Friday, July 24, 2009

Kathleen's Veggie Garden Update

Since everyone's pulling for us to succeed in our first-ever raised bed veggie garden at the Eagles' nest, celebrate with us our first green pepper, picked last week.

Can you tell my granddaughter loves green peppers? She eats them like apples. She's been watching this one eagerly. We'd just finished up a painting project (that's one of my old shirts) and we'd been talking about starting supper. I was wondering what happened to the promise of help cleaning up the brushes when I heard, "Nana! Look! It's ready!"

This is the beauty of having the raised bed so close to the kitchen door. In the old days women planted conveniently located kitchen gardens. Mostly the small stuff. Not only is it easy to care for this way, but it's so much fun to watch it grow. You can take a turn around the garden several times a day, nip off the sucker shoots on the tomato plants, prop up
a drooping branch, pluck a few weeds, and it's not a chore. It's an outing.

Here's two weeks' growth on the tomatoes. Left, 3 weeks ago. Right, last week. One of Clyde's objections to tomatoes is the wire cages. I don't like them either. We started out with metal supports we found in the garage--old window screen frames. We added bamboo U-shape supports later, but lately I've been plugging in simple bamboo poles
as needed to lift a heavy branch. I use the green velcro garden tape to attach--great stuff! You can actually re-use it. I like this more natural approach. We'll see how it holds up under the growing weight.

Oh, yeah, we just lost another tooth.

















And look, Grampa! We're growing tomatoes!

One more aspect of ownership for the kids--we ordered the pepper and tomato plants through one of their school fundraisers.

Amazing how much you can get into a raised bed. I have visions of my sugarplums thinking of Nana as they tend their own gardens someday. I have lots of wonderful garden memories. Like my parents, I did the whole soup to nuts--er, salad greens to sweet corn garden in my salad days, but now it's mainly about tomatoes. Daddy always found a spot in the yard for a few tomato plants. For the sake of education and experimentation we're doing a little of this and that as space permits.

Do you have garden memories?

17 comments:

ForestJane said...

WTG! Your garden looks wonderful. ;) I think my very favorite pic is the last one, that little smile on his face.

The top picture is great too, for another reason - how often do you get to see a Piper putting a peck on a pepper? *g*

Keri Ford said...

So cool, Kathleen! I know exactly how your grandaughter feels. I got my first cucumber a couple weeks ago :)

Can't get my tomatoes to do anything but grow and be green and healthy looking. I read on the internet in a couple places that I was taking care of them too well. Have any ideas?

Kylie said...

When I was a kid, our house sat on two lots. And the garden ran the width of 2/3 of that area in the back yard. I used to love to help in the garden. Planting, weeding, picking...I liked getting my hands dirty. That affection did not, however, extend to eating many of the green things we grew, LOL. But I was quite fond of the strawberry patch.

These days my planting is confined to flowers and none of my kids shared my enthusiasm for pulling weeds. They'd usually run in the other direction! It's great to see the big smiles on your little ones' faces...they will have very different memories of your garden than my children do of helping me!

Helen Brenna said...

I remember my grandfather gardening before he passed away. He had the largest garden I'd ever seen and he looked not unlike Marlon Brando from the scene in the Godfather where Vito's tending his tomatoes.

Keri, I always cut back just a few of the sucker branches on my tomato plants. Not sure if that's why I always get fruit or not, but it stands to reason it could help. Do you fertilize at all? Your plants may not be receiving the right amount of the mineral they need to flower??

Michele Hauf said...

I used to love to sit in the garden when I was a kid and eat the peas. We used to have a big enough garden so my mom could can and freeze veggies for the whole winter. Also loved to take a cup of sugar out with me, then sit and dip the rhubarb in it and eat. Num.

We just got our first tomatoes! From the infamous upsidedown tomato plant. I was very impressed. We actually grew something with our very own hands. Such satisfaction, isn't it? We have a nice size pepper growing as well. I think it's time to pick it!

Love the pics of your grandkids, Kathy. They are adorable!

Kathleen Eagle said...

ForestJane, I love it! Piper putting a peck on a pepper.

As soon as we saw tiny cukes they wanted to know why you couldn't pick pickles if you could pick pickled peppers, and how much a peck is, which we had to google (1/4 of a bushel) I had a bushel basket in the garage, but when I pulled it out I realized I'd puttered past Peter's principle. They were on to something else.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Keri, I use Miracle Gro--I know, I know--and like Helen I pluck the little suckers from the crotches of the branches. Those suckers don't do anything but suck. You do want plenty of foliage to protect the root from the sun.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Michele, You have ripe tomatoes?! That upside-down affair has some serious merit.

Michele Hauf said...

Two ripe ones! But they were close to the edge where I suspect the most sunshine touched. The rest are small and green still.

Keri Ford said...

I used Mircle grow. But I have no idea what a sucker is beyond candy on a stick. Must google...

Keri Ford said...

Suckers-got it now! Will try that this afternoon.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Garden memory #1: I was an Air Force brat, so we moved around a lot when I was growing up. Daddy was an Army brat. Even though Granddaddy was retired when he was born, the family moved a bit in his early years (Granddaddy was then a military cemetery superintendent) before settling in VA. I have a feeling people who move around a lot, especially as children (I hated it) find solace in digging around in the dirt and rooting things.

Anyway, the story goes that my brother only got spanked once in his life, and that was for running his toy wheelbarrow around in Daddy's garden and destroying the tomato plants. Brother Dan became a golf course greens superintendent.

Debra Dixon said...

Kathleen-- I love the wee ones and their spoils of war! How fun! I was never much of a gardener. Mother's from the country and she put in a garden most years. I remember the year the eggplant took over the world.

My uncle still plants a huge garden for canning. Butter beans, tomatoes, peppers, tomatoes, snap beans, peas, sweet corn, the list goes on. I was bragging about my tomatoes this year and he asked where by butter beans were. When I said, "I don't have any." He nodded, and asked how much sweet corn I put in. I had to say none. And he nodded and asked another. LOL! I finally gave up and said my awesome 81 tomatoes on the vine was no match for his garden. (g)

Kathleen Eagle said...

Sounds like your uncle is into competitive gardening, Deb. Hey, if you're counting the tomatoes, you must have a little of the same blood. (81 sounds like a lot! Okay, now I'm going to have to count.)

You know what's great for taking over the world? Zucchini! One year Clyde begged me to stop putting it in everything I made. (And i thought I was being so sneaky.)

Debra Dixon said...

Ooh, zucchini! That would be great to plant next year. Hubby's planning a raised bed. We'll see.

Cindy Gerard said...

My dh is the gardener at our house. I say, "Oh, the flowers are so pretty," and "Oh, that tastes sooo good."
That's my garden participation. I know. i'm a slug.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Slugs don't win RITAs. Congratulations, Cindy! Enjoy those flowers and fruits.