Typically, it’s about this time of year when I lose all desire to care for my garden. I mentioned before that I tripled my garden size, which felt so productive in the spring, but now is when reality sets in for the long haul. I realize that are aspects of my personality that may be too lazy for a huge garden in NC heat. Yes, there, I admit it. I said it!
But then I go out to tend to the weeds. (Well,”weeds” would be a really pleasant term, it’s more like a forest of undesirables growing amidst the bounty.) And when I start looking through the plants, I am shocked and thrilled. Beautiful veggies, more than I can eat in a day, are flourishing. Flourishing, I tell you. This is my first year, after MANY years, where I have a garden that is producing, with the desired results, and suddenly the hard work starts seeming manageable.
I will have to take a picture of what my garden looks like. It’s a total mess, I tell you, but it’s working. It’s one of those scenes that if you saw it you might say, “If she can do it, I can too.” And yes, you can.
So far I have yellow squash, cucumbers, blackberries, a few raspberries, and more zucchini than I will be able to use. I finally have enough squash to make this amazing Paula Dean Squash Casserole. Yum, it’s a killer recipe (and yes, I need to retake pictures for it), and then I plan on tasking my daughters the chore of making zucchini bread all summer. Plus, it’s the first time I will be able to share the bounty and that is so exciting.
My raspberry and black berry bushes are producing as well. Now, the raspberries only give us enough to pick and pop in our mouth. I am praying for the day when there’s enough for me to bake with and freeze, although it’s been four years, and I still haven’t seen that yet.
But this year, I will have lots of black berries. Yesterday, I picked four quarts, flash froze them so they didn’t stick together in one clump, and then stuck them in freezer bags right away. By freezing some now, I’ll have them for smoothies later on when the prices on fresh fruit are much higher. I love blackberries, but you do have to sacrifice your body if you really want to do some heavy duty picking.
I planted one thornless bush, but the rest are growing wild throughout our property, which is a blessing, but tricky non the less.
I am now waiting on tomatoes, and peppers. I planted between 20 – 30 plants of each, and I am almost ready to pick my first tomatoes. The peppers I am waiting on. They aren’t looking really promising, but I can’t figure out what would have gone wrong. They were planted in excellent soil, so I am hoping they will just take a few more weeks to get there. The kids love raw peppers and we add them to our daily taco dip.
So share with me how your garden is going?
Are you excited, discouraged, ready to give up? Trust me, I know all the feelings well.
I love Tasty Tuesday this time of year because many of you start sharing recipes to use all this wonderful summer produce, and I love new inspiration.
Simple Rules for Tasty Tuesday Parade of Foods – As always, please link directly to your recipe post and not your blog URL, so that everyone can find the recipe months from now. The new image link that I amusing will not accept your recipe without a link back here to beautyandbedlam.com.
Also, Please do not link up a recipe meme that you have started. Thanks for your understanding.
Thanks for hosting again! Looks like you’ve got quite a bounty there 🙂
Rhubarb is in season around here and I have been busy baking, freezing and canning it. So today I shared a recipe I made up myself for Chocolate Royal Rhubarb Muffins. Thanks for hosting!
Oh, I could just dive right into those blackberries… I adore raspberries and blackberries! We are blessed with some wild black raspberry bushes on our property and I cannot wait for them to ripen up again this year!
Those blackberries look delicious…oh the possibilities.
My garden is really starting to take off. We have had a mix of rain and sun in the past 3 weeks that the plants are really enjoying. August will be a banner harvest month.
Thanks for the link-up.
Jen, looks like you’ve got a great start! Up here in Michigan, I have just really begun to see plants growing…and I started some green pepper plants this year for the first time. Looking online, it seems to take them a couple of months to get going, and one site said to fertilize constantly. We’ll see! I’m hoping for a few good peppers this year!!! 🙂
wow, I’m impressed! I just have peas and greens ready from my garden. The rest will follow, hopefully.
Our peppers did not produce well until we put them in a bed where the water spigot (sp?) is. They get some extra water that way and seem to really like it. So, extra water might help them along. I am in OH and have had a couple of cherry tomatoes and I think one sweet pepper is ready to pick. We are still looking forward to the garden producing. Oh…and Preen works wonders on weeds. My husband also bags the grass when he mows and uses it to ‘mulch’ the garden. That in combination with the preen will go a long way to alleviating weeds. Just some ideas….I really enjoy your blog!
