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|Our second crop of Missouri Bill's Pole beans (a dry/shelling bean)|
|the start of some Mache|
|our first melon, with basil in the background|
|The start of some purple snap peas|
|our first pumpkin|
In the early spring (really winter) we started our seeds inside and barely got anything. We were so discouraged and worried that we bought more seeds from Redwood Organic Farm (thank goodness we found them) and started over. I kept reminding myself that no matter what happened we would at least learn something. Let me just say you can trust that anything you get from redwood will come up, we ended up with so much that we were trying to get rid of plants!
Boy did we learn this year! We followed a book to space our 90ish tomato plants and now we know that they need a lot more space than the book said! It is like a jungle in our tomato area and I think that next year less (spaced and supported better) will be more. Luckily we never really had a problem keeping up with the harvest and the girls(chickens) could not have been happier to take care of the hornworms.
We planted 4 summer squash plants and 3 of them really produced. Really what were we thinking...4!? No one in northern California needs more that one summer squash plant...they go crazy! We did find a way to use all of it up though, whether it was in smoothies, bread, zucchini pickles (blog post to come), of course steaming it or just cutting it in half and giving it to the girls.
This was our first try at growing dry/shelling beans, soybeans and garbanzo beans; let me just say...OMG! I wish we could grow only legumes! As soon as the first crop was done we started a second and although so far we didn't get as much as we wanted, it was so rewarding and great for the soil...a blog post to come.
I don't ever want to grow corn again (unless we have goats), we have a great local source that sells perfect yummy corn...really, why bother with it. Our corn this year was kind of sad. So far we have only had one ear that we could eat and the rest was taken over by bugs before it really became anything...so the lucky lil' girls have had many feasts of corn!
We are on our 4th planting of potatoes. So far the first (an early spring planting), is the only one to talk about...wonderful, large, yummy potatoes...the second and third were small but yummy. I hope the fourth is awesome because we want to use them for thanksgiving dinner!
Our peppers...hmmmm...where to start. The first seeds(I won't name the company because it could have just been a fluke) we bought never came up, then we planted a second set using a seed mat...nothing. Then we finally gave in a got some starts from the market. They are producing a lot of yummy peppers but they are so short and small that I think maybe we put them out to early and stunted them. We also wanted jalapenos and another spicy variety. We picked up a few at the market and the first two never made it. Then we grabbed another jalapeno but the peppers that we are harvesting (off the 3 inch tall plant, crazy short) are in no way, shape or form jalapenos.
Our first planting of carrots was wonderful...amazing, yummy, perfect. Our second never came up, our third...we ended up with 3! Lesson learned....you have to water seeds a lot throughout the day if you live where it is hot!
Onions and garlic; we were so excited to try that we did not do any research! Big mistake, although we made the most of it. First, we did not plant nearly enough considering we wanted to use then to make marinara sauce. Second, we didn't research to find out which types store well, although it didn't matter to much because it was all used up before they could really go bad. Third, we learned a new way to store garlic! Dehydrate it for garlic powder,
All of the herbs were wonderful, the only thing we will change is where we plant the herb garden. They ended up in a place that could have been used much better. We are planning on digging them up and placing them in pots so we can pull them in close to the house for winter and/or inside at night. Then re-plant them next spring in a better spot.
I gained a new love this year in my picky palate...Swiss chard! I never used to like it but for some reason I am now in love with it and Kale. Our Swiss chard was great this year until we accidentally took it out with the hula-hoe...oops! We also got a Kale plant from the market this year and although the bugs love it and we didn't really have room for it so it was not planted in the best spot...it is still going strong. Our lettuce was wonderful until the heat hit...then the caterpillars got it so we are trying different varieties in our fall/winter garden this year. I hope next summer to find a good variety for our hot weather.
The West African millet was amazing! Since the Doctor spent four years in Africa we wanted to try his hand at growing it here and making it into beer. We will be writing a blog post about the beer making.
We purchased melon seeds this year but they never came up...bummer. Later in the summer we buried a couple seeds from a melon we ate and we now have two melons growing...crazy!
Our watering system actually works out quite well, we did end up adding a second one. Once the tomatoes and Peppers had fruit on them we had to be more careful but they were all pretty well supported so it didn't matter to much. It was really nice to be able to walk out and turn on the timer, then the hose and walk back in the house knowing that half the garden was being watered all at once! Of course we still have to spot water some things that it does not reach but all in all it really helped us out timing wise and helped the plants really develop a strong root structure.
All in all we learned a lot...that is what we are most thankful for. We know that it is going to take us years to fully understand everything but since we love it so much we are excited to keep at it. What an awesome hobby to have...you enjoy what you do and feed yourself at the same time.