Tag Archives: planting

At Least We’ve Got Some Beautiful Garlic….

31 Jul

Our vegetable garden has been fairly catastrophic this year. Aside from a decent harvest of peas and some nice lettuces, much of what we have planted has been eaten by critters, rotted by excessive rain, wilted by excessive heat, or inexplicably stunted. The radishes never took off, the broccoli hasn’t produced a single floret, the eggplant looks like an bad bonsai experiment — utterly lacking in buds to boot — even the basil has been chewed to a lace and ribs, and do you know ANYONE who can plant zucchini two years in a row and only have ONE, that’s right, ONE SINGLE SOLITARY, zucchini to show for it? That’s just pitiful.

Helping out with garlic harvest at Restoration Farm (in 100 degree heat!?!)

Helping out with garlic harvest at Restoration Farm (in 100 degree heat!?!)

Well, I could go on, but that might jinx the tomatoes, which actually look quite good, except I think my watering has not been consistent and there could be some blossom end rot in my future.

So, I will look on the bright side and say that not only did our garlic produce lovely scapes earlier in the season, but we are also drying a healthy bunch of our own garlic bulbs, planted last October in our raised beds from a head that I reserved from Restoration Farm last season.

Accentuate the positive...our homegrown organic garlic is beautiful and heady with fragrance. My friend Vic Munoz calls this stage: terrestrial jellyfish

Accentuate the positive…our homegrown organic garlic is beautiful and heady with fragrance. My friend Vic Muñoz calls them terrestrial jellyfish for their look!

So, no recipe today. Just a deep breath, thanking goodness that I am not depending on my crop to feed my family. A celebration of what has gone right. And a resolution to keep trying. Because knowing how to grow your own food is important and because perseverance is important and because everything takes time to master.

Wish me luck with the fall vegetables, some of which are already planted….



Let the (Gardening) Games Begin!!!!!

5 Apr

I have my garden! I have my garden!

My dad (Pedro) and I have been plotting (haha) to do some raised beds in our yard, now that some of the trees had to come down and there are a few sunny spots. Last year I did some container gardening in those spots as a sort of reconnaissance mission and this week, Pedro and his buddy, Tommy, put together some raised beds from instructions from Organic Gardening magazine (April/May 2012). I can’t find a link to the instructions right now, but visit their Beginner’s Guide to Organic Farming and poke around in there and you’ll find loads of good info to get started.

So, we made a garden chart and yesterday in went the pea seedlings (I had started some indoors and some outdoors a couple of weeks ago – you’re not supposed to start peas indoors, but we’ve done it before, with good results, plus it helps Leandro follow their progress more easily). The mesclun lettuce and arugula seeds went in also.

Today we’ll be stopping by a local nursery for more seeds, now that we have a plan: spinach, radish, beets, chard, and eggplant. We’ll be buying organic, as I mistrust the whole Genetically Modified thing and the chemical stuff.

My tomato seedlings (seeds saved from last year’s tomatoes, aren’t I the little homesteader?) are looking well, but will stay indoors for now, as will the ají (sweet cooking pepper from P.R.) from my cousin Josie’s garden in Mayagüez. I’m starting basil from seed too – feeling really productive and busy and probably boring the hell out of you with my laundry list of planting, but so be it. I am excited to finally be embarking on a vegetable gardening adventure!

I am eager to know what you all are planting and planning for the summer months…I don’t really know what I am doing, but Pedro and I have agreed that this will be a year of more learning than producing (nice to have the Restoration Farm back-up, no?). Mind you, we are both demanding of ourselves, so that is perhaps not going to work out and we will agonize over every mistake, insect infestation, browned and spotted leaf or low yield…We’ll have to take good notes!

More helpful links:

What to Plant Now zone charts from Mother Earth News (it only considers the Lower 48 – no Puerto Rico either, sorry!)  How-To-Grow primers from Organic Gardening magazine

Find out your growing zone here.

Happy Planting!

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