are included so that you can brew your own disease preventative. There’s a fungal disease called ‘damping off’ that kills tiny seedlings very easily. Spraying with chamomile tea helps prevent this.
Here’s a list of seeds included:
-green to red pepper (can harvest at green or red stage)
-green bunching onions
-pumpkin (2 seeds)
-zucchini (2 seeds)
Outdoor starting seeds:
The instruction manual will be fully loaded with clear instructions and information about the plants. I say ‘will be’ because I haven’t written it yet.
If anyone has any suggestions for this kit, please let me know! There’s still time to affect what the final product will offer.
Everybody should grow food in their backyard. Or on their balcony. Or in a window, like my brother and his wife did for a year or two. Even if it’s only enough for a snack. There are many reasons why I say this, and one of the most important has to do with our children. How will they know where their food comes from, unless we show them?
Here’s a story for you: picture my cute little nephew, one and a half years old. Says a few words, communicates well regardless of how many words he uses. Hefty boy, tough as nails – he has to be, he has an older brother – and very adventurous. My sister has a garden in her backyard – she has to, we have the same genes – and in it she has a chili pepper plant, pictured above. It’s a big beautiful plant, because her soil is good and so is the weather where she lives. Don’t those peppers look tasty? Bright red, they just call you to come and have a taste. So, that’s what my nephew does. Every time he gets into the garden. Takes a bite, spits it out, and says “hot”. Every time. He’s learning about chili peppers, hands-on!
So where does our food come from? Carrots don’t grow on trees and peppers don’t grow underground. Oranges don’t grow in our climate so they have to be shipped from somewhere warm, far away. Broccoli takes up way more space in the garden than the head you buy in the grocery store. Parsnips are not white carrots, apple trees take at least 5 years to produce fruit, lettuce likes growing in cool weather, and sugar snap peas are pure candy when eaten off the vine. If you sat and watched a pumpkin vine for a few hours, you would swear you saw it grow an inch. There are thousands of tomato varieties, but for some reason the ones you buy in a grocery store are tasteless. I think the next generation needs to know these things and more.
My children eat beans raw from the garden, but if I buy frozen ones they put up a big fight about eating them cooked. In the summer they snack on the cherry tomatoes and beans and peas and ground cherries in the garden, sometimes playing restaurant outside, or playing that they’re orphans (gasp) and need to scavenge for food. Such imagination, such healthy food entering their growing bodies, I love it.
It doesn’t matter the size of the garden, or what is grown, but everyone needs to grow something edible. At least once. And share it with someone younger.
It’s that time of year – the squash and pumpkin vines are starting to die back and reveal the hidden goodies underneath! Looks like most of what I planted was pumpkins. The yellow ones are spaghetti squash, very tasty with a white sauce made of macadamia butter. If you look closely you can also see some butternut squash hiding in there too. It was pretty exciting this year: I lost all the labels on my squashes, so I wasn’t quite sure what I was planting, and how much of each I would get. One of my problems/issues/quirks is that I always plant way more seeds than I need. So I had a whole tray of seedlings, mixed kinds and amounts, and only space in the garden for about 20 of them (out of around 60). I randomly chose a bunch and put them in, and this is the result! I’ll take it. I like pumpkin. And spaghetti squash. And butternut squash. There’s also a grey-blue-green pumpkin:
These have dark orange flesh and are very tasty.
I recommend this approach if you have a sense of adventure and like surprises. Grow more than you need, and choose randomly from your tray. It’s loads of fun.
Alternatively, if you are not the type to appreciate surprises like this, I would recommend labeling your trays really well.
What’s your favourite squash? Any good recipes out there?