Friday, August 5, 2011

Adventures in Backyard Farming- Part Five

 You can find the previous posts here:

I have really enjoyed watching the garden grow this year.
I am also a big fan of the raised beds that I put in.
I would highly recommend them to anyone starting their garden, or frustrated
by the constant weeding and poor dirt quality of their in-ground gardens.

I never put up the deer and rodent fence.  I wanted to see how long I could go before
blocking the view of the garden from the house.  And having two hound dogs here for 
the last three summers has pretty much warded off most garden predators.  I am thankful
for that.  Even the bugs and leaf eaters stayed away.  I can only attribute that to the companion
planting that I did for pest control, and to a lot of blind luck.

And I learned a thing or two about veggies that I didn't know.
Like the fact that regular corn stalks only grow two ears of corn. Sometimes only one, but never
more than two.  (except those little baby corns at salad bars and they just harvest those really early
and it's some other crazy variety of corn anyway)
Most farmers only pick the top ear, finding the bottom ear to be inferior.

Have you ever picked an ear of corn right off the stalk and eaten it raw?
I just did for the first time, and let me tell you,  it was magnificent and not what I expected.
It was sweet, and buttery, and soft but crunchy and full of amazing flavor.
Like someone had already cooked it but it had fallen to room temperature.
Once you pick it it starts to die and by the time we buy it at the store it's already been picked for
a while and starts to dry out and toughen.  That's why we cook it in the first place, to soften it
back up again and make it juicy.  So unnecessary if you grow your own.  And by serving it raw, 
you save waste on the big pot of water and cooking time.  However, by no means am I saying
that I will never put corn on the grill again. Because that is certainly amazing too!

Another thing I never realized about corn is that when the ears are newly emerging, their silk
is a beautiful shade of purple.  I mean, breathtaking.

I am learning the patience of watching tomatoes ripen.
It is way worse than watching water boil.

I know that I planted my garden later than "normal", and that good things take time,
but I just cannot wait to pick a big, plump, juicy, organic red tomato off of the vine and eat it.
I have little cherry tomatoes and big beef-stake heirlooms growing at a rapid rate,
but nothing is even close to streaking red yet.

My pepper plants are very happy.  I didn't realize how short they are when they start to fruit.
If I had realized this, I would have put them on the other side of the tomatoes.  They are doing
well, but I think it would have helped them out a bit more.

And then we come to the container section of the garden, which isn't really a section at all.
I have many containers outlining the edges of where the fence would have gone filled with squash, zucchini, and eggplant.    I also have two squash plants in the ground. 
I would NOT recommend putting squash or zucchini in containers.
They hate it.  I mean, they are about a quarter of the size as the two in the ground and nowhere
close to the development of the ground squash. 

However, my eggplant loves its container.  I have been warned of trying to grow eggplant in this
area.  They never come out, people said.  The leaves get eaten up before the plant ever has a chance to fruit, and if it does, it never makes it past the size of a plum.  Well, I beg to differ.
My eggplant plant is having the time of it's life with pristine leaves and it's a gorgeous shade of,
well... eggplant.

My flower gardens are also doing well.  I just re-mulched all four beds and gave them a good August root soaking.  My butterfly bushes did very well in my morning-sun-only spots and my purple
cone flowers (echinacea) grew huge and produced blooms like crazy. 

I do love Autumn, but I am always sad to see the summer go.  
But this winter I will be kept busier by planning the garden for next year.
And starting earlier by growing seedlings indoors will make the grey of February
somewhat more bearable. 

I have new jewelry updates coming in the begining of next week!!
It's so nice to be able to metalsmith again... I really go stir crazy when I can't make things.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend out doing things and living a good life.
Pay it forward.



  1. I do love autumn and sad to see the summer go have a lovely garden xoxo

  2. inspiring

    so green and damp and shady, I'm longing for winter, summer there looks fabulous!!


    corn on the grill :) :) ;)


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