Monday, May 30, 2011

Food Production in the Garden

I have to say, I am on the fence lately about vegetable gardening. Maybe because it tends to be peppered with a robust bit of frustration. And, it is a lot of sweaty work. I like gardening, but I don't like sweating. And getting all itchy. And being attacked by biting ants. And strategizing on how to foil the deer and the bunnies and the groundhog.

You see, I rarely have harvests that leave me speechless. I grow more along the lines of grazing opportunities. Our small cold frame has actually been the most productive part of our growing food endeavors. Along with the rhubarb. And a lot of rhubarb, as much as I love it, is, well, A LOT of rhubarb.

But, I remain hard-wired to continue and try. And so, a quick inventory of this year's efforts.

Garlic - So close to harvest time. Garlic scapes are happening right now.
Broccoli - I hate it. Willa loves it. So I grow it. But I missed its fleeting harvesting moment this year and it bolted within a day.
Asparagus - Entering its second year. Slow progress there, but progress just the same.
Collards from seed (*new to our garden*)
Okra from seed (*new to our garden*)
Beets from seed (*new to our garden*)
Swiss chard from seed (*new to our garden*) - The beet seedlings look exactly like the swiss chard seedlings. And I didn't mark them. This should be interesting.
Sugar Baby watermelon - A favorite that grows easily under the walnut tree.
Tomatoes - Brandywine, Yellow Brandywine, Cherokee Purple and Sungold and Yellow Pear cherries
Strawberries - Presently residing in two containers on the deck.
Connecticut Field pumpkins - A Willa request.
Green beans
Sprinklings of Red Russian kale, shelling English peas and sugar snap peas (The peas were discovered by the deer a few weeks ago and were decimated rather quickly - a few survivors are keeping the faith and sending out new flowers and pods. The garden is now wrapped within rebar posts and deer netting.)

Just as I question the labor, I'll then watch Willa gobble down something - straight from the garden - and it sends me back out there. To do battle with the brier patches, quack grass, evil-looking spiders and the bald sun. I want her to know what these things taste like, fresh from the earth, warm from the sun and grown from a seed that she planted all by herself. Turns out, life experiences involve a little sweat equity. I think I can live with that - and plan to garden from 8 - 9 p.m. during the summer months.


Becky said...

There are times when it feels like it would be easier to just buy our salad greens from someone else....but there is something about eating something you planted, by seed, yourself.

My broccoli rabe totally bolted in the day it was almost ready to eat. We won't be trying that again. I was able to pick the slow bolt spinach before it bolted, so I call that progress and success. (Never before have I had spinach big enough to pick before it bolted!) The brussel sprouts, another experiment this year, are coming along. And I finally have achieved success with romaine. I have some happy little heads growing out there.

Anonymous said...

Hey there - can you tell me the conditions that you grow your rhubarb under - I am trying to get lots of rhubarb - but think I need to move my plants! I have been growing my lettuce and brocolli under reemay to prevent the bug damage and mulched with hay - and with a bit of water every morning - they have survived this heat as if it were a May day in Scotland....

Tracey said...

Becky - It is what keeps me going. Seed to table!

Anonymous - They are in part (morning) sun out in raised beds. We live in the foothills - so a little cooler at night (which may or may not help?). I love hearing about the lettuce and broccoli - must try that!!