What a great start! I got a late start due to the crazy weather, but I’m FINALLY getting some tomatoes and zucchini! I’m documenting it here: http://thekingscourt4.blogspot.com/search/label/Gardening%20101
My garden is slow growing this year, even with all the rain. But two huge successes this year are that I finally got decent cilantro to grow and I got strawberries to grow. Not many and not big ones, but they are are so sweet. Lucky for me the CSA fills in the void. Your garden looks way ahead of mine. That casserole looks great, thanks!
My first ever Square Foot Garden is starting to really take off. I love how I don’t have nearly the weeds we always had in a conventional garden. Stoney was a bit doubtful, but now I believe is won over to the concept. I have been toying with the idea of freezing zucchini in bread/muffin recipe size packages to be able to make fresh bread and muffins all winter long. Have you ever tried freezing the zucchini like this? I am thinking (always a questionable endeavor) that it would take up less space in the freezer than multiple loaves of bread…
Love your blog!
hey Lori – yes, square foot gardening is awesome!! I just need to plan better for the weeds next year with laying down newspaper etc.
And yes, to the zucchini question. I do that every year and it works great. I shred it first. It will be watery when you thaw, but I just squeeze that out. I think I have a post about it…I’ll check. Otherwise, that is what I do as well as the bread.
Those berries look A-MAZING! You inspired me to post about my weekend planting over at http://oldmomnewtricks.blogspot.com! I don’t have any actual product yet, but I’m trying! 🙂
Thanks for sharing photos of your produce. Here in the Pacific Northwest things have gotten off to a slow start — we’re only just beginning to have lettuce for salads. I could grumble about our late-to-arrive growing season, but I love it here. 🙂 Thanks for hosting, ~Lisa
MULCH!! That s the answer. I mulch with straw or hay, and grass clippings..YES hay! People have said not to use hay because it makes weeds..if it is thick enough, any weeds (actually seeds from the hay) that do make it through the layers pull out without even any tugging… All the nutrients that an animals generally gets from hay, is IN the hay..so instead of going into an animal they go into the ground as it breaks down…
I simply put the weed carrying hay on the whole garden in the winter..by spring it is broken down enough to plant in almost pure compost with a layer of built in mulch on top. I add the finer things, like straw to the potatoes etc, and grass clippings around the smaller plants (but not right up to the base..grass gets hot as it decomposes)
Summer time and the living is easy! (and the garden grows on its own) Try it.
I have heard lots of people say hay, so I do not doubt you. I need to think ahead for next year and I am all about trying new things. Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂
My “garden” consists of parsley, oregano, and basil in a pot on my front porch, and they are doing just fine 🙂
I’ve got more basil than I”ll every need growing right now and 5 big tomatoes that should be turning red any day now. My rosemary is doing well too. I planted a small garden since this is my first in ground one, but I’m hoping to add some squash and zucchini next year.
Thanks for hosting!
I did not plant anything except I have one basil plant and it is doing okay, I want to get a few more for pesto. I love black berries, we were able to pick a couple of bowls full from my yard and I put the on top of a homemade pavlova. It was delish.
Our garden is doing pretty good even though we’re in a drought. We’ve only had about 3 inches of rain since early Feb. at our house. We have or have had potatoes, tomatoes, basil, onions, garlic, zucchini, yellow squash, white squash, corn, pumpkins, spaghetti squash, peppers and okra.
I do a garden update each Wednesday on my blog http://schneiderpeeps.blogspot.com/search/label/garden. I also have info that I’m recreating from a gardening notebook that I kept for years. It got burned this spring, I’m hoping that my info will be safer on the blog.
Thanks for hosting. We are still in the early stages of our garden here in MI but so far it looks great! Can’t wait to pick some fresh veggies!
All I’m growing this year is herbs. My cilantro is coming along nicely.
Unfortunately we live in the woods and we have no garden, but we have our sources for frugal produce. I’ve been freezing shredded zucchini for bread so none goes to waste. We can’t wait for wild blackberry season. We can as many quarts as can get our hands on. YUM for winter. Thanks for hosting!
This is my first year to garden, and I’m having a BLAST doing it! Trust me, if I with my forever black thumb can do this, anyone can!
So far we have been feasting on lots of salad greens, sugar snap peas, and my cucumbers are just about ready to start picking, picked one this morning, with two more that should be ready by evening.
