Thursday, July 12, 2012

Welcome To the Jungle, We've Got Peas and Beans

What? A mid-week post? You know it!

I actually intended to post this last week, but got distracted by the sunshine and bratwurst making. However, it's been a couple of months since I posted about our gardening adventures, and thought an update was in order.

Beans last week
Beans this week - they're taking over!
However, the pictures I took last week are no longer good, so I had to go play in the sun with my camera again. Shucks darn.

We simplified many of our garden plans from our original plan based on the seeds my parents donated and our lack of adventuresome spirit around my due date. For example, I really didn't want to lug my belly down to the FFA sale, so we have no tomatoes. Sadly. I'm going to try to convince my neighbor to give me one really good tomato to harvest seeds from for next year. We'll see how that works out.

What we ended up with was primarily peas and beans, which I'm OK with, since they're my favorites! They are also pretty low-maintenance, which is what we need this year! We also planted some squashes, cucumbers, and mini pumpkins. Later, my mom donated some broccoli and cauliflower starts. We got potatoes from my sister, but lost them somewhere in the garage until it was too late to plant them. Whoops!

I can't really blame Zoey for eating these!
Aside from vegetables, we planted a few strawberries (also from my mom. Have I mentioned what a kind, wonderful woman she is?) and our blueberries. We didn't get a lot from the berries – only two strawberries achieved any size at all, and we got maybe a dozen blueberries. By which I mean Zoey got a dozen blueberries. Someone, who may or may not be me, showed her the berries on the bush and she took it upon herself to harvest them all. This was the first year we've gotten any blueberries, though, so we were excited.

So how has it turned out? Results are mixed at this point. We planted all of the seeds at the beginning of May, when it was still on the cool side. This was a mistake for most things. We got a couple of pumpkins and squashes to sprout, but only one cucumber came up out of the several we planted...and it was sick and sad until recently.

The peas and beans did fantastically, although the beans got off to a slower start than the peas. The peas are starting to develop, and hopefully we'll be able to pick them in a couple of weeks. The beans haven't flowered yet, but given their growth recently, I anticipate a healthy crop of beans as well.
Peas were starting to form last week...
And this week, I'm tempted to pick them!

The broccoli and cauliflower were victims of neglect for a while, but are now planted and recovering nicely. And so we wait...and make more plans.
He thought he was safe...
But the pumpkin came for him in the night.

When Randy's parents came to visit, they brought us a wonderful greenhouse. This should help us make our own starts next year, and have a more productive start to our garden. Also, Randy plans to try growing peppers, which require a bit more heat. We'll see how it works out. So far, it's just a greenhouse with no shelves, although we do have a folding table we might donate to the cause.
Oh yes, we have plans for this...

Also, we want to try to save our own seeds. In theory, this will mean a better crop next year, as we'll save the seeds from the plants that do the best. If we manage to do this for several years straight, we'll end up with seeds perfectly adapted to our soil/climate/growing season. Since we don't know if it will work or not, though, we're going to hedge our bets and plant half the garden with our saved seeds and half with store seeds for a side-by-side test. If ours work, then there's another cost saver for future years! And if not...well, we'll have learned a lesson.

We're also looking into fall/winter planting. Given the requirement of going out in the rain and gloom to care for them, however, that might dwindle. It's a lot easier to stay motivated at this time of year, when the sun is shining every day!

The gnomes will watch over all (and hopefully weed for us, too!)


  1. Our peas and beans are not doing as well. (I say "our" very loosely, the garden is on the property on which I reside but I have nothing to do with it until preperation and consumption.) We have 700 other plants that seem to be doing well although not producing as much as expected. I think we're blaming the weather?
    G likes eating the sugar snap peas right in the garden, as you can imagine I support this wholeheartedly.

    1. You've had really hot weather; if it got that hot here, we'd all run screaming into the ocean. 80-85 is my limit! I admit that Randy does most of the actual work in the garden. especially the despised weeding...I just take pictures and eat the food.

      After Zoey's blueberry adventure, we decided not to show her the peas for fear she'd rip the whole vine out for one pea. Or eat them all, like I did as a kid. Either way, Randy and I wouldn't get any and that would suck!