I hadn’t know of the Garden Challenge until I saw it on Twitter tonight. If I had, believe me, this was my first year gardening and I would have joined in (probably…If this gardening adventure had turned into a total failure, I’m not sure I want the public embarrassment of having to admit it).
We planted two four by four raised beds this year. In one I have five tomato plants (a cherry tomato, Cherokee Purple, Mr. Stripey, Arkansas Traveler and Pink Brandywine) along with a host of hot banana peppers and two peppers that lost their tags before I got them planted thanks to the Bugs’ attempt at trying to be helpful (they are either Tabasco or jalapeno). In the other plot, we have a red sweet bell, green sweet bell, Thai hot pepper, Serrano and then the other remaining Tabasco or jalapeno and watermelon and cantaloupe. We have basil and oregano growing in a pot on the back porch and attempted to grow lettuce in an old wash tub, however, it has been way too hot and they stopped growing after they sprouted. We also tried some sunflowers, but I directly planted them into the ground and the squirrels found them.
It got really hot here the last few weeks so that the tomatoes refused to set blooms except for the cherry tomato (we got our first five off that this past week. The eldest and I stood out there and ate them right off the vines, they were so yummy). Our hot peppers are extremely happy though. We’ve harvested close to twenty Serranos off the one plant and it has even more buds! HubbaHubba has used them in omelets, hamburgers and made three jars of pickled hot peppers. He is extremely proud of his pickled peppers. I am proud of the fact that he pickled them mainly on his own with his intense aversion to the smell of vinegar. All three of the jars sealed up and we are waiting for them to be good and pickled before we start to eat them. I can’t wait to try them as all the pickled peppers at the store contain sulfites, of which I am very allergic to.
We can’t wait until the tomatoes start to ripen (the like six we have) to make some homemade salsa. And tomorrow (Sunday July 8) we are harvesting a lot of the basil to make some homemade pesto sauce for our wedding anniversary. We both love pesto, but hate the extreme price of it. Our local Aldi had pine nuts as a special buy this week at an extremely reasonable price so I grabbed some. We’re both looking forward to celebrating a wonderful 7 years together and what I pray is many more until we’re both old and gray.
The girls have loved watching the garden grow. Every time a new pepper is formed or a cherry tomato is ripened, they come running into the house yelling “It’s a miracle Mom!!!!! Come and see!!!!” I love their excitement in watching the plants that they helped plant grow and produce wonderful food for us to eat. This ties in so nicely as we are going to do botany this next school year (which starts for us on Monday, too hot to do much else, may as well get ahead). They are living what they will be studying in science this year. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.