Squash and Zucchini are blooming, but that’s all they are doing so far, curious how long it will take for them to start producing fruit? Have also planted a few watermelon plants. Just planted a second round of cucumbers and zucchini this past week, and promised my son we would plant a very tiny pumpkin patch just for him, so we just started the seeds indoors, I need to hurry up and figure out where I’m going to put them outside!!
Your produce looks amazing! As do your berries!! I’m hoping to get brave enough to try some berries next year.
Oh, dear. My garden is a little disappointing so far, as we have had a very very cool, rainy spring in central CA. My winter garden did produce far longer than usual — great snow peas this year. I’ve got producing tomatoes that are less than a foot tall. We did have a great deal of success with artichokes this spring — 20 off of one bush, probably due to the cooler weather. The peppers aren’t growing well at all, but the basil is finally taking off. I never have any luck with zucchini… but (strangely) the decorative gourds do quite well…
We’re now having a heat wave (100 degrees+), but once it’s over, I’ll put in more green beans and some okra (first time for that one) and see how that fares.
I was laughing, looking at your zucchini pics, and thinking about a Garrison Keillor bit called “Tomato Butt”, which talks about (among other things) doorbell ditching zucchini in desperation when you’re about to be smothered under all of it.
Despite living in an apartment, I have found a way to have a garden! Most of it is on my kitchen windowsill: three basil plants, two thyme plants, and one chamomile. There’s also a tomato plant that needs to go outside with its other friends 🙂
Wow! You already have squash. We are just beginning to see ours. I can’t wait for the blackberries to be ready. We are almost there. Thanks for hosting this fabulous meme once more.
My Dad plants a huge garden (almost 1/4 acre) every year up here in CNY and he never weeds or mulch it. It’s very messy looking, but he grows the most amazing vegetables every year. Every year he has a bumper crop of tomatoes and zucchinis among other things. My Dad says it’s too hard to weed and mulch that big of a garden.
I can so relate to this right now. We are a little closer to the coast than you and it’s been in the mid to upper 90’s with heat index over a 100 here. I think the heat index was 105 today. I spent three hours weeding the garden a couple of weeks ago and was ready to just quit when I noticed a tiny watermelon on our watermelon plant. Seeing that all of the hard work was paying off for all of our plants really gave me that push that I needed to keep going. Our zucchini plant died but not until after we had a few veggies from it and our cucumbers are going crazy and at last count there were 10 watermelon on our vines. The tomato’s are just starting to flower but I’m happy with out first year. Next year I will probably regeret our decision to expand the garden but it will be worth it put away home grown veggies and be able to share with family and neighbors.
My garden is doing great this year! We had cool temps and lots of rain this spring, though we’re in a bit of a dry spot right now. However, I mulched almost everything which has helped a lot.
We grow thornless blackberries, too, though this year something happened to the plants and we lost a lot of them. However, the grapes are making up for the loss of the blackberries, and the new raspberry plants are doing well, too.
I just posted about my garden progress: http://alifeinbalance.net/how-does-your-garden-grow-june-21-2011/ since I’ve started preserving this year’s harvest.
I’d gladly trade your NC heat for my North Texas heat! We’ve already had several days where the temps have climbed to over 100 degrees. A couple even as high as 105!!! I think my veggies are going to be pre-cooked for me by the time they’re ready to harvest!! I’ve already harvested some very yummy new potatoes and three lonely tomatoes. Not sure why my tomato plant isn’t doing any better. And I seem to be having the same poor luck with my bell peppers; they’re there but they’re tiny. Okra is going strong and will be ready soon and banana peppers are doing well. Squash bugs got my first round of squash but still holding out hope.
Jealous of those lovely blackberries! We don’t have a garden yet – one of these days I hope we get on top of things and try some square foot gardening. Thanks for hosting Jen!
We also mulch with grass. With the dry summer, the weeds are not so bad. Yet. Actually, with a small amount of time and mulching, the weeds are controllable. I tried planting popcorn this year. I like to try growing new things sometimes.
Ohhh I love to garden too. I have some type of indiam squash that is growing like CRAZY! I just harvested 3 this morning that are HUGE. I also have a ton of arugula, a few melons, and hopefully some okra soon. My tomoatoes got wilt and rust 🙁 . I read I can “solarize” my garden to get rid of disease so that is the plan for next year.