Monday, December 17, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I had my first "real" garden this year.  I've planted vegetables in the past, but they were either in a small patch of the yard, or in containers.  This was the first time I had the space to plant as much as I wanted and whatever I wanted.  It was the year to experiment.  Experiment to see what worked and what didn't work.  To see how much of the crop we actually needed and could reasonably eat.

Back in April, we picked a patch of land that got full sun, was out of the way of other activities, and was within reach of the garden hose.  Matt tilled up the dirt and also tilled in compost.

I planted:
green beans
green onions
bell peppers
mixed greens

I planned out the spacing and placement, putting the taller plants in the back.  My good friend Gita helped me plant the seeds.  Some were seeds and others I bought as plants.

Then I forgot to take pictures for two months.  Or lost them on the computer.  So, this is what the garden looked like in June (definitely not at it's peak).  I loved having fresh greens anytime for a salad!

As for what worked?  The zucchini, squash, basil, greens, onions, and jalapeños.  I learned that I don't need as much basil and onions.  I ended up freezing a lot of it at the end of the season to we'll have fresh basil to add to recipes during the winter (the muffin pan and water technique).  And next year I will plant the zucchini and squash in batches.  They produce a lot for one month, then taper off.  We had so much zucchini, then nothing.  So planting in rounds would be helpful.

The corn didn't really work.  I call it midget corn.  The plants were short.  The cobs were under developed.  Not sure why.  Can anyone offer advise?  We did get to eat it once.  It was delish!  I also got ONE watermelon.  It was small, but tasty.  I didn't get too many good tomatoes or green beans, but I will try them again.

Maybe we didn't have the compost tilled in good enough.  I noticed that one plant would be great and the row next to it wasn't so great.  Possible variation in nutrients?  I dunno.

I had so many harvests like this one.  Once I took a whole box full of squash, zucchini, tomatoes, basil, lettuce, peppers to the beach on vacation.  We had meals where everything but the meat came from the garden.  There was so much basil, I ended up freezing a lot of it using this technique.

Wash, dry, and cut into strips.  

Pack strips into a mini-muffin pan (as many as will fit).  

Then fill muffin pan with water and freeze.  

You can store your basil "pucks" in a gallon zip lock bag.  

They are great to toss into a pan right before serving and will quickly melt.  The basil stays green unlike when it's refrigerated.

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