As summer comes to a close, we are harvesting the last few berries and turning towards the fall crop harvest. Last year was our first year with a garden. It was small, just a small pot of strawberries, a blueberry bush, and a few herbs in our window sill. This year, we expanded our garden and I expanded my green thumb knowledge! We did quite a lot of research as far as what to plant, where and when. In my research, I found that most bloggers and writers had similar ideas. I decided to go back to the basics. I chose to study from the Farmer's Almanac. It has been a fun adventure, I've learned a lot, and I'm excited to share this year's garden with you!
Blueberries and strawberries were a repeat from last year. Both are in container pots (WARNING: strawberries grow rampant, so keep them in a container to control growth!). Berries (in general) require little maintenance. MY rule of thumb is to water when the surface of the soil is dry (about every other day or every day when the summer heat is in full swing).
Tomatoes were an exciting adventure for us. I'd like to can some homemade salsa this year, so Roma tomatoes were a must for our garden. Tomatoes are happy in full sun with a consistent watering schedule. We've been picking tomatoes for the last month and I feel like we haven't even made a dent in this year's harvest!
The second tomato plant (I believe to be a cherry tomato plant) was a last minute addition to our garden. I got it for free at a local nursery downtown.
Onions were a no-brainer for the garden this year because they are super easy. We chose Walla-Walla onion starts from our favorite local nursery. Once they reach baseball size, we pick them as needed.
Hubby wanted to grow cucumbers with the intention of pickling them. He was able to make almost a dozen jars of dill pickles with this year's harvest. Our chickens were able to enjoy quite a few of the over-ripe cucumbers as well! It was pure satisfaction all around.
Yellow squash and zucchini were on the planting list, however, they didn't do as well as I had hoped. I got one yellow squash (pictured below), and two zucchini in total. Hoping to do better next year!
Rainbow carrots are currently growing in the zucchini bed. I'm eager to see how these babies turn out!
Although it's small, this is a watermelon seed I planted over a month ago. It was late in the season, but one thing I'm learning with gardening is that it's okay to take chances. The worst that happens is a low harvest or no harvest at all. Every failure and success is a lesson learned for the next year.
Every fall, I like to decorate with pumpkins, whether it be our dining room table or our front porch. Is it just me or can pumpkins be expensive at the store? I decided it would be fun to grow our own pumpkins! How hard could it be? Turns out, all you need is some good old horse manure and a few pumpkin seeds. Plant in mid-July and they will be ready to harvest by Halloween!
We have three young apple trees on our property. We still aren't quite sure what type of apples they are but I plan to use them in some fall recipes this year!
We also planted garlic in pots, butternut squash and spaghetti squash (neither of which have grown fruit, yet). Indoors, we have a small herb garden of basil, rosemary, green onion, and a couple of small jalapeno plants. Most of these plants are pretty low maintenance. Our garden space has full southern exposure so crops like tomatoes, strawberries and varieties of squash are pretty content here. When starting out, choose a few crops and do your research. Don't be afraid! Hubby likes to remind me that when it comes to crops, chickens, and everything homestead related, "People have been doing this successfully for hundreds of years."
So, I challenge you: Plant the seeds. Water. Be patient. Take the chance. Enjoy the harvest.
Grow friends, grow.
-The Happy Egg
Check out my Instagram for updates on our garden harvest!